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Old December 2nd, 2004, 05:38 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 20
Newbie bought basic kit - now what?

Hello fine people.

Today I bought my first light kit(Britek) which consists of:

3 1000 watt lights which will fit 500 watt bulbs
3 softboxes
1 barndoor
2 heavy duty stands
1 boom stand (holds up to 25lbs.)
a couple of bags with wheels.

Hopefully this moderately priced kit ($600) will be a good skeleton for my lighting needs as I begin to make low/no budget movies. Please don't tell me if it's not :)

But now what?
Other than gloves and cords, what would be some must-have items to round it out? Maybe some narrow-beam halogens? gels/frames?

What item would you guys recommend that would serve me well in a variety of circumstances?

I have an XL2 and would like to explore a variety of styles.

Thanks for the input.
This forum rules.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 10:48 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 342
Wow, David. You're geared up and ready to boogie! A new XL2, drool.

- You should read Scott Spears article at the very top of this forum. Lots of good stuff there.
- You should seriously consider a separate (shotgun) microphone and boom pole. If you are shooting solo, you could use the boom and stand you just ordered for the mic, but you'll need another stand for your third light.
- Get some spare 500W lamps (bulbs) - you will use those far more than the 1K lamps, unless you are lighting a basketball court.
- Here I'll pass on some advice from a friend:

The minimum additional stuff you need would include a pair of gloves, some black wrap foil, a couple of rolls of gaffer's tape, some gels (I'd get ND, CTB, and maybe some 216 diffusion), some extension cords, and a power strip or cube tap or two. Oh, and some reflectors/flags: for budget, go with a couple of sheets of black foam core and a couple of sheets of white foam core. With that setup, you'd have the tools to do some really amazing lighting. But you're going to have to practice, practice, practice. Get Ross Lowel's book "Matters of Light and Depth" or John Jackman's "Lighting for Digital Video & Television".

- Also, visit Walter Graff's web site at:

Click on "INSTRUCTION" in the box on the left, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on any of the subjects there, especially those under the heading "Technique". (Look for the one, "What's in my lighting kit". You won't believe what Walter crams into a single bag.)

At the top of that same page, is a Newsletter subscription form. $15 for 12 monthly (more or less) issues of real hands on, honest-to-god working examples of lighting setups. It's well worth the $15. I've saved all of mine as PDF's.
Jack Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 3rd, 2004, 11:43 AM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 20
Wow Jack-

An abundance of info. Thank you so much... I am new to this but am a firm believer in having the right tools, hence going in to considerable debt for the XL2, Britek, Marzpack, Vegas 5, books, etc...
Lighting and sound are my remaining major expenses and you're advice is extremely helpful. Hopefully a future career in media will make these expenditures worthwile.

We seem to live only a couple of hours apart. Perhaps there could be a collaboration in the future.

Thanks again.
David Burns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 3rd, 2004, 12:17 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 342
According to Yahoo! Maps, it's 210 miles & 3:45 driving time, so nothing is out of the question. I've learned that in the business, collaboration is an absolute necessity, not just a cool thing to do. If you think gear is expensive, trying hiring crew for a few days or weeks!

Keep my email on file and get in touch when you want to discuss anything.

Jack Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2004, 05:44 PM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 892
Nice pick on getting the light kit. Looks like a well rounded package. I would probably add one small light like the Lowel Pro light (125W or 250W depending on how you globe it). A small light like this in the DV world is perfect for a kicker, backlight, or hairlight. I also find myself using it as a key for dark scenes or as a hard fill light. It's nice to splash a little color too with an orange or blue gel with a little light too.
In addition to some of the great tips above, I'd also get a Photoflex 5in1 reflector for when you're outdoors and need some quick light. I also use it for Fill almost always with my Softbox. But the most valueable item I can tell you about is knowledge, learn by doing. Set-up a few product shots in your living room, do some shorts, just get out there and shoot, later when going back and watching the footage you'll be able to critique your shots and learn from them. The John Jackman book and the "Matters of Light and Depth" book are good resources. You might want to check out a few sample lighting videos we made too. You can watch them on the right side under "video excerpts" DV Enlightenment

Hope this helps,
Guy Cochran
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