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Need opinions on entry level setup


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#1 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 05:54 AM

Alright, I think I'm gonna end up going with Britek lights (inexpensive and seem to fit the needs).

Let me know what everyone thinks of the following setup.

1 - 650w focusing flood with barndoors
2 - 300w flood with softboxes
1 - 300w flood with barndoors and umbrellas

Of course, stands, and bags for everything, along with some spare bulbs.

I'm wondering what everyone thinks of this setup as a beginner setup and also, what, if anything you would change or if there is something you can recommend that would be better for around the same price ($600).


Oh, and what gels would you recommend to start with....I was thinking of picking up 2 color correcting "packs" of 12 gels and expand from there.

And remember, this is for DV/HDV.

Thanks.
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#2 David Auner aac

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 06:57 AM

1 - 650w focusing flood with barndoors
2 - 300w flood with softboxes
1 - 300w flood with barndoors and umbrellas

Oh, and what gels would you recommend to start with....I was thinking of picking up 2 color correcting "packs" of 12 gels and expand from there.


As for lights, I think you should have a higher power soft light.Otherwise it would drown in comparison with your 650w flood. Maybe get a softbox for that 650w and use one of the 300s w/o a box.
I can't speak for any other folks, but I usually use my highest power light as the soft light as quite a bit of light output gets lost by diffusion.

As for the gel you should probably get some diffusion and/or frost and a couple sheets of CTO/CTB in different densities. And expand as you need stuff (i.e. color gels for FX etc.)

My 2 cents....

Cheers, Dave
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#3 Walter Graff

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 09:00 AM

It sounds to me like a good entry level set-up.
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#4 John Thomas

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 06:28 PM

Good choices. See if you can get a couple used par cans too. You can do a lot of damage with a par 64.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:52 AM

It's definitely somewhere to start. I'm sure you'll branch out bigger and more reliable sources as you gain more and more experience though.

I'd probably be more secure with at least 2 maybe 3 x 650 watters and 1 or 2 300's, as I don't find myself using 300w too often, except maybe for eyelights or some improvised fill/highlights.
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#6 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 05:55 PM

It's definitely somewhere to start. I'm sure you'll branch out bigger and more reliable sources as you gain more and more experience though.

I'd probably be more secure with at least 2 maybe 3 x 650 watters and 1 or 2 300's, as I don't find myself using 300w too often, except maybe for eyelights or some improvised fill/highlights.


I did decide on upgrade to two 650w and two 600w lights (I can always pick up some 300w bulbs and keep them handy). So I think my choices are pretty much set, unless anyone has any objections. :P
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#7 David Auner aac

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 04:53 AM

I did decide on upgrade to two 650w and two 600w lights (I can always pick up some 300w bulbs and keep them handy). So I think my choices are pretty much set, unless anyone has any objections. :P


Since I'm thinking of buying some light in the near future myself, I'd be interested in your experience with your lights after you buy them. Post some kind of production diary of your first shot, that'd be great!

Cheers, Dave
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#8 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 08:49 AM

Alright, I think I'm gonna end up going with Britek lights (inexpensive and seem to fit the needs).

Let me know what everyone thinks of the following setup.

1 - 650w focusing flood with barndoors
2 - 300w flood with softboxes
1 - 300w flood with barndoors and umbrellas

Of course, stands, and bags for everything, along with some spare bulbs.

I'm wondering what everyone thinks of this setup as a beginner setup and also, what, if anything you would change or if there is something you can recommend that would be better for around the same price ($600).
Oh, and what gels would you recommend to start with....I was thinking of picking up 2 color correcting "packs" of 12 gels and expand from there.

And remember, this is for DV/HDV.

Thanks.



You're getting 4 lights and accessories for $600.00? Is that what Britek charges ?
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#9 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 10:47 AM

You're getting 4 lights and accessories for $600.00? Is that what Britek charges ?


Yes and yes.
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#10 Troy Warr

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 05:01 PM

You're getting 4 lights and accessories for $600.00? Is that what Britek charges ?


I checked out the Britek website, and I too was pretty surprised by the low prices. I do remember that a co-worker of mine used to have some small strobes for desktop photography work that were made by Britek, and one particular piece was labeled "Umbralla Hodlder." While that certainly doesn't speak directly to the quality of their products, you have to question to some degree what that suggests about their attention to detail and workmanship. They seem to be based in California, so unless they import their products (which they certainly might), I would doubt that's just a case of poor translation.

But, at such a price I guess you can afford a few cut corners, and the particular strobes that I used didn't have any apparent deficiencies. If you're a student, practicing, just starting out, working on personal or non-critical projects, etc., they seem like a good deal to me - obviously you're going to want to avoid them for any professional gigs.
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#11 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 08:06 PM

They have some unusual lights on the cheap. The website is riddled with misspellings and poor grammar so I hope you can trust them.
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#12 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 10:58 PM

Hey Aram,

I'd also love to hear some feedback on the performance of the Britek lights you're getting.

If you could perhaps send me some still with details like the measurements of your setups, light transmission by footcandles and how well balanced these lights are (to 3200 kelvin), that'd be awesome and beneficial to everyone I believe.

thanks!
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#13 Troy Warr

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 12:24 AM

Ditto. I'm actually kind of interested in the "cool lighting" setups that they offer - but it would be great to hear how the stuff holds up, build quality, color temperature accuracy, experiences with the company, etc.
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#14 Robert Ehrlich

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 12:26 AM

I'd advise against Britek. Over the summer I shot a film using the lights and I since tried to forget about the shoot as much as possible. It took within the first week for our 2K to fail and over the course of one month in August, every light would cause a problem. I don't know what packages were bought exactly, if any.

We had (all open-face): one 2K, one 1K, three 650s (I forget if two of them were focusable and one was strickly spot, but i know we had softboxes for two of them) and one 300 (focusable, but sent without barndoors).

I don't know if it was any fault of our own, but the lights would constantly blow fuses(their own fuses) and bulbs. Towards the end of August, if a light would cut out, as they all would, you would have to hit the light to restore it. This remedy treatment, which may sound like abuse, came about as I had reached the last straw one day.

I advised the producer within the first week to call Britek and tell them to refund the whole purchase. I'm not sure on all the details as to why he never did, or if he wasn't able to, but it was a severe mistake to get them in hopes of reducing the lighting budget.

I too was looking(still am) for a decent lighting package that is afordable, but I learned the hard way (or half-hard, as it wasn't my money or choice) that in some cases, your paying for a reason. An Arri kit of 3 650 fresnels goes for $1,669(possibly the more then all those lights I used). Thats currently what I have my eye on, and I've had experience with the kit and know it to be reliable. (650s also seem to be the heart of most shoots I'm on.) The next kit would probably be of 1Ks and maybe a few inkies. Any recommendations to other packages are welcome. Does it make sense to not buy these lights in kits? I'm intersted to know.

I hope by writing this, I can save some of you from my painful experience with them. And for those who are going to sample their material anyway, please let me know if my experience was just a fluke of junk lights failing under very warm August weather(the first week of shooting it was over 100 a week).

-Rob Heres some material from that shoot-
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#15 David Auner aac

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 06:43 AM

I too was looking(still am) for a decent lighting package that is afordable, but I learned the hard way (or half-hard, as it wasn't my money or choice) that in some cases, your paying for a reason. An Arri kit of 3 650 fresnels goes for $1,669(possibly the more then all those lights I used). Thats currently what I have my eye on, and I've had experience with the kit and know it to be reliable. (650s also seem to be the heart of most shoots I'm on.) The next kit would probably be of 1Ks and maybe a few inkies. Any recommendations to other packages are welcome. Does it make sense to not buy these lights in kits? I'm intersted to know.
-Rob Heres some material from that shoot-


Hi Rob,
I'm currently looking for a light kit as well. Many people have advised to buy a Lowel kit (I have shot with some of their lights, to me they seemed sound enough for the money spent). The have a nice 1K, called the DP light. Check them out here: http://www.lowel.com/dp/
I think I'm gonna get one of these for starters: http://www.lowel.com.../superAmbi.html. And a couple of heavier stands and some grip stuff (Manfrotto/Bogen).

HTH & best regards, Dave
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#16 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 02:27 AM

Hmmm, interesting. Now, I'm rethinking the whole thing.

Anyone else have experience with Britek?
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#17 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 02:55 AM

I'd advise against Britek...

I don't know if it was any fault of our own, but the lights would constantly blow fuses(their own fuses)


Wow...that's pretty bad. All it takes is one review like this and I'm ready to just forget about the brand altogether.
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#18 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 04:53 PM

And that's exactly why I'm wondering if anyone else has any input on these lights. If all we hear about are the bad experiences, we won't be able to come to a fair conclusion about this brand and the quality of these lights.
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