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Old April 30th, 2010, 01:59 AM   #1
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Recommend a light kit for a beginner

Hi, looking at buying some lighting equipment to go with the rest of my kit. Looking for some recommendations as to what I should be getting. Mostly for short films, but I'd like to have something that's versatile enough for other things as well. The main one I've been considering at the moment is a Lowell elemental kit, which is two omni's and a tota, along with gels, stands, etc. I'm really a newbie when it come to lighting fixtures only thing I've worked with besides this kit is a few Rifa's, so any help would be appreciated.

Not really looking to spend much over $1,000 on this
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Old April 30th, 2010, 05:57 AM   #2
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There are no ready-made light kits suitable for shooting short films, and certainly nothing under $1k. Spend some time in the lighting forums looking at the 100+ threads similar to this one for a more indepth answer, but you cannot do justice to what you are trying to do with the budget you're bringing. Well I take that back. You CAN do it, but not very well. Not as a beginner.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 11:42 PM   #3
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If you have a light sensitive camera like the Canon 5D/7D/T2i, you can get away with much less light in some situations. It is also possible to use more practical lights if your camera is more sensitive. For cheap lights, the Lowell Omni and Pro-light are fine, but the Tota has no barndoors so I won't use it. I also don't like using fixtures above 650W since two of them and a small backlight already takes up a full 15A circuit. For bigger lights, I prefer fluorescents. If they were available right now, I would get a 6-bank 330W fluorescent to use like a softbox, a 600led fixture as a backlight or bounced fill, and a small LED or Lowell Pro-light as backlight or to accent scenery. A collapsible reflector or two are also a good idea. If you want to start cheap, maybe get an Omni, a Pro-light, and two reflectors. It is possible to light a subject with only two lights if they spill onto a reflector for fill.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #4
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Amazon sells color corrected CFLs which can be mounted into Wal-Mart/Lowes/Home Depot clamp lights which in turn can be clamped to PVC stands. Ab-so-lute-ly the cheapest way to produce reasonably color accurate light, then pop for a decent Fresnel.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 10:42 PM   #5
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I second that - actually I bought 15 clamps, and 20 - 75 watt CFL's for my garage studio. I just made sure they were all the same color temps. PVC stands being held up by Christmas tree stands and I have a good set-up for green screen. Yeah, it looks a little red-neck rigged, but if you cover the clamp lights with white tissue paper it looks better...

Being PVC, they are pretty portable too, as I can take the trees apart easily...
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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:25 PM   #6
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When I started out, I bought one of the smaller kits and still use them today along with some other name-brand lights. This kit offers a LOT for the money and their customer service is great too.

Best way to learn is to get your hands on the lights and see what works and what doesn't. There are "rules" but rules are just a good starting point. Eventually what will happen is you will find the need for certain lighting that this kit can't do and that's when you start spending bucks on the name brand stuff. As I mentioned though, I have no intention of retiring my first lights from this company...they work great!
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