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Old March 8th, 2010, 06:22 PM   #1
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Light Kit for travelling

I'm looking for a 2-3 light kit for traveling that I can check on a plane that is under 50 lbs and is somewhat compact in size. I'd prefer a kit that sits at the 5600K range. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I'm leaning towards the Alzo Fastbox kit.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #2
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Add some sort of back light, and you'll have some good basics!

I'm not familiar with the alzo softbox, except for what I just read online.

1) 15"x15" is a pretty small surface. I tend to think the good soft starts at about 24" wide. At 15 you don't get much "wrap" in most situations.

2) 800w equivalent is pretty good for the size, weight, and power consumption.

3) The ballast is speced at 117v 60Hz. If you're thinking about going outside North America, it would be worth a call to Alzo as to whether the ballast will run at 50Hz. If so, you can use a step-down transformer (potentially weighty, though). If not, you're probably looking at their 220v option. Don't know what that costs.

4) The daylight vs. tungsten balance issue is always of concern, especially in a travel kit where you're likely to be far from your usual sources of supply. At 800w Daylight, these lights would seem to be a good approach. Lay in some CTO gels for conversion to tungsten when needed.

5) When I put together a suitcase kit, I used Lowell Rifa 500w 24x24" softboxes. Worked well, only pulled out the CTB a couple times. No ballasts, just changed out the bulbs for 220v and added some euro adaptors. They're spendier than the alzo... and, correcting tungsten to daylight eats up a lot more of the light than converting daylight to tungsten.

Somewhere here is an older thread about suitcase kits. Ah, here's one, but there are a few, especially if you search on the terms "suitcae rifa", since the rifa has been a favorite of many people for this application.
transporting lighting equipment by plane on a solo assignment
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Old March 14th, 2010, 04:38 PM   #3
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HID lights are a bit of a pain. If you turn it off, you have to wait 6 minutes to turn it on again. Imagine telling your interview subject to just wait for 6 minutes because you accidentally bumped the cord. The bulbs are not very compact for traveling. They aren't dim-able either. For interviews, I don't know why you'd need two powerful lights like that. Usually only the key is that powerful. You might try a hybrid approach using different kinds of lights for different roles. Right now I use a Comer 1800 for a hairlight. With the lens filter it is more than powerful enough. It is dim-able which is critical for a hairlight. I stick a little piece of 1/4 CTB gel behind the lens filter to get it up near 5600K. Battery power reduces the number of AC cords I have to take and makes setup and modifications go faster. I use a 30" reflector for fill light. I have a Dedolight for background. For key light I either use fluorescent, Lowell Pro light with a softbox, or an LED 500 (planning on upgrading to the Cool lights LED 600).
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Old March 14th, 2010, 05:04 PM   #4
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Look at the Lowel Totas, very compact and powerful. Add umbrellas and 3 light weight stands packed in a good padded case and your all set.

Remember in Europe you have 220v and with the Totas you just change the bulbs and add a adapter.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 06:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Boyer View Post
Look at the Lowel Totas, very compact and powerful. Add umbrellas and 3 light weight stands packed in a good padded case and your all set.
The OP HAD suggested he preferred daylight balanced instead of tungsten and converting tungsten to daylight is an exercise in futility IMHO except when ABSOLUTELY necessary... 5600k native instruments have 16x the efficiency over tungsten corrected to daylight IF you need daylight balanced.

For those that question my math:
Full CTB correction transmission factor is around 25% so a 1000w tungsten instrument equates to 250 effective watts.
HMI output at any given wattage is usually equivalent to 4x the amount of watts on tungsten - a 250w HMI has light output equal to a 1000w tungsten instrument (at 3200k)

So 4x4 = 16.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 06:37 PM   #6
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Oh, and Eric, the best travel companion a guy (or gal) can have for daylight lighting considerations is a good white collapsable bounce disc, like a Photoflex. Place subject close to a window (or outside), and place the bounce for fill. Low tech but it works WONDERS.
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