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Lighting on a budget


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#1 John Adolfi

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 08:57 AM

What does a min. lighting package look like. What I have now is 5 Arri's ranging from 300 watts -700watts.
I'm getting the impression I need a 1000w and a 2000w. I do not have any diffusion material other than a collapsable 50" reflector and small plastic diffuser gels to clip on the barn doors.
Do I need an HMI too? Are the Kino flos a "got to have" in here too? Good substitute for any of the lights I still need to get? Thanks.
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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 09:20 AM

How long is a piece of string?

your lighting package will vary depending on the kind of work you do, and the budget you have.

for doco work, I'd say that your existing package is good enough. Maybe add a 2k open face lamp for a bit more firepower. Add a selection of diffusion materials, or maybe some softboxes.

Kinos are nice, but not as flexible as fresnels and a lot more expensive

If you are shooting drama or promos, you will almost certainly need more lamps than you have, but that doesn't mean you should buy them. Rent until you are sure that you can justify the expense.

It's very tempting to have a large selection of lamps at home on the shelf, but unless you are using them regularly it's a waste of money.
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#3 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 09:21 AM

What does a min. lighting package look like. What I have now is 5 Arri's ranging from 300 watts -700watts.
I'm getting the impression I need a 1000w and a 2000w. I do not have any diffusion material other than a collapsable 50" reflector and small plastic diffuser gels to clip on the barn doors.
Do I need an HMI too? Are the Kino flos a "got to have" in here too? Good substitute for any of the lights I still need to get? Thanks.


What kind of shooting do you usually do? Your personal kit should include the lights you normally need. Shooting tabletops is different than shooting weddings, which is different than shooting large factory spaces. In other words, if your current kit is missing a light you often use, consider adding it.
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#4 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:34 PM

i own two single fluorescent fixtures, a couple of chinese lanterns, two clip-on ikea spotlights (with par bulbs), a 500w worklight with stand, a millions-of-candles-flashlight with home made chimera, one c-stand, two styrofoam boards with one silver side, and plenty of gels and blackwrap. i've shot several low budget videos using this kit only and when i've brought it along to bigger shoots where we've rented gear at least some of it has always been used. the fluroscents mainly, but also the flashlight. hope this gives you an idea of what you "need".

/matt

Edited by mattias, 21 July 2006 - 12:37 PM.

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#5 Wilkin Chau

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 10:48 PM

What does a min. lighting package look like. What I have now is 5 Arri's ranging from 300 watts -700watts.
I'm getting the impression I need a 1000w and a 2000w. I do not have any diffusion material other than a collapsable 50" reflector and small plastic diffuser gels to clip on the barn doors.
Do I need an HMI too? Are the Kino flos a "got to have" in here too? Good substitute for any of the lights I still need to get? Thanks.


It really depends on the kinds of things you shoot. Documentary, Commercial, Drama etc. Heck even just saying drama wouldn't be specific enough. I've been on dramas that are indie that didn't have much more lights than what you are suggesting and I've worked on stuff like the Silent Hill movie that had a disgusting number of lights.

Is this like a personal kit or stuff you are going to rent? Because if you are going to shoot big stuff don't bother buying because it would cost way too much.

From what I've seen of personal lighting kits (3 people i know) they have kinos (some use divas) with diffusion skirts. One guy used it for a kids show, very small kid show. Another person does some documentary type stuff. Like interviews and such.

Another question. Is the shoot mainly outdoor or indoor, nighttime or daytime? Typically, if you are going to use lights outside DP's usually go for powerful lights (18K or Pirahanas for example).
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 12:03 PM

When I used to shoot infomericals in video with a small crew on location, basically I needed a mix of daylight and tungsten that could be plugged into a wall.

So besides the basic tungsten Arri kit or Lowell kit, I had some 4' 4-bank Kinos since Kinos are: (1) low-wattage for their light output; (2) naturally soft-ish sources without needing a lot of grip gear to soften; (3) switchable between daylight and tungsten tubes.

Then I might have some 575w and 1200w HMI PAR's.

And maybe a tungsten Dedolight kit if I were shooting product shots and needed really small focusable lights -- plus they are light enough to be easily mounted on location to bookshelves or ceilings to provide a backlight or something.

Much more than all of this and it wouldn't fit into a van and it would need a larger crew, plus I usually was maxing out the available power with just this.

But it really depends on what you need to shoot. Day interiors? Sets? I agree with John, just keep adding what you feel is missing the most. It may be a Kinoflo or it may be an HMI PAR, I don't know.

And don't forget the importance of grip equipment; it may be better to invest in some of that: C-stands, sandbags, flags, diffusion frames, etc.
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Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

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