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-   -   A quick "Thank You" to the forum from a lighting newbie (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photon-management/421017-quick-thank-you-forum-lighting-newbie.html)

Ryan Mitchell September 20th, 2009 07:34 PM

A quick "Thank You" to the forum from a lighting newbie
I just thought I'd post a quick "Thank You" to the forum for the help I've received from everyone. Although I've posted only a few questions to clear up some items here and there, I've done a LOT of reading and following over the past year or so. The information here has been invaluable as I recently put together my first light kit. I continue to be amazed at the number of folks that answer quickly and "calmly" what appears to me to be very similar questions that I have seen answered several times over on this forum alone. The frequent posters on this forum that answer those questions as well as those that dig in "deep" have been of a HUGE help to me as I learned what little I know about lighting equipment and its use from ground-zero.

At this point I have a very nice starting light kit: a CoolLights 455PMD (portable, dimmable 4-bank flo), 2x 650W CoolLights fresnels, and my grand-prize to-date, a used Arri 650W open-face 3-light kit purchased off Fleabay for what I think was a steal (includes scrims, barndoors, stands, and a hard case). On the last note in particular, for those asking how to get a decent light kit for under $XXX, my Arri open-face kit was under $600 - the deals are out there if you're persistent and patient. I wasn't planning on winning those, but it was a nice surprise that more than doubled my total light power, albeit with hard lights. At this point I think I just need a softbox for my Arri lights (I already have two for the fresnels - but having a slightly larger box would be nice) and perhaps another 4-bank or 6-bank flo to make a good key/fill combo using cool light.

Other than that, another couple of stands, another C-Stand to get a light boomed into position behind talent as a hairlight during interviews, and I'll be happy.

Yes, my kit cost more than $800, I'll probably end up at 3x that. But it didn't have to - I could have kept it minimal and had to trade-off here and there, or rent to fill "holes" in my lighting. But will I have everything I need to adequately light a 1- or 2-person interview, including hair light, background light, soft/hard light options, gels to match color or add color in background, throw lights where I need them and keep a set safe by weighing down boomed stands with heavy loads, etc? I think I do (except for perhaps some crazy situation), and this kit will last me as long as I need it and longer. And the best part is, when I decide to trade up or unload entirely, it's not like I'm trying to unload electronics - good lights just don't devalue to zero - light is light, and good grip is good grip.

So again, I have this forum to thank for a lot of my understanding of what I know now and the approach I was able to decide on for my lighting kit, once I decided to pull the trigger and get the lighting I needed to carry around with my EX1.

So my suggestions to folks new to lighting, like I was and still am:
  • Read the posts on this forum - whether you think they apply to you or not. Ask good questions, not "what lights should I buy for under $600" - that question is answered several times over this forum in various ways, and all the answers are contextual based on specific need - but I answered my questions by reading first, not asking, and learned a LOT more as a result.
  • Buy Doug Jensen's "How to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews" and follow the advice on his DVD about equipment - tempered, of course, with additional advice you get from this forum: Vortex Media: VIDEO & PHOTO Tools and Training
  • Also buy a set of his warm cards - and learn that the LCD on your camera is probably "cool" like mine is and by the time it looks warm on the LCD it's WAY too warm... :)
  • I'm starting to use my ColorChecker card more and more to make sure my tones are right in post-production: X-Rite | Original ColorChecker Card | MSCCC | B&H Photo Video -- for $70 you can make sure skin tones, vegetation, skies, and white-to-black colors are correct by throwing this up in a clip for a few seconds during a shoot and using the swatches during color-correction in post.
  • Then find an excuse to use your new lighting with your camera, screw it up a few times, get better each time, and come back and keep reading the forums - there's a TON of stuff here by some really cool folks. My second time lighting with my light kit was 200% faster and 300% better than the first. I expect my next time will be even better.

So thanks again for the great forum, great information, and great people to help out the completely uninitiated like myself. For now, I have no questions that I'd like to ask (although I'm sure I will soon) - I just wanted to get on here and let people know that you've helped me tremendously - in case that makes a difference to anyone out there. :)

Andrew Smith September 21st, 2009 02:17 AM

Something that I stumbled over accidentally (as I hadn't registered it as being part of what you would have in the forums) is the DVinfo articles. Including a few on lighting.

I can't get over just how good and straight-shooting these articles are. You could be in the industry a fair while and still not realise all the things that these articles say.


Richard Andrewski September 21st, 2009 08:31 AM

Your welcome Ryan and thanks for your business!

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