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Old August 11th, 2005, 08:49 PM   #1
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Starter Lighting Kit

Hey guys and gals-
I'm currently reading "Lighting for Digital Video and Television" by John Jackman and I must say it's a very interesting and informative book. This (along with realizing how imporatant lighting is) has spurred me to look into purchasing some lights. So I need your all's help. Here is what they will be used for:

I work with my church's youth group. I'm the "media guy" of the church and whenever anyone wants something video/media related done, they come to me. I plan on using the lights for little "shorts" that I do that have a point to them for the kids. They are funny little bits that involve some acting. I wouldn't rarely (if ever) use them for interviews. I just need something around or under $400 to get me started.

So here is what I've been looking at from B&H:
1. Lowel Tota Lights: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=248530&is=REG
2. Smith-Victor Quarts: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=250338&is=REG
3. Lowel Tungstens: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=270103&is=REG
4. Smith-Victor Tungstens: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=157948&is=REG

So, those are the main ones I'm looking at. Any suggestions? Like I said, I don't want to spend much. So yea, thanks!
-Brett
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Old August 11th, 2005, 11:39 PM   #2
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The university I go to uses those lights... they are meh. The lights are 250W and get really wimpy when you try to bounce them off the umbrellas.

Reliability is ok/meh. The umbrellas and the barn doors on the lights can get damaged. The stands are kind easy to topple, but otherwise hold up well (I haven't seen any broken ones).

Haven't used those other lighting kits, so I can't say.
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Old August 12th, 2005, 07:04 AM   #3
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I think I'm leaning more towards the Smith-Victors. Both sets supply 600W on each lamp, they also come with a carrying case which is nice. What does everyone else think? I need some help on this one!
Thanks.
-Brett
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Old August 13th, 2005, 05:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
The university I go to uses those lights... they are meh. The lights are 250W and get really wimpy when you try to bounce them off the umbrellas.

Reliability is ok/meh. The umbrellas and the barn doors on the lights can get damaged. The stands are kind easy to topple, but otherwise hold up well (I haven't seen any broken ones).
Wow. Now there's a ringing endorsement. Glen, what is "meh"?

Anyway, Brett, I am going to encourage you to do a search here for the JTL Everlight Kit, which consists of three softboxes with 500 watt lights. These are a great way to get started without spending too much money ($500.) Here is a link to a retailer: http://www.photography-lighting.com/...-Lighting.html
You can also check them out at jtlcorp.com

This will give you a good base to get started, and you can add other lamps as funds become available, and you gain experience.

Here is a link to a little project I did with the JTL kit, a bounce card, and a LTM Pepper (300w). You'll find stills and a brief tutorial. http://www.digitalprods.com/LSmontage

Good luck!
Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old August 13th, 2005, 05:34 PM   #5
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Meh is what you say when you mean ok/alright.

You can probably do (much) better than those lights as you point out.
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Old August 14th, 2005, 06:42 AM   #6
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Try this lot for size...

http://rostronics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=1500Wfull3kit

$425 and a lot more flexible than two soft lights.

I'm in the UK and just bought 4x 300/600w heads and a 200w, 4 softboxes, 5 stands, 1 brolley and a 5-in-1 reflector all with carry bags from Tom at Rostronics. Sent on the monday arrived in my office on Friday.

All in with shipping and import tax it cost less than a basic 3 head readhead kit. OK the build quality isn't as good, but it's a lot more flexible I think.

The problem I have had is lamps. 240v r7 78mm linear lamps are only available in 250w, so all the softboxes are 500w instead of the 600w.
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Old August 14th, 2005, 07:56 AM   #7
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replacement lights bulbs

Can replacement light bulbs be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes?
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Old August 14th, 2005, 12:39 PM   #8
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The Rostronics kit certainly looks interesting for a budget kit. Can anyone point me to any reviews written by professionals, or qualified amatuers regarding this gear?

BTW, Bill, you can't buy these bulbs at Home Depot. OTOH, lighting retailers don't sell hammers. :)
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If it was easy, they'd get a relative to do it.
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Old August 14th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #9
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rostronics review

I second that request. The price is certainly right, and I'm tired of home depot lights.
And when I need a hammer on the set, I just use the back of my cam.:)
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Old August 14th, 2005, 01:14 PM   #10
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Reminds me of a theatre company I used to work with. Our motto was "Every tool is a hammer... except a screwdriver, which is a chisel."

Some people have spoken highly of the rostronics on this board... a search will yield some reviews.
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Old August 14th, 2005, 01:36 PM   #11
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Wow, thanks for all the replies and info guys. That Rostronics kit does look pretty nice....
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Old August 14th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #12
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I'm very happy with the kit I've just got.
Not used it yet though.

As I've said the lamps are a problem for me in the UK. The 78mm r7 lamps are used in floodlights so you can buy them in most DIY shops ('hardware stores' as you would call them in your language teehee)
But the 110mm lengths are easier to find. So I have found 250w lamps, and each of my housings takes 2 (500w total)

The build of the units as a whole seem very good. Everything from the stands to the housings are held together with nylok nuts so nothing is going to fall apart. Switches on the housings, tilt locks and the stand locks all seem ell made. There are plastic elements in places but generally the build quality is good.

The soft boxes have a silvered interior and the front soft material can be removed. So little light is wasted compared to a brolley, or simply clipping trace to the front of a barndoor.

The softboxes are a bit of a fiddle to put together at first, follow the instructions and although it feels like you are going to break them, persist and you'll get it. Then it's easy and a lot quicker.

The 200w head is focussable, I've had to put a 150w lamp in it, and I don't think the tungsten element sits where it should so there's a little spill through the gap where the barndoor meet the housing.

The units I have used standard 5/8 inch stud fittings for the stands.

Any more question?
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Old August 14th, 2005, 01:52 PM   #13
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Yea, do you think it's worth it to upgrade to focus lights for an extra $60? Would you do it if you had to do it all over again?
Thanks.
-Brett
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Old August 14th, 2005, 03:21 PM   #14
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I would do it again sure.
However the kit doesn't give very fine control.

But I hope to use it as blanket softlight, and use the 150w as kicker.
Perhaps use one of the 300/600w's as a strong fill.

But my future intentions would be to add a 2 or 3 head dedo kit.
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