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#1 Denisse Campbell

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 02:03 PM

Hello Everyone,
I'm interested in buying a lighting kit and I'm willing to spend $2000, $2500 if I absolutely have to. I am truly overwhelmed by all the information. There are so many kits, and I'm just starting out and hoping to get something versatile, and reliable. I took a lighting class and it only went over the basics of three point lighting so I figured that if I want to learn more I'm going to have to purchase a kit and get to it. Does anyone know of a kit in the price range that will work for shooting small projects? And that wont blow out my electricity? Some have 2 lights some, 3. and others 4. I guess the brighter the lights the more I have to work with right? but I'm not sure what is reasonable because I don't want to blow anything up, or not be able to use my kit because it requires too much power. So those are a few of my concerns. I want something that will get the job done, and not pose too many challenges to operate. I guess what I need to know is a good combination. Like a kit with a 1K, 650, and 300 watts is that better than a kit with 2 1Ks? What is a good set of lights? Ok ill quit writing now!

Thanks a lot!

Denisse
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 02:25 PM

Hello Everyone,
I'm interested in buying a lighting kit and I'm willing to spend $2000, $2500 if I absolutely have to. I am truly overwhelmed by all the information. There are so many kits, and I'm just starting out and hoping to get something versatile, and reliable. I took a lighting class and it only went over the basics of three point lighting so I figured that if I want to learn more I'm going to have to purchase a kit and get to it. Does anyone know of a kit in the price range that will work for shooting small projects? And that wont blow out my electricity? Some have 2 lights some, 3. and others 4. I guess the brighter the lights the more I have to work with right? but I'm not sure what is reasonable because I don't want to blow anything up, or not be able to use my kit because it requires too much power. So those are a few of my concerns. I want something that will get the job done, and not pose too many challenges to operate. I guess what I need to know is a good combination. Like a kit with a 1K, 650, and 300 watts is that better than a kit with 2 1Ks? What is a good set of lights? Ok ill quit writing now!

Thanks a lot!

Denisse


Your question is too broad . . . There are so many different types of lights out there, it would be impossible to tell you which one based on your query. Do you want it Tungsten or daylight balanced? Will you need a chimera or are thinking Kino Flo or flat panel lights? Do you want your lights open faced, focusable and or dimmable? And on and on . . .

There is hardly any one kit that will be the end all, be all light kit, so the more you know as to what you want to accomplish with it, the better you can choose the kit.

It sounds like you need to rent different light kits and get your hands on different types of light without buying one and being saddled with it. $2000 will rent different kits for at least 6 or 7 times . . .

Or, better yet, go to your local grip and electric house and see about interning there until you get the experience you need to start working as an electrician on commercials or whatever your goals are.
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#3 David Auner aac

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 12:11 AM

Hi Denisse,

you'd best do a search of the lighting boards. The topic has come up very often in the past. You'll find loads of info there.

Cheers, Dave
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#4 Walter Graff

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 09:14 AM

Try looking at any of the DV kits by Lowel on BH Photo site. Best value and best variety of lights in a kit.
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#5 Jon Furtado

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:18 AM

I'm not going to be one of those guys who asks a bunch of questions to a newbie and gets them all down and confused.

Check out Lowell:

http://www.lowel.com/kits_multi.html

These kits are great for beginners. You can shoot alot with a standard DV camera and experiment with them. They have a lot of versitility and are very portible. I've used them alot on shoots and even alot of professional production people use them because they're so portable.

Don't overwhelm yourself, I know the feeling. After a few hrs of research your head is swimming. Just get a lowell kit and start lighting. When you want to expand your horizons you can work into getting a mole richardson kit or an arri kit.

There are tons of other kits such as Kino-flo kits, (florescent lights) and various other soft light kits. But don't worry about those right now. Just get started with the basics. Go out and play! experiment.
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#6 Walter Graff

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 07:08 AM

"and even alot of professional production people use them because they're so portable."

I find statements like this interesting because it says to me that Lowel is not something you might find used by pros. Truth is Lowel is the most used lighting instrument in the broadcast television/video production world. It is about as professional as they get. There are no more portable fixtures than Lowel. That's what they were designed for. Many of my Lowels are 15+ years old and have taken a beating. I own 45 Lowel fixtures to this day and have lit hundreds of documentaries and TV programs with them.
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#7 Jon Furtado

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:11 PM

"and even alot of professional production people use them because they're so portable."

I find statements like this interesting because it says to me that Lowel is not something you might find used by pros. Truth is Lowel is the most used lighting instrument in the broadcast television/video production world. It is about as professional as they get. There are no more portable fixtures than Lowel. That's what they were designed for. Many of my Lowels are 15+ years old and have taken a beating. I own 45 Lowel fixtures to this day and have lit hundreds of documentaries and TV programs with them.


I meant it in case any "perfectionists" wanted to pounce on me for not recomending a 10K+ lighting kit for the guy. I use Lowell all the time. They're great for being light weight, compact and flexible.
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#8 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 04:41 PM

My advice on a kit would be to pick up the cheapest open face units you can find. Get a bunch of redheads. These are not Lowell lights. I think Desisti makes them. Anyway, avoid B&H if you can. Barbizon Electric is an excellent source for lighting. They match the price of B&H but they provide far more knowledgable staff. Redheads are 1K's and they won't blow out your circuits. I suggest using the largest units you can and then scrimming them down, dooring them down or walking them back. It's easier to waste light than it is to try and get more out of a lamp than it's meant to give you. The brighter the source, the farther away you can place it from your subject and the more you can diffuse it. Just make sure you have a scrim in place on any open face unit in case of a violent lamp failure.

I agree that you don't need to spend your money on Arri Fresnels or Dedo's, Kino's or anything else. You need to learn the basics of how to control the light and if you figure out how to waste, diffuse, bounce and gel 'open-face' units, you'll be much better off than if you just slap a chimera on a tweenie and call it a day. You'll gain a far greater understanding of how to manipulate the units if they're open face and you use grip gear to control them so put your money into that. Of course, if you follow this logic you'll be able to use hardware store work lights but I'd stick with redheads. They'll have some resale value if you take care of em.

Matthews med duty kit stands are great. The go pretty high but are very lightweight. Matthews Boa Bags are a great investment. 10lb bags go well with those stands. I think you can set up 3 of these on that budget and still have plenty of cash left over for a couple of C-stands and a small flag kit. The C-stands are really your paintbrush on a set and that's what you need to really get into the art of lighting. With the right grip gear, you can use almost anything as a source. And remember, lighting isn't always about adding light. Sometimes it's about controlling existing light, often, it's about taking light away. Grip gear makes this possible. You can't get negative fill out of a 650 fresnel. So put some money toward the grip stuff.

Edited by Michael LaVoie, 14 April 2008 - 04:45 PM.

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#9 Kiarash Sadigh

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 12:45 PM

In putting together a lighting kit you need to think about these things:

a-For most head shots you need a soft source, so you can either go about creating your own soft source by bouncing a red head into a 4by4 foam core etc. or you can buy a soft source...out of all soft sourecs I've tried I recommend Lowell Rifa, it's extremely quick to set up and relatively durable...for a regular kit I recommend a Lowell Rifa 55

b-You also need a hard source, this is for lighting a larger area or when you cannot get close to your subject, also when back lighting and bouncing...most hard lights can also turn into soft sources using a Chimmera, bouce card, wall, umbrella etc.
I would say you need 2 hard sources to start your kit........... a small fresnel like an Arri 150w (fantastic light) or if you can't afford then go for Lowell Pro (wattage can vary) ...you also need a second hard source that is a bit bigger and stronger than your 150w....I'd say either a readhead, or any 650w fresnel you can find on craigslist or ebay

c- You need a few stands...I'd get one very strong and sturdy and two to three lightweight stands...the height your stands reach is very important too...make sure you have at least one that goes higher ...

d- ALways carry a few small grip equipment...now this list can go on and on but I tell you what my bare minimums are..
- A grip head: this will turn your regular stand into a C-stand...well almost..you can mount a Kino if you want...or send an arm horizontally over etc.
- A Cardellini Calmp: This can mount anywhere and do anything possible in most situations, even act as a scissors clamp with more reliablility
- A magic-arm kit...extremely multi tasking, too much to list

e- Other stuff: 1-Extension cables : carry both a few heavy duty ones and one or two house-hold looking, in case you can't avoid seeing the cable in your shot...2- A Felxfill or a bounce 3- A cube tab 4- assorted gells and diffusions 5- some clothes pins 6- some black wrap 7- extra bulbs 8- a multi tool...

Last but not least, a good quality case...

Good luck and have fun!
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#10 Walter Graff

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 12:53 PM

In putting together a lighting kit you need to think about these things:


Excellent post. This should be printed and put somewhere where all can read it. Here was an article I worte once about what I keep in one of my kits.

http://www.dv.com/fe.../2004/graff0404
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#11 Bill Totolo

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 10:13 AM

Here's a basic little kit I put together that serves me well.
Of course I supplimment this with rentals when needed:

Arri 1k Open face
Arri 650 fresnel
Arri 300 fresnel
Arri 150 fresnel
Lowel 1k DP
Mole Rischardson 2k zip light
OSH florescent shop light with 5600 and 3200 GE tubes

stands/scrims/chimera/dimmer/porta brace soft case/flags/nets/cookie/barn doors

You can put this together for around $2000 if you shop carefully and pick up a few of these items up used.

I love the Mole 2k zip because it has (2) 1K globes, one of which I swapped out with a 500w so I have can toggle between both options or use both and run it off household electricity. This is a soft light to begin with but put a frame of 1/4 grid cloth in front of it and it's even better.

This kit is perfect for most of the "little" gigs I book plus I like owning my own units when I want to test gels or a camera setting.
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#12 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 12:24 PM

Lots of good advice here.

Klarash is right on the money by pointing out that it's not all about the lamps. Having a small variety is great, but knowing how to use them creatively can get you a lot of mileage.

A 1k fresnel is a pretty hard source, but bounce it into a 4x4 whitecard and you have a very soft source.

Consider going to a fabric store and buying some sheets of muslin. It works great as diffusion.

Cheap china balls can be used to great effect too.

Buy a nice Lowell or Arri kit, but try to keep your eyes open for things you might not think normally to use.
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#13 Denisse Campbell

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 02:18 PM

Thanks you so much. This is what I expected to hear. I just need something simple that will set me on the path to learning more. And will help me improve the quality of my work as a newbie :) I really appreciate that you all took time out to help.

Denisse

I'm not going to be one of those guys who asks a bunch of questions to a newbie and gets them all down and confused.

Check out Lowell:

http://www.lowel.com/kits_multi.html

These kits are great for beginners. You can shoot alot with a standard DV camera and experiment with them. They have a lot of versitility and are very portible. I've used them alot on shoots and even alot of professional production people use them because they're so portable.

Don't overwhelm yourself, I know the feeling. After a few hrs of research your head is swimming. Just get a lowell kit and start lighting. When you want to expand your horizons you can work into getting a mole richardson kit or an arri kit.

There are tons of other kits such as Kino-flo kits, (florescent lights) and various other soft light kits. But don't worry about those right now. Just get started with the basics. Go out and play! experiment.


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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Opal

Technodolly

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine