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Lightning kit for S8 and DV


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#1 JB Guillot

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 06:40 AM

Hi guys,

As written in the topic description I'm a complete newbie as far as lightning is concerned. Just played once with some lightning stuff during a photo shoot but that's all.

Anyway, my question is not about photography but cinema and video : I shoot some DV stuff but also some Super 8. Up to now I've spent most of my time outside (sport film) but my next project will include some inside sequences where light will become essential (entirely shot on S8).

My budget is quite low (let's say it's REALLY low, between 500-800 bucks, minimum would be good for the sake of the production) and I absolutly have no idea of what kind of lightning I should buy.

Most of the time I try to use the ambiant light but with Super 8 I really need some extra lights. Still I don't know what power my lights should be (is 250W enough or should 800/1000W be better ?) and what type (color temperature issue).

As far as my needs are concerned, I think 1 or 2 lights maximum, easy to carry (cars, trains and planes are part of my life), easy to set up...and possibility to be used with both S8 and DV.

Thanks for your help. Please don't be too technical in your answers...I may get lost ;)
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#2 James Brown

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 08:40 AM

Hi,

A few more details would be good. If it's day or night. How big is the room, will you see the windows ect.

If your shooting daylight
I would get a 1.2k HMI (These are daylight balanced ie: Blue)
A Kino of some sort (which is a soft light) probably a 4 foot 4 bank or 8 bank 2 foot (daylight tubes)
A 1k (This is Tungsten so you will need some correction gels, a Full CTB to correct it to daylight or Maybe only use a 1/2 CTB and use this a warmer backlight)
a 650w (This is Tungsten also, so all the above comments for the 1k follow through)

If your shooting Night you will need a full correction for the HMI (FULL CTO) and Tungsten tubes for the kino.

This is a very basic list and without more details it makes it hard. For $500 Dollars you can get all this and more but then it becomes a bit harder to carry on a train.

If you can only have two lights i would say the kino and a 1k or 650.
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#3 JB Guillot

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 09:48 AM

Ok thanks for this quick answer.

Shooting conditions are numerous...but mainly daylight, no special night shots are planned but some places I will visit may be really dark...only some small (natural) light sources (and some artifical lights too).
I don't know much about the room size but the shots will be really located : even if the room is big it'll be like an interview scene so a reduced filmed area.

I already have a 1k tota-like light (I didn't know it was called tota :lol: ) but I don't know much about the thoses. My dad used to work with this tota-stuff for some photography ; it's really powerful but not that practicle to use...

Kino lights seem to be interesting.

- What about "1k or 650", what does it look like ?
- HMI stuff : what's the interest ? or difference between those and other light ? I mean when shooting !

Thanks once again for your help !
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#4 James Brown

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 10:03 AM

Hi,

HMI's are made to match daylight. They are powerful and very punchy. Maybe you wont need a HMI if you are in a 'interview type situation'

1k's and 650's are one of the most common and cheapest film lights out there. They are rated at 3200K which means they have a warm colour to them. The same as your Tota.

Kino's, i think, are a must. When you are learning the basics you can put one of them up on a 3/4 frontal position hitting your talent and it will give you some nice soft shape. No nasty red head nose shadows! Then you can backlight your talent with the 650 and then put some shape on the back wall with a 1k. All this is cheap and can run off house power

Just remember. If you shoot Tungsten (3200k) and you have windows in shot and/or daylight flooding in you will need to make your lamps a bit blue (with CTB) (Download the Lee Art of Light catalouge from Lee- Click Me

Get some Diffusion (It softens the light) and comes in strengths of 1/4, 1/2 and Full. You can peg this onto the barn doors so stop the hard shadows.
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#5 Erik Bien

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 10:33 AM

[quote name='JB Guillot' date='Mar 24 2007, 08:48 AM' post='162834']
Ok thanks for this quick answer.

Hi,

First-time poster here (so please try not to beat me up too badly for getting it all wrong!) ;)

I'm not so sure you could pick up a 1.2k HMI and any sort of 'Kino' for "$500 or less," but maybe others here have better sources (or drive a harder bargain).

I don't think I'd mess with HMIs when working on location with a tiny budget: instead, you might explore compact fluorescents for your "daylight" temperature sources. Not all are created equal: you need to seek out the ones with a CRI (color rendering index) of at least 91, which probably means ordering by mail or buying from a "lightbulb supply" store. The advantages are a cheap, naturally soft source that runs cool, lasts almost forever and uses very little power (this can be important if you're shooting in a typical home where you might need to share a 15 or 20 amp circuit with the owner's appliances).

I might recommend starting at the "bottom" of your rig and working your way up: that is, buy enough heavy-duty grounded extension cords, gels, diffusion, a couple rolls of gaffer's tape and a roll or two of black foil, maybe some tulle fabric to pin across windows to knock them down a bit. Get some gatorboard or foamcore for bounce cards. A paper chinese lantern from an import store can be dangled from a painter's pole for a quickly adjustable soft source (just be careful not to set it on fire if you have a hot tungsten globe in it!). A few clip-lights with compact flos, maybe a couple of cheap PAR cans with "flood" and "spot" lamps, don't forget a few light stands, maybe a reflector or two for working outdoors away from power.
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#6 JB Guillot

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 11:05 AM

Thank you guys for your feedback ! ;)

I'm not so sure you could pick up a 1.2k HMI and any sort of 'Kino' for "$500 or less," but maybe others here have better sources (or drive a harder bargain).

Indeed, HMI lights seem to be quite expensive but with my budget James certainly thought I had better rent some stuff than buy it...which may be true :mellow:

Concerning compact fluorescent...that might be some good thing for me if this is easy enough to use and can suit any "on location" shots made in homes or offices (which may not be so far from the truth :D ).

As far as "working my way up" is concerned, it may some good idea as I could learn how to use some cheap-but-enough-for-my-prods lights but then one question comes to me : when I shot inside with S8 rolls I need "tons" of light so what would be the best light-power for me ? I mean are PAR cans (seem to be cheap enough for me :) ) enough for me or do I need "high power" stuff (like 1k or bit less) ?

As I am new in the lightninf field I don't know much about my needs...only thing I know is "cheap is best" :D and that it has to be compact enough to travel round Europe with me :lol: .


edit : coming back on Fluorescent tubes : I would like ton understand something, if I have some "daylight" type lights it's possible to turn them into "tungsten" type with some gels, am I wrong ? And in other way round is possible too ?
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#7 James Brown

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 11:18 AM

>if I have some "daylight" type lights it's possible to turn them into "tungsten" type with some gels, am I wrong

Exactly. Your wrap them with Full CTO.

I suggest renting, then you can get a feel of what you like. You cant pick up much for $500. Here 1 C-Stand is around $200AU. But you can surely borrow an old one from a gaffers shed for next to nothing.

Par Cans are 1k. They are 'Spottier' then a 1k Fresnel. Which means it's more direct with a sharper light. But par cans tend to have a hook on the them rather then a spigget which makes it hard to put them into stands. You can always get spiggets put in them.

If you want to buy some lights. Sure, Go to your local home depot and pick up some fluoro's. The trouble is mounting them because they are made to screw into a wall where Kino are made to mount on a C-Stand.

Everything is quite expensive. Gels, Gaffer, Blackwrap, extension cables There's a couple of hundred dollars there without any lights.

I suggest Renting some small fixtures and purchasing a few correction gels and diffusion.

Regards James.
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#8 JB Guillot

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 11:53 AM

You may be right James, rental gives some opportunity to get familiar and test various lightning systems. But I don't have any "professional" dealer near me who rents such products <_<

Anyway, I came across some "prepared kits" on the web, what do you think of such kits. Good/bad idea ? Pros/cons ?
As you can see the selected on is under $500 (without bulbs, that's true) and seems interesting (to me), combining direct lightning and some softning solution thru indirect light...any opinion ?

Edited by JB Guillot, 24 March 2007 - 11:54 AM.

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#9 Erik Bien

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 12:18 PM

[quote name='JB Guillot' date='Mar 24 2007, 10:53 AM' post='162871']
You may be right James, rental gives some opportunity to get familiar and test various lightning systems. But I don't have any "professional" dealer near me who rents such products <_<

Anyway, I came across some "prepared kits" on the web, what do you think of such kits. Good/bad idea ? Pros/cons ?

Again, I might anticipate being cut off at the knees by one of the old hands here, but since you already have a tota (good for blasting lots of light everywhere) you might be better off with something like this so you have something focusable.

I think I missed that your interiors were all on S8 the first time I read your post: again, others may disagree, but it's tough to beat lowel if you need an affordable, compact, road-worthy package that can throw a lot of tungsten light around.

I think the CF "spiral" type bulbs are more useful for shooting video, where you can balance the camera for daylight and use them "full strength" without having to change the temperature: a tungsten instrument shooting through a full CTB loses so much punch that a 30-watt compact flo running 'open faced' gives a similar output, but that 30-watt bulb virtually disappears behind a full CTO!

Also see this article for a kit similar to your requirements.

*scuttling back to the art department where I belong before the gaffers bite my head off!* :blink:
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 05:00 PM

Renting for a beginner may not be ideal if the goal is to spend 500 bucks to own some lights so one can spend a bit of time experimenting with them rather than just one weekend. I like the idea of owning a couple of lights and perhaps supplementing that with the rental of one or two lights as needed.

a 1k light so you can just bounce it against a wall or ceiling makes sense. Just be safe and don't keep the light too close to what you are reflecting it against as these lights can be considered a fire hazard. Then a couple of focusable lights of around 250 watts plus three dimmers and you may have enough to get started with basic lighting. The dimmers will change the color temperature of your lighting so keep that in mind.

The most cost effective way to deal with clashing light temperature sources is to make one be a back light and the other a front light rather than directly mixing them onto an actor or interviewee's face.
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