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Old September 14th, 2004, 06:15 PM   #1
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Low budget lighting kit evaluation

Hi, I need a low budget lighting kit and I need it SOON...really only to shoot some basic and one-three person interviews at some private offices and maybe an indoor athletic club or too, the most challenging of situation probably being an indoor tennis club with bright fluorescent indoor "bubble" lighting.

Now, I realize there is always much better and much more expensive, but I really can't afford that right now...though I will upgrade when I have more money in a few months and know more about lighting.

Nevertheless, I'd rather by a cheap kit right now (i.e. DVCreator type kits) and learn the ropes before splurging on more of a long term dedicated decision, at which time I will be more prepared both financially and knowledge-base wise to make an educated decision...by then, I should have MUCH more money at my disposal.

But anyway, the DVCreator kits are an obvious consideration, but so is the $450 kit from Britek since Britek seems to be the choice these days for the best bang for your buck for the ridiculously poor.

But anyway, yeah, knowing all this, I seem to have found a low cost, slightly used kit from a guy within a short driving distance from me.

Here is what he is offering me:

> "I have an almost new light kit for sale that includes five lights,
> five
> stands and Case for $950.00
> 1) 500watt Lowel Omni w/ 4 way Barn Doors and Scrim
> 1) 500watt Lowel Omni w/ Chimera Speedring and Scrim
> 1) 250watt Britek w/ 4 way Barn Doors Focusable Spot or Flood
> 1) 200watt Britek w/ 4 way Barn Doors Focusable Spot or Flood
> 1) 150watt Britek w/ 4 way Barn Doors Focusable Spot or Flood
> 1) 24X24" Softbox
> 1) Gel Pak Complete w/ Roscoe 3200/ 5600 Color Correction and Colors
> 1) C47/ Clothes Pin Pack
> 3) Lowel Mini Stands 7' tall
> 2) Black ENG Air Cushion Stands 8' tall
> 2) 50' Stingers
> 1) Pelican Shipping Case"

Is this a good deal? It basically just looks like a cheaper, slightly used, hybrid kit of the DVCreator and Britek kits.

I also like that it has a hard, Pelican shipping case, as I'll need to be taking this on a cross-country plane flight and am very concerned that whatever lights I do get won't get damaged on the flight...renting is not an option, as I'll need to pay for a week of renting lighting, at which point, I'd rather just buy a cheaper kit of my own.

Can I make do with this kit just for some pretty standard/basic office interviews...not getting OVERLY creative here, after all we are talking neuroscience, lol?

In several months, I'll need to use this kit in some possibly more complicated situations, filming a sports psychology/neuroscience documentary, probably related to tennis.

Other than that, I am not a true professional and this is not my real job; but this is a very real side-commitment I am taking on in the next year. Long term, however, I do not know that this is "my field" so to speak.

As such, I'm not really sure if it's worth the investment to buy a full-on "professional" lighting kit.

Mainly, I just want to know if this make shift $950 kit would be *good enough* for my needs right *now* considering my budget ($1500 at the ABSOLUTE max...but honestly, I would prefer to spend $500 less so I can get a Vinten Vision 3). Also, would this make-shit kit provide a solid enough foundation for me to upgrade on in a few months?

Eugene Kim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 15th, 2004, 05:54 AM   #2
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I have never used Britek, so I can't speak for the quality. I did visit the web site and noticed you can get 3 - 200 watt lights, stands, and umbrellas for less than $300. Then piece together a G-650 - $99 and Light Stand - $29. Use the umbrellas until you can afford a decent light kit with softbox. Then get yourself some gels, stingers, case, etc.

650 with Umbrella - main
200 - fill (use other umbrella if needed)
200 - hairlight
200 - background

Or forget the hairlight and use the 200's on the background. This kit may not be enough for the three person interview. See if you can separate them for individual interviews.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 09:42 AM   #3
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Location: Vallejo, California
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AFAIK, Pelican doesn't make a case for lights (other than rip-it-yourself foam). Could be a Lowel case. Not nearly as solid as a Pelican but a lot lighter at the size.

Patrick is right, it is a bit 'light' for 3 people as you need some controllable light to get each individual correctly lit or you need a lot of lights to broadly light the entire set where they are seated.
Mike Rehmus
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Old September 15th, 2004, 04:29 PM   #4
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Ok, thanks. Probably not going to light three people though, more likely two at most, like sitting together on a couch or whatever talking to each other.

But no input if I would be wasting time on the above kit as a starting point? Value wise, it seems to be better than the DVCreator kits a lot of people use for basic lighting or to learn the ropes...or am I only fooling myself?

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Old September 15th, 2004, 06:33 PM   #5
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Would this kit work for basic interviews? Sure. Is it a good value? As long as evrything is in good shape, I would say its a fair price. You might price all these items out new at B&H and Briteklight.com and see if your truly getting a deal.

This is a lot of harsh light and only has a small softbox. When you have the cash, a Medium Photoflex Silverdome might be something to consider. Also buy some white foamcore, bead board or a collapsable reflector or two. I would also buy some lamp dimmers for the briteks at a home depot type store. Be sure to test them - you don't want any lamp buzz.

IMO Good lighting and mics are the best production investment you can make. They last a lot longer than your camera will and regardless of the quality of your camera, you won't get great images without great light or knowledge of lighting.

Lowel stuff isn't bad. They are easy to fix and parts are easy to get. This is important, because you will need to replace reflectors, ceramic bulb bases and light stand knobs from time to time.

It sounds like price and time are your criteria. This kit seems to offer both.
Get used to the lights before you use them on a client shoot. You don't want it to appear your learning on the job.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 04:32 PM   #6
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Pelican cases are study but heavy

One issue I've found with any Pelican case that is large enough to transport light stands is that they are quite heavy -- and if you are checking in as luggage, the case alone uses up a lot of the 50lb limit.

Otherwise, the Pelican's are wonderful, sturdy cases. Just somewhat heavy.
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Old November 21st, 2004, 02:26 PM   #7
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Britek makes a wide range of hot lights ranging from 250, 500, 600, 1000 and 2000 watts each and most can be fitted with softboxes.

I have some focusable Britek lights 1000 watts each with softboxes that have proven very robust work horses and are pretty cheap too.

As for carrying cases, the 250 and 500 watt lights can fit in most medium and large pelican cases but the 1000 watt lights which are clones of Arrai are too large for pelican. may i suggest a tool case on wheels from home depot. that's what a lot of pro grips use on a budget.

They of course fit in the Arrai cases but of couse the cases cost more than the lights!
Eric Moyer
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