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Old April 8th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #1
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Inexpensive Lighting

I'm just starting off in this field and so far I have not had access to lighting and have just had to adjust stuff in camera. What is a good inexpensive lighting kit that I can learn how to use for several hundred dollars?
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Old April 9th, 2007, 04:19 AM   #2
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Hi Nick

Check out the Lowell Tota's and Rifa lights not too dear and very compact and useful...
I have such a kit with 2x Tota's, 1x Rifa, 1x Pro light, 1x V-light... give a very adaptable set up for not too much money.

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Old April 10th, 2007, 10:22 AM   #3
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I have a rifa44 softbox with a 250watt tungsten for interviews and closeups. The entire rig, light, box, and stand fold down into a soft duffle 23"x8" that I can cram into a kataII bag along with a small cam and it's gear.

I also have two Lowel tota's (with brellas) and an omni that fits into a suitcase. Nice starter kit and I use it often for medium sized areas.

I'm currently looking into CFLs, compact flouresant lighting, primarily for small jobs and keeping interviewees cool, (discussed on another thread here: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=90647).

The lowels have been around awhile, and you might find some deals on Ebay and piece a kit together yourself. The lowel tota's I have are pretty old and have been banged around a good deal. Still works.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 08:40 AM   #4
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I don't have much experience with various kits, but I do have a Lowel kit with pro light, omni light, tota and rifa 55.

It works well for various situations, but add in some cinefoil.

The rifa is nice for portability, but I'm not so sure it is not a better idea to add a speedring and defuser to the tota, and skip the rifa.

The legs are not too sturdy though. But portable. For an interview it is handy to just bring the rifa, prolight and reflector. Perhaps the omni if you want 3 point lightning.

Now I'm trying to build up an arri set, but I cannot shell out all at once so it's piece by piece.

For what it's worth, I think its a nice kit, but I'm not that sure I'd go for the same package again if I could 'go back' in time.

Nice for portability, decent lights, but there are better out there.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 02:38 PM   #5
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In a pinch for funds, you could use the single rifa and a white bounce for fill, and creatively (if the scene offers it, existing lighting for back or hair). In some cases, especially in other peoples homes, a few gels, a turned lamp shade with white sheet for diffuse... The pro kits make things easier, but not impossible without them. How about a mag light at the wide angle through a pillow case? You need to start thinking in terms of crafting with light. Then you'll know what tools will make your job easier.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #6
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If in a real pinch, I always recommend ACDelco clamp lights with CFL GE Softwhite flourescent spiral bulbs. I just added barndoors using the www.coollights.biz plans to mine and have spray painted them black (high temp flat black paint...fire bad). They look plenty good on set and work like a champ. I also have a bunch of craftsman work lights, but the colemans have 7' stands. I have a frame made form 2 cheap lighting stands and a tent pole with eye bolts through it to slip into the tops of the lighting stands. I use this to hang lights or scrim or green screen. The clamp lights work great on my microphone boom stands :) Foam core boards bounce light, I have one side spray painted metallic silver for harder fill when necessary. A couple of small pieces of black foam core for flags and more cheap stands to go where ever needed.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 07:58 PM   #7
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Cole, why not just use one of those car windshield reflectors as a reflector instead of the spray painted one. The nice thing about those reflectors is that they fold up.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #8
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Richard, I have used the windshield reflectors on set before, they are a little too flimsy for my taste. In a slight wind (or a grip with too much coffee), the light ends up moving around so much, that it becomes unusable footage. The other thing I've looked into is clamping a silver space costume type of fabric to the foam core as a cover to bounce light more evenly...the spray paint always ends up with hot spots when painting something this big as a reflector, and if it bends, you get odd light shapes.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 09:34 AM   #9
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Yes, that's why I don't like foam core--it bends too easily.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 11:57 PM   #10
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but the white works like a champ...and you can beat the snot out of the stuff...mines been stepped on , jammed in the back seat of my car, bumped into, had ladders leaned up against it. It is still rigid and reflects light just fine for fill.

Use a window reflector outside on a windy day one time and you'll be happy you have your beat up, bent, folded, footstepped, spraypainted foamcore board...it'll clamp to a stand, take a sandbag or two to stabilize the stand against the wind, and not use a grip or two to try to get it to throw a consistent light that doesn't move around the actors like light reflected from a pond.

Big fan! White walls you can stand the talent next to that is out of frame works pretty well too ;)
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Old April 15th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Royer View Post
I'm just starting off in this field and so far I have not had access to lighting and have just had to adjust stuff in camera. What is a good inexpensive lighting kit that I can learn how to use for several hundred dollars?
If I were you, personally I would avoid getting lowel lights when you can buy used mole-richardson lights off ebay. I think I paid $150 each for 2 Mini Moles (200-250 watts) and $200 for a Baby Mole (500-1,000 watts) That's $500 for 3 NICE lights. Of course, that does not include light stands (good ones can be found for $50-$75 brand new), gels, and scrims. However, for about $800 you can make a GREAT lighting kit that will not make you curse every time you use it. The nice part is if you need to sell everything, you can get most of your money back, and it will be like you just paid a small fee to rent some lights. I am saying this because I worked with some lowel lights this weekend, and the grip/gaffer was happy when I pulled out my mole kit because he wasn't going to have to work so long with my kit to get what he needed light wise.

Just my $.02

Matthew
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Old April 15th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #12
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I really like the arri 650 fresnels..... $300 each and they bounce and defuse well.

lowel has the fren-L's as well.... but spensive.
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