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Advice on Soft, Directional, Top light - music video style

Roger Alexander

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I'm going to build off of the setup in the attached picture for a hip hop cypher video. I'm going to build a 2 level pyramid stage for the rapper to stand on. The base will be a 5ft x 5ft square. He will be surrounded by 4 pillars (as seen in the picture) with 8 ft. kino bulbs attached to them.


I want the key light to be a diffused top light, but controlled so that the field of light only covers roughly the perimeter of the 5'x5' stage. I don't want it to be a broad diffused light from the top that is hitting everything; I'm trying to create pockets of light and pockets of dark for a contrasty feel to the scene, but without super harsh face shadows. I want to see a difference in the light emitting from the quasars on the pillars and the key top light from above, and not spilling into each other. The perimeter of both levels on the standing stage will be lined with small LED strips which are mainly there for show, but may also serve as a slight under fill on the rapper.


To achieve this directional, diffused top light, my first thought was to get 2 or 3, 4-bank kino fixtures and replace them with the brighter Quasar bulbs and mount them overhead. I'd cover them with light diffusion silk to soften. Then I'd use a black skirt that matches the perimeter of the stage to try and create a sharper field of light shining down in a more concentrated blast and not spilling everywhere. I assume the longer the skirt hangs, the more directional the light. A light haze will be in the room to show the rays coming down.


One concern is that, for the amount of space we have overhead (square footage of lights mounted inside skirt and diffusion should match the 5x5 ft stage) I'm not sure if the diffused, skirted, quasars will be bright enough to get the "large soft, heavenly light ray from above" feel that I'm going for. I'm curious to hear of other ways to get this same type of light. Maybe there's another method that is more efficient? Maybe I should just get 1 x 1200w hmi and blast through diffusion? Pros & Cons? Other methods?


I'd like to hear yall's suggestions. Thanks!


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You could hang a 6'x6' frame of diffusion (light grid, or maybe soft frost, etc.) and not only skirt it but also stretch a LightTools snap grid over it to control the spill.


As for what light would be bright enough, depends on the sensitivity of the camera, the shooting stop, and the balance with the other lights in the room. You could put, for example, a 4'x4' Sourcemaker Blanket Light behind the 6'x6' frame if your space is tight, but whether that's hot enough is hard to say. I mean, if you want a lot more heat (and use a lot more power), you could use coop lights, or create your own grid of tungsten PAR's pointing down through the diffusion frame.


There are also punchier Kinos like Parabeams or Vistabeams that could be used.


If you don't have to tip straight down but could be at an angle, you could use an HMI PAR or 2K tungsten and a Chimera with an egg crate.

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