Need help choosing first lighting kit (inexpensive)for short film - mostly indoors!!! at DVinfo.net

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Old January 19th, 2007, 09:42 AM   #1
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Need help choosing first lighting kit (inexpensive)for short film - mostly indoors!!!

Hi.

I've been looking at the lighting kits at BHPHOTO.com and can't figure out what would be a good kit at an affordable price. They range from $99.00 to the thousands.

Can anyone recommend a good versatile kit (for under $500)? I am brand new to this but I don't want to get something that will be a waste of money. I want something I can use again.

Thank you.

Gilbert
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Old January 19th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #2
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Hi there

Yep like everything else the sky's the limit budget wise... I got a Lowel interview kit in a bag.. comprises of a Rifa, Tota, and Pro lite... Add a Lastolite reflector and you've a pretty versatile kit for basic indoor situations...
I can add to this and improve wattage.. but this give nice results to start with for about a grand...

regards
Gareth
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Old January 21st, 2007, 05:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info you gave Gareth. Do you think I can get away with this $179.00 kit from BHphoto -
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...s=REG&addedTro

I would rather stay under 500 but I would go to 1k if I can find an overall kit I can learn with.

Which kit do you have? Is it at BHphoto or did you get it somewhere else?

I am very green to lighting but I need to learn now for short film making indoors.

Thanks for any info.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 04:55 PM   #4
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Impact Light Kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilbert Labossiere
Thanks for the info you gave Gareth. Do you think I can get away with this $179.00 kit from BHphoto -
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...s=REG&addedTro
A friend just got that Impact light kit and I thought it wasn't bad for the money. No where near as nice as Lowell, let alone Arri, etc. If you can scrape the cash together, get the Lowell kit, but if not, the other kit isn't useless.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 05:14 PM   #5
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Thanks Frank.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 05:38 PM   #6
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The one problem with that Impact kit is that it is all soft, uncontrolled light. For some situations where you don't wan't light spill, you may consider adding a fresnel light with barndoors. I'm guessing something like an Arri 650 fresnel is going to be an incredibly common part of many light kits.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

There is also a compromise between the two lights. I have some Smith Victor lights with two-leaf barndoors that seem to do a decent job. I have outfitted them with fluorescent bulbs and now then can be used with a battery/inverter almost anywhere. I also made some crude grids out of plastic grid from the hardware store that I painted black. For about $100 each, I have a reasonable amount of control and brightness all for about 80Watts (two fluorescent bulbs on a y-connector).
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 05:55 PM   #7
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Are you commited to a professional kit, I just got 4 lights for US$60 for christmas. They are not necessarily pro lights, but they produce a nice soft light and you can turn them into what ever you want with a little DIY elbow grease.

ACDelco makes clamp lights (8.5in. reflectors, 20ft. cord) that are all bolted together instead of having the pressure knuckles that fall apart, so they last forever...I use compact flourescents to cut down on heat and give a nice soft light (I like the GE softwhites). On these, you can manufacture barndoors and bounce or diffuse with bedsheets for larger softer lighting.

The other advantage I've found to these is that it throws enough light to not have to use ND filtration to get the iris open for more DOF control...the one time I got to use a pro light kit, I ended up having to stop down the iris due to the fact that the lights were too bright to keep it open with and too dark to cover with the built-in ND filters on my camera...I got pure white or pure black...make sure if you get one of the pro kits, you get a nice variety of ND filters and/or dimmers.

Coleman 500w lights (US$20/ea.) work great too, but generate lots of light and lots of heat...my actors liked me alot more when I switched to flourescents. I use mine for lighting outdoors now.

and for the same budget, you can buy 3x as many lights this way...I find them more versatile as well. (don't forget some light stands - or microphone stands).
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Old February 1st, 2007, 11:14 AM   #8
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Dont forget to check b&h (or any other supplier's) used section. I just got a lowel omni with barndoors and cord for $129 (no bulb).. i got the bulb used too .. i got them a few days ago and they look almost like new. This is my first "real" light .. i've been getting by with scoop lights and home depot work lights, and it's definitely nice to be able to focus and control the light - totally worth it
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Old February 1st, 2007, 01:16 PM   #9
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To give you an idea of a fairly versatile intro kit, take a look at the video demonstrating the Lowel DV Creator Kit. There's a reason it's the number one selling light kit in the world. http://dvestore.com/dvgeartalk.html

There's a lot of fixtures out there to choose from and of course you can spend huge money and get top of the line gear, but if you just need something easy to transport and set-up that you can grow with, a Lowel Tota, Omni and Pro give you many options in all kind of scenarios. You'll even find these lights at most every rental house as standard equipment, they've been in use for years. I still have Tota's and Omni's from 10 years ago that have travelled to every major city across the US/Canada and still perform flawlessly. Plus the 3 light kit breaks down and stores in a case smaller than most any kit out there with similar wattage. I'd just add a collapsable reflector and you're pretty set. Later upgrade and get a soft box. We're a DV Info.net sponsor too, so if you mention that we'll ship it free if that helps.
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