Arena Lighting


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Jul 10, 2013
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I am looking for feed back on how some of you use lighting for indoor arena or night sporting events. I am thinking of 4 separate lights, just not sure if I want to utilize strobes or speedlights. Given the size of the field, I think speedlights would be useless. This leads me to strobes. That said, what type of set ups are you utilizing?
I don't know what sport you're shooting but bright flashes of light into the eyes of a basketball player coming down the lane would be pretty distracting I would think.
I've never used any lighting for sports, just crank up the ISO then do what you must with processing. Todays cameras handle high ISO well.
Doesn't the venue already have lighting?
Most of the venues have P*&# poor lighting. Also, for outdoor events, stadium lighting isn't very good.
Any constant light source you bring probably won't be much help. Plus, you gotta set it up and tear it down. Cords strung out all over is a hazard. Are the venues willing to let you do this?
I would be going wireless if I get lighting. Looking at different setups and different strobes. They are more than willing to have strobe lighting, especially wireless.
Lighting a stadium is a large, expensive, and complicated undertaking which will require permission and assistance from the venue. Basically, you need to figure out what you want as far as light on the floor, then you have to determine what size head you need, then you have to determine beam-spread based on the reflector used, and from there you get the spacing and number of heads required. To do it properly, so that you have even exposure over the whole floor (assuming something like a standard hockey arena) you can expect to use between 12 and 24 heads, and from 4 to 12 power-packs. You will also need a metric butt-load of cables and of course triggers.
I think you're seriously underestimating how much power you're going to need. Sports arenas have lighting systems that are measured in the equivelant of thousands of watts, if not tens of thousands of watts. Four speedlights aren't going go too far.

Combining constant light with strobes presents another huge challenge: Using a shutter speed slow enough to synch with the strobes, but high enough not to blur moving subjects exposed with the constant lighting. In order to pull off what you want to do, you'll need to drastically overpower the existing lighting. Get ready to apply for a second mortgage.

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