Lighting a small ballroom scene
Hi, this is my first post.
My question in short is - does anybody have an idea of how "powerful" a novatron 240ws unit is with 3 lights?
The reason I ask is because I plan on shooting a portion of a ballroom for a rich mansion scene with party goers. I'll be shooting at a wall probably 24 feet away, and the width of the scene will probably be 15 feet. This scene will have models in the foreground about 6-10 feet away. I will be shooting with a hasselblad 6x4.5 with a 50mm lens. So I'm thinking F 11-16 would be great.
I currently own one vivitar 285 flash and I guesstimate that if I had 4 of them at full power shooting at walls and brollys it would provide enough light. For another power reference: If it were a movie I think I could make it work with an assortment of 2-5k HMI units by shooting at the ceiling and through windows with diffusion.
Think of the general ambient light of the ballroom lighting in True Lies, except of course not the whole ballroom.
So there are two references to the kind of power I want. I'm looking into getting a used novatron kit from ebay, and I've heard that AC units are generally A LOT more powerful than battery flash units like my vivitar 285. I've achieved this look before but in a smaller room with hot lights in softboxes and 500watt bulb china balls. I think I ended up at 1/60 at F4.
Any ideas? I suspect that I don't need a super powerful Watt Second kit, I plan on shooting the flashes onto white boards and through brollys.
Thanks I hope somebody has an idea for how much power these units have.
Last edited by aatonpanavision; 01-10-2009 at 11:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: added link
>does anybody have an idea of how "powerful" a novatron 240ws unit is with 3 lights?
> I'll be shooting at a wall probably 24 feet away, and the width of the scene will probably be 15 feet.
>This scene will have models in the foreground about 6-10 feet away. So I'm thinking F 11-16 would be great.
I use a bigger rig - a Speedotron Blackline 2400w/s studio flash with three heads. It is actually like three flash generators in one, a 400w/s, a 800w/s, and a 1200w/s, which can all be ganged together, should the need arise. It is too powerful a unit for most around the house shooting, but when doing cast photos at theatres all units get pressed together.
I have actually modified it to put out less light when I use it around the house, so that it acts like a 200-400-800 w/s unit.
In this configuration the 400w/s channel, when split between 2 heads is handy at 6-10' I use a 30"x40" soft box at 45 degrees for the main, a passive white or silver reflector as the fill, and a hard 7 or 11"reflector for the other head to light the background. I find with 100iso rated film, that I get f/11 at distances of 5-6' from this soft box.
So your contemplated 240w/s unit might not give you as much light as you are hoping for if you are splitting it among three heads, particularly if you are using them with umbrellas or bounced off panels, which tends to cost you at least a stop in each case.
Medium format, with this reduced depth of field relative to 35mm tends to demand more light for the equivalent effect.
I would suggest, if possible, rent studio gear, and learn how it works, before buying. Even if this means setting the light on a stand at the rental shop, and popping it with the planned light modifier in place into your flash meter at the correct distance, or against a grey card, and shooting that with your digigizmo to evaluate exposure.
Last edited by Mike Wilde; 01-12-2009 at 01:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.
my real name, imagine that.
thanks, I'll try renting. I might be moving this shoot to 8x10 so I'm considering just trying to borrow the unit from our school - it's really freaking strong but I forgot it's rating. I'll need a crap load of power, I would think the 2400 would be overkill for almost everything save for those few very industrial no-compromises commercial shoots. I appreciate the advice.