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Old May 17th, 2005, 04:23 AM   #1
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First kit: Rostronics instead of DVcreator55?

I'm posting this after reading the rave reviews of Rostronics service, prices, and quality.

So, the question is, "should" I go with Rostronics instead of the DVcreator55 (lowel) kit? i.e. if I tried to build out the same kit that comprises the DVcreator55 kit:

A 500w Rifa-55 collapsible softlight, a 500w max. focusable Omni-light, a 250w focusable Pro-light & a 750w max. broad throw Tota-light, with Uni-stands and a handful of light controls in a compact hard or soft case.


Contains...
1 Rifa-lite 55 (LC-55)
1 500w, 120v lamp (EHC)
1 Pro-light (P1-10)
1 Pro-light 4-way Barndoors (iP-20)
1 250w, 120v lamp (GCA)
1 Omni-light (O1-10)
1 Omni-light 4-way Barndoors (O1-20)
1 500w, 120v lamp (FTK)
1 Tota-light (T1-10)
1 750w, 120v lamp (EMD)
3 Uni TO Stands (UN-55)
1 KS Jr. Stand (DT-33)
1 Tota-frame (T1-20)
1 Assorted Gels (T1-78)
1 Pro & i Gel Frame (iP40)
1 iP Assorted Gels (iP-78)
1 Flexi-shaft pkg (2) (T1-50)
1 Tota-flag (T1-52)
1 Tota-brella (T1-25)
1 T/O Lampak (TO-61)
1 DP/Tota Lampak (DT-61)
1 TO-83 Case


...could I do it at Rostronics and does anyone think the price would come out better?


One thing that I wonder about is warranty and repair, I've heard a lot of folks say that lowel fixes everything without issue.


Oh, and I really, really, sincerely hope that adding this post as a new thread doesn't irritate anyone (as I realize there are LOTS of related threads), but I have to honestly say that I literally have like two dozen windows open, and i'm reading gazillions of forum threads, articles, and books about lighting kits, and I wish I was knowledgeable and experienced enough to know the right questions to ask myself in order to get to the "right" kit, but the truth is I just need to get something to learn with, and to shoot an interior noir-ish/night 10 min short in a couple of weeks (my first shoot), which will also have a few night car (int/ext) shots.


....I"m sooo fried from reading this stuff that I just want to buy something and get on with practicing, lighting, shooting, learning, and then as time goes on I guess I'll eventually figure out what is "good" for me, and my needs, and style.

btw, I'm looking to spend about $2,000 or as much as $2,500 (I get the feeling I really should get some c-stands, clamps, gels, and related grip/gaffer paraphernalia), It'd be nice to be able to add some kind of HMI and fluorescents/kino-flo
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Old May 17th, 2005, 12:05 PM   #2
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I personally don't care for the Rifa. It doesn't offer any flexibility. Its only a soft light.

Although lowels aren't the best light you can buy, there are two things I do like about them.
1) Easy to gets parts for and fix yourself.
2) They are compact, (easier to pack) more so than the britek. Something you will appreciate after a long day.

If your looking for an interview kit:

Photoflex Medium NXT and omni connector
2 Lowel Omni
2 Lowel Pro
1 32" Collapsible Silver / White Reflector
Reflector holder
6 - stands - Bogen stands are better than lowel (imo)
All the many accessories that are useful for a well rounded kit.

That should take care of your $2k budget.

Rent anything else.

Look at Walter Graff's kit at film-and-video.com (instruction). Then click on my light kit article.

Walter shoots with minimal light, which promotes faster set-ups, more realistic look, and easier on the body. But minimal lighting requires some experience to do it right.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 02:02 PM   #3
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Thanks Patrick, to be honest, I'm not really sure why I "want" a Rifa, maybe it was the heat factor and apparently "the light falls off quickly and will keep you from having shadows on your walls"

Re: "Interview Kit"

When people say "interview", are they referring to a generic lighting scenario, or are they always literally talking about a an actual interview situation like for TV/ENG or a Documentary? I ask because I see that term used a lot and I'm not sure how that matches up with what I want to be able to do: light various interiors for fictional pieces, whether it be a home kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc, an office or restaurant, with anywhere from one to many actors in a given scene/set/setting (and the occasional actual docu. interview, but that would seem to be the easier lighting challenge)

Re: Walter article - I actually did read an article by Walter called "Building A Compact Lighting Kit" over at dv.com, but again he starts the article out with the following, "for an interview or product demonstration", which hopefully doesn't mean NOT for lighting an interior film(dv) fictional scene.


Re: "Photoflex Medium NXT and omni connector" - I'm not sure what these are, but I'll do a quick Google

Re: Your light kit article - How do I find it, I do see that I can search through all of your postings, which many I've probably read during my research.


Thanks for the input.

~Shawn
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Old May 17th, 2005, 02:51 PM   #4
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Shawn;

This is where you can read Walter's illustrated article on what is in his lighting kit.
http://www.dv.com/features/features_...2004/graff0404
He is talking about interview/product shooting, which means medium and close-up shots. Having said that, he actually carries a lot of light in his small kit (1 bag): (3) 600W Lowel Omnis; (2) 200W Peppers; (1) 500W Lowel V-light and a couple of home-made fluorescents, plus some other small stuff. I don't see why you couldn't make narrative films using the same kind of fixtures.

How he made the fluorescents can be found here:
http://www.film-and-video.com/broadc...s-30bucks.html

You could easily do most of this with Britek lights from Rostronics and save a vast amount of money. The core of my lighting is the LTM Pepper Full Spectrum Light Pak, but I do also have some Briteks, which I find to be solid, lightweight and cool down really quickly. The G-3000 is basically identical to the Lowel Pro-Light, but it is only $68 including bulb and barndoors! Here's their web site just in case you don't already have it bookmarked:
http://www.rostronics.com/products.asp?cat=27

For the other stuff you might want like C-stands, grip kits, reflectors, etc., try Amvona at:
http://www.rostronics.com/products.asp?cat=27

and B&H Photo USED EQUIPMENT at:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ren&Q=&ci=2876

I got a bunch of frames and stuff like that at B&H.

The only way you are going to spend $2,000-2,500 is if you go crazy with the money you saved shopping at Rostronics!
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Old May 17th, 2005, 04:42 PM   #5
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Jack,

Thanks for the additional info, greatly appreciated.

About the c-stands, there seems to be a LOT of different models, I would imagine I just need some basic models that allow for holding scrims, flags, foam-core/bounce, diffusion screen, maybe an occasional butterfly. Do you have your own equipment for shooting outside day shots where you might need to cut/diffuse the daylight using an overhead/butterfly (silk or muslin)?

Any advice on what model c-stands to get, and/or quality alternatives to the 'c-stand' brand? I'd also like to be able to shoot an exterior in daylight and

re: Walter's article - yes, that's the one I read, thanks for the clarification about med and CU shots.

re: The G-3000 and building out the rest of the kit from Britek (I'll sit down and try to map it all out, or maybe even give Rostronics a call, they sound like they're really helpful and could probably help me match the dvcreator55 quite easily)


Again, I REALLY appreciate the assistance, and will hopefully do good by you all by getting out there and practicing, and creating lighting that is dramatic, subtle, and most of all beautiful and complimentary to the story and the actors!
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Old May 17th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Murphy
About the c-stands, there seems to be a LOT of different models, I would imagine I just need some basic models that allow for holding scrims, flags, foam-core/bounce, diffusion screen, maybe an occasional butterfly. Do you have your own equipment for shooting outside day shots where you might need to cut/diffuse the daylight using an overhead/butterfly (silk or muslin)?
This is a whole subject unto itself. In low sunlight, add reflectors on your subject/s and or additional lighting. In overly bright sun, you can put the talent under a silk "tent" (cumbersome & expensive) or put a flag between sun and talent, then add some sun back with one or two reflectors - I especially like the rusults with gold reflectors.

Quote:
re: The G-3000 and building out the rest of the kit from Britek (I'll sit down and try to map it all out, or maybe even give Rostronics a call, they sound like they're really helpful and could probably help me match the dvcreator55 quite easily)
Well, Tom is a really sweet guy, but I don't know that I would call him a lighting expert. He runs this business and all the profits go to a charity, but I'm not sure if he would know an Omni from a manhole cover. If you like, you can click on my name and we can do this by email or private chat, if you like. I got a lot of help from these forums when I started and I don't mind passing it on one bit.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 08:00 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=Shawn Murphy]Thanks Patrick, to be honest, I'm not really sure why I "want" a Rifa, maybe it was the heat factor and apparently "the light falls off quickly and will keep you from having shadows on your walls"

You want soft light. This can accomplished a number of ways. Bounced into a white surface, like a wall, foamcore, beadboard, through a large piece of diffusion, umbrella, or softbox.

Fundamental rule of light. The larger the source, the softer the light. The closer the source to the subject, the softer the light. With softlight, the instrment itself is not the source. The source becomes what ever the light it pointed at or directed through.

Soft light will not, by default, keep you from having shadows on walls.

Consider using some of your money to learn how to light...

http://www.theworkshops.com/catalog/...48&SchoolID=21

I don't light films, so my limited expertise stops here.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 09:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Barker
Well, Tom is a really sweet guy, but I don't know that I would call him a lighting expert. He runs this business and all the profits go to a charity, but I'm not sure if he would know an Omni from a manhole cover. If you like, you can click on my name and we can do this by email or private chat, if you like. I got a lot of help from these forums when I started and I don't mind passing it on one bit.
Jack, If you were to help Tom arrange "packages" of his Rostronics gear into logical "kits", maybe it would help sales for the charity even more.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick King
Jack, If you were to help Tom arrange "packages" of his Rostronics gear into logical "kits", maybe it would help sales for the charity even more.
Patrick, I can't tell if you are serious or just taking a poke at me, but I'll assume the former. About a year ago on another board, I proposed this very idea - to talk to Tom and get him to put together 3 "Kits". I proposed what should go into the kits and people got very excited. Because Rostronics don't offer eveything you want in your light/grip bag, another member was going to put together a basic "Grip Kit" and find souces (probably B&H). The idea was to help Newbies posting "New to Lighting - What Should I Buy?"

At that time, Tom was clearly overwhelmed with orders from people who had "discovered" these remarkable little fixtures, and the other guy never came up with his "Grip Kit", so it came to nothing.

Anyway, this is what I had proposed as a talking point, though please note that I put this together before Britek introduced their newest fixtures:

Run-N-Gun 3-Light Kit
(1) G-600/650, 600 Watt studio Light with focus control & barndoors
(1) 24x24" Softbox
(2) Britek G-3000 300W Light with Barndoors & Focus control
(1) 32" Translucent umbrella
(3) 8' Trimax Air-cushioned light stands
(1) Light Head case
(1) Stand case
(1200 total watts)
Approximate Total with 5% discount $450

Location 4-Light Kit
(2) G-600/650, 600 Watt studio Light with focus control & barndoors
(1) 24x24" Softbox
(2) 250 Watt studio Light with focus control & barndoors
(1) 24x24" Softbox
(4) 8' Trimax Air-cushioned light stands
(2) Light Head case
(1) Stand case
(1700 total watts)
Approximate Total with 5% discount $650

Studio-Pro 5-Light Kit
(1) RS-1000, 1000 Watt studio Lights W/Focus Control & barndoors
(1) 32x32" Softbox
(2) G-600/650, 600 Watt studio Light with focus control & barndoors
(1) 24x24" Softbox
(2) 250 Watt studio Light with focus control & barndoors
(1) 24x24" Softbox
(4) 8' Trimax Air-cushioned light stands
(1) 8' Trimax Heavy-duty light stand
(3) Light Head case
(2) Stand case
(2700 total watts)
Approximate Total with 5% discount $925
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Gault
Soft light will not, by default, keep you from having shadows on walls.

Consider using some of your money to learn how to light...

http://www.theworkshops.com/catalog/...48&SchoolID=21
Patrick,

Thanks for the additional info, my comment about choosing "Rifa", was an error, I meant to say choosing between a kino-flo (or any fluorescent) and an open faced light soft box design, as apparently there can be a difference in heat and shadow, though I suspect that shadow would be inversely proportionate to the light intensity regardless?


As far as taking some of my money to lear to light, I'm taking several approaches:

1. I've bought a handful of books:

The Five C's Of Cinematography -mascelli
New Cinematographers - ballinger
Lighting for Film and Digital Cinematogrpahy -viera, dave & maria
Matters of Light & Depth -lowell
Placing Shadows -gloman, letourneau
Film Lighting -malkiewicz
The visual story -bruce block

*and about five others that are more general and cover all aspects of pre-production through distribution (including lighting).

2. Subscribing to this forum as well as cinematography.com and dvinfo.net (probably spend too many hours a day reading posts!) ;-)

3. I'm in a Documentary Film class, though this was just to get exposure to ideas, concepts, and process (lighting here is minimal to none)

4. AND MOST IMPORTANT: I want to get some lights and practice, though I have begun working with the various lights I have at my disposal: fluorescent strip, christmas lights, tungsten home lamps, street lights, day light, fish tank light! *all worthy of experimenting with white balancing and placing shadows, but keep in mind I started this entire adventure cold just around the middle of March.

Thank you everyone for all the great feedback, ideas, opinions, and professionalism!
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Barker
Patrick, I can't tell if you are serious or just taking a poke at me, but I'll assume the former.
Jack, I promise I was NOT poking fun; I was quite serious regarding the fact that someone who actually knew something about lighting could help Tom arrange the equipment he has into logical "kits" which might aid his sales. If you told Tom you wanted to do 'three-point' lighting, he would probably automatically assume that it meant three equal lights, when in truth it could be a key, a reflector for fill and a much smaller backlight. And he offers all those items, but just doesn't have them grouped well.

BTW, I noticed from the groups that did did assemble, you didn't build any around the Dual wattage lights I find so appealing (from a utility standpoint). Any reasoned aversion to the Duals or they just don't appeal to you?
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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick King
BTW, I noticed from the groups that did did assemble, you didn't build any around the Dual wattage lights I find so appealing (from a utility standpoint). Any reasoned aversion to the Duals or they just don't appeal to you?
Not at all adverse and in fact I just posted elsewhere on this forum suggesting those very lights. If you look again at my post above, you will notice that I said, "...please note that I put this together before Britek introduced their newest fixtures..." I only added the list to show that I was serious, just in case you were taking a poke at me.

When I spoke to Tom about this, it wasn't necessarily to get him to put it up on his web site, but to review and comment; agree a fixed price; be prepared to assemble such kits as orders came in and to see if he wanted to get into the "grip" part of the kits. My "kits" were only a talking point for him and for those who read the post and were interested. For example, I wasn't really sure how many cases were required for each kit and just put in an educated guess.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jack Barker
When I spoke to Tom about this, it wasn't necessarily to get him to put it up on his web site, but to review and comment; agree a fixed price; be prepared to assemble such kits as orders came in and to see if he wanted to get into the "grip" part of the kits.
Sounds like a win-win if you or someone else knowledgable is willing to put in the effort.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Patrick King
Sounds like a win-win if you or someone else knowledgable is willing to put in the effort.
Well, some public discussion of each of the proposed kits - including a grip kit, which I guess I could get B&H or someone to assemble - should be discussed publicly. If I were going to propose this all over again, I would certainly provide a new kits proposal to y'all, reflecting what is currently available.

I don't mind putting some time, but I think it should be the subject of a new thread, don't you? Perhaps a sticky thread (do we have that here?). I would also want to involve the DVXUsers folks since that's where it started and where there are many gung-ho Britek/Rostronics folks. I think we would need some involvement with the administrators here at DVi.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #15
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Jack,
I think that would be service to the community, especially the part about assembling the 'grip' kit. It's amazing how your mind works when you start thinking about video. In Lowes the other day, I started fondling a set of non-skid carpentry clamps. My wife asked me what the heck I was doing with those because I don't do any woodworking. I put them down and didn't want to say I was wondering how the material would hold up to heat if I used them to clamp a filter in front of a light. And I'm just an amateur, I can't imagine how pros see everyday objects differently.
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