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Old December 1st, 2009, 05:57 AM   #1
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Documentary Interview Lighting Hardware Help Needed

I am looking for a three head lighting kit for a documentary I am working on. I think I have pretty much narrowed down my search to two Arri’s but not sure which one would suit my needs best. I have listed the two below but would check out any other brands, models that you suggest.

ARRI Arrilite 600W Pro-Kit 1

3 x Arrilite 600W, 3 x 4-leaf barndoor, 3 x small kit stands, 1 x Set of 4 scrims, 1 x kit case

ARRI ARRILITE 800W x 3 Head Kit Arrilite Kit

3 x Arrilite 800 c/w barndoors, 3 x medium kit stands, lamps, Scrim set, 3 x accessory holder and a 3 head kit case.

The lights are to be predominately used for interview work, both inside and outdoors. It does need to reasonably universal. Any advice would be very much appreciated. I haven’t much experience with lighting.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Paul Inglis; December 1st, 2009 at 11:55 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 12:16 PM   #2
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Hi Paul:

For shooting interview interiors and exteriors, you have some unique needs. You generally don't need to light a large area, just the talent and the small area visible in the frame behind them. What is unique is that you want to light interiors as well as exteriors. That is ambitious for a newbie.

The fly in the ointment is the shooting outdoor part. Tungsten lights are generally not very good for shooting outdoors. You need to change their color temp to match daylight using Dichroic filters or CTB gel. Unfortunately, when you put a Dichroic or full CTB gels on tungsten light, you reduce the output by about 2/3. So your 1k open face Arri will become only a 300 watt light as far as output levels when shooting outdoors. Generally too wimpy to really do much lighting outdoors. At times, on pro shoots, large tungsten instruments are used but they run off of generators and many thousands of watts so the loss of 2/3 of the output is more manageable. You don't have that option.

For low budget exteriors, FlexFills, reflectors and foamcore for lighting interviews are generally a better solution if you are limited on budget. An alternative is HMI lights, which are daylight balanced color temperature unlike Tungsten. Problem is, one HMI cost more than the three light kits you are suggesting and a full 3-5 light kit with HMIs costs more than most low end cars new. There also daylight fluorescents and LEDs but they generally have too low output to be used for exteriors.

Assuming you can use reflectors or FlexFills for your exteriors, the kits you suggest would be okay for indoor interviews. One problem with the two kits though are that all three lights are the same. For Arri, you should look at the Softbank I or Softbank IV kits, they would be more versatile because each of these kits offer lights of various sizes and wattages, allowing you to cover a scene with more variety. In a standard interview setup, you generally need 2-3 lights to light the talent. But then you also need at least a light or two to light up the background. The Softbank kits each have 4-5 lights and are extremely popular as interview kits.

Dan
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 10:33 AM   #3
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Hi Dan,

Thanks for the detailed reply! Extremely helpful!

Quote:
For shooting interview interiors and exteriors, you have some unique needs. You generally don't need to light a large area, just the talent and the small area visible in the frame behind them. What is unique is that you want to light interiors as well as exteriors. That is ambitious for a newbie.
I always jump in the deep end, heh!!

I usually light outdoor interviews with reflectors and has always worked for me. However, I have an upcoming interview that I need to shoot under a dense canopy of trees. I did a dummy run and found the light wasnít really suffice (I donít like using the gain setting on my cam) so thought about lighting scene with a lighting kit.

As always budget is a consideration, especially as I may not use the lights outside again for while as reflectors are easier to carry. Maybe itíll be cheaper to hire a lighting crew for this particular interview.

That means I could just come to terms with indoor lighting. Thanks for the advice on getting a varied sizes and wattage lights in a kit. The Arri Softbank IV kit looks great and affordable! I think Iíll be getting book to help me get to grips with setting them up as well!
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