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Old February 21st, 2007, 11:21 PM   #1
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Fill & Edge Light - What to Buy?

I currently have the "Interview Lighting for Under $1500" light kit (a DVD that suggest a light kit that can be found on other threads here), and I thought that I might stop using a reflector for a fill light and buy a light to use as a fill light and maybe an edge light as well. My question is this, with this kit, what are some suggestions on what light(s) to get? I don't need to break the bank though, my budget for this endeavor is around $200, give or take a little.

Here's the detailed breakdown of what I have:

1. Lowel Tota Light (500w) with a small softbox for a key light
2. Lowel Prolight (250w) on a boom for a hair light
3. Lowel Prolight (250w) for a background light
4. and a Photoflex 42" circular reflector for a fill

Should I buy a light specifically for the fill application, or buy a new light to replace something I have and use, say, one of the Prolights for the fill? I'm still planning on staying pigeon-holed into only interviewing one subject at a time for right now. I know I'll need to address that later, but one step at a time.

Any thoughts/suggestions welcome... Thanks for looking,

"... the drama is on your doorstep..." - John Grierson
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 09:14 AM   #2
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One thing that I failed to mention on EFPlighting is that most on camera lights make an excellent fill light for those with limited budget or limited set-up time. As long as you can control the output either with a dimmable light or better yet with layers of diffusion. If the light is powerful enough to add a small soft box thatís even better. If the light sits too high you might want to buy a bracket that will lower the light closer to the level of the lens. The ideal position for a fill light is as close as possible to the camera lens because this is what the camera sees and itís a shadow less position particularly when placed very close to the lens. The drawback of using a fill at the camera position is that it will also shine on the background and in some case this might be a problem if the background is too close to the subject and the lighting is critical. One thing to be careful, as I see it way too often on TV, the fill should be invisible, in few words no secondary shadows.

Other inexpensive choice for fill would be a Lowel pro light with a XXmall softbox. Iím not very fun of open face lights and the reason is that the light output is hard to control and when it comes to lights Iím a control freak, I want the light to go exactly and only where I want it to go. I only use open face light with a softbox or to shine it thru a diffuser. I think that the Lowel Pro light is an amazing little light and the very best value on the market, (I own six of them) but for high end work they are very limited and hard to control. I would start thinking Fresnel, as youíve seen on EFPlighting thatís what I use the most and that what most professional use. For an edge light a 150w will be sufficient but a 300w would be even better. The power output is not very important because with a 300 you will need to dim the light or add scrims, is the size of the lens and the amount of focusing control that will give you more flexibility and a better quality light. So save your money and start thinking Fresnels.

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Old February 22nd, 2007, 09:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip, Nino. I hadn't thought about stepping up a fresnel. I wasn't sure of the advantage. There aren't any pro light shops here in central Ohio (or Ohio at all, for that matter) that I've found where I can go and see/play with equipment before I buy. The mail order companies are great (pricing and availability), but sometimes you've just got to see "it" first. Whatever "it" is.

I'll do some research on fresnels and see what's out there.

"... the drama is on your doorstep..." - John Grierson
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:35 PM   #4
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What about the folks at Ample Power+Light (
They're located in Columbus, and I'm a huge fan of local grip & electric rental places. You should go down and introduce yourself and get a tour of their facility. Then you'll have a source for renting before you buy, which is much better than just playing with something on a showroom floor. Plus, you may find that you are better off renting what you need for a shoot and letting someone else worry about storing & maintaining all that equipment.
Even if it's not those particular folks, look around at places in your area that rent gear for film and video production. They can be a huge resource for you.
Ralph Keyser is offline   Reply

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