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#1 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 06:38 PM

Hi guys. So far I have shot most my stuff in natural lighting outside. However, more and more of my projects are set inside, and so, I have to look into buying some lighting kit.

 

Which begs the question. What should be the foundation of my lighting kit? What are must-haves for every small set productions? I mostly shoot short films, with limited set size. 

 

Would I be better off buying one of the fresnel kits on B&H for around 2-3000, or should I do a mix of smaller kit? 

 

Any advice here is greatly appreciated!


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 07:41 PM

Depends on what you're shooting.

Some of the kits are deceiving because they work for some situations only.

When I was shooting film mostly, my favorite kit was the Arri 2x650 and 2x1k's. That kit was perfect for low-asa shooting. I'd augment that kit with some high-watt practicals, chimera's and a BFL (big fucking light) of some kind. A friend of mine had a 2k that I'd always borrow but my favorite was a 5k HMI, that was always enough light to blast in windows. I just think with today's digital cinematography world, that style of shooting can be a bit over-kill.

I shot a feature a few years ago digitally and we used different style of lighting on every day. Sometimes we'd use LED panels, Kino's, chimera's, fresnel's, you name it, we used it. I always kept coming back to incandescent lighting, the look of the LED and Kino's is just not me. So where there are some great low-cost, small size, lighting solutions today, they just don't have the look of the more classic lighting.
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#3 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 07:55 PM

The work I am paid for is story-telling commercials. I guess what could be beneficial is to have maybe 2 or 3 smaller sized light sources, which are easy to place. And then one big source for lighting up whole rooms when necessary. 

 

This is a Norwegian link ; but what do you think about sources like these? Are fresnels more allround, maybe? (http://www.scandinav...ilite-2000-plus)


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 08:08 PM

Yea, I like the Fresnel's better. I know those 2k's very well, used them for years. We'd use them if we needed a lot of soft light. So shooting a night-time exterior with heavy diffusion, they work great, but so does the 1k that comes in the Arri kits.

I really like the Arri 300's, I had a box of those as well for hitting spots that needed SOMETHING. Though honestly, most of the time I'd just run the 650's because that's what came with the kit. I'd run a few scrims to bring the lumen's down to match whatever was round it, but that's about it.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 08:16 PM

Don't dismiss that 5k or 6k HMI. I've only ever used then where there happened to be industrial scale power that was accessible, but if you need sunshine through anything but the smallest of windows, accept no substitute. Very, very expensive, of course, because of the required generator. And the huge cost of the light. And the bulbs. Ahem...
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#6 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 08:26 PM

Yea, I like the Fresnel's better. I know those 2k's very well, used them for years. We'd use them if we needed a lot of soft light. So shooting a night-time exterior with heavy diffusion, they work great, but so does the 1k that comes in the Arri kits.

I really like the Arri 300's, I had a box of those as well for hitting spots that needed SOMETHING. Though honestly, most of the time I'd just run the 650's because that's what came with the kit. I'd run a few scrims to bring the lumen's down to match whatever was round it, but that's about it.

I think this would fit very well into my arsenal of equipment. One or two 2ks, and then some smaller 650s that are easy to place in smaller sets.

I know I'm going to get some 6x6' cloth diffusor, but a softbox is probably also good to have for each light, am I right? 

 

Don't dismiss that 5k or 6k HMI. I've only ever used then where there happened to be industrial scale power that was accessible, but if you need sunshine through anything but the smallest of windows, accept no substitute. Very, very expensive, of course, because of the required generator. And the huge cost of the light. And the bulbs. Ahem...

Nothing would be better than to have something like that available, but for now, it's way out of my budget. Appreciate the input though!


Edited by Jan Tore Soerensen, 11 January 2016 - 08:27 PM.

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#7 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 11:01 PM

I personally like the cloth diffuser more then the soft boxes. My gaffer brought some stretch fabric with him on a shoot that was amazing. We took speed rail, built pretty much any size frame we wanted and stretched the fabric to fit. He told me what the stuff was, but I never wrote it down or investigated it further. It eliminated the need to have different sized flag frames.

The metal soft boxes aren't really controllable and you can't direct the light. The great thing about cloth based diffusion and fresnel light's, is that you get diffusion AND the ability to focus a stream light. Sometimes I'd stick three or four smaller lights behind the diffusion, focusing them on different parts of the scene. Can't do that with a metal soft box. However, buying a chimera ring for the front the lamp and running a cloth soft box, that works great! I have one of those and use it all the time for interviews. I find though for narratives, I like to be more creative with the lighting. I use a lot of hard light and bounce it off tables and stuff, like they did in Hateful Eight. I really like that trick for quick shoot.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 03:46 AM

I'll just throw this out there-- get some Kino-Flos. People always seem to use them and want to rent them, and you can almost always find a use for them when they're around. They aren't my personal flavor of lighting-- but people swear by them.

 

Personally I really like having some PAR64 VNSPs on hand--- cheap, light, and probably illegal to shine towards over-flying aircraft.


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#9 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 04:02 AM

I've assembled a small lighting kit for myself that gives me a lot of control and versatility, up to the point that I simply need the greater firing power of a dedicated lighting van or truck.

 

Currently, it consist of the following:

 

1x Profoto 1.2kw HMI PAR

2x BBS Area 48 Remote Phosphor Softlights

2x Arrilite 2000 Blondes

2x Dedolight 650w

2x Dedolight 150w

3x F&V Z96 LED Panels

 

Now obviously that's a lot more than you're looking to spend at the moment, but if you're thinking about possibly ending up somewhere similar eventually, it may well be worth planning purchases around what you want to have eventually.

 

If I were starting out afresh and had around $3000 to spend, I'd probably look at getting 1x 2000w Blondie, 2x 650w Fresnels, 2x 150w Dedos (or Fresnels), and I'd try to find used fixtures in reasonable condition. Then, later on, I'd look to add a couple of good LED panel lights (that are bi-color and fully dimmable), because they're very useful lights, and then eventually a 1.2k HMI, which is something that you'll use constantly.

 

Hard lights are great for starting out with, because they're flexible - they can be hard and spotted in if you need them to be, but you can also punch them through diffusion or bounce them for soft lighting. Panel lights are amazing, and extremely fast to work with - but not versatile enough when you're just getting started. Also, I'd strongly recommend cheap flouros with good tubes, over cheap LEDs - you've got to spend money on the good stuff if you're going with LEDs.


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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 06:33 AM

. Also, I'd strongly recommend cheap flouros with good tubes, over cheap LEDs

 

Seconded.

 

LED is only just becoming more efficient than fluorescent in terms of sheer light output, and you have to pay handsomely for that level of performance. Affordable LEDs tend to be less efficient and of poorer colour quality than fluorescent.


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#11 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 07:41 AM

I personally like the cloth diffuser more then the soft boxes. My gaffer brought some stretch fabric with him on a shoot that was amazing. We took speed rail, built pretty much any size frame we wanted and stretched the fabric to fit. He told me what the stuff was, but I never wrote it down or investigated it further. It eliminated the need to have different sized flag frames.

The metal soft boxes aren't really controllable and you can't direct the light. The great thing about cloth based diffusion and fresnel light's, is that you get diffusion AND the ability to focus a stream light. Sometimes I'd stick three or four smaller lights behind the diffusion, focusing them on different parts of the scene. Can't do that with a metal soft box. However, buying a chimera ring for the front the lamp and running a cloth soft box, that works great! I have one of those and use it all the time for interviews. I find though for narratives, I like to be more creative with the lighting. I use a lot of hard light and bounce it off tables and stuff, like they did in Hateful Eight. I really like that trick for quick shoot.

Great. Thanks!

 

I'll just throw this out there-- get some Kino-Flos. People always seem to use them and want to rent them, and you can almost always find a use for them when they're around. They aren't my personal flavor of lighting-- but people swear by them.

 

Personally I really like having some PAR64 VNSPs on hand--- cheap, light, and probably illegal to shine towards over-flying aircraft.

I am definitely getting some kinos or other fluorescents, but they are not first priority. As for the PAR64, what do you usually use them for? 

 

I've assembled a small lighting kit for myself that gives me a lot of control and versatility, up to the point that I simply need the greater firing power of a dedicated lighting van or truck.

 

Currently, it consist of the following:

 

1x Profoto 1.2kw HMI PAR

2x BBS Area 48 Remote Phosphor Softlights

2x Arrilite 2000 Blondes

2x Dedolight 650w

2x Dedolight 150w

3x F&V Z96 LED Panels

 

Now obviously that's a lot more than you're looking to spend at the moment, but if you're thinking about possibly ending up somewhere similar eventually, it may well be worth planning purchases around what you want to have eventually.

 

If I were starting out afresh and had around $3000 to spend, I'd probably look at getting 1x 2000w Blondie, 2x 650w Fresnels, 2x 150w Dedos (or Fresnels), and I'd try to find used fixtures in reasonable condition. Then, later on, I'd look to add a couple of good LED panel lights (that are bi-color and fully dimmable), because they're very useful lights, and then eventually a 1.2k HMI, which is something that you'll use constantly.

 

Hard lights are great for starting out with, because they're flexible - they can be hard and spotted in if you need them to be, but you can also punch them through diffusion or bounce them for soft lighting. Panel lights are amazing, and extremely fast to work with - but not versatile enough when you're just getting started. Also, I'd strongly recommend cheap flouros with good tubes, over cheap LEDs - you've got to spend money on the good stuff if you're going with LEDs.

Awesome list, thanks!

 

 

Seconded.

 

LED is only just becoming more efficient than fluorescent in terms of sheer light output, and you have to pay handsomely for that level of performance. Affordable LEDs tend to be less efficient and of poorer colour quality than fluorescent.

I figured. The technology isn't that affordable yet. 


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#12 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 10:22 AM

I own an ARRI fresnel kit (a 1K & 2 650s) and, although people consider it to be "hard" light, remember that you have a lens and a reflector which allow you to the put light into a "spot" or "flood" position.  Naturally, the flood position will produce softer shadows but some people will still see this as being "too hard."  But it's not like you're working with an open-faced light, either. 

 

I originally purchased Chimera soft-boxes for the 1K and the first 650w.  They are nice to have around if you need them in a pinch, but I can count on one hand the amount of times I've used them.  Plus, they can get expensive.  Right now, you're better off purchasing a few small silks and learning how to bounce hard light rather than using soft-boxes.

 

Just my opinion.


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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 02:43 PM

Hey Jan

 

I use the PARs for many many things-- often I'll use them to just bang into a foamcore for soft-light effect, but more often than not, I'm using them for streaks of warm sunlight, or neutral sunlight if a set, or for projecting a light from down the street in a night ext. Sometimes you just bang them into the ceiling when you need an overall ambience, or as uplights on architectural elements trees etc.

Like anything else, they're a tool; so you can use them many ways. I bought my first one years and years ago--- I think to use as a street-light-- projecting down the road, and since then i've used at least 1 on every shoot i'm on, but in differing situations.

 

I think my favorite use for them is a warm streak of sunlight, quick and cheap, thorugh some blinds. I may or may not add 1/4 or 1/2 CTB to them in such cases.


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#14 Alexandre de Tolan

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 06:30 PM

 

Seconded.

 

LED is only just becoming more efficient than fluorescent in terms of sheer light output, and you have to pay handsomely for that level of performance. Affordable LEDs tend to be less efficient and of poorer colour quality than fluorescent.

 

I've seen that Mark is using the Area 48 Remote Phosphor Softlights from BBS. I've worked with them and stand by them as a great soft light. I think remote phosphor has a lot to offer and yet it's still in their newborn days. Area 48 lights are not cheap but they have a great efficiency and color rendition. 


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#15 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 02:45 PM

I own an ARRI fresnel kit (a 1K & 2 650s) and, although people consider it to be "hard" light, remember that you have a lens and a reflector which allow you to the put light into a "spot" or "flood" position.  Naturally, the flood position will produce softer shadows but some people will still see this as being "too hard."  But it's not like you're working with an open-faced light, either. 

 

I originally purchased Chimera soft-boxes for the 1K and the first 650w.  They are nice to have around if you need them in a pinch, but I can count on one hand the amount of times I've used them.  Plus, they can get expensive.  Right now, you're better off purchasing a few small silks and learning how to bounce hard light rather than using soft-boxes.

 

Just my opinion.

Really appreciate the input.

 

Hey Jan

 

I use the PARs for many many things-- often I'll use them to just bang into a foamcore for soft-light effect, but more often than not, I'm using them for streaks of warm sunlight, or neutral sunlight if a set, or for projecting a light from down the street in a night ext. Sometimes you just bang them into the ceiling when you need an overall ambience, or as uplights on architectural elements trees etc.

Like anything else, they're a tool; so you can use them many ways. I bought my first one years and years ago--- I think to use as a street-light-- projecting down the road, and since then i've used at least 1 on every shoot i'm on, but in differing situations.

 

I think my favorite use for them is a warm streak of sunlight, quick and cheap, thorugh some blinds. I may or may not add 1/4 or 1/2 CTB to them in such cases.

I'll probably buy one to try it out, as they are quite affordable!


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