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Old June 12th, 2015, 09:36 AM   #1
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What Lighting Kit Do I Need?

I'll really be only be needing it for interviews.

I've been using 3 softboxes (I honestly don't know what lights are in them. It isn't LED. That's all I know) but with the new organization I am working with, we need all new gear.

Not looking to spend a ton, but don't want the cheapest thing out there. I'm just not what I need. The softboxes seemed to work well for me, but it's always inconvenient to have to find a place to plug them in. I'd prefer the most minimal set up possible.
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Old June 12th, 2015, 10:04 AM   #2
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Re: What Lighting Kit Do I Need?

I was considering something like this...

I love the idea of not having to plug them in and just being able to set them up and start the interview.
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Old June 12th, 2015, 06:09 PM   #3
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Re: What Lighting Kit Do I Need?

All lights have their pros and cons. LED's are the way things are going, but they have some issues that you'll run into. Ultimately, it comes down to what kind of look you are going for, and purchasing the lights that will allow you to get that look easily and consistently.
If you haven't viewed any instructional videos, I would start there. You can find some decent ones on YouTube, or buy better ones from companies like Vortex Media. Vortex Media: VIDEO & PHOTO Tools and Training

If you don't have much lighting experience, then a softbox kit is very forgiving, if somewhat harder to control Once your skills improve, you'll want a focusable/hard light source to give you more control, highlight room elements, create drama, or just give you a range of looks. Most multi-bulb LED lights don't fit that bill.

If you just want a quick recommendation for a versatile and high-powered LED light (at a very reasonable price), look at the Alzo 3000, 3200 and 3300. They take a variety of industry-standard modifiers called Bowens mount. The drawback is being tied to AC power.
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Old June 16th, 2015, 01:26 PM   #4
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Re: What Lighting Kit Do I Need?


That Ikan kit is good stuff but that kit is VERY limited. It is not good for much more than a one head interview. Those heads are small panels that are often used on camera for ENG. It is not a studio kit.

Also, if you are not familiar with LED panels you might be surprised by how harsh the light is. What ever kit you decide on the accessories you choose to control the light is as important as the light fixture.

Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
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Old June 16th, 2015, 04:22 PM   #5
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Re: What Lighting Kit Do I Need?

My kit is something like this:

It has a 300 for the key, and 150 for the hairlight, and a 650 with softbox for the fill. It handles a basic 3 light interview well. That said, it's amazing how much light you lose with a softbox. It's also amazing how modest the light is for the wattage.

I also have a couple of ellipsoidal lights and stands that I use for speakers at a podium and can use to light a background.

Note that this is where a one man crew slows way down. Lights mean extra equipment to set up and tear down, extension cords to run, and various adjustments to get things right. And for each minute that you're doing that, you're not setting up the camera or the audio or working with the talent. If you can leave lights and a background setup in a studio, that helps immensely. When moving lights, another couple pairs of hands really helps.

Keep in mind that lights get hot. They cook a small room quickly. You have to let them cool a bit before packing them up. I'd love to have the equivalent of my setup with LED Fresnels, but you need a real budget for those.

Consider getting some gels, specifically 1/4, 1/2, and Full CTBs (assuming tungsten lamps). These are helpful for matching temps. But don't be afraid to mix temps. I especially like to use a 1/2 CTB on the hairlight, especially on black hair. This gives the feeling of light coming in through a window behind and to the side of the talent. It also gives more depth and life to the image compared with a single color temperature setup. You can also use a full CTB on a close fill light to simulate a person looking at a computer screen. Use low level tungsten on the background and color balance to tungsten to create the color contrast.
Jon Fairhurst
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Old June 16th, 2015, 04:36 PM   #6
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Re: What Lighting Kit Do I Need?

Pricey, but the Litepanels Astra has an amazing amount of output, and is LED to boot. Definitely worth a look if your budget can support one (or two).
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Old June 16th, 2015, 11:16 PM   #7
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Re: What Lighting Kit Do I Need?

An ideal light kit for interviews is typically a mix of different instruments, they are NOT all softboxes or all hard sources like Arri's. The key and fill can be softboxes or led panels, but it should have some kind of control for light spill (egg crate, honeycomb, etc. Barndoors don't work on led panels.) Hair, kicker, and background lights generally work better if they are hard sources like a fresnel or a small par with barndoors. Again, the main point is to control the light paths and not having it blast it all over the entire room.
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