There are four basic ways to achieve lighting:
1. Lightning Strikes units. Very good, industry standard. Expensive.
2. Atomic Strobes from Martin. Cheap and useful. Only problem is you can't control strike time like on the Lightning Strikes, so they're very quick to discharge and sometimes the shutter misses them and look a little less convincing. But certainly if you're on a budget, this is a good option.
3. Venetian shutters. You've seen those old war movies where ships send morse code by activating a fast acting shutter in front of a light? Exact same thing. These units are very often buried in storage at the lighting houses as they don't see much use, yet they are extremely effective and very cheap. If you're on a budget, this is an excellent option.
4. Carbon Arc lamp and manually striking the rods. This is old school and how they used to do it in the silent film era. Not many of these units working today, but if you have access to one, it's probably the most convincing look.