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Old June 13th, 2003, 02:30 PM   #1
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Smith Victor better than Home Depot lights?

I think DIY lighting will be a real hassle when it comes to portability. I'm sure SV lights aren't not top quality but better than Home Depot DIYs?? I hope so? plus I like the fact that i can fit an entire kit into a case. What do you guys think?
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Old June 13th, 2003, 08:19 PM   #2
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Use the search tool or just keep going back in the lighting posts here and at There's lots of info and opinions. I did a few blurbs on here and on building an inexpensive kit.

There are a few inexpensive SV kits and I think some can be lamped at 300,420 and 600 watts. I'd rather work with a basic SV kit than work lights.

Just be sure to get decent stands.
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Old June 13th, 2003, 10:36 PM   #3
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Or maybe the Everlight kits for like $499?
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Old June 13th, 2003, 10:51 PM   #4
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Interesting. I never knew I could get some actual decent lights for so cheap -- even if they are cheapos. Beats home depot work lights for sure. When I get a job i'm going to buy some of them smith victors from B&H. I see they have ones with umbrellas too.
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Old June 14th, 2003, 10:51 AM   #5
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If you can afford the $500.00, I would definitely recommend the Everlight Kit to you, Yang Wen. Here is a letter I wrote awhile back:

This is a question that comes up often, although usually it is predicated with, "I have very little money to spend," which is understandable for young people getting into lighting. Here is a link to a three light kit that I am testing out to see if it will be the answer for tight-budget lighting:
The kit consists of three lamps that can use up to 750 watts (not the 1000w lamps they advertise) although it comes with very adequate 500w bulbs, along with three soft boxes, stands, cables, and a carrying case for the whole thing, at a street price around $500.00. This is pretty amazing to anyone who has ever priced out Chimera's with Arri lights, or, similar soft box kits. OK. That's the good news. What's the bad?

These soft boxes are definitely not the rugged quality of Chimera, as to be expected for the price. But they will do what they are supposed to do, they just won't take the abuse the more high end units can endure. So, you have to treat them a bit more carefully. Also, the softboxes take a little longer to set up than a Chimera-style soft box.

The lamp units are made of plastic! That's right. They have a metal front end where the bulb slips in, but the housing is plastic! Sounds weird, but it seems to work just fine. Nice to be able to tilt a lamp without burining your fingers. How well they will hold up, is a question my testing should answer over time.

The stands are very sturdy for a kit of this price, and shows that it is possible to come up with a well built stand for a reasonable price. They are way better than the flimsy stands that come with the basic Lowel kit. I can't imagine any future problems with the stands.

The whole thing packs into a nylon case that may not be suitable for airline stowage, unless you can "beef" it up some way. But certainly fine for throwing into the back of a van. You might want to pack the bulbs in a separate hard case where they can be protected.

If you understand how to work with soft boxes, this can be a very useful kit, and will serve you will if you don't subject it to a lot of abuse. Add a dimmer, some correction gel material, and extra diffusion material, and you have a kit that will give you great bang for the buck. Excellent for interviews and product set-ups. Options include louvres for more control. Very versatile, and from my early tests, certainly well worth the price.

Bulletin: Here is a link to David Dicanio's site where you will find a series of interview clips, which he did with the Everlight Kit. David had very little experience with lighting when he purchased the Everlight Kit, and he has caught on very quickly. Note, he added a Lowel DP light with color gel for background effect. Download the "Interview" file. You will need Windows Media Player.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old June 14th, 2003, 12:17 PM   #6
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From the pics, it doesn' t look like I can slip on any sort of gel. Can it be done with these lights without buy more accesories? Also I would definitely want dimmers but how do they isntall? do i actually have to slice open the existing cables and put a dimmer switch in that way or are there any dimmers that would accept female/male power plugs?
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Old June 14th, 2003, 12:44 PM   #7
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It is very easy to clip gels or diffusion to the front of the softboxes using clothespins, known as "C-47's" in the trade. Gels come in 21"x24" sheets, which works just fine with the Everlight softbox.

You will need to do a little work to make your own dimmer boxes, Yang Wen. You can purchase the dimmers at any "Home Depot" style store. Make certain the dimmer is rated at least for the 500 watt lamps that come with the Everlight Kit. Then you would install the dimmer in what is called a "knockout" box. You would make two "pigtails" (short lengths of cable) to go to the box and dimmer. At the end of one pigtail, connect a female connector, and at the end of the other, a female connector. Check with a clerk at the store to get the proper gauge cable and correct connectors.

When assembled, simply plug the male end of the dimmer into a wall outlet, or the end of a "stinger" (extension cable), and the female end into the Everlight cable. Adjust the dimmer to taste, noting the light turns more red as the light output is lowered below about seventy percent.
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Old June 18th, 2003, 01:29 PM   #8
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Yang Wen & Alex:

Here's the thread on the Everlights if you haven't already found it:

Bryan's original reply in this post is right on target. As someone who started by trying the worklights, I can tell you that I wasted time and money on a solution that doesn't fill the bill. Now that I've attended the school of hard knocks, I realize there's a reason the pro lights are the way they are. I especially appreciate the compact storage of the Everlights.

My big problem has been getting rid of the worklights. Nobody wants them. I sold one for $10, taking a $50 loss. The other one is still taking up too much room in my small basement.

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Old June 19th, 2003, 09:18 PM   #9
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When buying a dimmer make sure its a "fin dimmer" as they are called. They had a built in heatsink needed for heat disapation of a high wattage light.

You gotta love the pro lighting industy slang terms...I will never understand why they call extension cords "stingers"...Par lights "cans" and Clothes pins "C-47s".

Also those little black clips know as butterflys work well. I keep a box of all 3 sizes in my lighting bag. The can be found in the office supply isle of any super store. There called ACCO Binder Clips
Scott Osborne
Infinite Video Productions
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Old June 20th, 2003, 07:06 AM   #10
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Do you keep oven mits in your lighting bag too? :D Oh so hot!
Andrew | Canon XL1s, ME66, Vinten Vision 3, GlideCam V16 (for sale!)
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Old June 20th, 2003, 07:19 AM   #11
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I made my own dimmer box for about $10, when all the REAL dimmer pots I found were $500 and up! I went to Home Depot, bought two home dimmers, and a two plug outlet. I bought a high grade 3 foot extension cord, wired it all together, and fit it inside a little box. Worked great with my Lowell Vip kit. Actually... I think it worked better :)
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Old June 25th, 2003, 06:49 AM   #12
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I just got my Everlight softbox kit last week just in time for a shoot I had out of state. They really made a difference in lighting quality and my project was a great success because of them. Thanks to all of you for posting info about these lights!!! I paid $499.00 through adarama.

Like other posters in this thread, I did the Home Depot solution but that just didn't cut it.

I recycled my Home Depot lights by removing the lights and using the stands. I attached PVC pipes to the stands (they fit perfectly) to make a portable adjustable stand for my chroma key material backdrop. Works great .... even for my large 11' x 20' material.
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Old July 3rd, 2003, 02:03 PM   #13
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Can barndoors be attached to these JTL everlights? What if I dno't want to put a softbox on a light for rim lighting? From the picture, the bulbs seem to stick out a lot, I gather there's a frontal part to the light unit, but what does that look like and can barn doors be attached to it? Thanks
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