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Thread: Lighting a large group indoors

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    Lighting a large group indoors

    If you have a large group (approximately 100 people) and only have flashes, where would you position the flashes to best light the group? It's an indoor stadium with reasonable levels daylight (e.g. could manage f5.6 @ 200 with iso3000 with the sunlight alone from the opague panels in the roof). So the lighting is primarily for fill. However, I only have flashes (2X580EXII and 1X600 EX-RT). I would prefer to drop the ISO level if I could (shooting with a 1D4). I am also concerned about the shutter speed as I have noticed that with movement from the group (e.g. hand waving) there seems to be motion blur in the past (just shooting with one flash on camera in Av mood at 1/125).

    I was thinking of having 2 flashes off camera and one on camera. Should I position the 2 off-camera flashes at either end of the group and aim the flashes at the opposite end of the group to each flash; or should the two off camera flashes be placed on either side of me, and aimed at opposite ends of the group? Or should the flashes be aimed in some other direction (e.g. straight ahead). Is it OK to have one flash on camera, or do I really need to buy a 3rd stand. (I am trying to minimise set-up time as well). Lastly, how high should the flashes be placed (e.g. aimed at the height of the middle or back row; or up as high as possible and aimed down at the entire group)? Thanks!

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    Hi, sufran. What is the ceiling material of the stadium and what colour?

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    On this occasion, it was dark cream painted metal with large opaque sheets (like industrial-sized skylight material). The ceiling was quite high - but you could still get a result from bouncing; and the floor was a polished and waxed light wood - which added in additional light through reflection, although it also mildly affected WB. But while the overall ambient light is reasonable in this situation; in other gyms it can be far worse. I would like to get other people's ideas/experience on this type of set-up in general (rather than necessarily specific to this environment, other than the fact that there is some daylight ambient in the venue). There is not a lot of time to play around with lighting by the time 100+ people are in position!

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    You can't set up your lights prior to the positioning of the people with the knowledge of the numbers and aware where you want them to be. For example, in formal rows of 10 or so each or bunched casually?

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    Norwest, thanks. The area in question is being used for other activities until the whole group set-up - which happens very quickly. However, at this stage, my main interest is in the most effective way to light such a large group with three strobes. Cheers.

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    Lights in front of the group is the best method I find up high pointed down - I find the light spread more evenly - I used soft boxes. I tried other ways and this method works better for me. I do groups of about 30 to 40 max and always have lights in front. I use my light meter to check even light around the group. I also stand on a ladder to get a better view - take as many as possible as someone will have their eyes shut, hidden behind someone. I do a quick peep looking at each face to ensure all is good on the LCD.
    Shelley
    (constructive criticism welcome)

    www.shelleypearsonphotography.com


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    The only thing I would suggest is to keep the lights reasonably close to the camera. I shot a group not long ago with my flashes pretty much in line with the last person on each side, and aimed them at the ceiling to bounce. The problem I had was that the heads of the people on the sides created a shadow on the heads of those behind, and it took a lot of work in post to fix!

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