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Old February 15th, 2015, 11:41 AM   #1
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Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Hi everyone!

I'm looking to put together a lighting kit for corporate video, 3 point interview lighting, etc. (as well as shooting narrative and commercial stuff on the side with the hopes of eventually moving into it full time).

What makes things a little more challenging is that I already have quite a few lights – I'm hoping you folks can help me assemble a kit using both new purchases and potentially some of my existing gear.

The criteria for my new kit:
• Portable
• Doesn't generate too much heat
• Controllable (use w/ barn doors, etc.)
• Low power consumption (enough that I don't have to worry about blowing house/office fuses)

Here's what I currently own (with my notes on usage):

• Britek 1950W LIGHT KIT with softboxes – 3 650w Halogen Spotlights - (Britek AS Series Strobe Lights and Kits ) - too hot, power hungry

• Cowboy Studio Fluorescent softbox kit (3 softboxes, 5-85w CFL's in each) – too time consuming to setup and take down to be used in the field

• Smith Victor Halogen Kit – (similar to this: Smith Victor Photographic Light Kit w Tripods Model 770 760 | eBay ) 3 – 650w lights w/ barn doors, etc. - too power hungry and gets very hot

• Alzo 3000 LED (ALZO 3000 High Intensity LED Video Light ) – This seems like a great light (I've replaced the fan with a quieter one), so I'm assuming this will be one component of my new kit, maybe as the key – with softbox and barn doors.

• Yongnuo YN-600 LED Light Panel (Amazon.com : Yongnuo YN-600 Pro LED Video Light 3200K - 5500K Dual Color Temperature Version : On Camera Video Lights : Camera & Photo ) – Fine for casting some indiscriminate light around the background, but not really controllable.


So, based on this list, I feel like I've got a good key with the Alzo and I can use the Yongnuo light panel for an extra little background light if necessary, leaving me needing a good fill (don't want to just use a reflector) and rim light.

Budget is certainly a consideration, but most importantly, I need them to work well. Any suggestions on a couple of lights to round out my setup?

Thanks!
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Old February 15th, 2015, 08:25 PM   #2
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

A Dedo DLH4 is a great addition to your kit, but will cost around $750. For that price, you could pick up 3 Lowel Pro Lights instead. I like the control of a Dedo, but can get about 75% of what it does with a Pro Light and snoot. Bonus is the small size and low weight of the Lowel unit. Add a couple to your kit.

Fast-open softboxes are great when you're on the run.The Lowel Rifa light seems to be popular. I use my Photoflex, and it only adds a few minutes to put in the rods, so I'm sticking with it.

I recently picked up an Aputure Amaran 672c high-CRI bi-color LED panel. It's not as powerful as the daylight-only units, but is light, versatile, smaller than a 1x1 and runs on cheap Sony batteries. Makes for a decent fill light, just don't expect to put barn doors or accessories on it.

If you've got the budget, look into the Fiilex line of lights. They have a 3 light kit in a Pelican 1510 that gives you nearly everything you need in a portable travel kit. Bonus: these are the only full-spectrum LED lights that I'm currently aware of.
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Old February 16th, 2015, 08:24 AM   #3
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Thanks! This is very helpful. I think I'll go ahead and pick up a Lowel Pro with barn doors to use as a rim/hair light (I figure I can gel either the LED or the Lowel to get the color temp to match).

So, using the Alzo as my key, that just leaves a fill light.

Since the Alzo seems like a good overall light, cool, bright and affordable (as well as dimmable), I could certainly buy one more as a fill - what about a 2nd Alzo vs. a 2nd Lowel Pro for the fill light?

I'm assuming the Lowels wouldn't get very hot seeing as how they're pretty small and low wattage? That would certainly make for an affordable and portable solution.

Any thoughts?
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Old February 16th, 2015, 11:05 AM   #4
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

With only 2.5 stops of dimming, the Alzo 3000 would probably not be your best choice as a fill. It's also adding fan noise to the mix (although, you can replace the fan with a quieter one, as I did...but it voids the warranty). Another option for fill is a 27" or 42" 5-in-1 pop up reflector, along with a reflector arm. This is a power-free way to give you some nice fill options, or diffuse the sunlight when shooting outdoors. I like multi-purpose instruments when I can get them.
The Pro Light does get very hot, so gloves are highly recommended for aiming these lights. Undiffused, you're looking at more of a rim light than a fill light. I'll typically bring the following kit for a sit-down interview:
1) 2'x3' softbox with grid, either with the Alzo 3200 or a Photoflex 750 tungsten
2) Dedo for hair light or background spot/cookie light
3) Pro Light for hair or rim light (snoot is helpful here).
4) Pop-Up reflector with arm for fill.

Lately, I've been relying on the Aputure 672c for fill, since I can run it on battery, dial in the temp, and put it further from my subject than a bounce

All the lights fight in one Pelican case (1510), along with the pop-up reflector, a few cookie patterns, cables, filters, and spare bulbs. The stands and sand bags are the bulkier items.

No one single kit will cover all situations. Having lots of tools available makes your job easier. For what it's worth, I keep a small case filled with some versatile Lowel lights (Omni, and totas). They're old-school hot and bright, but color is always good and they're reliable as standby sources.
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Old February 16th, 2015, 12:38 PM   #5
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Good thoughts. I've replaced the fan in my Alzo as well, but I hadn't considered the limited dimming.

Sounds like a lowel pro for a rim light would be a good choice - I'm okay with the light/fixture itself getting hot (and needing gloves), just so long as I'm not heating up the entire room to an excessive degree.

I've toyed with using a reflector for fill (I've got a holder for my 42" 5-in-1), but I'd like to have another option in the kit for when bouncing light just isn't quite cutting it for whatever reason.....

So that just leaves the fill. You mentioned you've been using your Aputure 672c lately. I was thinking about using my LED panel as well, but I'm concerned about light spill onto the background, etc. without usable barn doors & the ability to flag the light.

Do you ever run into issues because of that?
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Old February 16th, 2015, 01:19 PM   #6
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Luke,
Over the past year, I've attended a few lighting seminars given by professional cinematographers, and they all do their fill-lighting with reflectors ... either white foamcore or beadboard.

At a recent seminar, The Illunination Experience, Shane Hurlbut ASC showed us a round reflector he made from a 4'x4' beadboard. He had rounded the corners so the reflector would appear as a circular highlight reflected in an actor's eye. He also cut a 4" hole in the center, so a grip would have a convenient way to hold the reflector.

I've also seen 2'x4' beadboard held just above the camera with Quacker Clamps (also called Platypus).
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Old February 16th, 2015, 04:12 PM   #7
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

If you really want to go LED (and daylight?) the Lowel Pro might be a problem.
Although much more expensive there's"
Litepanels Sola ENG which is both focusable and dimmable with bard doors
Litepanels SolaENG 3" LED Fresnel 906-1002 B&H Photo Video

Fiilex 360p with 4 way barn door, bi color, focusable and dimmable
Fiilex P360 LED Light FLXP360 B&H Photo Video
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Old February 16th, 2015, 06:28 PM   #8
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Luke, the multi-LED units do not lend themselves to barn doors, as you speculated. When I've got the luxury of space and I'm not worried about spill, the Aputure panel is fine. The level is low enough that it won't overwhelm ambient in all but the darkest rooms. Keeping it super-close to the talent helps.
I also attended the Hurlbut workshop and liked the idea of large, round beadboard bounce, but you can't really travel with it, and setup is more of a hassle in the tight rooms I often deal with. 5 in 1 has worked well and travels much easier.
My go-to portable setup is shown below.
Attached Thumbnails
Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?-ibm-interviews.jpg   Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?-loma-sf-setup.jpg  

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Old February 17th, 2015, 10:19 AM   #9
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Thanks for the replies - all three of you. I'll try to be concise here:

Ken:
My issue with using my 5-in-1 as fill is that it's often not quite bright enough unless it's super-close to my subject, making a wider frame impossible. Do you guys not experience this issue?

Craig:
Why would the Lowel Pro be an issue when mixed with my LED provided it's properly gelled, etc?

If I did only want to add LED's, wouldn't getting another ALZO or two be a functional (and cheaper) solution than the LEDs you linked to?

Oren:

Thanks for posting those shots! They look great! I see the Alzo w/ softbox in your setup shot with a 5-in1. Is that rim light the lowel pro?

Thanks again, everyone! I'm grateful to have some replies from knowledgeable, experienced pros like you!
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Old February 17th, 2015, 12:23 PM   #10
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Luke,
It sounds like you need a 1x1 LED unit for a fill. Dim it down to the intensity that suits you. Go with a variable color temperature unit, since that will give you some versatility as your lighting kit evolves. I recently got an F&V 3-light kit, which comes with a nice carrying case. My only complaint is that the included diffusers (which do a great job) are a bother to attach. And you have to detach them in order to fit the lights in the case. So I usually skip the diffusers ... OK if I'm not using the unit as the keylight.
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Old February 17th, 2015, 06:03 PM   #11
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

The hair light in my shot is the dedo. But a Pro Light would have worked just as well (so long as you can snoot or narrow it properly).
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Old February 17th, 2015, 11:51 PM   #12
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

One of the advantages with LED is fast break down. Pro Light gets very hot. Not great if I have to get out of an office in a hurry and then I have to worry about packing it while it's still on the hot side.

Regarding the Alzo 3000. The Sola ENG can focus which I like. I also like traveling light and the Alzo is much heavier at over 5 lbs whereas the Sola ENG is 10 oz., but maybe that's not a factor for you.

BTW as to the Aputure I've been thinking about HR672S instead of the C or W. It's much brighter although a 25° beam angle. One could add an AirBox and 40° egg crate to make it softer.
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Old February 19th, 2015, 09:48 AM   #13
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Hey Guys,

In this day and age of the LED craze it’s interesting to see a conversation about pro lights and such. Here is my .2 cents worth. My kit is still almost all Lowell, I have a couple of LEDS but for real lighting I use Lowell. I have two complete kits with Riffas, Omnis, Totas, and Pro lights. Yes I have to deal with heat and amps, we all know that. But this is why I am in no hurry to convert.

In one word……VERSATILITY. Even though I have 10 fixtures, with four Pro lights being my favorite, it is all of my accessories that make my kit work for me. To me, the source you use is only half the issue, it is what you do with your sources that creates quality lighting.

Several years ago (OK, a lot of years) I bought an empty Lowell case off eBay, but that doesn’t matter, I got it because it was cheap, could be any box. Then I watched eBay for a couple of months and picked up a ton of Lowell accessories for cheap, cheap ,cheap. Clamps, door hangers, flags, snoots, barn doors, Big Foot, ceiling hangars, gel frames etc, etc. I put all of that and about fifty other things I use for lighting in the extra Lowell case. Everyone that works for me knows it is called my grip kit and I never go on a set without it. It is priceless. That kit has an overall, greater affect on my lighting than the two kits with the lights. It has everything I need in it to design the light to do what I want them to do.

Pro Lights are awesome. They are small, light, controllable and versatile. I use them for just about everything but a key, yes I have done that too. With all of my accessory light holders they rarely end up on a conventional stand. I can boom them, floor mount them, fly them high, door hang them, ceiling hang them, focus them, and diffuse them. I am not saying you can’t do this with LEDS but if you have ever used Lowell gear you know about all of this brilliantly weird ingenuity that is built into them. They are made to work with accessories. I have not seen an LED fixture yet that was designed with all of that versatility and durability in mind.

My lighting is an area that is a “if it works don’t fix it thing”, so far. My biggest issue over all is travel weight, that is the true problem. But no matter what lights I use, the heavy grip kit still has to go!

Steve
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Old February 19th, 2015, 10:01 AM   #14
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Some great perspective, Steven.

Thanks, everyone for the feedback, it's definitely given me a lot to think about.

To start with, I'm ordering a lowel pro w/ barn doors and plan on using it as a rim light with either my LED panel or my reflector for fill, and my Alzo LED (with a honeycombed softbox) for key.

I think this is a good start, but after I get one of the lowel pro lights in hand, my suspicion is I'll be adding a few more to my kit for the versatility.

Thanks again!
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Old February 19th, 2015, 10:28 AM   #15
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Re: Help me assemble my new lighting kit or repurpose my old ones?

Luke,

Even I would add a note of cation about building a "mixed kit". Half the time I find myself shooting in mixed lighting situations anyway. You can go mixed as long as you know how to do it properly. But the big time pro lighting guys will advise you to go one way or the other, LED or tungsten. It is all about your needs and what works for you.

There are two kinds of barn doors out there for pro lights. 1. Regular flat doors with alligator clips. 2. True Lowell barn doors with folding wings on each door. I like the later.

Steve
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