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Old March 9th, 2006, 10:09 PM   #1
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Lighting kits for the novice

I have some exposure to lighting as a former production assistant. I always hated it. Now I wish I had taken it more serious and not depended on my coworkers to prop me up so much.

What lighting kit would you recommend for me to start out with while using the XL2? I know how critical lighting is, as I've been a victim of poor lighting at remote shoots before.

I've seen some soft light kits that I'm considering and I have fond memories about how much I appreciated soft light kits. I like the Lowel LC-9456 Rifa Small Triple Soft Kit but, man, $1720!

Keep in mind I'l be doing talking heads stuff, some in a sit-down interview set-up. I need something quick and easy to set up and something versatile. I'm not going to have the luxury of having a lighting pro with me or even three point lighting sometimes. Help!!
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Old March 9th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #2
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I've heard good things about this kit: http://www.rostronics.com/proddetail...l600W3lightkit
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Old March 9th, 2006, 10:45 PM   #3
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I've been doing a lot of sit down interviews as a relative lighting novice. I got a Lowel Rifa 55 and a $20 Home Depot fluorescent with a 3200Kish bulb (85 CRI). It's worked pretty good so far. Rifa for key light and then move the flo in as a fill until the levels are right. The flo was inspired by
http://www.film-and-video.com/broadc...s-30bucks.html

The Rifa is pretty great for a portable light - super quick setup and relatively small and light. You could always dump the flo for a bounce card...
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Old March 10th, 2006, 04:33 PM   #4
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I just this week purchased and received the lighting kit that Mark linked to. So far I'm loving it (very much beats the construction lighting methods I was previously attempting). I have my first shoot with it tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes.

One thing to note. The description for the kit makes it sound like you get 1 set of barn doors, but you actually get 3.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 05:03 PM   #5
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If you're just getting started, open faced lights are good place to start. I would not pick a kit with nothing but soft lights. You can make hard light soft (by bouncing or diffusing), but you can't go the other way around. Sometimes, you really need hard light. The cheap light kits are cheap for a reason, and it's usually construction quality or ease of use. They will work just fine, but you'll quickly end up replacing them. Another option is to look for used equipment from folks like Mole-Richardson or Arri. Lighting doesn't change rapidly, and those guys make equipment to last.

One way to help refine what you'd like in a kit would be to read John Jackman's book on lighting for DV and TV. Another excellent book is Ross Lowell's "Matters of Light and Depth".
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Old March 14th, 2006, 12:01 AM   #6
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Which soft lights would best suit my needs

Hi,

I have never used lighting during filming but I need something to brighten up concerts. I travel to many different church settings filming concerts and some of them have great lighting and others not so good.

The one's that depend on the light coming in from Windows seem to be bright enough for my Sony VX2100's at the beginning of the concert at around 8pm in the summer.

http://webpages.charter.net/dan76/church.jpg

However, at around the time I lose the sunlight from the windows my cameras easily maxed out on gain at the above church as it has a lighting system from over a hundred years ago.

I want to go with soft lights as I don't think it would be possible to set up hard lighting properly when the church has bright sunlight coming through all the windows. I figure I can set up one of these on each side of the performance in soft boxes and keep the room from getting too dark on my cameras after I lose the lighting from the windows. I don't really need perfect lighting for my filming but it would be nice to keep the gain down on my cameras. When this concert tour was going on I only had two people sitting. However, this summer I will have three people standing side by side yet they will be stationary and will not be moving around the stage.

I don't know if I will need two 300W/600W lights or the 500/1000W package or the 600/1200W package. I have no experiance as to just how powerful these lights are and do not want to buy a 300/600 watt one only to find that the 300 is to weak to use under any circumstance to light three people. Thus, I might regret that and wished that I would have went with the 600/1200W package. Anyone know what combo would work best for lighting three stationary people standing side by side. I do not film ANY single person interview type deals with my cameras--only concerts.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 11:58 AM   #7
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Daniel,

One more thing to consider is how close you will be able to get your lights to your subjects. Especially with soft light, you need to be able to get close in order to get the benefits of soft lighting. As you get further away, and the apparent size of the light source decreases, the light begins to behave more like a semi-soft light and begins to look like a lensed (fresnel) source. So, given that, you might be better off with fresnels and some diffusion in the first place if you can't get really close.

As for power, it is really easy to cut down on light output (scrims, diffusion, dimmers, distance, etc.) but hard to get more without moving the light closer. I'd pick the bigger package. The downside being size, weight, and available amps at your location.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 12:27 PM   #8
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I've only recently begun building our lighting kit, adding pieces as I've needed them, and I can say without a doubt that the single most useful light I've found is a 650 watt fresnel. We went with Mole, but a lot of people seem to really like Arri. I keep it lamped down to 300 watts most of the time. I don't think you could go wrong with two of them in either brand.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 12:52 PM   #9
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Here's a thought. You can always go with the larger lights and then use dimmers as well to reduce the light when you need to. It will change the color temp of the lights when you do this, so I've heard, so you might have to color-correct more in post. Just an idea.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #10
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Dimmers definitely change the color temperature, and you can't just white balance your way out of the problem because it won't match the light output from your other fixtures. Also, they often cause a buzz. I'm not saying that dimmers don't have their place, but I don't think it's good idea to haul around a bigger light that you need and just plan on dimming all the time. Portability is a big issue.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 02:00 PM   #11
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Yeah, I haven't used dimmers myself, so I can't speak to how good/bad a solution it is. I probably should have mad that clearer in my post.

That ties in with a question I have, but I'll post it in a new thread so this one doesn't get off-topic.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 03:08 PM   #12
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You could put lights outside those stained glass windows to keep light coming in them for some continuity in your shoot. It would take some playing and some powerful lights, but could yield some spectacular effects. especially with some haze or stage fog in the room :)
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Old March 14th, 2006, 03:35 PM   #13
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I'm a big fan of dimmers for quickly dialing in just the right lighting level. The color shift is not an issue in video until you get down low in the range, so as long as you are above 50% or so you are fine. If you need that much dimming, then you should consider a different position or lamp wattage. All of the dimmers that I've worked with in the 2Kw and below range have been completely silent. If they are buzzing, I would look for another dimmer.

There are a lot of ways to cut the amount of light reaching the subject of course, and dimmers aren't the only answer.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 02:17 AM   #14
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thanks for all the advice, I will check into all the lights that were mentioned.

Dan
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Old March 26th, 2006, 12:38 PM   #15
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Just another idea

Get a lowel 44

a Chimera 8005
Avenger A475b
Reflector.. Lastolite ect
bogen 3333
disk holder arm from Avenger
Arri 150-650 plus with barndoors, maybe snoot

'Go kick butt

r
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