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Old March 14th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #1
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Couple kits I'm considering

I need a lighting kit and have come across a few that I think might work. I am filming drama not documentaries and want to light sets not just actors. I would like to spend no more than 2500 but 1500 is more like it. Can I have your opinions on the kits I'm considering.

Thanks
KITS:
Film Lighting,Movie Lights - 4200 Watt 5 Head Kit - Eos Lighting LLC
This kit is the one I'm leaning towards

Lowel DV Creator 55 Kit
Seems like a versatile kit

Lowel Super Ambi Kit
May be too much... Or is it the end all? The price is way up there, for me anyway.

ARRI Mega Power Added Fresnels, From - KIT/VLU-ARI-2250, KIT/VLU-ARI-3050, KIT/VLU-ARI-3850, KIT/VLU-ARI-4500
Kind of a no frills, but includes a couple ARRI lights.

Again thanks for your comments and reviews of these products. I don't know enough to know if there is anything I should 'watch out' for. A guy told me some lights require an electrician to run? Oh my... Cant have those, I'm a DV Rebel kind of shooter. Action scenes and green screen lighting is something I will be using the lights for as well.

THANKS!
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Old March 14th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #2
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Tom:

Please disregard these kits and read this Light Kit

Unless you only intend to ever shoot single talking heads, most kits are fairly costly and do not contain enough lights, light modifiers and grip equipment to do much more than a single talking head. Used lights are a great deal and having more stuff to shoot bigger and better lighting setups is what is important.

I own three kits and rarely use them anymore although I use my own kit that I assembled much along the outlines of the above article for almost every shoot.

Most people who buy kits are inexperienced users who take them as a placebo, thinking that now that they have a lighting kit, they are ready to shoot a movie, when nothing could be further from the truth. You didn't post what you intend to light but is it more than single interviews?

Dan
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Old March 14th, 2009, 04:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response dan, great article.

A, poster, once posted that after all the trial and error and buying this and that, attempting to make his own kit, that it would have been cheaper to buy a good kit from the start. With my lack of experience I don't think I could put a solid kit together by myself.

I am shooting a live action short that takes place in a warehouse and want to be able to light all of the scenes. Interviews are not my thing. But, I want to have a kit that I can light any scene from a sound stage to a my bathroom.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 06:49 PM   #4
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Hi Tom:

The kit that Walter assembled, if you just copied it exactly, would be MUCH better for your needs than any pre-assembled kit. Pre-assembled kits are designed to be neat and clean with a minimum of gear and a maximum of nice case space.

The Walter Graff kit concept requires you to cram a lot of inexpensive, small and light grip gear into a case with a lot of lighting. If you think you can shoot a feature in warehouse with a pre-assembled light kit, go for it. I am just trying to save you from the conclusion you will reach the first day when you try to light your first few scenes.

Actually, to light a feature in a warehouse, you really need at least a 5 ton grip and lighting truck, you will not have nearly enough juice in even the Walter Graff kit unless most of the film takes place in the dark. But at least assembling your own kit or package will get you closer.

Good luck,

Dan
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Old March 14th, 2009, 09:50 PM   #5
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Tom,
Now that you've read Walter's article, you know enough to not have to get a pre-fab kit and you have the knowledge to assemble a solid kit yourself. Copy Walter's. I did. Dan's given you the right answer.

You need knowledge more than anything else. With knowledge you will light more for your equipment dollar. Without it, you'll be stumbling in the dark (groan). :-)

Buying a pre-fab kit will not give you knowledge. Reading about technique and principles followed by going out and "doing lighting" will give you knowledge. While you are buying stuff, a book I used and recommend is "lighting for Digital Video and Television" by John Jackman. There are others plus Walter Graff has excellent web articles on lighting for many types of situations.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #6
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Tom,

The best advice I got was to go find an experience DP and lighting director who may be willing to let you be their assistant. There is nothing like learning through experience and it's free. One thing you will learn is that there is no light "kit" that will fit all your needs.

As far as what I think someone should own, a small light kit for one or two person interviews and that's it. If you try to buy lighting for a sound stage or location shoot you will be spending a lot of money and you will not want to transport it. For those situations rent unless you want to get into the light renting business you'll end up buying a lot of equipment you may use only once in a while.

I'm no lighting expert but this is what I've seen from my limited experiences.

Garrett

Last edited by Garrett Low; March 14th, 2009 at 11:49 PM. Reason: Sorry, typed the wrong name
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Old March 15th, 2009, 02:07 AM   #7
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Tom... Dan is a versatile professional and his advice is well worth the listen. (he won't brag himself up but his credentials would make most of us blush).

I have been at this only a relatively short time. I have found though that if you are savvy and smart you can pick up used lighting off E-Bay (as an example) for a fraction of the new price. I have also found that as the newer lighting stuff (HMI for example) is coming out, folks are dumping older, but perfectly good stuff (Tungsten) for a song.


As everyone has said it all depends on what you are planning to light. An interview kit won't do a large warehouse shoot, but parts of it might be handy. Lighting bought solely for that warehouse shoot on the other hand will probably be useless for the interview shoot.

Lowel lighting products can be picked up reasonably inexpensively on E-Bay and for me they formed the early cornerstone of my collection. (4 totas and accessories, 3 pro-lights and accessoeries, one Omnilight - looking for 2nd at a bargain price.) Once I got a little more advanced and smarter I picked up some nice focusing 750 and 500 watt tungsten units that were old, but very serviceable...for about $20 each delivered. I kept adding to my collection and picked up a couple old 1K/2K fresnels, and a couple smaller ones as well. I addded flourescent broads for close work and green screen lighting... and have a few other flourescent lights and also a couple of flourescent softboxes (and one tungsten one). I shopped carefully and did this on a shoestring.

Would I say my kit is complete? No far from, but I am pretty much able to handle 90% of what I am running into.

I'd suggest you consider where your initial lighting needs will take you and go from there and add along the way. Walter's basic kit is instructive for a newbie particularly for the non-light emitting accessories he carries. A large part of a lighting kit is not what most folks would think of as "lighting".

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; March 15th, 2009 at 10:57 PM.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #8
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So I bought the first kit from EOS, its great.... Just kidding. I wanted to thank you guys for directing me away from something that may not work for my needs. However, I do wish there was a kit already assembled and ready to go, as I have no experience with this. I did buy a book on lighting.

Anyway thanks for the input.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 02:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Sherwood View Post
So I bought the first kit from EOS, its great.... Just kidding. I wanted to thank you guys for directing me away from something that may not work for my needs. However, I do wish there was a kit already assembled and ready to go, as I have no experience with this. I did buy a book on lighting.

Anyway thanks for the input.
A pre-assembled kit to do what you ask would be at least $20k with grip. By the time most people are spending that kind of money on lighting, they know what they need, so they don't need pre-assembled kits.

Rather than starting your lighting career with a movie, why not start with some talking heads. Some 1 person, then some two person work. Then move up to filming 2 people in a small room like a kitchen. By the time you have success doing that, you'll have a good idea what you actually need for your movie.

Might take you a few months to set this up, but it will be WELL worth it.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #10
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Buy used! You're in LA, no shortage of used stuff.
You can get a used 2k Mole Richardson for $150. Get four 2k's and that's already like 6k. Or something like that.
A used C stand is about $75.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 11:15 AM   #11
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Where can I find these used lights? I think going used is a good idea.
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