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Hey all!


I'm doing a showreel shoot this August, and it will probably be really sunny and  have a out door location coming up. Due to the limited budget and power available, the biggest light i can get is a off brand  2.5k HMI and a home made 6by diffusion from shower curtain. I was wonder if these are enough to make a impact?

My indie rental house didn't tell me which model of HMI we are getting,  but it's safe to assume it won't be as effective as the Arris (maybe matching output of M18 idf we're lucky) . I'm not diffusion the light, maybe a 1/4 or 1/8 cto max for some scenes. 

Any input will be appreciated as always.


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Depends on the shot size and what you need it to do. Its probably plenty for tighter shots. 

Larger reflectors are probably at least as useful

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Diffusion frame overhead to knock out unflattering sun shadows. Bounce the HMI with card or play it through another diff frame for shaping. As mnentioned 2.5k hmi should be enough.  If golden hour, not a problem for overhead diff, you can use the sun as backlight and HMI for fill.

There's no insight to the set up / scale of shooting, so this could all change...

Edited by Joseph Tese

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If it’s close to the subject it’ll play, or if it’s a dark day out. But that’s about it. 


Even a 4k HMI is middlingly useful during the daytime. Generally I’d rather have good mirror boards and reflectors handy.

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I've used a 1.2kw outdoors with some success in the past - but thats in typical dark grey UK weather.  

In those situations is useful to have something to punch in and a give a bit of shape to close ups, or extra help on fill when shooting Contra-Jour. 


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I always feel that using lighting for day exteriors will (most of the times) give a very artificial look.

You need very large fixtures that have the loads of punch so you can set them further away and bounce/diffuse the hell out of.
Overheads, 12x12's and bounce boards/floppy's will give you allot more realisme and are way cheaper than a couple of 18k's.

Offcourse it all depends on the look you want.


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I wouldnt use lights at all. To soften the harsh sun you can do a 12x12 to cover a 10-12ft area or do a 20x20 for more coverage. I use half grid for this.

Then redirect the light from the side with a 12x12 reflector or bounce. This can be Ultra Bounce, griffolyn, or silver lame. I preffer the lame as it has more punch and carries over longer distance. The lame has to be adjusted every 30 min or so as the sun moves, so maybe not good for live events.

Also with 20x20 you'll want 2 or 3 grips to handle it.

If you're set on the 2.5kw, I'd try an overhead then shoot the 2.5kw through a 6x6 1/4 grid or a couple 250 frames side by side. But I'd still have an ultrabounce side with it.

Hope this helps.

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Thank you to everyone who replied..was not expecting this level of support from this forum.

I left the project a bit after due to personal reason, but this was helpful experience non the less.

The new DP decided not to use any lights at all. Just bonce with a 8by (biggest frame I can get for our budget) with 1/2 diffusion. Would have loved to have a 20by, it would allow quite a bit of movement around. 8by is pretty restrictive in this respect.

He probably will use couple of 5 in 1 circulars to either bounce, diffuse or negative fill some natural light. These cheap reflectors are surprisingly good at this respect. And few battery led panels (the really small and cheap ones) will be there for the assist.

Again, thanks for everyone who replied, all your advices were really helpful.

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