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Old January 1st, 2004, 06:39 PM   #1
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Location: Fort Worth, Texas
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What Step Forward In Lighting?

My background is still photog, so I have a few light stands, umbrellas, and a large softbox (for a strobe). For DV, I've started using a 500w and three 250w halogen work lights, sometimes shot through a fabric backdrop. I'm able to light an interior (my house) rather softly, which is good when you want soft. I've been reading a bit and I'm thinking I could benefit from adding a spot or focusable light, as a key light. I'm kind of interested in a "separation" light too, what we still shooters call a "hair" light.

My question is, what is a good, logical step forward for me? The kits have stuff I don't need, like stands and umbrellas. I'm thinking I should go with pretty decent quality, building a kit slowly.

An Arri brochure I read seems to suggest a fresnel would be good, maybe 300w or 650w. Are those watt ratings pretty reasonable, or should a go higher/lower? What are the respected, quality brands? Are there any really good values, the stuff everybody winds up with and hangs on to? I don't want to buy any more throw-away gear.

Thanks, and cheers...
Dan Brown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 2nd, 2004, 09:15 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2003
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I think your instincts are right on - arri makes very nice gear.

I too come from still photography and when I started shooting DV I picked up a couple of Lowel DP's. These are open face lights, not quite as easy to control as a fresnel, but they do allow some degree of focus and accomodate a variety of modifiers inc. barn doors, something your worklights do not (unless home made) They accept up to a 1000W bulb.

A 650W arri fresnel and a couple of open faced DP's provides a fairly versitile and good build quality kit at a decent price. Of course your needs may vary but I hope that this helps.

Good Luck!
James Marcais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2004, 03:03 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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650 watts can be alot of light in an intimate setting. i'm of the opinion that a 650 watt fresnel lamped to 300, just doesn't look right. The Arri 300 is an ideal accent (kicker, hair, backlight).

Maybe you could rent one 0r two and try them. I just made a pest of myself at the Arri showroom. They were happy to oblige me.
Bryan Beasleigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2004, 07:39 PM   #4
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Someone posted a great report (I found it in the archives) about an experience shooting with two fresnel lights. Very flexible, used in a varietty of ways (direct, bounced, softbox, gels, etc.), the story really got to me. Seems better then "open" lights or some of the lower cost flood or bare-bulb options. I also got a collective sense that Arri, Mole-Richardson, and LTM (a la Pepper) were the "serious" brands. I guess the 300 watt size would be about right for an amatuer shooting at home and in relatively small evironments.

For outdoors, I think the usual film camera gear, like reflector panels, will get the job done.

I guess I'm rambling, but I'm leaning toward buying a single 300 watt fresnel and going from there.

Thanks and, please send money right away ;^)

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