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Photon Management
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Old April 20th, 2004, 04:46 PM   #1
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$1000 shopping spree

Right now I have the following in my kit:
2 c+ stands
2 cheap, lightweight lightstands
1 mole-richardson 1k nooklite
1 mole-richardson tweenie
1 mole-richardson midget
1 arri 650 fresnel
3 arri 300 fresnel
3 ltm pepper 420
Each light has complete barndoor and scrim package
I also have various clamps

I've had a recent influx of money and have about a thousand dollars I'd like to spend on equipment. I wanted to know the opinion of the members on this board: What should I get? I was thinking of maybe a lowel rifa or some kind of other softlight. I probably also need a few more cheap stands. Right now I'm using the equipment for DV short films and fashion photography.
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Old April 20th, 2004, 06:15 PM   #2
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It looks like you have a pretty good kit right now, Noah. I'm sure many people will be glad to chime-in with what they believe you should buy with your small windfall.

The fact that you've posed such a question suggests that you don't feel a strong need for anything right now. If that's the case, I'd recommend not feeling predisposed to spending -anything-. Put you small windfall into a short-term investment (a 3-6 mo. CD, a money market fund, et.al.) and wait until you really need it. To simply spend money on gear for the sake of spending money is foolish.
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Old April 20th, 2004, 08:18 PM   #3
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I understand what you're saying, but I only know what I am limited to. That's why I'm asking for people's suggestions,. So that maybe I'll learn of something useful and helpful that I can add to my kit.
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Old April 20th, 2004, 09:20 PM   #4
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Well, that's an expensive way to learn but OK!

So the one big, nasty, glaring missing piece of stuff from your kit list is a good soft box such as a Photoflex or Chimera. It's an essential for most people. For a complete kit you'll need the soft box, a speed ring for one of your Arri's and an soft egg crate for the soft box. That will put a productive dent in that hot $1K!

(Yes, the Rifa would also provide a soft box but with enough instruments to light Shea Stadium you probably don't really need another instrument. The Rifa is best for run-and-gun headhunters.)
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Old April 21st, 2004, 12:14 AM   #5
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Or you could address your softlight needs a few different ways...

You could buy a small JTL softlight kit, there's a guy on ebay who sells 'em new, a 1-light kit is under $200, two for about $375, three for $500. Include stands that may be better than the ones you have.

Or, you could pick up a 2k Mole-Richardson Ziplight off ebay, they go for under $200 and it's an all-in-one softlight solution.

Or, and if I were you this is the way I'd go, you could get something like a Kino Flo Diva 400 for around $1000. You've got a lot of lights but they're all hot, power-hungry tungsten. The Diva would give you a luxurious soft light that's perfect for interviews, etc. Very friendly to the subject, and with daylight tubes you'd have a daylight-balanced light as well.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 08:22 AM   #6
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Maybe a generator?

Spare bulbs, cords, and some extrat grip stuff?

Softboxes?

Cheers...
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Old April 21st, 2004, 08:31 AM   #7
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Or you could stash the cash, and save up for an Alesis Diva hard disk audio recorder, just about $8,000.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 09:09 AM   #8
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Noah- What is it that you do? Is it studio or location? Film, weddings or events? That might help to figure out where to invest that money.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 03:08 PM   #9
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I am very happy with the Photoflex I recently purchased for interviews/portraits. I wish I had a small complement of fresnals such as yours to add to it.

So the Photoflex is my recommendation. B&H sells the Photoflex Starlight Location kit at:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=280002&is=REG

The kit is well outfitted, of good build quality, and seems to be a fairly good bargain at $589 for what you get.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 06:42 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of your replies, they've been helpful. I do mostly studio fashion photography. And also I do DV short films, which generally consist mostly of interiors. As of now I'm thinking of going for a softbox. Either the photoflex Starlight Location Kit Jim mentioned (thanks Jim) or the JTL everlite softlight kit that Barry mentioned. The photoflex kit gives me a more powerful light and a better build, while the JTL gives me the flexibility of 3 lower wattage lights for a little bit cheaper. I'm really torn on which to get. Opinions? I think the remaining cash I'm just going to keep in the bank for a later time.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 06:57 PM   #11
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I had decided, if I were to ever get a studio, I would love to have a few banks of cool fluorescent lights. For location lights, I want some solid stands, and possibly a balloon light- if affordable ;)
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Old April 21st, 2004, 09:46 PM   #12
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The Photoflex Starlite can also be lamped with a lower wattage 500w bulb. I like the grid, louvers and circle-mask accessory controls that come with the kit. Using the grid with the double diffusion cuts down a lot of the light from the 1000w lamp in the head.

I was a gaffer for about 15 years before I started shooting 8 years ago. What impresses me with the Photoflex is the quality of the light as well as the accesories for control. The light has a real nice sweet spot when positioned properly.
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Old April 22nd, 2004, 04:53 PM   #13
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Noah,
So now you're selling your Arri's and Peppers?
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Old April 22nd, 2004, 05:02 PM   #14
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You could utilize what you already have by buying a cinedome. They're built with a longer throat to accomodate fresnels.

A photoflex with a Tota is less expensive than the Star Llight kit plus you can lamp it very reasonabley. The lamps are also available more readily. The same holds true for the chimera, they have a rig similar to the starlight and it usess the same lamps
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Old April 22nd, 2004, 05:37 PM   #15
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Yes, I'm selling two of each. I never really needed so many lower wattage lights. I was shooting a short film though that had weird scheduling and it was more economically efficient to buy the lights and then sell them after we were done shooting (yesterday) than rent.

Bryan, I looked at the b&h website before regarding the cinedome's but it said they were only rated at 500 watts? If I were to get a softbox and speedring for my 1k nooklite which one would work?

Right now, I'm leaning toward getting 2 JTL everlite softlights. I think they would give me the light and flexibility I want for the cheapest price. I'm just a little concerned with how well they'll hold up down the road.
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