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Old April 25th, 2006, 02:46 PM   #1
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Starter Lighting Kit Recommendations

I'm looking to take my video productions to the next level. I currently produce amateur movies and the occasional event for a friend - nothing pro yet.

For equipment I have a Sony vx2100, a Bogen 3001/3130 fluid head tripod, and an iBook running iMovie. So far, so good.

Please help me with recommendations for a versitile starter lighting kit. I'm looking at the TL-1500 931501-SUBR kit at www.jtl-lighting.com for $480. Looks like a good starter lighting kit but I'm very new to this.

Any recommendations?

Thank you!
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Old April 25th, 2006, 03:17 PM   #2
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http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ar&A=search&Q=

That link should help you.

Also don't buy lights with fans in them, they make noise and are bad for video shoots.

Mark
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Old April 25th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #3
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Mark, that link is broken.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #4
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Here's my opinion on the subject of lighting and creating a kit:

- Pickup a video on the subject like the "Power of Lighting" series or others that are out there. Seeing the instruments in action can make a big difference. And you'll see other types of lighting instruments including diffusion and reflectors.

- Consider renting a kit and see what you do and don't like, ease of setup and teardown and the quality of the light produced.

- If you are going to go pro, consider your travel needs as well. Arri as an example, is duarble and comes in a nice case. And if you are a one man gig setup and teardown time can be significant. The Lowell softboxes are supposed to setup and teardown quite rapidly.

- Softboxes make some very nice light, but the light is hard to control. Softboxes with louvers or grids are a big improvement.

- The rest comes down to the physical size and the subject of what you want to collect the photons from. A single person interview can be done with one light, or add a reflector and hair/back light and you have a classic lighting setup. Everything else just depends on the look you are trying to achieve. It's possible to do quite a bit with a single softbox or fresnel and a reflector.

- For my tastes, I find that a small 500w softbox with louvers, medium 1000w softbox with grids, 2 300w Fresnels, 1 reflector, diffusion panel and some random bounce boards cover pretty much everything that I need to do while still being portable.

Regards,

Greg
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Old April 26th, 2006, 12:13 AM   #5
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I am going to put this in, against my better judgment. Not because there is anything wrong, but I may be letting my cat out of the bag.

I have been shopping (bidding) on eBay for quite some time on the Amvona eBay site. They also have a Web site but the prices on eBay are usually 1/2 to 1/4 or less of their own Web site. Sometimes you can get equipment for crazy prices.

I would suggest reading up on their equipment on their eBay site, and making up your own mind. Also, they sometimes make money on the shipping so always consider their shipping costs in what you may bid.

I am using their equipment on professional shoots (for very large corporations) and have used many other brands in the past and have no problem using theirs.

The URL I use is:
http://stores.ebay.com/amvona-com_W0...QQftidZ2QQtZkm

This gives a listing of everything they have up for bid, by those ending soonest. My only fear is that everyone will start using the URL and prices will go up!

I don't work for these guys. I don't even know who they are. I live in Texas and they're in Connecticut or somewhere. I have had a couple of problems in shipping, broken knobs, etc. Their customer service is excellent, beyone the call.

BTW, I would never take anyone's word for something like this. I always do my own investigation. But for what it's worth, I have no complaints about the equipment I have bought from them (lighting, tripods, stands, etc.) and I have bought well over $2K worth of their brand, all on eBay.

On equipment other than lighting, I typically have used the companies that support DVI or local suppliers all because I know I can trust them.

- Jesse

Last edited by Jesse Redman; April 26th, 2006 at 12:47 AM.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #6
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http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...rch&Q=&ci=2247

Sorry about that, try this one and then search lowest to highest.

You should find something in your range..

Mark
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Old April 26th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #7
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Thank you!

Thank you for all the excellent replies! There's obviously a lot to consider when selecting a good starter kit.

Can anyone suggest what company offers the best bang for the buck for starter lighing kits?

Here's the brands offering lighting kits on B&H:

Altman, Arri Chimera, Cool-Lux, Dedolight, DeSisti, Impact, Lastolite, Lowel, LTM, Mole-Richardson, Norman, NRG, NSI / Leviton, Peterson, Photoflex, Photogenic, Sachtler, Smith-Victor, SP-Systems, Strand Lighting, Westcott

Wow - 21 companies and who knows how many kits...

Thanks again. Your advice is invaluable.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 01:53 PM   #8
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Question for Greg!

Greg -

I like your suggested kit - "For my tastes, I find that a small 500w softbox with louvers, medium 1000w softbox with grids, 2 300w Fresnels, 1 reflector, diffusion panel and some random bounce boards cover pretty much everything that I need to do while still being portable."

Can you tell me what brands, model numbers, and approximate price for the above?

Thanks again.

p.s. Anyone in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area?
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Old April 26th, 2006, 02:07 PM   #9
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I have the impact miniboom 3 light kit. I managed to buy it lightly used locally an knock almost $80 off the price of having a new kit shipped.

I like it and its about right for the price. The stands in particular impressed me- better than the stands in a $1000+ Strand kit I've used. The case is helpful but a bit lame- the boom actually doesn't fit the case without pushing out the side.

Its an easy to use one-trick pony kind of setup. The floods are...well, floods. Very hard to control, but for the price its a lot of light. I throw dark sheets over the backs of the umbrellas to control light spilling out the back. Tin foil, or black wrap if you have it, helps tame the hair light some. I've considered picking up some of the cheap barndoors to see if I can rein in the 500w floods and use them without diffusion... but that may well be investing more in the kit than I should. Might be better to save that money and wait for a good ebay deal on a fresnel.

Overall I think it was a good buy. I at least have lights that I don't have to borrow or rent. I have decent stands that I didn't pay a lot for that I can use with whatever upgrades I get in the future. It sets up and tears down quickly. The bulbs don't last long, but they're cheap.

Decent starter kit? *For the price*, yes. Versatile? no. Its a cheap way into lighting and the limitations get you thinking about creative ways to use them. They also tend to make you want better lights. :)

Take care,
Chris
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Old April 26th, 2006, 04:40 PM   #10
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Gordon,

- softboxes are photoflex brand, starlite silverdome medium and small, most photoflex kits include louvers

- 300w fresnels are Arri brand with barndoors.

- reflector is photoflex brand, gold on one side, white on the other, 36"

- diffusion panel is a 48x48 Westcott

- I picked up my bounce boards at the local hobby store, they're just white foam core boards

- I also have a couple of C-stands, extension cords, gloves, tape, some black foil and a dimmer

Just what I've grown over time into my kit so I didn't have to keep renting lights for every interview that I did.

Regards,

Greg

Edit: forgot to include the price... I would estimate that I put around $1800 into it total.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 08:38 AM   #11
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Everyday Kits

Thanks Greg! I'm looking everything up now.

Does anyone else have a favorite everyday lighting kit that they use for almost everything? It looks like Greg has a small but highly versitile and well thought out lighting kit.

Anyone else care to post their everyday lighting kits?

Thank you!
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Old April 27th, 2006, 10:14 AM   #12
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You're welcome Gordon, just FYI, I picked up most of my stuff second hand.

Regards,

Greg
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 10:46 AM   #13
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Pic of light kit

Gordon,

Here is a link to my Web site and a photo of my equipment (camera, lighting and tripod). I paid less than $300 for both of the softboxes in this photo, along with the stands and a good carrying case.

http://www.advancedmedialab.com/aboutus.html

See my post above for the URL for this lighting.

- Jesse
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