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-   -   I need light ADVICE, Kit or Piece by piece? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photon-management/294608-i-need-light-advice-kit-piece-piece.html)

David Ruhland August 18th, 2009 06:05 PM

I need light ADVICE, Kit or Piece by piece?
I come from the still photography world of lighting. I shoot a lot of fashion, i use snoots, grids, flags, barn doors, gels to achieve the look and CONTROL that I want. My photographer colleauges have nicknamed the "lighting weenie" cause I am so an*l at my lighting control, ratios, etc.

That being said i need some continuis lights for video. I dont know the difference between a TOTA, a Fresnal, a PAR, HMI, etc...

I dont want to spend 1000 bucks now only to find out i bought the wrong stuff and need to spend another 2000 bucks down the road to get the proper light kit.

I shoot technical videos mainly where i am shooting stuff like placing a gear cluster on a bicycle wheel, putting a carburator on a chainsaw etc. SOMETIMES i need to have talent so i think a 3 point would be necessary.

I like the NOIR style of lighting too. (i may have screwed that word up)

I have tried the Home Depot route of work lights...TOO HOT

So here is what i would like advice on...

Main Light (i kind of like the lowel Rifa lights)

Fill Light?

Hair light? Adjustable??? is this called a fresnal??

Background light?

Snoots, grids, equivelents...to still photography

I am not sure of the heat output difference betweent he HMI, Tunston, etc...

So if somone could direct me to more info on this subject I would greatly appreciate it.


Perrone Ford August 18th, 2009 06:27 PM

Someone needs to a FAQ sticky here on lights.


Lighting Hard vs Soft

Hard lighting is very direct and creates harsh shadows; The smaller the light source and the further from the talent, the harder the shadows it creates. Large light sources that are diffused and placed close to the talent are softer, and generally more flattering. Though they are much harder to control.

Lighting Temperature:

Tungsten lights produce more heat than light. They are known as hot lights. Like the home depot lights. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are usually the cheapest forms of light in terms of cost. High quality tungsten may not be cheap to buy, but they work well, and last forever. They are still *hot*.

Fluorescent lights are cool, and very soft. It is hard to create strong shadows with them. They cost marginally more than tungsten lights. They need to be placed rather close to the talent because as soft lights, they fall off in intensity quickly as you move away from the talent.

HMI lights are a lot like tungsten, but they are daylight color balanced, run cooler, and put out more light per ampere of power. You'll see these all over movie sets. Drawback is they cost REAL money.

LED lights are becoming more popular, but unless you've got money to burn, trying to light a set with them is cost prohibitive.

Lighting Color. Lights typically come daylight balanced which is around 5600 degrees Kelvin, or Tungsten balanced which is around 3200K. The 5600K is more blue, and the 3200K is more red. Tungsten lights are "Tungsten" color. HMI are close to 5600. Fluorescent tubes can be purchased in either temperature. LED can change colors as necessary.

Fresnel lights are generally tungsten or HMI lights with a special lens that focuses the light beam. You'll see the same lens on the lamp of a lighthouse. It provides a tight and controllable beam of light.

3-point lighting is a nice starting point, but unless you are lighting static interviews, not all that helpful. Learn the basics then move on from there.

I'll let some others point you to some of the excellent resources out there on the internet on continuous lighting basics, but you can start here:

Glossary of Lighting Terms
Lowel EDU - a Lighting Resource Center

Daniel Epstein August 18th, 2009 06:34 PM

A where to begin. You will not be happy with a kit alone even if there is one which has a few different lights which you do like. I suggest you look at some manufacturers websites and google or wikipedia the lights names so you can educate yourself as to what is what. HTH

David Ruhland August 18th, 2009 07:50 PM

A sincere THANK YOU for this information, Im gonna get surfin!

Garrett Low August 19th, 2009 12:25 AM

You might want to check out Cool Lights CDM Fresnels. I just got some of them and they work out nicely. They have the benefits of HMI's (lower power usage, less heat, daylight balanced) but are much less in cost. You do have to wait 5 minutes before restriking but I haven't found that to be a problem.


Dan Brockett August 19th, 2009 10:26 AM


Surf over to this article, it contains basically everything you need to know. Light Kit

$1,000.00 is not enough assemble an effective video lighting kit unless you already own ALL of the grip kit you will need. Do you own C-stands, sandbags, arms, clips, diffusion, gels, etc? For a small interview kit, I would plan on 2-3 times your budget.


Shaun Roemich August 19th, 2009 11:49 AM

David: I agree with Dan. However, if you are unable to rent a suitable kit and must buy, here is my suggestion for a bare bones three point kit suitable for one person interviews:
- Lowel Rifa 44 softbox (key or fill, depending on placement) - SHOULD come with it's own stand
- Lowel Prolight with barn doors (back/hair light)
- Lowel Prolight with umbrella (key or fill, depending on placement)
- 2 Manfrotto light stands

Most of my interviews are conducted with this kit (with many of the sundry items that Dan alludes to thrown in - gels, gel holders, c-stands and arms...) with a fourth light thrown in for background light.

I have ten light instruments at my disposal and I bring the best kit I can for each interview BUT this is my "keep in the car IN CASE I need to light an interview I wasn't expecting" kit.

David Ruhland August 19th, 2009 05:45 PM

Dan,l Shaun and Garrett:

Again thanks for this great advice... just to clear up any confusion, I was hoping to get a good kit i can build on in the 2000.00 range. I am familer with the Lowell Rifas, and was thinking about a 44, 66 and 88 initially which got me thinking about the heat generated and the fact that i may not need 3 softboxes for what i want to accompolish. So i am taking everyones suggestions into considerations.

I cant believe the lighting curve difference from using my strobes to purchasing continueous lighting.

Ill keep you posted. I took a lil tour of our public television station today to get some more ides.

From what I am gathering Arri is the leader in lighting for video?

Perrone Ford August 19th, 2009 06:08 PM


Originally Posted by David Ruhland (Post 1244229)
I am familer with the Lowell Rifas, and was thinking about a 44, 66 and 88 initially which got me thinking about the heat generated

From what I am gathering Arri is the leader in lighting for video?

The Rifa can be used with compact fluorescent bulbs to avoid the heat issue. I do this all the time as most of my talent is not familiar with or comfortable with, hot lights.

And Arri is certainly a big name in pro lighting. They are not the only ones though. In the pro space, you'll want to look at Mole Richardson, as well as Kino-Flo. In the more moderate category, CoolLights, Lowel, LTM, and others are also very viable.

Shaun Roemich August 19th, 2009 09:00 PM

In addition to Perrone's discussion, Ianiro is a VERY acceptable alternative to ARRI for video stuff: I own a four piece "Redhead" kit (open face focusable instruments) based on the classic ARRIs in 600w lamps (I THINK these can also accept 1000w lamps - there are two different sizes of lamp holders; I think 600 and 1000 share the same and 800w is different but I could be mistaken).

Shaun Roemich August 19th, 2009 09:03 PM


Originally Posted by David Ruhland (Post 1244229)
I am familer with the Lowell Rifas, and was thinking about a 44, 66 and 88 initially

I'm not a big fan of ONLY soft light for video. I'd definitely throw some hard lights in there as well. Hairlight and background lights shouldn't be soft light IMHO and I prefer to use one hard (either diffused or bounced) and one soft for key and fill. I NORMALLY key "far side" with a hard light bounced into a silver umbrella and use the Rifa as fill. Of course, if I'm going for a different look, I'll change that up but if I'm in a hurry this is my "tried and true, guaranteed to look good" scenario.

Mitchell Lewis August 22nd, 2009 09:24 AM

Arri | Arrilite 1000 Tungsten Three Light Kit | 571925 | B&H

I've used this light kit for 7 years now ($1600) and it's held up great. We also purchased a Chimera soft box (Video Pro-small) that works great for lighting reflective objects. I've used Lowel in the past and have had trouble with the quality of their stands (stands collapse in the middle of a shoot.....not good). I talked to the Lowel guys at NAB this year, and they swear they don't have problems with their stands anymore. The Arri lights are very high quality, but they create A LOT of heat. It's never prevented us from getting work done, but it's a pain to have to fan them for 10 minutes before they are cool enough to be put back in the case.

We bought 3 x 1000wt lights because we light such a wide range of scenes. Sometimes they are too bright, so we have to use some of the supplied scrims to cut down on the brightness. Other times they are not enough to light up a large room. We also use this in combination with a large portable reflector for outdoor use.

We'd like to add a Manfrotto 3398 boom stand and smaller/lighter light for use as a proper backlight. Also, a stand to hold to hold our reflector would be nice (so we don't need another person to hold it) Some dimmers would also be great but I've had trouble finding portable dimmers that will work with 1000wt lights.

Maybe people will tell you that 1000wt lights are way to much. But I feel that having too much light is better than having not enough. You can always cut down on the amount of light with scrims or dimmers. But if you don't have enough, then your subject will not look very nice.

This year at NAB I looked at some other lighting options to replace our lights. I was very interested in the new Litepanel's Bi-Color lights as they had built-in dimmers, they could be battery powered and a knob where you could change the color from 3200k to 5600k. But I was disappointed to find that they were no where near bright enough for our use. Maybe if you purchased 8 of them you could group them together and get enough light, but that's more than our budget would allow. I also checked out the fluorescent lighting from Kinoflow and Lowel. I really liked the portability of the Lowel Case Lights. They look to be our best option as a replacement for our "hot light". From what I could tell, the put out almost as much light as the 1000wt Arri.

Anyway, I hope this helps. :)

Mitchell Lewis August 22nd, 2009 09:28 AM

Here's a source for a 1000wt dimmer:

Barbizon | Products | Detail

I guess I didn't look hard enough! :)

Mitchell Lewis August 22nd, 2009 09:31 AM

Almost forgot, here's a great source for learning about video lighting.

Vortex Media: VIDEO & PHOTO Tools and Training

He talks about all the different types of lights and their uses. He even suggests a portable light kit with part numbers, prices, etc.... Doug's a great reference.

David Ruhland September 26th, 2009 05:13 AM

An Update
I have been slowly building my kit, I have been building it based on my personal needs. I currently have two questions..

The Blue Gel that is recommended i assume is for FILM not for Digital correct? (understanding White Balanceing is necessary)

Can i use a standard 500w halogen bulb from home depot..(the kind that comes in those cheap work lamps) for a bulb in a TOTA if i am in a bind and cant find the Lowel replacement.

I currently have 2 Lowel Totas, 1 Omni Light, and 1 Pro Light.

Since I work very close with my product, the Pro Light is by far my most versatile light. I will be adding more of these to my kit soon.

Thanks again...

Jack Walker September 26th, 2009 01:28 PM


Originally Posted by David Ruhland (Post 1400248)
The Blue Gel that is recommended i assume is for FILM not for Digital correct? (understanding White Balanceing is necessary)

Can i use a standard 500w halogen bulb from home depot..(the kind that comes in those cheap work lamps) for a bulb in a TOTA if i am in a bind and cant find the Lowel replacement.

Regarding lamps you can use in the Tota light... you can use whatever is listed on the back of the light and a few others that are not listed but of the same length. It doesn't matter where they are purchased. There are a few websites that sell lamps, including this one:
BulbConnection.com - Lowel Replacement Lamps - Name Brand Bulbs for LESS!
Click on the Lowel light you want lamps for, and they are listed. Prices at specialized lamp/bulb sites are generally much lower than at camera stores. Prices for lamps at film expendale stores seem to be in the middle.

Regarding blue gel/filter, if you are talking about CTB, for changing the color temperature from warm to cool, it is used when ever a light is too warm and you want it cooler, either to match other lights (or daylight) or for a special effect (such as simulating night).

CTO, orange, is the equivalent to go from cool to warm.

Both of these type of gels/filters come in grades, such as 1/4, 1/2, and full.

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