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What are some must have low budget lights?


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#1 Lucas Hubbard

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 07:45 PM

I was wondering what a good low budget light kit would consist of.


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:20 PM

Really depends on what you want to do with it and what you mean by low budget. An Arri Kit with a 1K, 650, 300 and maybe a 150 or two with a chimera for the 1K is a pretty good basic kit which can work on any shoot. I have something older but similar which is a 650/300/2x150s with chimera for the 650 which I always have on hand no matter what the shoot since it'll almost always have some use. But that's also a few thousand bucks.

Another light I personally always reach for are PAR64s, generally in VNSP, but without proper grip gear to control them they are a little limiting. They are cheap, about $139 new per head, and really good for night shooting since they are damned bright with a long throw.

Kinoflos are very often asked for, but again rather costly. There are knockoffs like flolights which aren't horrible, though nowhere near as good as a kino.

 

LEDs are pretty much so crap-- even the higher end ones so try to stay away unless you're looking for a gritty urban "modern" feel.

 

Chinaballs, like from Ikea, though they make film specific ones, are very good, pretty cheap, and can be used on almost everything. Controlling them can be a pain in the rear, which is why I often don't try to control them too much- though if you get the cheap ones, the paper ones, you can spray paint differing balls to control spill. Kino makes CFL bulbs now you can throw up in there (many of them in fact at once since they burn much cooler) and the brightness and quality of the light will depend on the bulb in it.

 

never underestimate the value of an array of household bulbs and a fewhand-squeeze dimmers either, especially as cameras are on average 800iso these days, or faster.  If you go this route, get streaks and tips to control bulb. I also really like these odd silver capped 100W bulbs they you see in vanities in bathrooms.


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#3 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 06:43 PM

You can find some really cheap HMI's on ebay.  But you may have to do some repairs.  I got two 575 HMI fresnels for $600 once.  I spent an additional $400 on an igniter for one of them but they each had very good reflectors and the ballasts were surprisingly quiet and compact.  So don't rule out HMI's just cause you're on a budget.  Do some hunting on ebay and you may get lucky.  I would avoid sealed beam pars though.  Last I checked the bulbs are no longer in mass production and they're super expensive.


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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:23 AM

I haven't had any trouble getting par bulbs.


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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:33 AM

As Adrian said, you can't go wrong with an ARRI kit.  I have two 650s & a 1K - all fresnels.  Very versatile.


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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:41 AM

They have always been super-expensive, though.


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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 12:51 PM

You can get a brand new ARRI 650w fresnel (light, stand, barndoors, scrims & a snoot) for under $600.


Edited by Bill DiPietra, 23 July 2014 - 12:51 PM.

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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:10 PM

You can get a brand new ARRI 650w fresnel (light, stand, barndoors, scrims & a snoot) for under $600.

Not really low budget though, is it?

 

There are Chinese knock-offs available on eBay for much less, or you can often find old Mole Richardson lamps on craigslist if you're prepared to put up with their idiosyncrasies.


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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:20 PM

I've gotten a few Junoir Moles for around $150 a head-- of course the doors, scrims and stands add to that, and then you're dealing with a 2K. Honestly, I use a lot of moles here in LA.. and I really don't like them too much. They are much better suited for studio filming-- whereas I'm a location person primarily.

 

If you want some cheap and "european" styled lights, look for used redheads and blondes. Again, brute big stroke kinda units, but they have their place especially when it comes to softer/bounced styled of lighting.


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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:35 PM

Oh, I was responding to Adrian's post about PAR bulbs. But yes, it's hard to justify the Arri tax sometimes. Often, even. Especially for something as simple as a tungsten device.


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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 02:29 PM

True, $30/bulb is a bit--though I could get them cheaper I normally go through BH, though they don't blow all too often in my own experience-- then again maybe i'm just super lucky.


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#12 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 04:22 PM

I was referring to sealed beam HMI par bulbs which are closer to $400 a piece for a 1200 watt.  The older Arrisun's that take them can be found pretty cheap but that's because finding bulbs is a nightmare.


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#13 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 04:30 PM

Not really low budget though, is it?

 

That depends on your definition of "low-budget."  Besides, I viewed them as an excellent long-term investment which is exactly what they've turned out to be.


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#14 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 08:23 PM

My point was that Arri lamp heads are amongst the most expensive on the market. i own quite a few myself, and agree that they are an excellent investment, but if I was looking for low budget solutions, there are many cheaper options.


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#15 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:40 PM

Cheap tungsten fresnels can be a false economy though. I have a 420w LTM Pepper that is a POS. It won't even flood out all the way due to a warped worm gear. Never had that problem with an Arri or Mole.
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#16 Luke Mason

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 01:41 AM

F&V LED panel, K1000 or the better Z400 (higher CRI of 95+)


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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 02:21 AM

I don't think the F&V stuff, at about UK£850 a pop, is really in the low-budget arena.


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#18 David Peterson

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 09:45 PM

How low budget is low budget? As this is the new / student section, I'm guessing VERY low budget?

Still matters exactly how low.

 

$10,000 would be a *very* low budget by most feature film standards.

 

$1,000 would be another even lower very low budget level, yet still a fair sized whack of change for most newbie students.

And do you want a complete lighting kit (and how "complete"?) or do you just want to pick up one or two quality lights?

 

The lowest of low budget ones that I'd suggest (well.. you can go lower. FREE! Sunlight!), is 3x YN-160 LEDs. Only 3x $40 for the lights, plus a bit more for the batteries. And you can pick up cheap photography stands off eBay via china for fiften bucks a pop or so. Total cost here could be all up under $300 comfortably. But if you've got more to spend, then mention it!


Edited by David Peterson, 25 July 2014 - 09:45 PM.

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#19 Laura Beth Love

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:36 PM

I'm about to shoot my 20th "low budget" feature.  Every project calls for a different g&e package, ofcourse, but 90% of these low budget features have had the following items in common:

 

Kino Flos
LitePanel LEDs

Small HMI Pars (1.2 or 2.5)

And a smattering of "cheap" Tungsten Fresnels, open face, and pars

I've recently started including a daylight LED fresnel, or even swapping out a Small HMI Par for a daylight LED fresnel.  But, as someone mentioned above, you have to be careful with LED color/quality.  It's not right for every situation, and varies greatly with manufacturer. Yet, in many cirumstances I've found them to be a lifesaver.

Laura Beth Love

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Edited by Laura Beth Love, 29 July 2014 - 02:37 PM.

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