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#1 Nick Norton

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 02:25 PM

I've been shooting for some time now, however have never had a proper lighting kit.

I may have a shoot coming up soon, and need a light kit to do the job.

I figure i need at least 3 or 4 lights: a key, fill, back, and or rim light. However, I'm not sure what kind of lights are the best option.

My first guess would be a tungsten kit, lowel perhaps. However, i do not know the difference between the omni lights and the tota lights.

Also, fresnels sound like a good idea to be able to change the quality of light from hard to soft. (this can't be done with tungstens, correct?)

Money is of course an issue, and i would like to buy a quality kit that will last me for some time, and something that will let me experiment and learn the craft.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks-

Nicholas Norton
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 02:32 PM

Fresnels are tungsten. Fresnel is just a lense.
Look at an arri kit; they're the best and cost around 3000, give or take.
I'm partial to this kit:
http://www.filmtools...5freskit51.html

i find it to be pretty versatile when i'm doing ENG/EFP stuff.
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#3 Steve Zimmerman

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 03:32 PM

My first guess would be a tungsten kit, lowel perhaps.


I have to use a lowel Omni/tota kit for shooting interviews for my job. I find them to be extremely portable, but also very harsh looking by themselves. I think they look really ugly unless they have a lot of diffusion on them (like spun glass), which wastes a lot of their output. The light is not smooth and you get double shadows. They are also hard to control as a backlight. As a key light forget it. It could be the stock reflector that comes with them. It acts like a mirror, causing the light to glare off of skin. I think they sell different ones you can switch out.

Any fresnel light looks great even without diffusion, including the Lowel-made "Frens_L" lights. Just the Omnis and Totas are weak if you want your lighting to be good.

Edited by Steve Zimmerman, 04 June 2008 - 03:34 PM.

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#4 Nick Norton

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 04:44 PM

Do all Fresnel lights have the ability to move the lamp closer and farther from the glass to produce a spot/flood light?

Thanks-

Nicholas
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 04:48 PM

So far as I know of.
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#6 Nick Norton

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 05:44 PM

Is there any brand that rivals ARRI as far as quality lighting for less money?


Thanks for all the help-

Nicholas
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 05:56 PM

I can't think of any off of the top of my head (new) to cost less than arri; but you coul;d hodge-podge a kit of Mole Richardson fresnels together used and come out costing less. I got 2 Mole 2ks off of Ebay for $150 each! with doors and a bulb. But from what I know, Arri is pretty much the defactor price-setter.
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#8 Nick Norton

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 05:54 PM

What does my supply voltage need to be to use the light in the states?



Thanks Adrian-

Nicholas
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 05:57 PM

For us 120V, for Europe 230V
Same goes for the bulbs.


Try to get an Edison connector for the US; this should be the "norm" but I have seen some larger arris (1Ks) with Bates on them before.
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#10 M Joel W

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 05:31 PM

Spend the money on the arris for your basic kit. Arri fresnels are so versatile you'll use them all the time and the build quality on them is the best.

I got a kit like this http://www.bhphotovi...Tungsten_3.html used for $1200 a few years back and have used it on about a dozen shorts, a feature, a few photo shoots, and a lot of other stuff and it's still working very reliably. Of course, I use a lot of other lights in addition depending on what's needed, but the arris seem to get the most use.

If you can afford, it I'd recommend a kit with a 1k open face softbox (and the rest fresnels) because your soft key is twice as bright, then, but the kit above is good, too.
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#11 Kiarash Sadigh

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 11:41 PM

This is a posting I left here on April 17 2008...hope it helps:

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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#12 dan brockett

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 11:41 PM

Is there any brand that rivals ARRI as far as quality lighting for less money?


Thanks for all the help-

Nicholas


Altmans are Arri knock-offs that are comparable in construction yet cost about 20-25% less than Arris.

I own two Arri kits, they are really nice lights. My Softbank IV kit has been in use for 10 years and is still going strong. Lighting kits? Ahh, I don't know, I find myself deconstructing my Arri kit, using certain lights out of the kit, but also supplementing with other lights I have. I personally feel that a custom kit with the gear that you always need and use is better than an off of the shelf kit. In kits, there are always certain things that you don't use that often and other things that your kit lacks that you always wish you had.

If you must get a kit, Arris are considered the industry standard. Mole makes kits but they are heavier and more expensive with somewhat weaker output, at least in the smaller instruments. DeSisti makes some kits and I like the DeSisti lights but I never have seen anyone with a DeSisti kit. Lowels are good accessory lights, I alway stuff a 250 watt ProLight into my homemade kit as an eye light or frontal fill into a Flexfill, but as your main lights, not so good as some of the other posts allude to.

I find the best of all worlds for me, shooting alot of docs while traveling is an Arri 650 fresnel, a Lowel ProLight, an Arri 150 fresnel. Add some stands, scissor clips, a couple of FlexFills and Chimeras and I am good to go for interviews while on the road. In LA, I tend to drag a lot more crap to shoots than this because it's local but flying, I am trying to shrink my kit ever smaller and then I FedEx it rather than haul it through airports.

Good luck,

Dan
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#13 Nick Norton

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 01:58 PM

Can anyone else provide a recommendation towards Desisti lamps?

Or perhaps there is a reason Dan doesn't see anyone with a Desisti kit?


Thanks-

Nicholas
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#14 M Joel W

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 07:16 PM

Can anyone else provide a recommendation towards Desisti lamps?

Or perhaps there is a reason Dan doesn't see anyone with a Desisti kit?


Thanks-

Nicholas


Desisti products seem okay. I've heard awful horror stories about their HMIs, but so far as I know their tungsten lights are fine. I think I used a desisti 1k on a shoot once and it was fine (more fragile than the arri but also simpler in construction), but the light I used have been made by strand. I don't remember.

I think there's a reason you don't see a lot of them, though, and that's simply because brands like arri, mole, and lowel make sturdier products for similar prices. I just doubt the construction on the desistis is anywhere near as good as the arris. Just looking at their fresnels, you can see that the enclosure is not nearly as nice.

Unless the desisti kit is half as much as the arri kit or you never plan on leaving the house with it, I'd skip it. It will almost undoubtedly produce light that's just as good and just as much of it, and it will probably hold up fine for a while, but the arris will hold up REALLY well--rain, dirt, dust, being knocked around, whatever: they arris are built great and that's why 90% of rental houses stock arri lights almost exclusively among their fresnels.

I bought a used kit and have had great luck with it. A company I worked for got an awesome deal on some used arris and they worked great, too, and they were much older. If you need to save money, I'd look into used arris but make sure you can inspect the lights or you really trust the seller. Also, the arri light kits are very nice packages. You get just the scrims you need, extremely nice light stands, gel holders, chimera softboxes (they best softboxes there are), and a very nice and solid case. It's a product that's very well thought out.

The problem is that people try to save money because, since arris, moles, etc. are the standard, they are also the most expensive and really theirs is the price against which you'd compare something when you want to claim it's a "deal." Of course, taking into account their durability and the cost of repairs, the higher quality lights will be far cheaper in the long run and (more importantly) far more reliable on set than bargain lights, but that doesn't change the fact that you still have to deal with the higher initial sticker price.

If you know a reliable place, I'd look into a used arri kit; otherwise, I'd get a new one. There are other good brands, too, and I don't think desisti is the worst, but I wouldn't get it unless it was way, way less expensive than the top of the line brands.
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#15 dan brockett

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 08:21 PM

Can anyone else provide a recommendation towards Desisti lamps?

Or perhaps there is a reason Dan doesn't see anyone with a Desisti kit?


Thanks-

Nicholas


I own one DeSisti light, it is okay but all of the other posts here are correct, definitely not built to Arri/Mole standards. I am most happy out of all of my 22 lights with the Arris, by far. The only thing that is a minor problem with the Arris are that the tilt yoke knobs are nylon and when you put a Chimera on your Arri, the Nylon tie down knob will not hold it in position, even when brand new and the Chimera will sag down. Easily remedied with a bit of gaffer tape to tape down the power cable to the stand to mitigate the sag, but then you are putting some strain on where the AC cable exists the body of the light. All of my Arris do this, it's not a big deal but you should be aware that they do it.

When I use my Mighty (Mole) 2k, the same tie down yolk is metal on metal and it even holds up my giant Medium Chimera with no sag, whereas the Arris even sag with the small Chimera.

Arri or Mole, you won't go wrong.

Dan

Edited by dan brockett, 13 June 2008 - 08:21 PM.

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#16 Nick Norton

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 02:13 PM

Bought a 1000/750/500 Mole Richardson (#407), and was thinking of getting a 300 watt Mole Richardson betweenie... but it looks like it only accepts 300watt bulbs.

Is this a big disadvantage, or is there a similar Arri lamp that allows for a wider range of bulbs?


Also, did i screw up getting the 1000/750/500 instead of getting a 650?



Thanks to everyone who has helped-

Nicholas

Edited by Nick Norton, 15 June 2008 - 02:16 PM.

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#17 M Joel W

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 07:20 PM

Bought a 1000/750/500 Mole Richardson (#407), and was thinking of getting a 300 watt Mole Richardson betweenie... but it looks like it only accepts 300watt bulbs.

Is this a big disadvantage, or is there a similar Arri lamp that allows for a wider range of bulbs?


Also, did i screw up getting the 1000/750/500 instead of getting a 650?



Thanks to everyone who has helped-

Nicholas


The ability to take a range of bulbs really isn't a significant advantage. You generally won't change bulbs on set (I've never heard of it) so unless you know ahead of time that you're working with a specific amount of amps availible and have to limit your lights accordingly, you'll probably be using the maximum output lamp at all times. The light looks fine, though. I rarely use fresnels stronger than 650w due to my preference for a soft key (kinos, bounched light, softboxes), but certainly that's a useful fixture.

So what you bought isn't so much an interchangable light as it is a 1k fresnel, which is an okay. Scrims, dimmers (at the cost of color temperature getting warmer), ND gels, flood/spot, etc. can all adjust the amount of light, anyway. It's not like a given light has a set output; pretty much, it just has a maximum output relatively to the distance of the camera that can be shaped any number of ways and then reduced as necessary... And an open face light, fresnel, par, softlight, etc. all have different outputs and different shapes even before you take dimmers, scrims, gels, etc. into consideration so a more qualitative and holistic approach toward lighting I think is common these days, particularly with digital, which I assume you're shooting.

It's very hard for us to be honest in our advice because you're not being completely forward with respect to your needs. We don't know your budget, we don't even know the nature of the project (interviews, narrative, documentary?) or the medium on which you're shooting it (film and what speed, digital and what camera) and the aesthetic you're trying to achieve. You say you've shot for quite a while and yet you seem not to know too much about the gear you'd have around you at all times. You say you have a producer backing it, but you're buying and not renting gear and are concerned over a few hundred dollars.

All I'm saying is, once we know what the project is, what your budget is, what look you want, what camera you're using, etc. we can answer your questions better. But questions like "is this light as good even though it doesn't take interchangable bulbs" and "how is the build quality on the desisti" are really missing the forest for the trees.
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#18 Nick Norton

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 10:32 PM

It's very hard for us to be honest in our advice because you're not being completely forward with respect to your needs. We don't know your budget, we don't even know the nature of the project (interviews, narrative, documentary?) or the medium on which you're shooting it (film and what speed, digital and what camera) and the aesthetic you're trying to achieve. You say you've shot for quite a while and yet you seem not to know too much about the gear you'd have around you at all times. You say you have a producer backing it, but you're buying and not renting gear and are concerned over a few hundred dollars.

All I'm saying is, once we know what the project is, what your budget is, what look you want, what camera you're using, etc. we can answer your questions better. But questions like "is this light as good even though it doesn't take interchangeable bulbs" and "how is the build quality on the desisti" are really missing the forest for the trees.



Thank you for the input, and i understand where you are coming from. My apologies for not being so clear.


The fact of the matter is, i have been passionate about film/cinema "for a while now." I have shot skate videos mostly, been reading about the subject, and shoot 35mm stills. However, other than reading more technical works about lighting/equipment, i have been studying film as a medium of art and the cinema process in general. So i have spent a lot of time behind the camera and understand basics in composition and technical aspects. I have NO budget, just the extra money from multiple jobs.

The reason i seem to be in such a rush to accumulate equipment is because i have stumbled into a position in which a producer has been paying me good money to shoot music videos/do what i love. In order to get more jobs with this producer and make more money, i need more equipment. And since this is the case, i see it as shooting video/learning to pay for equipment i was planning on purchasing eventually. So, is this attempt to gather a slew of equipment that will fit my future needs to capture the images i am passionate about extremely immature? Yes.

The equipment i am trying to attain is nothing more than the supplies i need to experiment/learn more about this medium i am obsessed with, cinematography. My passion resides in light-sensitive celluloid exclusively, however i am shooting digital on these projects because of funds and common sense.

Once again, i really appreciate all the help.


Thanks-

Nicholas
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#19 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 07:10 AM

Well Nick when it comes to music videos, there isn't really one size fits all.
Check 'round e bay for some used mole richardsons here and there. Grab a big 2K just in case you need it! and then go with a smaller Arri Kit.
I know it's damned expensive, but if you're getting paid to do more shoots, it should pay itself off pretty quickly. Try to get a kit-fee out of the producer as well for your lights (though in the end, he should be renting the required equipment not making you buy it)
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