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Old December 12th, 2002, 10:47 PM   #1
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Do It Yourself Lighting (In Depth?)

Hey guys, I've read through the thread titled "DIY Lighting" and found some pretty good tips, and searched around the internet, but haven't found any real definitive information on the topic. Does anyone know of a book, or in depth webpage regarding do it yourself lighting (for a filmlook, not standard video applications or interviews). So does anyone have any more info on this topic? Other than just the people who've bought a 500W worklight and thrown an 3,200K bulb in it. Thanks for the help, hope someone knows of something. If there isn't one, then I'd be interested in putting one together, so either way, submit any/all specific information on this topic, thanks.

Moore
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Old December 14th, 2002, 11:51 AM   #2
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Once you have your homebuilt lights and gear, just go read a book on professional lighting. The principals are all the same. I would suggest Lowell's Matters Of Light And Depth.
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Old December 14th, 2002, 06:32 PM   #3
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I think you'll find that a filmlook is less likely to be achieved with D-I-Y lighting than pro lighting. A $29 Home Depot shop light doesn't produce the same quality of light as pro lighting set-ups. There is much more to it than the right color temperature lamp. I played with them years ago and could never really achieve even a pro look without heavy diffusion. At that point they were so dim as to be almost useless. I still own several sets and I use them when I need to light up very large interiors.

They are inexpensive and I believe you can use them to practice lighting techniques. Just don't get frustrated when the results aren't what you'd hoped. Do yourself and your clients a favor and get a professional lighting kit. Three light kits can be purchased for well under $500.

Jeff
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Old December 14th, 2002, 10:01 PM   #4
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really?

Hey Jeff,

Thanks for the informative post. As you may have guessed, I don't have much experience with professional (or even home-built) lighting. I've heard people say "Oh c'mon, just go buy the 500w worklights at home depot," but I know those aren't even the right CT or anything. However, I figured with the right CT bulbs, and some do-it-yourself diffusers, it'd be ok... but, it's good to hear your side of it. That's actually a lot more helpful, because you've played with DIY and found it not worth the effort, which was probably the real question I had. Is it worth all the effort?

Also, if you wouldn't mind, which lighting kits do you use and/or recommend?

Again, thanks for the help.

-Moore
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Old December 14th, 2002, 10:57 PM   #5
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Jeff and Moore
Nice to see common sense prevail.

Moore
I'm an amateur and was very unhappy with my video results. I have since built up my own "kit" piecemeal. and my results have become steadily better.

Video doesn't require a lot of light, however, it really likes quality light. I had a 650 watt open face and 2 reflectasols left over from my early still days. I bought a Lowel tota and a heavy lightstand and a newbreflecting umbrella. I also bought some fabric reflectors (foamcore too) and practiced various techniques. I move up to a Softbox which gives a softer more controlled light and supplemented my reflectors with an Arri 300 watt fresnel. My next purchase will be a lowell 250 watt pro light. My stands are 11 and 22 lb rating, kit stands tend to be dangerously light.

here are some interesting links for lighting technique and equipment.

www.photoflex.com
www.lowel.com
Arri lighting handbook good for still and video
http://www.arri.com/infodown/light/broch/li_hand.pdf

cybercollege lighting modules

http://www.cybercollege.com/tvp027.htm

any questions feel free to email me beaser@eudoramail.com
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Old December 15th, 2002, 01:07 AM   #6
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Based on advice from people like Jeff and Brian, I skipped the whole DIY thing and bought a set of Lowel Fren-L lights. I plan on adding two large soft box lights to my kit, or possibly a set of compact flourescents like the KinoFlo lights.
You can save a lot of money by not buying a Lowel kit, and instead buying it piece by piece. It's cheaper just to buy the stuff you need, and you can get better stands. They tend to jack up the prices on their kits based on the value of the case they give you.

Still, the bottom line is that the results you produce dedpend on your skill and knowledge of lighting, more so than the lights you use. So perhaps a better investment than good lights are some good instructional books on lighting.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 08:03 AM   #7
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Moore,

I've an odd assortment of lights, acquired over the years. The kit consists of a lot of Lowel tota's, omni's, soft lights and light arrays. I also have a set of Photoflex starlights. They are very light weight and compact. I use them mostly for small product shots. Start small and build your kit over time as your needs increase. I am a big fan of softboxes and I use them extensively in my work.

Jeff
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Old December 15th, 2002, 09:28 AM   #8
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Jeff,

Doesn't Photoflex build a pretty decent softbox? Also, how many softboxes do you use on a location shoot with talent? Example - shooting an interview.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 09:55 AM   #9
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I use a mixture of softboxes. Photoflex and Chimera. The Chimeras http://www.chimeralighting.com/ produce a better quality of light than the Photoflexs http://www.photoflex.com/photoflex/index.html.

What I take on location depends on the size of my crew and the time alloted for the interview. If it's down and dirty I use a Micro Lightbank http://www.chimeralighting.com/produ...?product=micro If The scene calls for it and I've got the time and crew I will light it with 3 or 4 lights depending on the background.

Jeff
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Old December 15th, 2002, 10:37 AM   #10
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Thanks for the tip on the Chimeras. I see that they are located in Boulder, CO. Might try and stop by while I am in Colorado. Would love to have two softboxes.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 08:15 PM   #11
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starter equipment

alright... so you guys have any specific suggestions for first equipment. I'm on a limited budget right now, just like everyone else, haha. and am just lookin for something to get by on my first couple of shorts. I'd like to eventually build up to some real lighting... maybe I could just buy one or two pro lights right now, and then use some DYI to supplement... I don't know if that would work out.

It sounds like a softbox would be a nice investment... so maybe I'll buy a decent softbox or two, and use some DYI lights for fill or something. Any suggestions for a starter setup that won't break the bank? I only have about $200 left right now... =[

Moore
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Old December 15th, 2002, 09:24 PM   #12
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Sadly, I think $200 will buy you one Lowel Tota light and stand.
Sure doesn't go far, huh? :)
The best route is to save your money, but if I had $200 and that was it, I'd buy some Smith Victor lights off Ebay (I have two for sale in the classified forum for $80).
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Old December 15th, 2002, 09:42 PM   #13
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question

soo.. would a Smith Victor setup like this be worth the money to start? Or would I get similar performance out of DYI stuff... i haven't heard any info on the quality of Smith Victor...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1943850093


moore
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Old December 15th, 2002, 11:37 PM   #14
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I don't know. Not sure about the bulbs those use. They are different than the ones in the set I have for sale. If I was going to pay $300ish, I'd be looking for used Lowel stuff.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 12:00 AM   #15
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I agree with Dylan. That kit is designed mostly for still photography. The lamps' design will make control very difficult and the light (tungsten) will be of a very red color.

Nevertheless, I've seen too many examples of determined, creative people producing fabulous results from gear that others would have discarded to say that you couldn't use these lights for your work.
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