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Old September 14th, 2012, 02:21 AM   #1
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Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

I'm looking for a interview lighting kit for documentary work, something that is durable and easy to travel with, quick to set up and break down. I'm assuming 3 lights would be the norm, though I've seen 2-light kits, coupled with a reflector perhaps?

No specific budget, just looking for the best hardware for these needs.
Would love to hear your suggestions.

Thank you.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #2
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

Sounds like an LED package would suit your needs best. The better 1x1 panels can be battery powered, there are bi-color options and even LED fresnels. Prices are steep for the good units, but you'll have better color rendition and matching should you go with a reputable manufacturer.

Have you checked out Doug Jensen's DVD tutorials on interview lighting?
How to Set up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights

He explains his 'conversion' to an all LED kit, and shares interview setup techniques.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #3
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

Paul...have you investigated LED lighting solution? I just invested in a five (5) light interview lighting kit based on the recommendations of a very knowledgeable working professional. Warning! They are not cheap.

However, when you think about the ease and time for set-up, the ability to power everything from batteries, no heat, no cool-down, energy savings from much lower power requirements, no repetitive maintenance and replacement of expensive bulbs, and an advertised life-span of 50K + hours. What's not to like?

Regards,

J.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 10:35 AM   #4
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

Oren...you beat me to the punch. Heh, heh!

J.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 10:41 AM   #5
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

You will still need light stands for whichever route you take.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 10:59 AM   #6
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

Paul...I would also recommend Doug Jensen's LED lighting DVD. I took a "Corporate Video" Workshop in August '2012 and used Doug Jensen's Lite Panels LED kit during the Workshop. It was the main reason I purchased the lighting kit I have now.

Mr. McPherson...yes, you still need stands.


Best regards,

J.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 11:25 AM   #7
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

I've used LED's before in a traditional 3-point set up, and I was very happy with the result. I worry about taking those same lights on the plane however. They are too large to carry-on, so they will need to be checked, and checking them leads to unknown damage risks, so I need something that is fairly compact so I can afford to check the lights and stands all in one bag/case and something that will get there in one piece.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 06:11 PM   #8
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

The stands will be harder to stow on-board than the lights.There are compact light stands you could carry onboard, so long as you don't mind a relatively short maximum height.

If heat/power isn't an issue, then you can opt for small Lowel lights and various modifiers as portable options. The Prolight is very versatile and packs a punch, but you'll need a softbox, umbrella or diffuser to soften it.

If you're worried about damage to your light stands, then I suggest a hard-shell rolling golf bag. In a pinch, you can get a tripod, 3 or 4 light stands, and power cords in there.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 10:49 PM   #9
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

For quick setup and getting a good look for interviews it's really hard to beat a couple of Lowel Rifa's supplemented with a couple of Pros for a kicker or hair light. I use to have an eX 88 and a 66. They literally set up quicker than any other light I've used and are very compact and light. Now that I do projects that mostly require hard lights I no longer have them but sometimes when I need to do a quick interview setup I do miss them.

There are several ways to light any scene so this is just another way to go.
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Old September 23rd, 2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

One of the things we have discovered is that while we love the size, durability, and portability of LED lighting we get a much more pleasing light from our softbox lighting kit using 5500k large CFL bulbs.

The CFL bulbs are a pain in the butt to transport as I am constantly worrying about them breaking but so far have never had an issue.

We still use our LED on camera lighting for wedding receptions and other run and gun situations but if we are doing event videography such as lectures we use our soft boxes with the CFL bulbs.

If you search you can find the technical reasons LED lights are not as pleasing as tungsten or CFL's (light spectrum, green spike, etc, etc).

I know that the quality of LED lighting is evolving and someday I am sure I will invest in some 500 and 1,000 bulb LED fixtures.

Last edited by D.J. Ammons; September 24th, 2012 at 11:43 AM.
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Old September 23rd, 2012, 09:00 PM   #11
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

I'd go with Lowel Rifa lights or Lowel Pro lights with small soft boxes. Both are pretty cheap and very compact.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 08:41 PM   #12
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

A very interesting option at the moment is the Lupolux LED Fresnels: Lupolux

Light quality looks very nice, and you get the benefits of both LEDs (low power needs, low heat, easily dimmable) and Fresnels (controllable output).

I just wish there was some more info out there in the way of hands-on reviews.
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Old November 4th, 2012, 10:51 PM   #13
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

Alright, bringing this one back to life.

I've been experimenting with LED panels, but I'm having a hard time with how harsh the light is.
I know a few people have said buy doug jensen's tutorial. But I've purchased several of these video tutorials in the past, and would rather just hear it from the user!

My question is, how do you get soft light from LEDs? I've experimented putting soft boxes or diffusion material in front of the LEDs, but it's still pretty harsh and not as soft as a large soft box. Do you simply not get super soft light from LEDs, and deal with that because of the advantages of the units? Or is there a trick that I don't know about?
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Old November 5th, 2012, 01:08 PM   #14
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

In short, the bigger the light source, the softer it will be. If you're dealing with small/harsh looking fixtures, get a pop-up 5 in 1 reflector/diffuser and mount it between your light source and talent (ideally, as close to talent as possible). Try to fill the diffuser with light, making it appear like one giant light. Blammo! Instant soft light.
Spill will be more of an issue than using a softbox, but it's a cheap solution. Be aware, this requires a reflector holding arm, boom arm or similar to position the diffuser properly. Not ideal for traveling light, so weigh this against your alternatives.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 03:00 PM   #15
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Re: Interview lighting kit, easy to travel with.

I have used led lights that by themselves are harsh not only for the talent's eyes but also the overall look is contrasty. My solution was to use the smallest tripod that extends out to 5 feet in height and colapses to just under 18 inches. Then I put a small 18 inch diameter umbrella, either a silvered finish ( reflects more light than the white one) or the white surfaced one. Yes, I lose a bit of light output, but with today's cameras sensitivity and the close proximity of the lights to the talent( about 10 feet), I never had any problems. All my led lights are battery powered with the option of AC power ( which I never use). The 3 lights, 2 tripods ( 1 tiny one also for hair light) and 2 umbrellas including 3 chargers 6 batteries and 3 AC adapters, all fit in a carry-on and weighs less than 25 lbs. including the case. It takes me 2 minutes to set up. There are times that you may want a different look other than very soft lighting for dramatic effects that a large softbox cannot do. Everything being bathed in soft light will tend to have a "flat" overall look, similar to an overcast day effect. Placing the lights with different amount of diffusion will generally be best for documentary/interview work.Led units freed me from extension cables, looking for outlets and not worrying about lamp breakage and heat issues. If I were tu use large softboxes, them my tripods would have to be much more sturdier and heavier as well as larger which negates the use of carry-ons.
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