Foxvideo Productions

September 2014

Let there be light....

Yeah, I know, It’s been a bit quiet round here recently, (PS, thanks for the email asking if I was OK, you know who you are!)

Not a great deal happening recently, a few VHS to DVD dubs, a short promo for The Peace and Hope Trust and a lot of thumb twiddling, but now a good friend has asked for a series of 60 (yes sixty!) 10 minute videos for YouTube all to camera using an autocue and greenscreen, for a series of talks on the 66 books of the Bible previously recorded for CWR radio, the only slight problem is I no longer have a full set of lights, I’d sold my Dedo’s as they were only being used a couple of times a year.

We have a good studio space to use that can be left setup so I started considering lighting options, the ideal these days would be LED panels but at around £350 each would blow the budget big time, a look on eBay showed a 3 light daylight type set using low wattage bulbs for around £150, Amazon had similar setups. One review on Amazon for Photo Geeks looked genuine and gave a frank review that said they were good value for the money so I ordered them. After unboxing and setting up this is the review I left on the site:

“I bought these after much research and reading P Shaw’s review above, I totally agree with all the comments. I needed a full studio lighting setup for a low (read inverse!) budget job for a friend, normally I’d use or hire in a £2.5K set of Dedo’s but this was for an ongoing series of videos for YouTube and needed costs to kept to a minimum. Dispatch and delivery was very fast and the packaging was good, the first thing was to test all the bulbs - these were well packaged in polystyrene and all worked fine, the ES lamp holders are all ceramic. Assembling the soft boxes was easy after reading the simple instructions and light output seems good, the 5 individual switches give an amount of control over main light and fill, just one soft box would make a good fill if shooting with a window as a main light, the stands are OK but I’ll probably add a bit of weight to make them more stable. As with most lower priced stuff the overall quality is not 100%, some stitching had been missed on the velcro closures, the stand locks could be easily broken if treated roughly but, as a whole the kit is excellent value for money if you treat it with respect - 3 lights for one third of the price of a single LED studio light! The mains cable is only 2 core and terminated in an IEC at the head end but the heads are fused with a 5A fuse (reminder to self, get some spare fuses!). I’ve not used them in a studio setting yet and the only item missing from this setup would be barn doors for the soft boxes to prevent light spill but, cut down and painted black the packaging box should make a good set of barn doors!”

I also ordered a second set of two lights similar to the above along with a background pole system and green screen backdrop from eBay, there seems to be 2 types of background now on eBay, this was the better muslin type, when it all arrived the lights were similar but single large bulb and slightly smaller soft boxes but they should be ideal for lighting the green screen backdrop. So, in all I’ve now got a 5 light softbox setup, with boom light and GS backdrop for just under £250.
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 16.54.53images

My auto cue system is made up from several autocue items, a hood and screen I bought several years ago, a 17’ flat screen monitor with the base removed, an old G4 laptop with Prompt 7 software and a projector table on wheels - a bit Heath Robinson but works well and, with a much larger screen than using an iPad setup. All we have to do now is get the scripts loaded, do a few test shoots for lighting and sound and then shoot the first few 10 minute clips which I hope to edit in FCPX. I’ll try to post a few photos of the setup and results sometime within the next few weeks.