Total newbie w/lighting question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Miztiki, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. Miztiki

    Miztiki TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2005
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I hope y'all can help me. I don't know anything about photography and my question is actually related to video recording, but I'm sure you'll be able to help.

    I am supposed to record my dog and send it to the behaviorist for evaluation. My husband bought a camcorder but my dog is black and all you see on the screen is a black blob in the shape of a dog.

    We don't have alot of money to spend, so I figure my best bet is to light up the room with additional lighting. Before I go buy something, I wondered if you could give me some advice, like what kind would work best.

    I need the behaviorist to see details, like what his whiskers are doing, how his eyes change shape, any subtle changes in his lips, etc. As it is, I can't see his facial features on video in our normal indoor lighting. Yes, some of the recordings will be done outside, but I need inside video too.

    Lowe's has a floor lamp with 3 adjustable spotlights that hold 60 watt bulbs. The link is here: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=103207-76222-LS0160BK&lpage=none

    Would that work for what I need? Or would flourescent or halogen be better? Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated! I don't need award winning quality, just the ability to clearly record my dog with the details visible.

    Thanks!

    Michelle
     
  2. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm sure those lights will work for what you need. Also, I know many photographers/videographers use shop work lights and large poster board to create some inexpensive but good lighting. You might want to rather invest in 2 or 3 less expensive individual shop lights so you can position your lighting better. But, I'm sure that light will work fine.
    Also, you may want to mess around with the settings on your camera. Is it really just a black blob? If it has shutter speed adjustments, mess around with those and also see if it has a white balance adjustment. It's probably mainly auto, but it'll probably have different settings for different situations. Look in the manual for info on that...

    Also... I'd highly recommend getting one of those "dimmer" switches that plug right into your lights' electrical line so you can easily adjust the lighting on your dog. Hope I've helped, somewhat. :thumbup:

    Oh, and if you're going to be doing some zooming in on your dog, remember to stay away from going into digital zoom. Keep it in the optical zoom range. Once you get into the digital zoom range, the image will quickly degrade and lose detail because you're zooming on the digital image and not physically zooming with the lens anymore. Also, use a tripod for a steady image, if you have one! Good luck.
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    You would do better buying a light to fit on your camera. This gives strong directional light in will certainly show up all the detail you need.
    Raising the background lighting levels will not realy do what you want.
    You should be able to get one within your budget. Any camcorder light will work with any camcorder - they are just extra bright torches.
    A selection here with prices (but shop around)
    http://www.bizrate.com/buy/products__cat_id--11510300,keyword--Camcorder Lights.html
     
  4. Miztiki

    Miztiki TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2005
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Shop lights are a great idea! I could position them around the room. Thanks for the dimmer switch idea too. What's the poster board for though?

    I can't put a light on the camcorder because I'll have it positioned so that it records as much of the room as possible. A light on the camcorder would be too narrow I believe.

    It's just a $300 low-end camcorder. The only adjustment I could find in the manual for lighting is to push the "night mode" button, and that made everything worse, especially any movement. Yep, he's a black blob. Half the time I couldn't even see his eyes.

    This is not from the video but shows what the vid looks like on the tv screen (except the video is really grainy too) (and this pic shows more detail than the video).http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0TACrAkoWSkFhleWdraKQRjFP3xDdmAFPOyRfo5MATnQ7ld445gqWsygovpy32OAy0Td3tCAxQ50r1OmL2BoUzns!WRoQ55j8jvxsIdfHrgRxQfKU!ys6Aw/May05%20546.jpg?dc=4675534938396556465

    And since this is a photography forum, here is my only submission of something even vaguely artistic!

    http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0TgCrAvgWHHbS!FS2myDSW0DwrO!aVqx4HRu5XHqUcAOGPYfz8POIdmc947RD0*55OuwMTRJZparvoxVWhtmWtsLOO6seddbkKy1AyFgw7OmL0oVs60QiUQ/July05%201681.jpg?dc=4675534938542532859

    My cat scratched the corner of his eye (top and bottom inside corner). I took a close up pic then zoomed in to see if he got the eyeball itself. He didn't, but the pic came out kinda cool! It's my avatar now over on the Border Collie boards.

    Thank you very much for your help! I really, really appreciate it and will go get some shop lights and a dimmer switch thingy tomorrow.

    edit: Here are some normal pictures of him, instead of just a black blob or an eyeball:

    http://www.dogster.com/pet_page.php?j=t&i=123797
     
  5. hobbes28

    hobbes28 Incredible Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Messages:
    4,807
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    at work...
    I always liked to use one of those 500watt floor lamps that have a dimmer on them. That way you're bouncing light off of the ceiling so it doesn't seem so harsh of lighting. That or the flood lights too. I'll dig around to see if I can find the exact type I'm talkin bout.
     
  6. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Beautiful dog. and I love the eye! :)

    The poster board idea is generally the same thing as a portrait photographer's umbrellas. Just for bouncing light off them, so it's not harsh, direct light. But you won't need that I'm sure, that's just for if you're going for an arty look. Hope I made sense. :wink: And yeah, that "night mode" setting is probably generally useless too, it's just lowering the shutter speed greatly but you get terrible motion as you've mentioned.

    Also I should mention, as Hertz did, be careful with the lighting behind the dog, as it might create the backlight "halo" or silhouette effect and make it hard to see the subject. Just mess around with the lighting, i'm sure you'll get it. :thumbup:
     

Share This Page