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Old March 27th, 2010, 01:52 AM   #1
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Lighting Kits?

So I know from snooping around the boards for a while that for the most part no one uses lighting kits that much. But I am just starting out and have a lot of equipment acquired at the moment from film school and having thought about getting into the business before film school. At the moment I am going to be running two canon xl1 cameras, which due to their impressive lenses eat up a fair amount of light. I have been able to squeak by with just turning up the gain on the camera and opening up the lens all the way for darker ceremonies, then for the receptions which do seem to get really dark sometimes I just stun them in the eyes with my on camera light, which can give me just enough even from impressive distances.

But honestly, maybe because I have been to film school and have had the chance to control and really critically think about lighting, really the on camera sun gun is not the prettiest. And I am a little concerned with what happens when I show up to the dark ceremony where my sun gun on my camera will be too far away and even if I can get it close enough, and I don't know that the battery will last for that long.

So I was thinking about adding to my kit a simple lighting kit just so I could have it if I ever faced the horrible day when I would need it and would have to plead with the bride/groom/coordinator to set up some lights.

What I am thinking about is two lights with soft boxes, and maybe one small background light. I like the idea of soft boxes because one they soften the picture and can make everything look pretty. Secondly they also tend to look nicer to everyone who has to look at the lights. People are also used to seeing soft boxes set up as a lot of time photographers will use them with a flash bulb inside. So I figured that would be the most ascetically pleasing option.

I don't have much money to spare as I am trying to get this business started and have already bought other vital equipment I needed, and as well have one of my cameras in repair to get the heads replaced, so I am sure that is going to take a hit on my funds. Plus still trying to figure out website, business permit, business cards ect. So all that to say I am looking for the cheap side when it comes to the lights. B&H has a world of options, anyone use any of them before, or have any recommendations.

Any help recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 03:08 AM   #2
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If you are looking for great value go to Linkdelight Photography Accessories - Home and check out their 800W Redheads. I bought four from them and have been using them for a couple of months now. To soften the light I simply clip a very transparent white fabric to the front of the barn doors and it looks very much like softbox light. Also have a look at Fluorescent HMI and LED Video Studio and Location Lighting - Cool Lights USA and TL-50 Dimmable LED Light :: Digital Juice is selling the Switronix TL-50 at 50% off.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:18 AM   #3
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Redheads (800W) and blondes (2Kw) are an industry standard but you must use industry standard gel, scrim or parchment to colour/soften - ordinary gel will melt, fabric will burn.

However, you're right that most people don't iuse lights for weddings and if you're competing with them you'll find it hard to justify mains driven lights. If there's an accident and one's knocked over remember they are very hot and will easily burn somebody. But I'd choose them any day over softboxes. SBs do one job, redheads/blondes do many.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #4
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Phillip I also though fabric would burn but it doesn't. I use standard fabric from a fabric store that is very thin and transparent, the barn doors keep the fabric roughly 15cm away from the light source and it gives beautiful soft light. I've been doing this for months. Mind you if I could buy gels locally I would. I decided I want to give my clients the best product possible and this includes lighting, there is no way you can deliver a high grade production without using proper lighting. For weddings I use two 800W Redheads where ever I can unless it's the clients express wishes not to and they fully understand the kind of result this will cause. I would like to switch over to portable LED lighting though.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #5
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Nicholas, notwithstanding your experience I urge you not to use ordinary fabric/gel simply because if you reach combustion temperature and 15cm isn't far away - just put your hand there, then you could find yourself with full liability, regardless of your insurance because the manufacturers would hang you out to dry.

As far as your general point about illumination it depends on what you're selling and what your clients expect. If you're selling a discreet, unobtrusive service/style it's difficult to achieve with lamps around. Secondly, in the sort of churches/venues we work in here two redheads wouldn't be nearly enough. Once you scrim them down to soft, there's little light left at 20ft. We'd have to consider blondes and quite a lot of them - and running them on domestic circuits is well nigh impossible - they draw 10A each and most domestic ring circuits in the UK are (I think - if not someone will correct me) rated at 30A nominal maybe even less. That's three lights max and nothing left. Very few churches here have three phase.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #6
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hmm.. you both brought up some good points. Amperage on the circuits was one of my concerns I have actually read on here that some churches ban lights, I am assuming because of the fact that they blow circuits. That was why my thought was with the soft boxes I would not have to spend a lot of time scrimming down the lights, but on the other had if I go with the big black enclosure deals like the portrait photographer uses, I am sure there will still be some set up involved. Again I liked the look of soft boxes the tend to be nicer to look at, the redheads not so much as I remember, but the red heads are alot smaller so could be hid easier so that might be a plus. And the redheads or some other type of focusable light would defiantly be more versital. Then back on the side of amperage two soft boxes on either side of the stage would provide ample light, versus setting a number of smaller lights. So anyhow still considering it all.

One thing you guys did bring up that I did not think about yet, is the lights falling over. Had not thought about it but I would also need to buy some sand bags I could not think of setting up lights at a wedding without sandbagging them for that exact reason. As I recall buying sandbags on line can be a little pricey just with the shipping costs and all, it seems like there should be someway to build them myself for cheap. Any ideas although I do realize that this might be a better question for the photon management board.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 02:36 PM   #7
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Guests always find a way to trip over lights, I usually duck tape my stands to the floor. I watch over my lights like a hawk though, I've had guests destroy one of my light in the past. Keep them out of the way and cables hidden.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 12:18 PM   #8
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Hi Joshua,

I've been shooting weddings for over 10 years and I've never once shot a ceremony that was too dark too need additional lighting. Receptions are a different story, but sun guns have sufficed.

Instead you should consider investing in a camera that's great in low light such as the Sony Ex1, Ex1r, Ex3, or the Canon 5D, 7D. These cameras don't need much light to look good.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 03:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Wallace View Post
Hi Joshua,

I've been shooting weddings for over 10 years and I've never once shot a ceremony that was too dark too need additional lighting. Receptions are a different story, but sun guns have sufficed.

Instead you should consider investing in a camera that's great in low light such as the Sony Ex1, Ex1r, Ex3, or the Canon 5D, 7D. These cameras don't need much light to look good.
I think even though canon 5D and 7D are said they are good in low light. I think you still need a light, because cranking up the ISO is not good in quality based on my experience with 5D and 7D. I shot a closed room with minimal light, increased ISO, ended up with a very grainy footage, which will not be consistent with the clear footages I took in lit place.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #10
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yeah I was considering getting the 7d to use as a second camera, but I am not so sure about the recording limits on a dslr. For weddings I like to set my cameras up and let them record the entire time. I guess if I was just using it for cut aways and creative shots it would work. But with the ceremony i think the recording limits would be too much. How do you guys like your dslrs and how do you make it work for you?
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Old April 8th, 2010, 12:36 AM   #11
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Cannot live without our Amvona Continuous DV lighting kit..they are 10 ft tall with softboxes and 1000w bulbs..we use it at church and the reception..
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