Lighting A Very Large Group
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Old 12-03-2007   #1
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Default Lighting A Very Large Group

I have an assignment to take pictures of a 150 member chorus. The images will be taken on a high school stage where the chorus will be arranged on risers - 4-5 people deep. The camera position will be on a step ladder located about 15-20 rows from the stage which will cover the full stage side-to-side. I'm looking for suggestions on how to light this group. Should I rely on the stage lighting, or should I light the group with strobes in addition to the stage lighting. If I rely on the stage lighting, does anyone know what the Kelvin Temperature will be?

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Old 12-03-2007   #2
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

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Originally Posted by rsmall View Post
I have an assignment to take pictures of a 150 member chorus. The images will be taken on a high school stage where the chorus will be arranged on risers - 4-5 people deep. The camera position will be on a step ladder located about 15-20 rows from the stage which will cover the full stage side-to-side. I'm looking for suggestions on how to light this group. Should I rely on the stage lighting, or should I light the group with strobes in addition to the stage lighting. If I rely on the stage lighting, does anyone know what the Kelvin Temperature will be?
I'd definitely scout the location, take test shots, and talk to the lighting technicians to see if their stage lights can be set up for diffused lighting. I have 3 speedlights, but I think I'd have to borrow a few more to light such a large group.

Please let us know what you come up with, and, if possible, show us the end product.
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Old 12-04-2007   #3
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

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Originally Posted by rsmall View Post

If I rely on the stage lighting, does anyone know what the Kelvin Temperature will be?
The stage/lighting technician ought to be able to tell you that. But you don't need that information if you shoot RAW.

Do a dress rehearsal: go there asap, take your cam and light gear, set up, do trial pix with one or two people as your models on crucial points in the scene. Like extreme left, extreme right, in the frontrow, in the backrow. Stage lights only, and stage lights augmented by your light gear. See how the light plays out. And whether the wide-angle distortion is still acceptable. And whether you will be able to catch enough detail/resolution.
You wouldn't want to find out stuff like that with 150 people standing and waiting for you, would you?

Have fun!
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Old 12-04-2007   #4
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

Uncle Frank and W. Smith, thank you very much for your input and suggestions. I definitely agree that I need to scout the area, first, and take test shots. Good Old "Trial and Error".
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Old 12-04-2007   #5
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

Check this out.

http://super.nova.org/DPR/Groups/Pho...hingGroups.pdf
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Old 12-04-2007   #6
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

If you are 15-20 rows back in the audience, then you are going to need some powerfull strobe to get any meaningful light on the group. It sounds like you're going to be 80 to 100 feet from your subjects.

You are going to probably need F11 to get the depth of field that you will need in order to get everyone reasonably sharp. Your on-camera strobe can't give you the power you need for this. You may need to get alot closer. Any chance you can get to the front row and get up about 8-10 feet on the ladder?

In any case, I would use a studio strobe or two near the camera. Don't try to get fancy with the lighting. All they need is flat, even lighting.

I would not use the stage lights. In addition to color temperature, in order to get the f11 you may need you will need to shoot at too slow a shutter speed.
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Old 12-04-2007   #7
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

Thanks Jim, very helpful comments. I plan to try to light the group with three 600ws strobe units; located at camera position to try to evenly light the 150 persons. My 15-20 rows back was an estimate; I may be able to get closer. I know strobe light "fall-off" will be a problem. Your advice on "Flat Lighting" - "Nothing Fancy" is solid. Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2007   #8
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

Bobbyz, I appreciate the article on Photographing Groups. Thank you.
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Old 12-04-2007   #9
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

The difficult part is that when you put two strobes apart from one another, there's over lap in the coverage and some people get an extra stop of light. I tried it and it's not so simple. You may want to put the strobes right next to each other.
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Old 12-04-2007   #10
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Default Re: Lighting A Very Large Group

Quote:
does anyone know what the Kelvin Temperature will be?
most fresnels are 2800 K.


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