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Lighting a Party Scene-Strobes and Pivoting Lights

Mayer Chalom

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Hey I hope all is well.


I have an upcoming shoot that involves a party scene and I would like to include strobes and lights that pan and pivot. I've recently been looking at the work of Evan Prosofsky, Stuart Winecoff, and Steve Annis who have been producing some amazing work (in particular party/night scene work).


Please find attached the links to the videos I'm referencing and some frame still frame grabs. If you guys could point me towards the kinds of lights I'm looking for that would be great.


https://vimeo.com/129187816 - Stuart Winecoff (music video for Astronomyy)


https://vimeo.com/95145651 - Steve Annis (music video for Wilkinson- see 1:45)


https://vimeo.com/50873621 - Evan Prosofsky (music video for Grizzly Bear)


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Robotic lights that sweep around are more what you'd see in a club, otherwise you'd need to have a person manually panning a light around.


If using strobes, then get a camera with a global shutter if possible to avoid rolling shutter artifacts.

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All great shooters you referenced, but all the scenes are very different, can you explain more what you want to achieve?



Prosofsky is probably using a jokleko combo for that grizzly bear video I'd guess, the whole thing is that one light, and its manually operated


Annis is going pretty natural light...I have no idea as to know what that production was like and how controlled that set was, but most of that could have been achieved in a real location. the lights in the background are the "laser" looking kind I don't know the name but any theatrical/party lighting house will have them.


Winecoff has some narrow colored pars in the background, they are likely robotic and LED....but not necessarily.



I think you just need to go to the lighting house and figure out what you want in the background. Any of them will of this stuff and they will all be experts on it to tell you how to work it and what will work best.

Edited by Albion Hockney
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The trickiest thing about a lot of robotic 'club' lights, is that the output is often so low you have to work at very low light levels with fast lenses in order for them to play in the frame and not be washed out by your fill light.

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Many of them actually are HMI, or a near-identical technology. The reason for the selection of a comparatively expensive light source is that one of the frequently-overlooked benefits of HMI is that they're very physically compact. For comparison, ceramic metal halide bulbs of more or less HMI performance are anything up to eight inches long in their 400-watt incarnations, which would be difficult to accommodate in a moving-head light. 500-watt HMI bulbs are only a few inches long. Ceramic metal halide types of the same physical size might be 150 or 250W.


Whether they're HMI, MSR, or whatever, they're not really dimmable. If anyone's doing anything to keep power consumption down, they're just selecting lights that use low-wattage lamps. I'm pretty sure that types with 1KW output are available, though. They're not very small.


Edit - Clay Paky make types up to 1500W.


The main problem is that most of the intelligent lighting in use in clubs still has magnetic ballasts, which are likely to cause flicker. Rental companies may have types using high-frequency electronic ballasts, which are often known as "TV ballasts", for obvious reasons. I have tested several lights from the general rental stock of a stage sound and light company with rolling shutter cameras including Red Epic and Sony FS7 and there were certainly problems.


Intelligent lighting people are usually very aware that the colour which has most impact is open white, simply because it is by definition brightest. The optical system in some of the moving mirror varieties includes, at minimum, a parfocal zoom lens assembly, at least one, usually two wheels with gobos and optical effects discs, and colour mixing apparatus. The result is an effective transmission through the whole optical system of, er, F-lots, which means that even powerful ones can be fairly dim.


Moving head fresnels are generally rather brighter, but offer, naturally, a less defined beam without the glossy effects. They also move more slowly.



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