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-   -   Low-cost, yet effective lighting arrangement (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photon-management/123358-low-cost-yet-effective-lighting-arrangement.html)

Jeremy Colin June 9th, 2008 08:38 AM

Low-cost, yet effective lighting arrangement
I would like to buy my first set of lights and I would like to purchase a new set of lights that I can use for event lighting (plays, speeches, graduations, etc) and soft lighting of subjects for documentary-type interviews.

My budget is a max $500 for the most effective and useful solution.

Steve Oakley June 9th, 2008 10:31 PM

your budget and goals are completely out of line. you can't light a stage with $500 worth of lights unless its a really small one - like for a 3 peice band. in that price range you might scrape together a bare bones interview kit. thats why people _rent_ when they need to cover a larger space. renting is far more cost effective. when you need 20 lights, you need 20 lights. renting them for $20-$30 each is just part of the budget. even if you got a couple of tota lights with 1K bulbs, that would be basic ugly flood lighting, but the camera would most likely make a bare exposure. forget construction lights. pro lighting gear will literally last a lifetime if treated semi-decently, and will out last your next 5 cameras. view it as a long term investment and then spending whats needed for a the right stuff will make a lot more sense. put together a kit for around $1k to $1500 for interviews and small shots with quality gear, then rent when you need more.

Jeremy Colin June 10th, 2008 02:30 PM

Hmm-- good point. Do you have a lighting setup that I should aspire to purchase?

What if I start off with just a basic lighting setup and build from there? What should I purchase first?

Gary Burlingame June 10th, 2008 10:34 PM

I think you can get a lot of bang for your buck here:


Les Wilson June 13th, 2008 06:23 PM

eBay will stretch your dollar. Look for Lowel light kits there. Know your prices and wait for a good deal. The Lowel Omni and Pro are very versatile, very compact, and will serve you well. I picked up a banged up set of 4 with lots of accessories for $300 and I've been using for 5 years.

Kim Swift July 26th, 2008 01:51 PM


will these work in a conference room training session as a "wash light?"

I'm shooting a training conference within a week or so, and they are requesting a "wash light" for the speaker?

Christopher Witz July 26th, 2008 02:07 PM

I have one of these without the softbox ( was not avail when I bought the bulb ) and it's a fantastic light!


regarding your stage lighting..... cheap par cans ( 64par ) can be great when you need to throw light on a stage. I have 4 and they come in handy when I need to light up things outdoors at night.

check out this kit....


all you need is stands.
keep in mind that these lights throw a narrow beam.... not a flood. But you can bounce them off walls or fill cards to soften things up.

my advise would be to get some cheap lights and start making money.... then when you can, start buying better light that will be more reliable and more convenient to use. Most people build up a 3 light arri fresnel kit, or a few flo banks and a few hard lights. Coollights.biz has a really good variety and Richard make great lights! I just picked up a few 150hmi Fresnel's from him and they are fantastic!

Bill Pryor July 26th, 2008 02:18 PM

What's a "wash" light?

David Tamés July 26th, 2008 02:47 PM


Originally Posted by Ernest House (Post 892822)
[...] Look for Lowel light kits [...]

however, keep in mind there's a big difference between Lowel video lighting units and event lighting units.

Typically, event lighting units are designed for rough use, and continuous use under harsh conditions day in and day out. Heavy duty critters. Lowel lights, on the other hand, are designed for light weight and portability, but sacrifice ruggedness.

For events you typically use units like ellipsoidal (key and fill spots on talent), fresnel (back light), and par cans (general flood or key and fill spots when less control is required), on the other hand, for interviews typically you use a mix of soft lights (key light) and fresnels (back light).

Thus, very different lighting priorities in the live event vs. interview situation.

David Tamés July 26th, 2008 02:48 PM


Originally Posted by Bill Pryor (Post 912302)
What's a "wash" light?

A wash light is a light that's used to "wash over" a broad area. In theatrical and event use, often PAR cans are used for this purpose.

Peter Wiley July 26th, 2008 02:49 PM

In the theatre a lighting designer will break a setting into various areas where the main action occurs. The areas are generally lit by lights that produce a focusable beam of light, the most common being elipsoidal or "leko" lights (http://www.stagelightingstore.com/s....category=11530.

A "wash" is diffuse illumination generally use to fill in or blend gaps in area lighting and is often accomplished with more diffuse source instruments like fresnels. A wash prevents unintended or distracting shadows on stage that can make actors look odd.

So a wash is really a lighting design technique, not a light, even though some kinds of lights are used to produce a wash more than others. I'd guess the person asking for a "wash light" heard the term someplace and thinks there's a special light that does it. Not so.

Kim Swift July 26th, 2008 03:55 PM

Great advice. What light would you guys suggest I purchase? I have an affordable smith victor light with a stand and an umbrellas, will that work?

Regarding the "wash," is there a certain position I should place the light to get the "wash" effect?

This will be a training session. I think the speaker will be on a stage with a podium. The training session room expects approx 50 attendees.

Giroud Francois July 26th, 2008 08:19 PM

the big problem with lighting is you cannot always put the light where it should be.
so for a stage, if you have to keep it clear, some high power fresnel will be needed to throw light from the back of the room.
if by any chance, it is just for an interview and there is no audience, you can bring a softbox as close as possible as long it stays out of the camera view. in that case even a small led lamp could be ok.
so an one-size-fits-all light is a pretty difficult concept.
for cheap you can put together some cold bulbs together (on a square piece of wood) and eventually mount that in a softbox. no heat, little electricity needed but light will be available only few feet deep. High power will be required if you can put only one or two source.
softboxes can be found for very cheap on ebay (less than 50$) , but hmi fresnel cost the hell (more than 5000$).
if you are working in theater or place with a stage, there are chance they got all the light needed. you just need to deal with the light engineer to give you what you need.

Steve Oakley July 26th, 2008 10:55 PM

they want flat light... ugh. ugly

2 fresnels placed at equal angle and distance with some diffusion will do the job. if they are on a stage, you're going to need larger lights with some throw which probebly means renting some 1K's or 2K's. leco's with spot lenses could also work. source4 has a super narrow beam that can light a speaker across a room from 200 ft away. its hard, its a bit ugly, but it works.

all depends on the distance as to the size and type of lights needed. visit the location and find out. there may be lighting already in place which you can use, which may be the case if they do presentations in this space often. the lights you are looking will work best pretty close, out to maybe 10-15ft before they start to fall off so much that they aren't really kicking the subject up much. then again, sometimes even just a little bit is enough to make for good tones. until you visit the site and see the angles, distances, this is all just pure conjecture as to what will do the job.

David Tamés July 27th, 2008 07:46 AM

The right instrument to light a speaker all depends on where the speaker is and where you can place a light. You can do it with all sorts of things. If you're close to a speaker, yes, Fresnels might work as Steve suggests, however, often when you're lighting a speaker, you'll use an ellipsoidal, for two key reasons: 1. it can be placed at a distance, they have a long throw since they use a special lens (thus the name), and 2. you can easily "cut off" excess spill (the lights have adjustments built in that cut the edges so you can control it at the light, unlike open face lights which are hard to control and useless in long throw situations). You can use a single light when ambient light is enough to provide the fill light, if not, you might need a second light to act as a fill light.

One rule of thumb: use only enough light to get a decent exposure, don't blind the speaker, better to have a little video noise w/ gain and a comfortable speaker than a speaker uncomfortable under bright lights. Less is more. Use to bring the exposure up to a minimum, don't blast the speaker.

In the end, the best way to learn about lighting is to do a lot of experimentation, experience is the best teacher.

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