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Recommendation for Lighting?

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Cody Slingerland
Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 7, 2015 at 7:54:30 pm

I've been looking to get a lighting kit and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations? I've been looking at these two so far:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/945055-REG/impact_soft_and_natural_si...

http://www.stellarlightingsystems.com/new-price-stellar-lotus-lamp-cfl-14p

Does anyone have any experience with either of the two? Are they any good?

Basically I'm looking for a good kit for lighting for interviews and product demonstration/overview shoots. I would like to stay in the $300 range for everything (stands, lighting fixtures, bulbs, softbox, etc.). I would like something that is somewhat durable as I will be breaking it down often and traveling with it. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!


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Blaise Douros
Re: Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 8, 2015 at 3:55:32 pm

The Impact stuff usually works, but is really flimsy. It doesn't take much punishment.

$300 doesn't get you much. That two-light kit won't be enough for all the things you want to do with it...mostly because it just isn't that much light. Two 110-watt equivalent lights will barely be visible. Unfortunately, lighting is one of those areas where there hasn't been a revolution as there has with cameras and sound gear--it is still going to cost you to get a kit that is even halfway capable.

Are you dead-set on fluorescent? Tungsten, though it's a different color, will get you more light for your buck. Check out this Impact kit--three lights, a couple modifiers, and 1250 total watts--a LOT more light for your dollar. Plus, you still have about 80 bucks more to pick up extra bulbs (important) or a fourth tungsten light.


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Cody Slingerland
Re: Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 8, 2015 at 6:13:57 pm

My main concern with Tungsten is the amount of heat it put's out. I feel that it would be very discomforting to people on camera or interviewees. Not to mention risk of fire. That's why I kind of settled on fluorescent. I figured it was kind of in between LED and Tungsten and would give me a good color balance without generating a ton of heat. So I would probably want to still lean towards fluorescent or even LED.

Do you have any recommendations for fluorescent kits in that price range? Or even ones a bit outside of it? I don't have a problem with spending more I just want to make sure that I'm getting a good deal and a kit that will hold up over time. I don't want to buy a kit now just to have it fall apart on me 6 months to a year later to then spend more on lighting in the long run. What do you think the minimum amount would be for me to spend to get a decent kit?


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Steve Crow
Re: Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 8, 2015 at 6:31:40 pm

This video review might be of some help to you:







Steve Crow


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Blaise Douros
Re: Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 8, 2015 at 6:54:36 pm

Yeah, but OP has roughly a $300 budget. That's about 1/2 of a single decent LED light. Sure you can pick up some of the crappy ones on Amazon or eBay, but half of those lights use PWM to control brightness, which makes them functionally useless when dimmed. Plus, the cheap lights use cheap LEDs, so their color rendition is AWFUL. Take it from me--I used to work for a manufacturer of portable LED video lights for underwater shooters, and even the relatively high-end LEDs we used in those lights STILL didn't look that good--lots of colors in the spectrum just didn't look right under them. So unless you're spending eight grand on an LED kit, you've got crappy-looking light that you can't dim.


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Blaise Douros
Re: Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 8, 2015 at 6:49:08 pm

Heat can be an issue, but a bigger issue is that fluorescent lights will make your clients look like cancer patients. The extra green cast that CFLs put out gives a really unhealthy cast to their skin--unless you're paying the big bucks to get Kino Flo bulbs. Not to mention that CFLs are fragile and don't put out much light.

LED has challenges as well. Cheap LEDs often control brightness via PWM, which makes your footage flicker and ruins it. They also do not output a full spectrum of light--there are "gaps" in the colors they produce, which means that colors don't show up the way they should under all but the more expensive LEDs.

So here's the deal: tungsten lights put out a full spectrum of light, so you don't have to worry about weird casts to skin. They bring out skin tones beautifully. They don't flicker at weird rates. They are relatively inexpensive, and put out a LOT more light than the alternatives. They put out some heat, but somehow producers have managed to deal with that over the last 100 years that the tungsten light bulb has been regularly used in production.

Pick up a bunch of these to remove facial oils, and a small makeup kit with a bit of powder to reduce shine.

I use a 1000W tungsten softbox as my key, with several 250s as fills. Yeah, the room gets warm, but we take five minute breaks once in awhile, turn off the lights, get water, re-powder. No client is going to look their best if you're chaining them to the interview stool for two hours with no breaks.

As for what you need to spend...get the most light that you can afford. Good lighting improves your shot far more than a fancier camera, and if you get a good kit, will last you far longer than any camera body ever will. How much should you spend? That's up to you. This is a bitchin' little kit with dimmers, 3000 watts of total power, and included softboxes. It's not a crazy crazy price, but you would have SO much flexibility with that much power. Plus, you can gel the softboxes to match other light color temperatures.

Somebody else may chime in and disagree with me, and that's fine--but IMO, LED and CFL are not cheap enough, bright enough, or pretty enough yet to compete with tungsten.


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Dave Morrison
Re: Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 16, 2015 at 4:24:50 am

Blaise is spot on with this. I came across this video the other day and it explains why we are constantly challenged with finding LED lights that have accurate color rendition. And, part of it is the reliance on CRI ratings for current technology. This little guy is great:

BVE 2015: How accurate are your LED lights? Alan Roberts tests from Dan Chung on Vimeo.



Also, here is the link to the final test results he mentions in his interview....very interesting reading:

http://www.gtc.org.uk/tlci-results/tlci-results-new-format.aspx


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Aaron Star
Re: Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 19, 2015 at 5:07:09 am

Tungsten may look old school and heat can be an issue if lamp is to close to the subject. Tungsten will give you the best CRI over LED or fluorescent.

A 2K solorspot with full CTB will yield about 650W in daylight, and will provide a nice fill in sunlight or pop in shade.

"Heat Shield" gel can reduce the heat issue on subjects and prolong the CTB.

Most people cheap out on LED sources and then complain about green casts, poor color matching with other sources.


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Blaise Douros
Re: Recommendation for Lighting?
on Jun 19, 2015 at 4:00:42 pm

But tungsten with color gels = no particular color cast, meaning it looks as new-school as you need it to :)


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