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Old January 31st, 2008, 08:13 AM   #1
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Lighting Kit Dilemma

Hello all.

I am just about to buy a lighting kit for my Sony V1E, and at the moment I am torn between two kits.

These kits are planned to be the starting kit, and built apon with other lights as needed.

I plan to use them for all sorts of uses, gaming events, short films, interviews and numerous others

The two kits I am looking at are :

a) http://www.prokit.co.uk/product.php?id=391
Has the advantage of being from one manufacterer, hard case. But couldnt see any light scrims

b) http://www.prokit.co.uk/product.php?id=251
Mixed combo of manufacturers, no scrims included, but can be supplied.


The 2nd option seems to have a good spread of Wattage lights for the kit.

Im at a cross-roads, and Im ready to spend the money. I just want to make sure that Im not making the wrong decision

Any help or guidance you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Im doing a gaming event mid feb, so Ill be able to show you the end result :)

Many thanks in advance

Niall

Last edited by Niall Chadwick; January 31st, 2008 at 08:18 AM. Reason: Spelling :)
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Old January 31st, 2008, 09:56 AM   #2
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Looks like your choices are really between predominantly open face and fresnel focusable spots. I'd choose kit "B" if these were my only choices. Fresnel lights offer more defined control, and are essential elements for lighting in tight quarters or any time you want to control spill. Those are Arri fresnels in the b kit option. Good stuff - I really like my 300 and 150 Arris. In lighting, control is the name of the game.

I think the Tota light offered in both kits is a waste of time, but that's just me. The only time I'd ever use a Tota is if I needed to bring up general ambiance in a larger area that doesn't already have house lighting. Like a cave or something...

You might want to consider a do-it-yourself option, where you leave the Tota out and get another instrument that might be of more common use to you. Perhaps you have a different set of needs, though, and the Tota will fit the bill nicely. Just consider what you'd use it for. Why buy something you won't use?

Whatever you buy, get spare lamps and extra scrims. Invest in some other softening material like opal and frost - maybe even some tough spun diffusion. And get nice 25' and 50' low-gauge stinger cables.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 10:50 AM   #3
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I agree, the Tota is worthless unless used with an umbrella or a softbox. By the time you buy a softbox and the speedring, it costs more than it's worth.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 11:59 AM   #4
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Agreeing on the tota - you'd rarely light a person with it. It's a bad boy with little control and lots of spill, an ugly look. Also a lot of watts in a small package - bounce it off a white ceiling or use a couple to light a factory background and you'll say "that's a lot of light for something so small." But that's a narrow set of uses, if you don't anticipate those applications you might not need it.

All the rest in kit B is very good stuff. I use all the Lowel and all the Arri lights mentioned, as a working light the Arri is very, very good. The Rifa is a great light, I have two. You won't find a lighter, easier to set up, better looking softbox. Of course you can jump to a chimera on a 2K, but that's sort of a different beast.

One thing Lowel does do is fly well. Now that the US airlines allow only 50Lbs. per piece of baggage the Arri equipment is at a disadvantage for those who must fly with their gear. Some send heavier equipment ahead, some rent on-site, and of course some don't fly with their gear very much. That's a great Petrol case as well, I think you'd like the 2nd kit a great deal if you're working out of a car, van or truck.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 12:17 PM   #5
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For the same price, I prefer your "B" option.

I have a lot of Lowel lights, but the Arri fresnels, as said above, are better light, more controllable and easier to use... and excellent in general.

The package with the Arri lights weighs quite a bit more. However, the Petrol case, with wheels, takes care of this.

The stands that come with the Arri kit, are heavier than the Lowel stands. The advantage of the Lowel lights is their light weight.

The Lowel Rifa that comes with both kits is excellent and fast to set up.

The Tota has an umbrella with both kits. With the Arri kit it has the extra controls that fit on the little doors on the Tota. I frequently use tota lights for raising the general light level (as said above) and with an umbrella. I also carry them in suitcases when flying. The totas can be mounted with clamps in different places (without the stand) so they are convenient and can be used to raise the general level without getting in the way.

The Arri lights are much easier to put on filters/gels than the Lowel open face lights (which require the included frames).

You will need to buy a few accessories for the kit that comes with Arri lights. With either kit, if you do interview type setups or similar, you will probably want to add a set up grids for the Rifa.

If the the size of the case and the weight is not a problem, the kit with the Arri lights is probably better in general.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 12:18 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, its greatly appreciated

The thing is, I am new at this. I wanted to try and get a kit, or some lights that have a good variety, rather than some kits that give you for example 3 x 650w fresnels, and will cover a lot of uses

But thanks to lots of reading and Rush's Filmmaking course, I am starting to understand a lot more than I did

I think the frustration for me, is that Im not aware of a lot of dealers of Arri Lights in the UK.

I was thinking that the best combo would be :

1 x 650w
2 x 350w
1 or 2 x 150w

Also for the lights :

scrims
flags
Light box (forget the technical name)

I have just found this supplier

http://www.backstageshop.co.uk/acata..._Lanterns.html

I am looking at the Pro Kit 2, and maybe adding a 150w to that list

I will be doing some green screen work, so I can use the 150w to light the background? or should i look at other alternatives? Higher Wattage light?

Whats your thoughts?
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Old January 31st, 2008, 01:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niall Chadwick View Post
Thanks for the replies, its greatly appreciated

The thing is, I am new at this. I wanted to try and get a kit, or some lights that have a good variety, rather than some kits that give you for example 3 x 650w fresnels, and will cover a lot of uses

But thanks to lots of reading and Rush's Filmmaking course, I am starting to understand a lot more than I did

I think the frustration for me, is that Im not aware of a lot of dealers of Arri Lights in the UK.

I was thinking that the best combo would be :

1 x 650w
2 x 350w
1 or 2 x 150w

Also for the lights :

scrims
flags
Light box (forget the technical name)

I have just found this supplier

http://www.backstageshop.co.uk/acata..._Lanterns.html

I am looking at the Pro Kit 2, and maybe adding a 150w to that list

I will be doing some green screen work, so I can use the 150w to light the background? or should i look at other alternatives? Higher Wattage light?

Whats your thoughts?
Hi Niall:

With the strength of the pound, you should consider purchasing any Arri kits or lights from www.bhphotovideo.com in NY. They do sell the 220V kits and they are not much more than the 110V kits.

B&H is excellent and they do sell all over the world so shipping, customs, etc. should be easy.

Best,

Dan
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Old January 31st, 2008, 01:25 PM   #8
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I have looked at them before.

Shipping is expensive, for obvious reasons :)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ungsten_5.html

That kit has caught my eye

But no other additional flags, diffusers, gels
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Old January 31st, 2008, 01:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niall Chadwick View Post
I have looked at them before.

Shipping is expensive, for obvious reasons :)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ungsten_5.html

That kit has caught my eye

But no other additional flags, diffusers, gels
It seems with shipping ($491.75) this kit is 1742,68 pounds. How much more do you have to pay in tarif/tax/VAT?
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Old January 31st, 2008, 02:09 PM   #10
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VAT is 17.5% of the value of the sale
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Old January 31st, 2008, 02:40 PM   #11
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You will need way more wattage for the green screen! The screen should be brighter than your foreground, actually. Think two lights - at least 10% more luminous than your subject.

650 for your key
300 for your fill
150 for your backlight (single subject)
2 x 650 for your green screen

That's a bare minimum for a green screen kit, IMHO.
Consider getting a squeezer (dimmer) for your fill light - just make sure it can handle the wattage.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 12:31 AM   #12
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actually I just did a chroma key shoot yesterday, and a tota was fine for lighting the background. I used two lights on the CK BG. the tota was one, the other a DP. thats about all a tota is good for is dumping light onto backgrounds. great outside for dumping light onto walls in night exteriors because they are easy to hide. after that, they are not much use.

I'd also say look at some flo lights. much more light / watt. great for fill, kicking up room ambience, lighting CK backgrounds. don't think that 3 or 4 lights and you are done. my _basic_ everyday kit is something like this

1 500W/1000W lowel DP with wescott "chimera"
1 500w/1000w lowel DP with barn doors used mainly for pattern making on backgrounds, but I also often use it as a direct key or bounce off of B board
1 tota with 500/750/1K bulbs. mainly only used for CK BG lighting, hardly ever gets used
1 pro light 125/250w bulbs with cheap ebay softbox. used it as a hairlight, used it as a key in low light bar scenes
1 2X24 flo light used as key in small spaces ( http://www.matrox.com/video/press/profiles/home.cfm click on practical illusions , used DP for background patterns .. oh did I say some of the product shots where lit with a 20W desk lamp inches above frame line :) ! )
1 1K desisti fresnel
1 575w hmi

even with this, its just barely enough for most little jobs. I dont' use everything on every shoot ( sometimes I do), just want the right light for the job. I'll pick up another couple of HMI's and flo lights this year

that doesn't count the other dozen lecos, broads, and specialty lights I have and bring out when the job warrants. nor does it count larger jobs where I'll rent larger lights. so don't sweat 3 or 4 lights. that will work for small talking head shots, small interiors, but it won't cover everything. its not that you can't do a lot with it, but no little kit will cover everything so stop worrying. just get something with 4 lights in it, and build from there. a pair of flo lights, and some C stands, various little grip items

of course then there's a crate of gels alone, crate or two of grip items ( clips, clamps, heads, pins, plates, ect ), apple boxes, flags, cookies, cables, ect that also go out. its all this "little stuff" that makes everything work. great if you have the lights, but you also need lighting control to stop light from going where it you don't want it to. a roll of black wrap can be your best friend... and C-47's !

develop a working style, then build out from there on the rest. it happens over time as your work dictates the best gear for most of your gigs.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 05:15 AM   #13
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blimey!

Thankyou very much for the great responses. You have helped a great deal

Regards

Niall
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Old February 1st, 2008, 07:35 AM   #14
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I would caution against using a Lowel DP as a background pattern generator. As an open face light, you will get a strange effect when using a gobo - the light will concentrate through the small holes and through each hole in the pattern, you'll get a ring of reflected light that's more concentrated. It's an interesting effect if it's what you're going for, but most of the time you'll find it quite objectionable.
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