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Budget lighting for new production group

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Russ Hull
Budget lighting for new production group
on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:33:07 pm

Hi all-

I'm starting a new production group with minimal funds... Looking to put together a light kit that could fulfill our most basic needs as we get off the ground and work towards getting more funding. I have plenty of experience with actual professional lighting, but nothing like a budget that could afford it.

Can anyone offer advice on a dynamic, versatile solution in the $1500 range? I've been looking at things like this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Wall-Light-Green-Screen-w-talent-lighting-Boom-/2507223...

and this

http://cgi.ebay.com/Wall-Light-Green-Screen-w-talent-lighting-Boom-/2507223...

on eBay and elsewhere, and while they seem to have what we would need, the prices set off my "too good to be true" alarm. Does anybody have any experience with "budget" fresnel kits like this? Would you suggest just getting a bunch of work lights and Chinese lanterns and winging it? Any practical advice from people who have "been there, done that" would be very, very appreciated!


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Ken Maxwell
Re: Budget lighting for new production group
on Feb 24, 2011 at 12:18:02 am

I didn't see any fresnels in the lighting kits that you referenced, only soft lights, stands and green screen material.
Fresnels are important to quality lighting, but you don't define the kind of productions on which you will be working.
My suggestion would be to rent lighting equipment until you have a few job under your belt and can determine the type of lighting equipment that you will permanently need.
In the mean time write the rentals off to the job.
Good luck,
Ken


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Budget lighting for new production group
on Feb 24, 2011 at 1:06:27 pm

I would start here:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/285848-REG/Lowel_D2_93Z_DP_3_Three_Li...

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Budget lighting for new production group
on Feb 24, 2011 at 6:25:50 pm

Russ,
1,500 bucks isn't a lot of money. Don't forget you will probably need spare bulbs, gloves, gels, some high quality extension cords, and a light meter.

Ken and Chris have both offered good suggestions.

Renting is a great option that allows someone with a small budget to use higher quality instruments. The downside is the added hassle of the pick-up/return and availability.
I think it is always good to own some basic gear. You can always rent, even if you have your own stuff.

The DP's are open face instruments, and don't have the finesse of a Fresnel, but they are a real workhorse and not as fragile as a Fresnel. The cost of the kit would leave you enough left over in your budget to get a Chimera and a DP adapter ring, which would make the kit a tad more versatile.

You can always go the used route, that is another option.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Russ Hull
Re: Budget lighting for new production group
on Feb 24, 2011 at 7:23:59 pm

I know $1500 isn't a lot of money, and I have experience with DPs, Fresnels, etc. But money doesn't grow on trees, and in this case, for starters, a little is going to have to go a long way. Hence this thread.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Budget lighting for new production group
on Feb 24, 2011 at 8:56:09 pm

Russ,
"I know $1500 isn't a lot of money, and I have experience with DPs, Fresnels, etc..."

Don't take it personally.
I usually write from the perspective that there are many others reading these threads with a similar question. And they may not have your experience with lighting.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Russ Hull
Re: Budget lighting for new production group
on Feb 24, 2011 at 7:27:03 pm

Ooops - I accidentally pasted the same link twice. This is what I meant to post.

http://cgi.ebay.com/1600W-Fresnel-Studio-3-Light-Kit-Green-Screen-Video-/30...

Users over at another forum have attested to the surprising quality of these lights, so I'm really curious to hear if anybody else has had any experience with them. They're basically Ari clones, and people that have used them have said they're solidly built.

The group that I'm starting is entirely non-profit for now, completely self-serving (art projects and skits and the like). This is in addition to my regular job as a producer and editor. So we'll have some leeway to be inventive with lighting solutions.

So I guess I'm wondering whether anybody has had any experience putting together a budget light kit from scratch - and specifically if they've used kits from imageWest.


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