Good starter lighting kit at DVinfo.net

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Old January 13th, 2005, 11:39 AM   #1
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Lowel lighting kit

I was am looking into getting a lighting kit and was curious about the Lowel DV Creators Kit 1 at DVcreators.net. Has anyone used or could vouch for its worth or should I look a little longer? My spending limit is somewhere around $1,500 and the Lowel kit is around $900. What ever suggestions you guys have would appreciated.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 11:33 PM   #2
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Go here to see my post and others' regarding that kit.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...832#post262832

For $1500 you can put together a decent package with some soft lights and hard lights, some sandbags and a cart and maybe have a few bucks left over.
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Old January 15th, 2005, 09:27 AM   #3
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ok, so I guess my next question would be if the package on this page:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=225027&is=REG

is better than the Lowel DVCreator kit. This is what a friend suggested but seeing as I am just beginning on video ( I have a background in still photography) I would like the opinions of some more seasoned individuals.
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Old January 15th, 2005, 01:07 PM   #4
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That's a good kit too. It's pretty pricey. If you're not in a hurry, you could assemble a similar package by getting stuff on ebay. Do your homework on the luminaires and ask the sellers questions. The B&H Professional Lighting Sourcebook is great, lot's of info and their prices are the best. You can learn a lot just by visiting their website and looking at what's available.

The Arri Kit is good, but the 650 is your main light. Shooting a fresnel through a Chimera is not the most efficient way. You're better off getting a Totalight and pumping that thru the Chimera and then you have the 650 free to do whatever. You'll need a different ring, though. The two 150W lights can use FEV 200W globes which will give you a little more oomph.

You can put your own kit together from several different manufacturers and stick it in a case, or bag. Lowel is cheap, but good. If something breaks, a trip to the hardware store will most likely fix it. Arri is expensive and good. They'll last a long time, as should the Lowels. The Lowels are good for starters, they're cheap and robust.
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Old January 15th, 2005, 05:43 PM   #5
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Here is one piece of advice I want you to burn in your brain, Joe: anything with "DV" in the title should be suspect, such as "DV Creator Kit."

To compare an Arri light kit to a Lowel kit is like comparing apples and peach pits. I will agree with Mark on one point; they are "cheap." But I absolutely disagree that they are "robust." If you do a search through the posts in the Photon forum, you will find numerous complaints about Lowel products. I will admit their Rifa light is fine, and the Pro light is OK if you want a small fresnel with low output, but there are better products, such as a LTM Pepper 420, a real professional instrument. And yes, you can use the Tota light in a softbox, but I would suggest the less expensive Photoflex with their speed ring. And certainly with a better light stand, such as the Avenger from Bogen, although you can find lower priced stands that are professional quality.

The first question to be answered, Joe, is what do you want to do with your light kit? Then we can offer some suggestions. The idea is to buy lighting gear that will continue to work for you as you develop your skills and become more professional.

I'll bet you didn't buy a cheap camera that was just "good for starters."

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Old January 15th, 2005, 08:03 PM   #6
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I'm not going to get in a pissing match over personal preference for gear. People seemed to have a budget of about $1500 for a light kit. In my post I didn't get into specifics about exactly what to get, but rather encouraged people to read up on the gear, get info on what's available and shop around. They were on the right track.

Lowel is pretty good and if you don't have much money, it's a good place to start. If you abuse the gear, yes it will break.

And yes, I agree, anything with "DV" on it is suspect.

Make informed choices and then get in the game and shoot!
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Old January 15th, 2005, 08:53 PM   #7
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Wayne, you are absolutely right. I bought an XL-2 and love it. I am not necessarily looking for something that is "for beginners" so much as I am looking for a basic rig for interviews and such. I would use it for short films as well. I have studied lighting for still photography, but it was more placement than it was wattage and strength. I am just not sure what type of set-up I need to get. I don't mind buying good equipment that will last.

The Arri kit I was looking at was one that was suggested. I am somewhat interested in the Lowel kit, but I have heard that it is less durable.

That is why I would love advice and tips from you guys. You guys have been here, and done that, and know what you are talking about.
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Old January 15th, 2005, 10:51 PM   #8
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Ok we all agree we're trying to help Joseph find a "Good starter lighting kit"

I think he should get a Lowel DV Creator Kit 55.
Ah, there's the initials "DV" in the name, it must be crap. Oh yeah the Panasonic DVX100 that must be crap too. Avid DV Express? Come on now.

To back up the quality and durability of Lowel's kit, I'll let you know that I have flown around the country to every major city in the US, across Canada and Mexico for the past 4 years with the same Tota, Omni and Pro light in a standard Samsonite hardcase along with Tripod and stands. You know how those guerillas handle your luggage. I have even left the bulbs in all the lights, and yet I have never had a single problem with any of these lights being broken. I have completed over 100 shoots with the kit.

Lowel is affordable quality gear and has become an industry standard. You say Arri, I say cool, if you have the money. Lowel has some nice Fresnels for less. Volvo has less expensive cars than Mercedes, but they both get you to the same place. Compare the kits and what is inside for $1400 and I invite you to find 3 comparable lights and a softbox with stands and that all fit in a hardcase for that price.

Like others have said, take care of your gear and it will take care of you. Oh and I will absolutely agree that the old stands prior to the new Uni stands were not as durable. Also included in the 55 kit is 1 heavier KS jr stand for the Rifa 55. The Tota, Omni and Pro are lightweight and rest fine on an Uni stand.

It's also worth mentioning the set-up time of a Rifa is less than 60 seconds. Chimera with speedring is a few minutes.

And take a look at the stills on this page http://dvcreators.net/products/dv_enlightenment.html

All lit with the DV Creator Kit 55 - Shot with a Canon XL-1S. Spend the money you saved and get the DVD that can give you the knowledge to truly make your projects shine.

We're all here to help, all on the same team, each with their own opinions. I think everyone wants to know what's out there for about that price so if anyone can put together a nice package or can link to a page that has something, please share.

Cheers,
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Old January 16th, 2005, 12:52 AM   #9
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We're not casting aspersions, just saying that folks should be aware. There are unsavory types who will market junk to those who are uninformed.
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Old January 16th, 2005, 09:01 AM   #10
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So what about lights that are for sell on Ebay? I don't think that I would make anything from there a primary kit, but they do have individual lights ( 150kw for $75 for example) that are cheap and would make a nice addition, or add a little oomphthat what I already have, if (and i stress if) they are a good deal. Are most of the people on ebay legit? I understand that anyone can screw you over, and I sell on Ebay all the time, but some of these prices are so cheap that it is hard to believe they are serious.
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Old January 16th, 2005, 10:09 AM   #11
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Quality lights tend to be one of the safer things to buy used, as they are pretty rugged and can generally be repaired if necessary. I got a great deal on an old beat up Mole fresnel that works perfectly a while back. I bought it at B&H's used lighting department by the way. As for whether eBay is a good place to buy or not -- I've never had any problems, but I've heard plenty of horror stories. I would stay away from buying off-brand used lights. God knows what you'll get, or if it can be repaired if necessary.
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Old January 16th, 2005, 02:43 PM   #12
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I agree with Marco, check the sellers feedback, pictures of actual item, etc, ask questions. Also setting a sensible bid ceiling. At some point, it may cease to be a bargain, when you factor in the shipping, etc. I 've been outbid many times, which is fine.

So far I've gotten good deals on Kino Flo, Mole, Desisti and Arri gear from various sellers, often pros, unloading gear for one reason or another. I only bid on stuff manufactured by the majors.
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Old January 16th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #13
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Rather than engaging in a "pissing match," I posted a new thread with my suggestions for a starter light kit.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=37863

Hope you will all pop over there and add your suggestions.

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Old January 22nd, 2005, 12:05 AM   #14
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Chimera 8000 24x32 kit is a good deal with grids.
Get a A475b avenger boom
arri 650 plus
tota barndoors for gels
reflector or chimera frame panel kit. look for eng kit..
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Old January 24th, 2005, 03:02 AM   #15
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Walter Graff has a very good article over on (hope Chris doesn't mind!) DV.com about making a compact easy to manage lighting kit that will get you by in most situations.

One of his recommendations for people on a budget is the Lowel kits. He also shows how you can use certain $15 flourescents and make them suitable for video use.

Considering Walter's background, it's worth checking out.
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