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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
Can't find it on the XL1 Watchdog site? Discuss it here.

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Old June 21st, 2002, 10:24 AM   #1
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Lighting questions...

I'm putting together my purchase list before I see my banker and have finally gotten to the subject of lighting. I will probably be working with a Canon XL1S. I've never used an on-camera light. I've used a 3 light kit and in a run & gun situation in the field resort to one light with a diffuser. I'm still learning the lighting craft so I'm pretty green (please be kind). Does anyone have any recommendations for me, most of my work will be done in the field under a variety of conditions (indoor, outdoor, whatever comes up). It seems like the camera mounted light would flatten the image but portability would be nice. What about softboxes? I'm pretty lost here and not terribly flush ($) but I want a decent product to start out with. Help!

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Old June 21st, 2002, 12:11 PM   #2
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there are a couple of good threads going right now on this same issue. you might want to check these out.
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Old June 21st, 2002, 12:16 PM   #3
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In addition to browsing those other threads, consider that a low-power on-camera light is meant primarily to enhance and compliment, not replace, the use of other lights. An on-camera light makes a good eye-light for highlighting the subject's face, working in conjunction with the typical three-point key, fill and back lights. Hope this helps,

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Old June 21st, 2002, 05:57 PM   #4
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I just purchased an Arri Sofbank D2 kit that includes one 650w fresnel and 2 300w fresnel, plus a Chimera lightbank for the 650w instrument, also stands, screens, barndoors, lamps. Not inexpensive.

I am very impressed with the quality of the Arri instruments. I spent a number of years doing theatrical lighting (not at all the same as for video of course) and the Arri instruments have none of the problems of cheap fresnels I've experienced. The spot/flood adjustment with a knob in the back is smooth and precise, allowing good control. The Chimera softbank is terrific -- easy to mount and well thought out with velcro in all the right places to allow for venting heat off the instrument. The speed ring (which attaches the chimera to the fresenl via the gel frame holder) rotates and allows one to use the chimera at any angle.

In my view, getting instruments of good quality that are going to produce good results was worth the expense. The better the results the more likely it is that I can sell my work. No point in struggling trying to make less expensive instruments work properly and professionally (which should be a selling point with the bank).

My only concern is that for some situations I'd need a 1000w in addition in rooms with lots of daylight (to have punchy color-correctable source). But since most of what I am going to do in the near future are interviews in close quarters, this kit should do until I can get it paid off.
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Old June 21st, 2002, 07:26 PM   #5
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The Arri fresnels are indeed a beautiful light. i'm particularly impressed by the quality of light from the 300 watter.

As soft boxes go the Chimera is very pricey. A photoflex is a well built unit and has all of the velcro flaps etc. and is almost half the price.

If your requirements are like mine a 650 watt fresnel is a bit of an extravogance at this time.

For someone just starting out I would suggest a medium silverdome NXT with accessory kit (the kit is a throw in special and includes masks and louvers) $180 at B&H

A Lowel Tota (an excellant broad light) mounted on a Photoflex speed ring. Tota is $110 and the Speed ring is $75 at B&H. The Tota is a perfect choice for a softbox. A focused beam is a poor choice as the light will carry on through the softboc and not reflect on the inner surface.

The Tota can ne lamped from 300 to 750 ( 1000 watts equivilent light using an HIR 650 wattmiser) the lamps cost from $15 to $24)

I would also recpomend a sturdy manfrotto master stand (bogen 3078 around $75 at B&H). It'll hold 20 lbs and won't easily tip.

With or without the louvers and masks, this light will control easily and render a beautifully flattering and soft beam of light. As a fill use a mylar reflector. As a back light, kicker or hair light use a 300watt arri fresnell or if you can't quite afford one a lowel pro light will do in a pinch. The Arri is worth the money though. The 300 watter can mount nicely on a bogen 3086 for %$45 at B&H. The 3086 is good for 11 lbs and will not easily tip.

This is what I started with and I can vouch for the dependability and stability of each product.

If you check the other thread i think I included a link to the arri lighting handbook (in PDF) and Cybercollege (lighting)

One other item worth buying is a 4 x 8 sheet of white foamcore. less than $15 US and just about the most versitile reflector kit available. Just cut it to size with a razor knife.

I don't want to sound repedative but video doesn't need a lot of light just quality light.

All I have to say is thank God for the edit function. My spelling and keyboarding really sucks.
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Old June 22nd, 2002, 06:41 AM   #6
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Those foamcore poster boards are also great for setting white balance. When you are shopping, look for one that has a shiney side and a dull side.
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