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Old September 15th, 2013, 04:01 AM   #1
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First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

Hi all! I'm looking to get my first actual kit for lighting, and I've got about US$2000 to spend. This is coming from me using softboxes and reflectors with CFL bulbs in them that are at most 105W.

I'm looking to shoot with my FS700 at 200fps too, and I'm not really in tune with the whole lighting product field yet, but that probably means no CFL bulbs can be used, right?

Currently I'm looking at the Arri Tungsten Fresnel 150/300/650W or 3x650W set up, but people have also told me to save my money and buy the As Arri lights on Ebay. That, or CN900 lights from ebay too.

Does anyone have recommendations? I understand that with the LEDs I can have dimming ability without shift in WB, but with tungsten fresnels I'll have issues with warming.

I currently shoot some documentary stuff, corporate videos, and some music videos. I'm looking to get into more narrative short film type shoots soon too.

Thanks!
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Old September 15th, 2013, 04:32 AM   #2
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

I have a Kino Flo Diva 400/200 kit and a F&V K4000 LED that I use ALL the time. Two 150W tungsten kickers with colored art gels are also in my standard kit. Also have Arri 650 and 300 watt fresnels.

The cooler daylight colored lights are more useful for me in interviews and general purpose, while tungsten comes out for more "artistic" scenarios.

There are off-brand florescent fixtures available, but I recommend the KinoFlo bulbs in both 3200 and 5600.
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Old September 15th, 2013, 06:14 AM   #3
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

I did think of KinoFlos before but wouldn't they be bad for slow motion shooting? Never knew why people liked Kinoflo's so much!
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Old September 16th, 2013, 01:08 PM   #4
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

I have not shot at 200 fps, nor on the FS700, but you should be very careful with what you buy as high speed has its own set of challenges = MORE light is needed and flicker.

Smaller incandescent lights can flicker, this due to the USA 60hz or Europes 50hz sine wave A/C.
Larger lamps (2K +) don't flicker as much because their larger filaments stay hot longer and therefore produce more even light.

Genuine Kinos I believe should be good at 200 fps, but it is possible that you may find you'll need to go to other fps settings to avoid flicker. I am not sure what the FS700 offers in variable frame rates, but my guess would be you don't get that many choices over 30fps.

Testing before purchase is highly recommended.

As always, YMMV
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Old September 16th, 2013, 08:21 PM   #5
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zexun Tan View Post
I'm looking to shoot with my FS700 at 200fps too, and I'm not really in tune with the whole lighting product field yet, but that probably means no CFL bulbs can be used, right?
Wrong. Even household CFLs will use a ballast frequency well above your mains frequency. That doesn't mean you can shoot at high frame rates with impunity however. Always test before you shoot anything you are depending on.

What you need for this is lighting designed for it. There's more to a ballast then just it's frequency. This is why the KinoFlo stuff is so expensive -- it's designed to be trouble free for cinema uses. Most electric ballast HMIs too. For high frame rates, avoid the magnetic ballast HMIs.

Tungsten halogen lighting will flicker for you at 200 fps. If that's a requirement for you, then you can pretty safely rule tungsten out.

Best thing you can do is rent various lights and test them out under your conditions. Find out what works for you before you buy. Or, never buy and just rent when you have to have it.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 10:30 AM   #6
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

Ignoring high-speed for slowmo, I find the arri kits with 150s and 350s in them frustrating to use. The little guys only seem useful as backlights in typical run & gun setups.

The Arrilite and the Fresnel 650 are incredibly versatile and hardy instruments, you can do many things with them. There's a reason you can rent these almost anywhere. I'd go for 2 of each, a couple medium or large softboxes for the Arrilites, and one backlight, which could be one of the small Arri fresnels, I also like the Lowel Pro as a back, smaller, hotter, broader. And a boom for the backlight.

Or a 4bank and a couple of Diva from Kinoflo... and a tungsten backlight with boom.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

You might be interested in reading Shane Hurlbut's blog, specifically his go-to kit: My Go To Lighting Package Part Two: The Basics | Hurlbut Visuals

Granted, an HMI will blow your budget, but depending on your projects, you want the most versatile light available. To me, this usually means lot's of power and punch and the ability to be focused. You start to really soften a 500w light, and next thing you know, your camera is light starved.

Portability is always a consideration though. I'm a one-man-crew for most shoots, so there are only so many big lights I can haul. Arri fresnels, Lowel Totas/Omni's and DP's all pack a good punch, and you can spend wisely on c-stands flags/scrims/modifiers.
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Old September 20th, 2013, 04:34 AM   #8
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

If I had to start out again and buy just a couple of lights, I'd probably go for a 2' 4-bank Kino and a couple of Dedolights, I find them the two units that get the most use for me. They give you a key and an edge/backlight (and you can use reflectors for fill). A well-rounded kit would also have a couple of blondies, a couple of redheads, a couple of 650 fresnels, and ideally a 1.2k HMI PAR and some little battery powered Z96-type LEDs that you can hide all over the place.

But I'd suggest starting off with a nice soft key/fill light like the 4-bank Kino, and a nice really-controllable edge light like the Dedo (it really does seem to fill that role better than anything else I've come across (plus you can mount it in places other lights simply can't get to.
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Old September 20th, 2013, 07:49 PM   #9
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

If I didn't have 8 Arris already, I would buy a couple Arris and some fake Kinos. Seems everyone wants Kinos or fake kinos, more than anything else, that is affordable anyways.

So I bought 2 4 lamp fake daylight kinos yesterday. Lots of people just turn on two lamps, so I don't feel like I need the 6 or more lamp variety. Plus I found 2 track lights that use the same lamps, so those are my other 2 2 lamp fixtures.
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Old October 1st, 2013, 08:18 AM   #10
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

Which fake kinos did you opt for Larry? And how do you find them? I'm torn between saving some money and opting for the cheaper units with the regular high-quality kino bulbs, or just ponying up the cash for the real thing (since I know and trust them).
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Old October 6th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #11
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

Thanks for the replies everyone! Good resource over at Shane's blog. I think I'd want to stay away from LEDs due to the slightly greenish nature of the lights. HMIs... a little expensive to me.

So.. real arris or fake arris? They're 1/4 the price over here... got some mad quote from a local store for the real Arris and was looking online at Ebay for the fake ones after that. Any thoughts?

Zexun
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Old October 6th, 2013, 07:24 PM   #12
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

I wouldn't opt for the fake Arris myself, I've just seen too many dodgy jobs done on them, iffy wiring and poor build quality. It's worth paying the extra for the Arris because they'll quite literally last you 20 years.

Perhaps shop around online for a better price and the genuine Arri units, then call up your Arri dealer again and ask if he'll match them. He might not go all the way, but I've managed to get much more reasonable prices on Arri gear locally by doing that (then you have the benefit of a local warranty and support).
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Old October 13th, 2013, 12:51 AM   #13
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Re: First kit, 2k to spend. Anyone?

For corporate and documentary work, portability and ability to get a lot of light out of a single 15-20A circuit are key. Fresnels are big, bulky, and inefficient compared with open face lights like Lowel.

I like the idea of starting with a Kino and dedo. That's a class act. I wish I had gone that route instead of starting with LEDs. But Lowel lights (pro and DP) are great for location work because they have lots of lightweight accessories that make them very flexible. I'd stay away from the Omnis... the light is too uneven and uncontrollable.
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