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Old October 26th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #1
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Basic interview lighting kit?

I'd like to get a 3 light kit to light sit-down 'talking head' type interviews in the field. My ideal kit would cost around $350.

I'm thinking of a tungsten kit - 3 lights, maybe 1 500W, 2 250W? A softbox would be great. Barndoors would be nice, but I don't know if I could get that for $350. I already have some gels.

It doesn't seem like I'd be able to get a lowel kit for that price. I've seen lower price kits from other manufacturers, but I hear horror stories of shoddy construction.

I guess a fluorescent light would be good, but is out of the question for $350?

I suppose these 'give me a recommendation' questions aren't very popular, but I read a lot of the other threads, and I'm not sure they exactly answered my situation. So thanks in advance, as always.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 05:34 AM   #2
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Hi Dennis
Check out the Lowell kits they are pretty good, with soft boxes and umbrellas... but you'll probably be pushed to find one new as cheaply as $350...

cheers
Gareth
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Old October 27th, 2007, 08:11 AM   #3
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Unfortunately in that price range, your looking at DIY or some kind of inexpensive open face type lights. The other option may be to watch Ebay for great deals on used fixtures. I think you'll find though that the lower wattage units like you want are more popular and also thus, more expensive in resale value as well.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:57 AM   #4
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Maybe you could buy one professional softbox/fluorescent for your key light and use cheaper lights for the rest. Backgrounds don't necessarily need to be lit with a 800$ Arri unit.
I just bought 3 nice clamp lights for 13 Euro each - they look like small PARs, have a clamp or stand attachment, and you can put 100W R80 reflector lamps in them. I haven't gotten them yet, but I think they are nice to work with (as long as I have a good keylight, I think I could pull a nice interview setup with these lamps for background/kickers etc.)
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:34 AM   #5
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Thanks guys.

I'm thinking of getting an Interfit-Paterson 2 light softbox fluorescent kit I saw on b&h for $350. The more I think about it, fluorescent lights would work really well for me. Tight spaces, long interviews under hot lights, etc. I'm thinking I could get another light for a back light in the near future.

I guess Interfit-Paterson isn't one of big brands - Arri and Lowel seem to be on the top. But I have a friend who lets me borrow his big Arri kit from time to time. So I wouldn't be using it everyday, just for somewhat smaller jobs, when I usually can't get a hold of my friend's kit.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #6
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Just recently recived my Lowell TotaLight, stand, umbrella and reflector. First impression is that a small and relatively inexpensive kit like that would be sufficient for you needs. Wheight for the Tota equals a rolled Sunday Times and takes up less space.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 01:35 PM   #7
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I picked up a 3-light photoflood kit (Smith Victor KT900) for $289, shipped. It has 2 12" reflectors w/ umbrellas and a 5" reflector boom kit, 3 stands, etc. The stands are aluminum, and superior to the cheap steel Britek ones I've used before.

I use CFLs in the sockets (not the kit's photofloods), and have added Y-adapters when I need more light. I have a set of daylight and tungsten balanced bulbs, so I can match my white balance to what I need to shoot. I get my bulbs, 32w and 40w ones from my local Home Depot (N:vision series) for around $8/each. The kit draws very little amperage and little heat compared to tungsten.

Even open-faced, the CFLs are very soft, so I seldom pull out the umbrellas. I often use a regular incandescent bulb on the boom as a hairlight, since I want it warmer and more directional. I snoot it down with card paper when necessary.

Hope this helps,
Brian Brown
BrownCow Productions
http://www.browncowvideo.com
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Old October 31st, 2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Brown View Post
I use CFLs in the sockets (not the kit's photofloods), and have added Y-adapters when I need more light. I have a set of daylight and tungsten balanced bulbs, so I can match my white balance to what I need to shoot. I get my bulbs, 32w and 40w ones from my local Home Depot (N:vision series) for around $8/each. The kit draws very little amperage and little heat compared to tungsten.
Thanks, Brian. I'd heard that you couldn't fit CFLs in the sockets of these unless you got special extended base bulbs. Thanks for putting the lie to that myth...
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Old October 31st, 2007, 05:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Gregory-Browne View Post
Thanks, Brian. I'd heard that you couldn't fit CFLs in the sockets of these unless you got special extended base bulbs. Thanks for putting the lie to that myth...
Rob, it's not a myth that the CFLs don't fit in the socket, but the workaround is the Y-socket adapters take care of that issue. Plus, they allow you to use an extra bulb, when needed. You could potentially daisy-chain a bunch of Y-base adapters and have a BIG light, when needed... since you're not taxing the amperage of the socket with these low-wattage bulbs.

The adapters are about $2-3 from your local hardware or big-box stores. You could also use a socket/plug adapter to get the extension necessary.

Cheers,
Brian
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