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Assembling a lighting & grip package, thoughts?

lighting grip gaffer

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#1 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:48 PM

Hi Guys,

This is a bit of a long one I warn you, but I'd really appreciate any advice or suggestions people might have.

I've reached a point in my career where I want to focus more purely on lighting and camera, and move away from the various ancillary creative freelancing jobs that have (till now) supplemented my film work. I'm pretty good at what I do now (and perhaps more importantly - I'm good enough) so I want to put together a small lighting and grip package that will allow me to gaffer on projects when I'm not shooting others (and basically just spend more time on sets).

Now I am limited by the amount of space I have in the back of my ute (that's a "pickup truck" to my international friends!), but the following package is something I can get away with once I install some custom shelving.

In terms of the lighting package my primary goals are speed, precision and control. Any time I can save setting up additional flags/cutters, means more time spent on takes (where it belongs), it's also more efficient - and I like that. Which is why I'm thinking I'd prefer these particular fixtures. 

The Dedo units offer more control than anything shy of a Leko, so it's easier to get the effects you want with them (having larger 650w units, and a daylight balanced 1.2k HMI version simply extends the scale of what I can do with them - relative to the standard 150w Dedos). 

I just picked up my first Area 48 Remote Phosphor softlight yesterday after comparing it directly to a Kino Flo Diva 400 (the standard softlight that I'm most confident and familiar with using) and it beats both the light output and colour accuracy of the fluoro unit by a considerable margin (by eye, I'd guess it's got about 1/2-stop more output), and the Area 48 offers the added benefits of being battery operable, lightning fast to switch from daylight to tungsten, and has no colour shift as you dim the unit (so your not having to add +green gels like you often do when you dim a Diva with tungsten tubes - so there's time saved there as well).

Now obviously this kit is a fair bit different from the standard small lighting package you get these days - which seem to generally consist of a couple of HMIs, Blondies, Redheads, Tungsten Fresnels, Kino Softlights & a couple of 150w Dedolights. So what I'm most interested to hear, is whether people would actually want to bring in a gaffer with a package like this?

I feel pretty confident that I could light everything that I'm used to lighting with a conventional small package, faster and more precisely with this package - but that's irrelevant obviously, if no one wants to hire me with a package they're not familiar with.

So what do think guys, is this a solid package? Would you want to work with it? And if not, what would you want to be different and why?

This is going to be a substantial investment for me obviously, so any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated!

Cheers,

Mark


(items in bold are the things I don't own yet)

Lights:
1x 1.2k HMI PAR
1x 1.2k HMI Dedolight
2x 150w HMI Fresnels (capable of 5600k and 3200k, 650w tungsten equivalents)
2x 650w Halogen Dedolights + dimmers
2x 150w Halogen Dedolights

2x Area 48 Remote Phosphor Softlights (capable of 5600k and 3200k - they're Kino Diva 400 alternatives)
3x Z96 Small LED Panels

Grip:
5x 40" C-stands + Grip Heads + Grip Arms
6x standard light stands of various sizes
2x 4'x4' Floppies + assorted blacks
2x Gel/Diffusion Kits
4x Umbrellas (white, gold, silver)
1x 2'x3' Digital Juice Flag Kit (nets, silks, black block etc)
1x 6'x6' Overhead Butterfly (with silk, and ultrabounce) 
3x 4'x4' Diffusion Frames (216, 250, 251)
3x Scissor Clamps (for ceiling frames)

2x 2'x3' 4-in-1 Reflector Frames
3x Cardellini Clamps
6x Super Clamps

2x Magic Arms
10x Shotbags

Power:
1x 3.5kw Portable Generator


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#2 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:05 AM

Dedo dont make a 1.2 sadly.
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#3 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:17 AM

Uhhh... Maybe they do?
Ive never heard of one before.

http://www.bico.dk/f...series_1200.pdf
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#4 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:21 AM

Nah i dont think they exist, never heard of them or the double 575 softlight announced at the same time.
Be happy to be proven wrong, i want one of each!
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#5 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 05:05 AM

No the Dedo 1.2k is very much real, seen it and played with it in person - though I get the feeling there's hardly any of them out there - I've spent a lot of time trying to find info on it, and seemingly no one on the internet has ever written about them (outside of Dedo's own brochures). It's quite something to behold - the precision of the Dedo lenses with the sheer output of a 1.2k bulb (well technically I think it's an 800w bulb that you can run at either 800w or 1200w - just like the Dedo 400w HMIs can be boosted to 575w via the ballast).

 

For lighting through windows, fighting daylight or creating window-blind or leaf-shadow effects I think it'll be tremendous. The control you have (relative to even the most spotty PAR lenses) is really impressive.

 

I think it's a lot like the 650w Dedos in many ways, a lot of people don't know they exist because they're only familiar with the little 150w units. This is part of my concern - would having units that no one is used to or has worked with before hinder my ability to get hired out with the package?

 

I know what the lights will do, and have specific reasons for wanting them - but if no one writing the cheques wants them, they only really help me on my own projects.


Edited by Mark Kenfield, 01 November 2013 - 05:06 AM.

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#6 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 06:15 AM

Cant see its much use (assume itd be a lot more expebsive than a 1.2 par) but id buy one if i could find it.
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#7 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 06:22 AM

http://www.lemac.com...HMIPackage.aspx

Whoah thats expensive.
Itd be cool to have if youre rich, but otherwise cant imagine youd ever use its capabilitys.

But then again i cant imagine what jobs youre doing with your proposed gear (even a tiny talking heads tvc requires more than that), so im no use.
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#8 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 06:27 AM

Actually it has a ballast included. Its only about $1500 aud overpriced.
Id get one if i had the money...
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#9 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 07:17 AM


But then again i cant imagine what jobs youre doing with your proposed gear (even a tiny talking heads tvc requires more than that), so im no use.

 

What kind of talking head TVCs are you shooting that demand more output than the equivalent of 12,500w of tungsten hard lights and 3 4-bank kinos?

 

And what sort of lighting package would you take to such a shoot as standard?


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#10 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 07:50 AM

12k of tungsten? How do you figure that?

Dunno. If youre making clips and stuff and using something similar already, then youre good to go.

Id have more tungsten and more control.

Most every small tvc would use 2x44 kino, 2x 2k,2x2k,2x1k in tungsten or a 2.5 and a 1.2 and 2x kino 44 if in daylight. Minimum.
I geuss if you were doing night shoots or very small studio shoots youd be right.
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#11 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 08:25 AM

12k of tungsten? How do you figure that?

Dunno. If youre making clips and stuff and using something similar already, then youre good to go.

Id have more tungsten and more control.

Most every small tvc would use 2x44 kino, 2x 2k,2x2k,2x1k in tungsten or a 2.5 and a 1.2 and 2x kino 44 if in daylight. Minimum.
I geuss if you were doing night shoots or very small studio shoots youd be right.

 

"Tungsten equivalent", I'm just talking about total light output. For vague-math's sake, a 1.2k HMI gives you roughly equivalent to 4800w of tungsten, and the 150w HMIs are roughly equivalent to 650w tungsten fresnels. So when you add two of each of those to the four tungsten Dedo fixtures, you've got roughly the equivalent of 12,000w of tungsten (in terms of total output, colour temperature's a separate matter obviously). 

 

And the Area 48 lights (according to photometrics) each output a little bit more light than a 4' 4-bank Kino. And there would be two of those as well.

 

So in terms of total lumens we're talking about roughly the same amount of output anyway - for a small lighting package. Which (as I mentioned in the OP) is what this kit would be - because I don't have the physical space to transport much more (or the larger-scale gigs to justify a larger package).

 

So I suppose what I'm trying to say is that this theoretical package would have a similar level of output to most standard small packages (like the two you've just described), just with different fixtures to the norm - which is what I'm wondering about - whether having those same basic lumens in a different form would put people off?


Edited by Mark Kenfield, 01 November 2013 - 08:28 AM.

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#12 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 08:54 AM

Area 48 things seem real expensive.

Part of the reason most small kits have lots of tungsten is its cheap and lasts forever.

I have a full van and its never enough, i always need more or things i dont have.

You want to go for the heads that are most use in the most situations and lots of control.

Sorry if im sounding unsupportive, i just cant imagine being able to do gigs with that gear. But if youre using it and know what you need, thats all that matters. Producers will never care what gear you have as long as you make it happen. Dps will care so youd either have to ask some melbourne dps what theyd use first or sweet talk them on the day into using what you have.

Dedo 650s and hmis will impress dps, but you could achieve the same thing with other brands as 95% of the time theyre going through a frame anyway.

http://www.andrewlocklighting.com.au has some good systems, a mix of real and less expensive gear which might be of interest to you.

Ill butt out now.
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#13 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 09:44 AM

No need to apologise Andrew! This is precisely the sort of feedback I was wanting to hear, I appreciate it - I know why "I" want this particular setup,  getting my head around what other's hesitations towards it might be is the whole reason for posting this thread.

 

The Area 48 certainly isn't cheap. But at the same time it's pretty much the same price as a Kino 4' 4-bank (and actually cheaper once you add sets of daylight and tungsten tubes, along with a few spares, to the Kino). So it's basically the same outlay for the same output (albeit from a much physically smaller source). But at least your not paying a premium for the output (beyond the premium you'd usually pay for Kinos at least).

 

And I couldn't agree more with you on versatility and control - those are my primary reasons for wanting these Dedo units in the first place (they also have the added benefit of vastly longer bulb life compared to conventional tungsten fixtures, so that certainly does help amortise the higher initial purchase price over the long run.

 

I'll definitely run the idea for the kit past some other local DPs and see what they think. We are at the end of the world down here, so sadly very few people locally are up to date with the latest in lighting tech (and the benefits that the good new fixtures can offer). Which is a large part of my concern - I think there's basically two possible outcomes - people will either embrace it as a different, more efficient approach to lighting, or shun it completely in favour of the tried and true systems they know, and I suspect it will probably be one or the other.


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#14 andrew ward

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:52 PM

People wont care enough about cool gear to make it worth it.
Its good to have something cool to impress them but wont make much difference in getting work.

People dont use phospher and stuff much here as its untested and too expensive.
I doubt its comparable to a 44. And anyway the point of kino is flexible softness, not output. Youd have to put the area 48 through a frame to be as soft as a 44.

That stuff is not going to be more efficient. Multiple heads with more control is more efficient.
It would have to be a night shoot or something quite specific to use the lensing abilities of the larger dedos.
I have done jobs where ive wanted a brighter small dedo, but 650 would have been too bright and too bulky and ive never needed a 1.2 to do spotting or cutting effects. It pretty much always goes through a frame.

In a small kit youd achieve efficiency by having it all easy to get to and from set (shelving, crates, trolleys) and having enough of the standard stuff (tungsten and control) to solve any problem.

If you have the money for that stuff go for it, but go pay it off quicker id probably get mostly clone heads and some real tungsten.

I dont know what im talking about though.
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#15 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:09 PM

All good points Andrew. 

 

The Area 48 is so much smaller than the 4' 4-bank that I agree it's rather a different beast. I think the more apt comparison is a Diva 400 (just with added output, superior control when you add the softbox, and perfect dimming with no colour shift).

 

I suppose it seems like I have an aversion to tungsten fresnels, and I think that's because in the last two years of shooting, I don't think I've ever once used a fresnel directly on talent (except as a back light - and most times that I have used a fresnel as a backlight, I've wished I had the beam and control of a Dedo that could do a better job of it). So when I do use fresnels, they're always bounced off an umbrella or reflector (I prefer bounced light to firing directly through diffusion, so I'm not a big fan of softboxes generally), and most of the time, I'd rather have the higher output of an open-face unit to do the same thing.

 

The Dedo 650w units can be bulbed down to 300w very quickly and easily, so that is a nice option to have. 

 

The 1.2k Dedo is obviously quite unlike any fixture commonly used (except perhaps a Jo-Leko conversion of a Joker Bug HMI), but I can see a lot of uses for it personally. It's a level of output and beam control that no one is really used to having, so I think it opens up some options that wouldn't otherwise exist (like creating a toasty backlight outdoors on an overcast day, with only mains power).

 

I couldn't agree more about efficiency coming from easy access to the gear - so I have a pretty ambitious sliding shelving solution planned out for the ute, which should make loading, unloading and transporting the gear to and from set about as easy as possible. It won't be cheap, but the time saved in packing and unpacking will almost certainly pay for the whole thing within a year.

 

The more I think about, the more I think you're right on me needing some fixtures with a wider beam spread. So perhaps if I added 2x Arrilite 2000+ and 2x Arrilite 750+ units? (i.e. 2x Redheads and 2x Blondes). It'd probably start making things tight for space in the ute, but they would open up some other options (and perhaps reassure people not used to working with the other fixtures).


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#16 andrew ward

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 12:32 AM

The vogue today is softlighting, so i agree having fresnels is mostly pointless as it always goes through a frame anyway. Unless its a night shoot.
But DPs expect them.

A bugabeam is usually only useful as a shaft through a window. In daylight youd never have a need for lensing and cuts. (Talking small kit only, if you had all the gear youd definetly get one cause theyre awesome, just you wouldnt buy it first).

Look on Freelancers for what gear the competition has then go to a couple of DPs.
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#17 andrew ward

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 12:34 AM

Also saving time packing and unpacking doesnt make any difference to the money you make and repaying the gear.
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#18 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 01:02 AM

Also very good points. 

 

I'm going to take my 1.2k PAR in to compare it side-by-side with the Dedo for output, beam flexibility etc. (I'm worried that you're spot on about the "awesome, just you wouldn't buy it first" point) so I'll have to make the decision whether having that more specific tool is worth it, over adding a 2nd conventional HMI PAR to the kit, and the benefits that would provide.

 

As for saving time packing and unpacking. That's just for me. If it saves me 20-30 minutes at the start and end of the day (which I'm quite certain the setup I have in mind will) - then that's money in the bank as far as I'm concerned.

 

I'm still pretty young, and I've got a few years to go before I hit 30. So my goal with figuring out the package I should go with (and how I'll fit it all into the ute) is all about setting myself up for the next 15-20 years. I very much see this as a long-term investment, which is why I'm looking at fancier gear that sits on the more expensive end of things. I want gear that will last, and a setup that will make my life easier each and every time I use it.

 

(so I really appreciate you allowing me to bounce the ideas off you Andrew!)


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#19 andrew ward

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:41 AM

Like i said if youve got the money, go for it, otherwise buy clones and build up.
Gear gets broken.
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#20 andrew ward

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:42 AM

I wish someone else would respond. No one should be taking advice from me 😳
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