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Old December 2nd, 2006, 12:01 PM   #1
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cheap lighting kits?

I am doing an interview next week in someone's office. I do not know what the lighting situation will be there. In the past, I have just used available light, and the results have been very variable.

I am looking at some of the inexpensive light kits from B&H like the Impact Tungsten 3 light kit.

Does anyone have experience with this kit? Is it a waste of money? I have read the article on how to do lighting on the cheap--would I be better off with home depot work lights bounced off the walls or a chinese lantern? (As an aside, I 'd like the lights to also be useful for photographing my 3D artwork...)

This interview is part of a labor of love project with no budget.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Old December 2nd, 2006, 12:05 PM   #2
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The kit looks good for the price. I'd get the case too. Should be good for interview stuff. If you get lights from Home Depot you will still need defusers and something for stands.

Chapter one, line one. The BH.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 08:28 AM   #3
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I have this exact set, and have used it for interviews - it should give you what you need. I own some bright halogen work lights, too, but would not use them for that type of job.

- Martin
Martin Pauly
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 02:28 PM   #4
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the b&h kit is probably adequete for your task.

but lighting interviews in an office environment is tricky. the office is probably lit by overhead florescent lights. the office might also have a window. the sunlight mixed with the florescent light will produce a greenish quality to the interviewee's skintone---even if u properly white balance.

if u close off the window light-a time consuming process-and just use the overhead lights, then white balancing will work. the problem then is the light is coming from up top and depending upon the room and the amount of light, u will probably get shadows on the interviews face.

if u close off the window light AND shut off the overhead lights, then u can use the b&h kit to light the entire room. just realize that lighting an entire space is a real job both creatively and time consuming.

perhaps i can offer u an easier and cheaper solution.

if the office has a window, figure out which direction the window faces. south windows will get direct sunlight, northern windows don't. eastern windows get morning sun. western windows get afternoon sun. i would want to be in the office when their is plenty of ambient light but not direct light. that often is in the mid-morning. i would then use a white card or even a large flexfill reflector to direct the light towards your interview subject. by using available light, you can truly focus on the reason you are getting the interview, the information that the interviewee is interested in imparting to u. spending time and effort on the difficult task of connecting with the interviewee and getting the subject to impart information in a relaxed, thoughtful, interesting, useable manner might be more cost efficient than spending time and money on a small lighting kit.

lastly, if none of the above works for u, i would consider spending the $150 on renting a small lit kit from a local facility who might be able to walk u thru the steps of setting up the rental lights in the easist manner possible.

interviews look easy. good interviews, where there is a connection between interviewer and interviewee are more difficult. i'm sure your's will be wonderful.

enjoy the process.

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Old December 4th, 2006, 12:42 PM   #5
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Location: Austin, TX
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Consider using a Britek tungsten kit. They're actual quartz lamps similar to arris or moles but are of the "made in china" variety. I got a couple of kits for my company after getting frustrated constantly renting very very small packages of lights (like an arri softbank kit) for talking head setups. The best part is, for about 800$ you get 2 1k's, 2 650's and a 300 -- all with softboxes, barndoors and stands... a bunch of retailers have them as well as ebay, random internet resellers, etc. Great investment, as I know that back when I was a student I went through photofloods and those lowell halogens like they were consumables.

However, the stands, while sturdy, have a nasty habit of getting loose as you use them, fortunately all you have to do is add a set of allen wrentches (sp?)to your fly kit.

Good luck!
Wade McDonald
Pointed Films, Inc. / Austin

Red One #845
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Old December 15th, 2006, 10:07 PM   #6
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I'd be happy to loan you some LTM Peppers, since we live so close to each other (I'm in Lawrence). I've got the Full Spectrum Kit, plus lots of odds & sods, reflectors, frames, flags, c-stands, etc. Send me an email.

You can see what's in the kit here:
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Old December 16th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #7
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Jack--thanks for the offer. I really appreciate it!

However, I already did buy the Impact light set and it worked well for what I needed it for.

Thanks again.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #8
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I'll chime in on the Impact set.

The lights are all adequate, and the collection is excellent for the price.

The nylon case, however, lost a buckle the second time I used the kit -- it simply exploded as I lifted the case out of the trunk of a car.

Gotta go back to B&H and get it replaced. (No time as yet.)

Michael Bernstein, actor & film maker.
10 films in 10 weeks:
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Old December 16th, 2006, 04:25 PM   #9
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This is a very inexpensive kit, hard to beat. With a little more in the budget, I'd rather have a kit that includes one soft light, one Fresnel instrument, and one flex-fill reflector. Two lights, one bounce device, very versatile. The Impacts are niether soft nor hard. See:

for more info.
David Tames { blog: twitter: @cinemakinoeye }
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Old December 25th, 2006, 11:33 AM   #10
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hi guys would this kit that carolyn has bought: be adequate for short films as well for lighting simple locations such as a hotel room scene and living room scenes?

i would get the case as well. the kit looks nice a portable. also does anybody know what these filter packs are for and when you would use them?

sorry i'm totally green when it comes to lighting!

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