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Old December 30th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #1
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A good (cheap) lighting kit for a beginner?

I am new to lighting and shooting in HDV. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a beginner lighting kit that I could use for doing a short documentary. I am shooting in HDV and using the JVC GY-HD110U with the stock lens. I plan on buying a Redrock micro adapter with Nikon lenses...eventually. I have heard that these adapters require more light as well as just shooting in HDV as well! Does anyone have any recommendations of what kind of light kit I should use and where to buy it from? A few people have recommended Lowell's Go kit... but I wanted to get a second opinion.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #2
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I think the Lowel pro lights with the 250 bulbs in them are the best light out there at $130 each. three of the in a bag with some bounce cards, cinefoil, and some scraps of daylight gel make a great kit.

add in some 1k open faced smith victor lights to fill in larger areas or to bounce off ceilings and walls and your set.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 09:57 AM   #3
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I picked up a cheap Smith and Victor light kit from Ritz camera, Three 500 watt lights w/ stands and 2 white umbrellas for $180. THey are by no means professional lights but it is certainly better than no lights! It is also easier to use than a couple of work lights from home depot. I apologize in advanced to any lighting pro's who might be offended :-p
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Old December 30th, 2007, 10:23 AM   #4
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Check B&H. They have a big range of all types of lights.

It's true that lots of brand-conscious people will scorn Smith-Victor lights, but they have some cheap kits and will get the job done if you're on a limited budget. You can probably get started with 3 fixtures in the 500-1000 watt range. You'll need diffusion and color correction gels as well as other light controls eventually. There is no single light or set of lights that's perfect for everything, but people have made feature films with a few open face lights.

I've used Lowel lights for many years and like them. But they used to be the best bang for the buck; today they seem to be a lot more expensive. I'm talking about the DPs and Omnis. They have some cheaper lights but you really need barn door controls and all, I think.

If you're new to all this, I'd recommend going to the Lowel site and ordering their book about lighting before you buy any lights. They're a lot like cameras--buying a good quality camera is not going to translate into good quality images unless you know how to use it. Learning how to use lights is more important than the brand of lights you buy.

I'd also recommend doing some shooting and learning the craft before you buy one of the spinning ground glass adapters to reduce depth of field.
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Old December 31st, 2007, 12:28 AM   #5
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Hi Stephen

Another brand you can check is Mole Richardson - they are older and built like tanks, but can be had for very little money. If you have a local craigslist or perhaps eBay or even a local production rental house, they may have some used ones. It's not unusual to find a 2k zip lite for around $150 (there are 7 listed here in LA for around $120 each)

Hope that helps


Brian Valente
Redrock Microsystems
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Old January 1st, 2008, 11:36 PM   #6
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I second the Smith Victors for a cheap starter kit. I have two 12" photofloods that I load up with 40w CFL lamps on y-socket adapters. I can throw a lot of light at the talent this way without much heat or power consumption. Plus, the light off the CFLs is very soft, even open-faced without diffusion. CFLs come in daylight or tungsten-balanced, and I have a full set of each for whatever balancing I need to do.

Their Raven RS8 stands are pretty nice, all aluminum, and can go up to 8' high. I like them a lot better than the Britek products I've used in the past.

I also have a boom and 5" reflector that came with my kit for a hairlight. I usually use a tungsten bulb in this, since I need a harder light.

I'm going to add another set of S.V. 12" reflectors and 6' stands soon to light my greenscreen.

Brian Brown
BrownCow Productions
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:30 AM   #7
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Lowel Rifa, Tota, Pro and Omni is a nice versatile set-up. Here's a quick video showing one way to light a typical interview with the basic Lowel DV Creator kit. http://link.brightcove.com/services/...bctid203709670
Guy Cochran
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Old January 6th, 2008, 02:57 AM   #8
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check out the Britek lights on ebay.
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