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Old March 23rd, 2007, 07:44 PM   #1
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One Man Production Crew Lighting Kit - What else?

Having come from being a Still Photojournalist, I had to refine my portable lighting kit for assignments requiring more controlled lighting.

Now that I work as a one man production unit, I need some advice on a minimalist, yet flexible lighting kit that I can carry along with my video cameras.

My current lighting kit consists of the following:

1 - Lowel Totalight
1 - Photoflex Silverdome nxt 24x32 softbox with Totalight Speedring
2 - Bogen 7 1/2' light stands
1 - Photoflex LiteDisc 22-inch Soft Gold/White
1 - Photoflex LiteDisc 12-inch White/Silver
1 - Photoflex LiteDisc Holder

I also have diffusion panels from my days of shooting in studio - Use to be made by Domke.

So what I'm wondering is what else I would need to round out my minimalist kit. I figure maybe a Medium Soft Box Grid for more controlled primary lighting. What about a second light? Should I go with a second Totalight or should I look to another light that is different? My kit needs to be lightweight and compact as I am doing virtually all setup and shooting video in solo mode. My primary need is for interview lighting.

Have visited efplighting.com and it has great advice - but most of the information seems geared towards having a lighting crew - I need something really compact, elegant, durable AND can be managed by one person.

TIA,
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 08:51 PM   #2
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If your primary task is to light interviews, I would add a Lowel Pro-Light along with an additional light stand and a boom to serve as a backlight. (If you get a convertable boom, it's fairly quick to set up.) You'll also need a dimmer to control the light.

If you can manage an additional light stand and Pro-Light, I would add it to serve as a background light.
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 09:00 PM   #3
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I would add two pro lights. One for a hair light and the other for the BG if it calls for it.
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 09:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Etzel View Post
Have visited efplighting.com and it has great advice - but most of the information seems geared towards having a lighting crew - I need something really compact, elegant, durable AND can be managed by one person.
Lighting crew? I am the lighting crew; Iím also the cameraman, director of photography, gaffer, grip, electrician, production coordinator and whatever else is needed. Most of those set-ups on EFPlighting.com are made by a two person crew, my soundman and me. Most of my work is for broadcasting features, the days of big crews for television work are only nostalgic memories. If you have the right tools and know how to use them you can accomplish great things all by yourself or with very little help. On commercial work we still have some of those luxuries such as larger crews but still only a fraction of what we had in the past.

I am however, just like many of my colleagues are, very equipment oriented, I believe in always having the right tool for the job or the right tool to do what I need or want to do, http://www.nino-g.com/equipment.html, some of the lights in my van are over 30 years old and they look like the day I bought them. Yes, tools are expensive but thatís also an investment in yourself and your career and if you learn how to use those tools the investment you made will yield a very high return, thatís what the tutorial on EFPlighting.com are all about it, get the right tools and learn how to use them.

Nino

www.EFPlighting.com
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 10:56 PM   #5
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Lights

I certainly don't have Nino's experience but used to lug around 4 White Lightning Ultra 1800's and their softboxes, speed rings and umbrellas, tripods, cases, camera, spare bulbs...

Now I'm selling them and converting to a similar video setup. So far I have 3 softboxes and two small 2.5" fresnels for backgrounds and kickers and some metal grid material.

The grids certainly make a difference in controlling where the light doesn't go.
Haven't finalized what kind of lights I want inside the boxes yet.

Last edited by Larry Vaughn; March 23rd, 2007 at 10:58 PM. Reason: add info
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Old March 24th, 2007, 01:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nino Giannotti View Post
Lighting crew? I am the lighting crew; Iím also the cameraman, director of photography, gaffer, grip, electrician, production coordinator and whatever else is needed. Most of those set-ups on EFPlighting.com are made by a two person crew, my soundman and me. Most of my work is for broadcasting features, the days of big crews for television work are only nostalgic memories. If you have the right tools and know how to use them you can accomplish great things all by yourself or with very little help. On commercial work we still have some of those luxuries such as larger crews but still only a fraction of what we had in the past.

I am however, just like many of my colleagues are, very equipment oriented, I believe in always having the right tool for the job or the right tool to do what I need or want to do, http://www.nino-g.com/equipment.html, some of the lights in my van are over 30 years old and they look like the day I bought them. Yes, tools are expensive but thatís also an investment in yourself and your career and if you learn how to use those tools the investment you made will yield a very high return, thatís what the tutorial on EFPlighting.com are all about it, get the right tools and learn how to use them.

Nino

www.EFPlighting.com
Nino - I meant no offense - My Bad. I appreciate the wealth of information you have shared on your site - I did alot of study in lighting when I was a still shooter - One of my friends was an assistant for now deceased Dean Collins - who had done a video series called Fine Light - it is where I learned much of my lighting techniques back in the mid to late 80's.

From the looks of your van - I would never get the kinds of shots I specifically am going for - The minimalist kit I am putting together is much a reflection of my view of life - the K.I.S.S. principle - do more with less. I need to carry everything - that includes video cameras, light stands and lights (am looking for a large enough video backpack to carry cameras and hot lights with sling bag for light stands and soft boxes.)

The information on your site provides me with a way to do technical analysis of your lighting setups and then see how I could come close with less.

Looks like a Pro light is the next purchase based upon the other responses I've received so far.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 06:58 AM   #7
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Cliff Iím sorry if I came thru as if I was offended, I wasnít, perhaps my inner frustration is directed to the bean counters in the broadcasting industry that keep eroding away at production budgets.

I mentioned all those jobs because up to 10/15 years ago thatís the crews we had on an average TV production. One by one these positions kept disappearing, now I have to wear all those hats because the job still needs to get done. Actually today there are more opportunities than ever for multi-tasked/multi talented people particularly those with extensive knowledge of lighting.

To answer you original question on what to buy, keep in mind that we all started with no lights and no money to buy lights. Where would we all be without Lowel. When I started in business nearly four decades ago the choices were few and very expensive, Lowel was back then and still is the most affordable and the best value for your money, a little TLC and it will last for years. I think that the little pro-light is the most versatile light ever made, I own six of them plus two of 12 volt version. Use it on a Chimera box and the little pro-light will perform just like the big and most expensive lights.

Remember, learning is more important than buying. Donít just go and buy lights, get the best of what you have right now, then one day on a job you will say to yourself ďI wish I had one of thoseĒ, thatís when you pick up the phone and order one. Thatís how I went from a station wagon to the biggest van that can fit in my garage. Now Iím thinking about building a bigger garage.
Start with a soft box and a fabric grid, and then add one or two Pro-light with accessories and next add one or two 150/300w fresnels, this should handle most situations. Grips and gels are just as important as lights, allocate some money to buy those things too.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 08:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nino Giannotti View Post
To answer you original question on what to buy, keep in mind that we all started with no lights and no money to buy lights. Where would we all be without Lowel. When I started in business nearly four decades ago the choices were few and very expensive, Lowel was back then and still is the most affordable and the best value for your money, a little TLC and it will last for years. I think that the little pro-light is the most versatile light ever made, I own six of them plus two of 12 volt version. Use it on a Chimera box and the little pro-light will perform just like the big and most expensive lights.

Remember, learning is more important than buying. Don’t just go and buy lights, get the best of what you have right now, then one day on a job you will say to yourself “I wish I had one of those”, that’s when you pick up the phone and order one. That’s how I went from a station wagon to the biggest van that can fit in my garage. Now I’m thinking about building a bigger garage.
Start with a soft box and a fabric grid, and then add one or two Pro-light with accessories and next add one or two 150/300w fresnels, this should handle most situations. Grips and gels are just as important as lights, allocate some money to buy those things too.
No Worries Nino - :)

Learning is an important part for sure - to stop learning is a death nail for those in any profession.

I'm ordering a Pro Light today to add to my kit - So what would you recommend as a dimmer? According the specs, it doesn't come as a standard feature of the light..
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Last edited by Cliff Etzel; March 24th, 2007 at 09:53 AM.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 12:52 PM   #9
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I built my own dimmer, using a high quality dimmer switch, a switch box, heavy duty copper wire and a few edison plugs. If your not so inclined, many people like this product from Harbor Freight, which is selling for $10 today:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=43060
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Old March 24th, 2007, 01:22 PM   #10
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Thanks John :)
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Old March 24th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #11
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You're welcome. To transport your equipment, I would recommend using a padded backpack to carry your camera and sound kit (this frees up your hands), a padded tripod bag that can also hold a boom pole and a dedicated light case on wheels. That's what I use to transport my equipment and while it all weighs a lot, I manage to get around. If I'm doing a job out-of-town, I ship the light kit ahead via FedEx. The camera comes on the plane with me and the tripod goes with my checked luggage.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 02:06 PM   #12
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Dimmer, et al...

I bought two Impact dimmers at B & H. I think they are $24 a pop. You need a 3 to 2 prong converter to plug into the dimmer itself. But they work great with the Lowel Pro, bulbed to 250w. I use one with a snoot as a back light, and the second barn-doored as a fill. My key light is now a Rifa 44 with a 300w bulb. I use a second Lowel as a background light. And I have also been using the LitePanels mini light (spot) as fill. I love this light. Pricey, but I use it all the time. If I have to carry only one light in a run and gun situation, this is it.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #13
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soft box light

I bought some sliverdomes because the only softboxes I had were not high heat rated. But, I didn't want to pay a lot for the fixture, so I made some.

Local lighting supply store: 3 mogul sockets, 4KW pulse rated, and some nuts, washers, etc. $39.00 5 500 watt mogul bulbs w/shipping $75.00. To Lowes for 3 covers for an outdoor floodlight fixture. $8.00. 3 pipe adapters to fit the threaded rod the moguls came with to the fixture cover $8.00. 3 14 gauge 15 amp 10' cords for the fixtures $38.00 Short piece of clear plastic tubing for power cord stress relief 50 cents. Still needed light stand adapters, more money.

But wait, theres more............Once I picked up 3 tiny Smith Victor movie lights for about $25.oo with case, bulbs and stands. Very bright, more than the mogul bulbs. Small too, not hard to adapt to a metal speed ring.

Then again.........if you don't have the cash at first, BBA bulbs are about $1.50 each. They don't last long but several are quite intense and they fit in many sockets.........

But, all of the above lights need something more to focus them like the Lowel's Nino mentioned...
sometimes I think it's better to save up and/or buy used and get something that is already proven.

Last edited by Larry Vaughn; March 24th, 2007 at 04:54 PM. Reason: accuracy
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Old March 24th, 2007, 04:53 PM   #14
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cases

One place to get boxes to carry small parts with individualized compartments is at a liquor store. Free and they come in many sizes.
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