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Old February 16th, 2006, 11:25 PM   #1
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Looking to upgrade my light kit

I own GL2's, so I'm asking the question here. If this thread needs to be moved somewhere, go for it.

My dilema? I'm looking to buy lighting but I don't know where to start. Until now, I've just managed with natural light and construction lights and home-made reflectors. I would like to upgrade my capabilities, but I don't what I need.

Looking in my B&H catalog I see lights with soft boxes, lights with barn doors, lights with umbrellas, and lights with none of that. My purpose for the lights would be shooting indoor and outdoor situations (for things like television commercials, interviews, corporate videos, etc.).

What should I be looking for?
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Old February 17th, 2006, 02:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel

My dilema? I'm looking to buy lighting but I don't know where to start.

My purpose for the lights would be shooting indoor and outdoor situations (for things like television commercials, interviews, corporate videos, etc.).

What should I be looking for?
Want an excellent question! And yes, this will probably get re-directed to the PHOTON Forum - no biggie!

OK:

Education & Awareness:
How much lighting awareness do you have? Do you know what the different items do? Have you held, felt and unwrapped and erected pro type kit? I would truly TRULY recommend Vic Milt's DVD "Light it Right - Contemporary Lessons in Video Lighting". This DVD - sorry! - shed PHOTONS of light on my dim awareness/view of the art of lighting. Very down to Earth but with an infectious spirit about something he adores, Vic carries you along on a wave of enthusiasm his craft, that by the time the DVD has finished, well, I felt like clapping! Here yah goes:

http://www.vasst.com/product.aspx?id...8-51b10f22fcfd

PLUS search out Walter Graff's websites. 'ere yah goes again .. :-

http://www.bluesky-web.com/new-page6.html

http://www.bluesky-web.com/seminar.htm

I have learnt BUCKETS from both of these masters! Thanks Guys!!!

I spent much time reading and attending trade seminars and participating in tutorials on lighting. I "borrowed" some kit from a pro photographer and got the feel - even more education!


Suitability
Not getting into the massive "design" issues, lighting for an internal shot in terms of "power" is pretty straightforward for me. Often the plugs on the walls provide this. However, if you are contemplating lighting an external shot then you'd be looking at some form of generator and then all the accoutremonts that go with it.

At the moment I can get away with a small kit of 2 lights - Rifa soft box and a Dedo focus-able and an in-line dimmable - plus 2 reflectors and a collection of support trips.

Budget
For me, I look for deals and the like. Here is one in your country that I would have snapped up:
http://www.rostronics.com/proddetail...l600W3lightkit

I'd add some reflectors to this and I definitely confirm the presence of IN-LINE dimmer controls, and if not, see if I could afford at least one dimmer. Failing that then scrims and filters. However this takes time and for a one-man concern like me, is just more to worry about.

Like you, I started with constructions lights. Very quickly wanted some pro type lighting and waited for jobs that would allow for the budget to grow. As soon as I did my first Pro-light kit job I was won over by the kit and its versatility. The ease of lighting is not to be ignored!


Development
Now I keep watching and reading ANYTHING to do with lighting to keep up my lighting education. I've kinda steered away from the more exotic LED options, but am still "lured", moth-like, to the KOOL running floros. However I feel the prices are just too silly, and for me restrictive.

Bottom line, I mostly do talking head interviews, needing a subtle and pleasing and CONTROLABLE lighting enviro THEN I need some on-board battery powered punchy ENG type light. You're talking about advertising work. Would that be external? Would you need to control and light an exterior shot? Whatever happens Sun comes and goes. Lighting this kind of shoot is complex and can be expensive - very expensive. You may consider "hiring" or even hiring a lighting company that you can work with. This is way beyond my present experience.

. .and finally . .LIGHTING is everything! Get it right and your work just flys . .. it's another step up we all go through . . I try to employ the K.I.S.S. approach.

I hope some of this helps,

Grazie
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Old February 17th, 2006, 03:36 AM   #3
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Hey, thanks for the lengthy post, I really appreciate it. I'll look into those lighting lesson DVD's. I really need to start there anyways probably.

The particular shoot in question would be mostly outdoors in a park, so electricity will not be available. However, there is an indoor aspect to the shoot as well, and thus, I could light it.

I've been looking at refelctors for the outdoor shoot, but I noticed there were some that guaranteed to be flat and smooth. Does this mean the others, which are somewhat cheaper, get all wrinkled and don't work as well?

Anyways, thanks again, and I'll check out those links for sure!
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
The particular shoot in question would be mostly outdoors in a park . .

I've been looking at refelctors for the outdoor shoot, but I noticed there were some that guaranteed to be flat and smooth. Does this mean the others, which are somewhat cheaper, get all wrinkled and don't work as well?
Crinkly ones give a "broken pattern". I've got both types. Depending on what I'm doing I have one which is white and the other is a goldie thingy - great for darker complexions. While on this sublect of reflectors and their qualities, often around London I see film crews using reflectors. Some small and some MASSIVE! Again, are they reflecting lighting OR just the Sun's activity? If external lights then you are looking at electric supply. If just the ambient then you/we are at the mercy of the Sun, it's rotation, angle and clouds. Kinda tricky -eh? On the Graff site you will see a "tent" type glow box where the talent is INSIDE a room of diffused Sun light. Neat, but IMHO restrictive.


The other thing with reflectors being used outside is that they have to be secured - wind and that! Sooooo, depending on the wind-scale, at the time either some truly impressive anchoring OR muscles OR sometimes BOTH! But yes, reflectors are our friends.

As a footnote, to date I have very little "lit" work. I, like you, had wanted, 2 years back to spread my wings a bit. Much of what I've gleaned and experienced has only been within this last 18 months - I AM A NOVICE! However, I wanted to give you my earliest thoughts on what and where I am, as what you were saying kinda paralleled where I've got to. Does that make sense?

Grazie
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:31 AM   #5
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Yeah, it makes total sense. The project I'm looking at using this lighting for won't have a large budget for lighting, which is why I was asking these questions. I think a reflector kit (with a holding stand) would be a good starting option for me, but I also wanted to try and learn about what kind of lighting I should start looking at.

So far, the lights with the barn doors and with dimmers seem to be the most versatile. That way I could attach filters or gels or whatever and also control the amount of light in the scene.

I guess I'll go and read some more . . . d:-)
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Old February 17th, 2006, 01:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Bernard
For me, I look for deals and the like. Here is one in your country that I would have snapped up:
http://www.rostronics.com/proddetail...l600W3lightkit
Has anyone used that kit? I'm highly considering it for the price and apparent value, but just want to make sure they're not poorly made or anything like that.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 03:44 PM   #7
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Wow, it does look like a great deal. The one bad review given by a customer was reversed when the company made it right. I'd love to hear if anyone else has used this brand before.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 02:57 AM   #8
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I emailed the guy at Rostronics, asking about that light kit. Apparently they've sold a lot of them and people seem to be happy with them. I'll look around a bit more but I'm definitely leaning toward that kit.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 02:08 PM   #9
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It does seem to be a good value. Does anyone know if you can use a 600w dimmer to use with lights like this? Will it damage the bulbs of this kind of light to use a dimmer?
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Old February 20th, 2006, 08:01 PM   #10
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Try using the contact form on that website. The guy seemed very willing to answer any questions.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 10:11 PM   #11
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I have the exact kit that Graham pointed you to. The Briteks are well made and lots of people over on the DVXUsers forum use them and love them. Thatís where I first heard about them. Tom at Rostronics is one of the nicest guys Iíve ever worked with. He will help you put a kit together at a great deal. Just give him a call and heíll work with you (but they are on the west coast US so call during Pacific Time business hours)

I added a second softbox and a second set of barn doors to that kit. I also added a boom to get the back light up high and a 5-in-1 reflector. With most setups I use one 600w as the key, a reflector as the fill, the small 200w as the back light and that leaves the other 600w to light the background.

You can definitely use dimmers if you want. The deal with dimmers is that as a light dims, it changes color temperature. Thatís the only thing you have to watch for. Thatís why I like the fact that those particular lights are 600/300watt. They have two 300w lamps with two switches. So you can turn one switch on for 300w and two on for 600w.

What lights you should get also depends on what you will be shooting. I do a lot of interview work and that kit is great for that. If you needed to light a group of people, you might want 1000w lights instead.

~jr
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Old February 20th, 2006, 10:33 PM   #12
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Mark,
Thanks. I'll do that.


John,
So you have a 5-in-1 reflector? Which brand? Is it the kind that stays smooth or the kind that gets wrinkled? Any thoughts on which to pick if I can only purchase one kind?

Thanks for input on the Briteks. It's good to know that a lot of people are liking them. It makes the kit more appealing now. The current plan for the kit is for use on a television commercial shoot with 1-2 actors. I want to use a gel or something to get a blue light in the shot. Can you clip a gel to a barn door or do you need a gel frame?

Thanks for all the great advice!
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Old February 21st, 2006, 10:27 AM   #13
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I actually got the 5-in-1 reflector brand new on eBay from Amvona for $28. The cheapest 5-in-1 at B&H was an Impact for $45 and the Photoflex is $80 so I couldnít pass up the deal for $28. Two of the five surfaces have a permanent wrinkled surface to defuse the light and the other three are smooth. The reflector is kept very tight on the wire loop so I donít see how wrinkles would be much of a problem.

On the Briteks, the barn doors have a wire clip (top and bottom) to hold gels so no additional gel holder is needed. Thatís why I got the extra barn doors. The standard kit comes with three lights, one softbox and two bar doors. I got the third barn door ($10) for times when Iím not using the softbox.

To be fair, these kits are not going to hold up on the road as well as a Lowel kit or Arriís but you are paying a whole lot less. I didnít have the $1000 it would have taken to get a comparable Lowel kit so for $465 the Briteks got me up and running quickly with some fairly decent instruments. IMHO they are worth every penny for what they give you.

~jr
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Old February 21st, 2006, 12:48 PM   #14
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Thanks for the information. VERY helpful!

Oh, what size gels do you use?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 06:05 PM   #15
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I just use 12Ē x12Ē sheets. Something like this Bogen / Manfrotto - Variety Filter Pack will give you a good selection to start with. Then you can add more as you go.

~jr
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