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Old July 13th, 2004, 05:27 PM   #1
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lighting kit suggestions

I am putting together my first lighting kit and was wondering if anyone could give me some suggestions as to what I should get.

The lights will be used mostly for independent filmmaking. I'm not trying to light anything huge just yet -- just a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen -- small interiors like those.

As of right now I've been thinking about a 650w fresnel and 2 300w fresnels from Arri, and a Kino Flo Diva-light 400. Someone also mentioned to me a Mole Richardson 1000w Baby. I'd also like a soft light.

Is all of that equipment neccassary? I'm new to lighting so any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old July 13th, 2004, 11:42 PM   #2
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Unless your going to use the lights a lot or need them at a moments notice, I would put the money toward learning how to light and then rent what you need. Lighting is relatively cheap to rent and you can get specific lights for specific needs. I keep a very small interview light kit and what ever else I need, I rent.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 12:55 AM   #3
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You've listed an awfull lot of harsh light. Video doesn't require alot of light just quality of light.

I'd look towards soft lighting. fresnels are good for accent and highlighting but for the meat and potatoes soft lighting is where it's at (for me at any rate)

You can go for a softbox as a kit or buying items separately. i prefer to buy quality gear piecemeal. There have been enough posts that a search will net you hours of reading. It's all been said many times and with many and varyious opinions.

Do some reading and form a game plan.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 11:26 AM   #4
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Brian is right about the lights you suggested being quite harsh and of higher power than you really need for the shooting environment you described.

What you also need to remember is that those spaces you describe, in most homes, are very small with respect to the space you really need.

A light on a stand, no matter how small the light itself, takes an amazing amount of room (and power with the big watt types). The exact room you need for people and cameras. And when you get light into the correct position to light the talent, it seems like at least one light is always in the view of the camera.

So what you will need in these situations are lots more mounts than lights. Baby Plates, door hangers, etc.

Plus you need to have a gel inventory that can cover windows both for light and color balancing purposes.

Think control of existing light and positioning supplementary light so that it looks as if it comes from normal sources.
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Old July 20th, 2004, 07:32 PM   #5
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The Diva 400 is a great light. And it is relatively soft and cool. It comes with a flozier, grate to direct light, and built in dimmer. If anyone can afford to get one and needs a good, very versatile light, go ahead and do it. You will not regret it. It is probably the most requested light at the production company I work for in Burbank.
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Old July 25th, 2004, 10:59 PM   #6
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Re: lighting kit suggestions

<<<-- Originally posted by Deniz Turkmen : I've been thinking about a 650w fresnel and 2 300w fresnels from Arri, and a Kino Flo Diva-light 400. Someone also mentioned to me a Mole Richardson 1000w Baby. I'd also like a soft light. -->>>

Suggestions on purchases are never very good for personal popularity, but here goes anyway.

- Loose the Kino Flo Diva 400
- Get TWO 650's and TWO 300's w/ barndoors
- Add a couple of Photoflex Cinedome medium softboxes and rings - one for a 650 and 1 for a 300. The Cinedomes are great for fresnels.
- Get full sets of scrims for each fixture, some stand mounted diffusion frames for each head and some packs of color correction and diffusion gel packs
- Ignore the snobs and take a look at the same fixtures from Altman rather than Arri. They are every bit as sturdy and a lot less expensive. (there goes my cred, but someone had to say it)
- Wait until you've got the budget for a bigger production to buy a 1K, then make it a cheap open faced 1k. Pretty useful for night exteriors.

That lot will cost you about 2 grand compared to over 3 grand for what you listed not including the Mole.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 11:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
I'm not trying to light anything huge just yet -- just a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen -- small interiors like those.
I don't think he has room for softboxes given the interiors he's trying to light. The physical size of the lights and bits you suggest, Jack, will very probably not fit in those rooms.

Flo lights have a much better chance in those tight quarters.
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Old July 28th, 2004, 06:56 PM   #8
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Mike is right about the tight quarters. Flouresents are what I would use as well. You could even consider buying color correct tubes and making a flourescent fixture. For what it's worth, the light I use on every shot I need a soft key for is a home made flourescent soft box. Apart from the size issue, can you imagine all those fresnels running in a small bedroom? It would be like a furnace in there!
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Old August 24th, 2004, 01:15 AM   #9
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Regarding flourescent lights, what do you do if you need to travel via air? Do they travel well?
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Old August 25th, 2004, 06:50 PM   #10
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It depends on the budget and what exactly you are transporting. If you buy a fluo fixture like a KinoFlo, it will probably come with it's own shippable case. If you end up shipping tubes, you will have to get a tube case that has foam with long cylindrical sleeves to put the tubes into. At $20 per tube (for optima 32/ chroma 50) it's worth taking every precaution. If you have some money it may be worth buying them once you are on location.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 09:28 AM   #11
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Instead of the KinoFlo Diva, have you considered the Mole-Richardson Biax? I have been using a Biax for about a year now and like it so much I have ordered a second one. What I like about the Biax is a more enclosed design. It just felt more solid to me than the Kinos' lamps and reflector just hanging out in space. The louver also slides into its own frame and locks in place, rather than attaching with snaps. You can also turn on 2 or 4 lights, then dim them to taste. The omni mount ball style is in the center of the back of the fixture, making it easy to rotate vertical or horizontal from a stand, wall plate, or scissor clip on a drop ceiling. The barn doors are removable, and have very solid metal hinges. Mole-Richardson always makes solid, dependable lights that are rugged enough to be survive the bangs and bumps of a real set.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 09:34 AM   #12
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<Unless your going to use the lights a lot or need them at a moments notice, I would put the money toward learning how to light and then rent what you need. Lighting is relatively cheap to rent and you can get specific lights for specific needs. I keep a very small interview light kit and what ever else I need, I rent.>

Patrick,
Could you tell me what you use specifically in your small kit? I also want to have a bare bones set-up for interviews, etc. The other night I had to video a friend at a podium getting an award in a badly lit banquet room. Would one light on a stand be sufficient for that ?
thanks
Bruce yarock
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Old September 11th, 2004, 08:36 PM   #13
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Sorry its taken me so long to respond...

My Basic Kit includes:
1 Lowel Tota
1 Photoflex Silverdome NXT - Medium
1 Calumet Softbox Translucent Baffle that someone gave me.
1 Photoflex Connector for Tota
3 Cool-Lux Mini-Cool w/ barndoors and stand mounts
2 Cool-Lux Dimmers
4 Bogen 3320 Stacker Light Stands
1 Westcott Reflector Holder
1 Westcott Silver Reflector 39" x 39" Silver / White
2 Photoflex Umbrella Holders
2 Delta Foamcore Forks
2 Bogen Mini-Clamps
1 Bogen Extension
4 25 ft. extension cords
Misc. gels, clamps, black wrap pieces, gaff tape, c-47's, make-up, safety pins, etc.
Carry most of this in an old KIWI canvas camera bag- large.

Lowel Tota ... I usually use a 300 or 500 watt inside the softbox. Keep the subject as cool as possible.

I like the Silverdome very much. Price is right and is well constructed. Double baffled. This makes the light softer and keep the front baffle from yellowing. I like to take another baffle and place it in front of the softbox for even more softness. I place the softbox as close as possible to the subject without getting it in the shot.

3320 Stackers - these clamp together and I put a strap around them and carry over my shoulder. When I fly, they go in the tripod case or my checked luggage. They are only 7' and aren't real stable when fully extended, so be careful. I find something on location to weight them down.

Cool-Lux Mini-cools- I like these little lights because they don't weigh much, they are very compact and they put out a lot of light for their size. They are so small that they don't make the subjecct feel like they are in a studio, surrounded by big fresnels. I would never buy these new. They are WAY overpriced. I have picked up and sold plenty of them over the past few years from eBay. Where else? Why 3? I use one for a hairlight and two for background if needed. I use the dimmers on the hairlight and background light if needed. I also used the diffused glass sheild on the mini-cools.

I think a reflector holder is important. Without the right angle, they just don't work as well. I like westcott because it folds up small and spreds out wide when you need it. I leave it mounted to my light stand- anything to quicken the setup.

I use the bogen extension, actually the pole from a mini background stand, as a boom pole. I attach the pole to the stand with a bogen miniclamp. I make sure the boom pole and one stand leg are parallel to help stabilze and then I find something on location to weigh the stand down. Don't try this at home. I am a professional kind of thing.

I use the umbrella holders to hold the foamcore forks if I need a larger soft source or a flag.

I've also been considering some of the delta extension clamps to hold black wrap flags or cookies made from black wrap. Anything to keep from carrying more stands. Now that I'm over 40, I just don't want to lug a lot of crap around. I've also given up shooting beta and I am more than content with the quality I get from mini-dv. GASP!

Most of what I do is shooting interviews and b-roll, so this kit suits me well and because of the size I think I get more shots and I'm far from tired at the end of the day. Of course it took me a long time to figure this out. I used to use c-stands, fresnels, etc.

Hope this helps.

Do a search on eBay for Lowel or Cool Lux or whatever. There are still some bargains out there.
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Old September 12th, 2004, 12:52 AM   #14
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This is no news to some, but I'm a huge fan of the Gyoury lights ( meansst.com). Similar to a Diva 200 (2 in the kit, can be married to match the output of a Diva 400) but very flexible in the way they can be configured; from a standard two bulb reflector to a single reflector, to a powerful and dimmable china ball setup etc, all in a matter of minutes. Well-built and robust.

Considering that this thread was originally about making films, not necessarily interviews, I do stand behind the choice and need for fresnel units to augment soft sources. Sometimes a bit of punch or a controllable light is just the ticket. I don't believe that 650 watts is too much, especially when color correction gel is needed and you are combatting existing daylight.

Using hard light for video is perhaps more of a challenge than soft light, but it definitely has its place.
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Old September 25th, 2004, 10:33 PM   #15
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charles, you mentioned the Gyoury lights, have you ever used the wands with an application like the visor mount?

i need a kit for doing things like in a car, they look really good but i'm confused, on their site they show the wands and the visor mount but other than the big light kit i don't see any info on the ballast for the wands??

matthew
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