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Exhibition display lighting

Hi All,

I have an exhibition coming up in a little while where I would like
to display my work with shadows of it being cast onto the wall
behind. I would like the shadows to be as dark and heavy as
possible. The problem is I really don’t know much about lights and
have no idea what would be best to achieve this effect. I have been
told that the reason fluorescent lights don’t cast these sorts of
shadows is because they send light out in all directions. I suppose
then that I need some sort of light that throws light only in a
forwards direction.

If anyone knows anything about the properties of particular types of
light I’d really appreciate your help here. Also, if anyone knows
of books or websites that explain the properties of different kinds
of lights please list them too.

R.R. Jackson

Hello; You are correct about the fluorescents. They light from a
broad area and the light waves from one end “leaks” behind the
subject diluting the shadow. The same for the other end.

A fluorescent is a broad light source and what you need is a point
source light. Called a point source because the light appears to
come from point. Look for lights called fresnels - they are a point
source that has a lens and the light beam can be focused. They’ll
come in power from 100 watts or less to over 4000 watts and more.
The distance to the wall will determine the light you need. Other
considerations are how big a pattern you desire and also how much
distance between the light and the subject. If there is an extreme
distance involved you may need leco lights. All these lights can be
put on dimmers to adjust the intensity.

For books on this check out the library - look under photography,
cinematography, or videography. They’re fairly easy to find as it
is an important subject in these fields. And you just need some very
basic Especially on the difference between hard and
soft lights and their usage.

Some of my books aRe:

Video: The Power Of Lighting Series by Bill Holshevnikoff. A real
good and understandable learning tool because of the examples.

Try an ILL at the library.

Books: Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook by Harry Box Film Lighting
by Kris Malkiewicz Matters Of Light And Depth by Ross Lowell
Professional Lighting Handbook by Verne & Sylvia Carlson

All of these books probably deal with more than you’ll want to know
and some will get pretty technical.

As an after thought there is one other way to go. I’m coming from
film and video end of lighting, but there is another avenue to
approach this. The costs would be less, I think, as well as the
lighting output and power consumption (lights get hot when they run
and also everyone who works around them for some time).

The other suggestion is home or business accent lights. These are
usually point source lights I believe. They would be smaller too.

One other point about deep dark shadows. Having point source lights
is only half the battle. Lighting control is the other. What this
means is that you put light only where you want it (with the
focusable point source) and keep all the other light off. Your light
will be easy to control with lighting accessories - snoots,
barndoors, etc. The others is more difficult. All other lights
should be off or as low as possible, windows and doors closed, etc.
You should be able to see what I mean. Light from anywhere leaks in
and bounces around off the walls , off the ceiling, off the floors,
off table surfaces, off the subject and gets behind your subject and
on to the wall where your shadow is cast. It dilutes the shadow and
lessens your effect.

Gels can be introduced into the light beam to change colors if you

Any other question give me a yell on or off list.

Eric Schmidt
experiencing a beautiful fall in OH