Arri lighting kit
I'm just starting out. My work is about to purchase for me an XL2 and a lighting kit. We shoot a monthly show that airs internally only (via our intranet). The show is about "behind the scenes" in our IT department. We have about 1000 viewers. What lighting kit do you recommend?
Here is a sample of the show:
There is the typical sit down interview stuff, but we also move with the person, so I need to understand what's the best light kit to purchase to cover all of that. We are limited on budget (like $2500 for lighting).
Any help would be appreciate it.
I would like to stick to their "kits" because they seem to include everything we need and easier to purchase and carry.
I'm using an Arri Soft IV kit (a 1k w/soft box, 1-650 fresnel, 1 300 fresnel and a pair of 150 fresnels)...the only thing I've added is a Source Four PAR56 with a Chimera box for a second 1k soft or when I need the 1k fresnel for more directional punch.
This kit is used to produce material for the in-room marketing, human resources training and Jumbotron material for a major Las Vegas Strip resort/casino. Occasionally I augment the kit with a few HMI's when we're outdoors (rarely) and I do have other lighting control equipment - cutters, flags, silks and the like as part of our production facility.
I found it to be the most bang for the buck kit...other may have different use/needs..but this kit gets me through commercials, food product shots, retail product shots, marketing shoots, high-key training video and the occasional press conferance set up.
Is this the one you have?
Thanks for the feedback.
Would this work on the type of video I shot (the link from my previous posting). Also, we plan on shooting customer testimonials in their home, so I want to use it for that as well (usually 2 people interviews).
Camera type makes little if any difference.
Number of viewers makes no difference.
Don't buy a kit!
You need a soft key, either a Kino 4' x 4 bank or Mole Richardson Biax 8 or equivalent.
If you like a soft kick, get a Kino Flo Diva. If you buy the 400, you can use it as a key in tight places with a bit of diffusion over the doors.
For the background, you can use a small Fresnel or two, such as a Mole Richardson 300w.
Buy a case and call it a "kit."
Take any money you have left over and hire an experienced Gaffer to show you how to use the gear.
Thank you very much for the information. So are there any great light people that wouldn't mind spending some time in Samy's in Santa Ana showing me what I should purchase? I'm new to this and I figured a kit is the easiest to go (and my company is paying for it), however, maybe the no-kit is the way to go to save some money and pay someone to teach me how to use it (light the scene and the people).
Any takers? I work in Southern California (O/C).
If your company is paying, then I'd suggest you hire me (or some other Lighting Director or Gaffer) for a day to accompany you to Samy's, buy a proper kit for your purposes and have a quick test shoot. This would be money well spent (and saved).
[john sharaf] "I'd suggest you hire me (or some other Lighting Director or Gaffer) for a day"
That would be a great idea, Marcelo. I would amend it this way: if your budget is limited, maybe you would want to consult with an LD to give you a shopping list and don't waste his time in a store. Then, unpack everything, plug it all in and play with it, and make a couple of mistakes. You'll understand more by doing at this stage than by listening to an expert.
THEN, when you've developed a list of questions, and have some basic familiarity, hire John.
I would love to be in your place and hire a great LD -- but I doubt I would have been able to absorb the knowledge when I was totally new to it.
You're already being saved a world of mistakes by posting your query to this list. Although some of the advice is contradictory, it's all good, and a lot better than you'd get by walking into a store (I guess).
Yeah. This forum is a lifesaver! Thanks for the great feedback.
Based on the video I posted above, do you think you can come up with a list that would help me in accomplishing this?
Thanks again for your feedback!
My company is limited on budget. How much would you charge for giving me a list of things I should purchase and then maybe spending 4 hours going through the ropes. I know that is not enough time to teach me everything a professional lighting person knows, but maybe enough to get me started?
I suppose if you have a few years of experience and have collected a few years worth of equipment that the "no kit" option would be best. And I'd love to have a Diva or two to replace my 1k Chimeras - but I don't set my budgets.
But let's talk what's in a kit...
Stands, scrims, barndoors, lamp packs, etc. And the lamp heads themselves.
What's a Diva run now? $800 and shipping...plus stand so you're up to $1K.
Add say, an Arri fresenel. $350 for the 650 plus 70 bucks for the barn doors, another 40 for the scrims...you're up to 460...not including shipping. And a stand - that's another $90.00 - so the light, by itself is just shy of 600.00
Now you've spent $1600.00 and you've got two lights.
Add in the 300w - with everything say another $500.00. That takes the total for three lights, stands, scrims and barn doors to over $2000.00...and yet there's more - lamps!
For the Kino, that's two sets - one tungsten and one daylight - 10 lights (two spare) 250.00. The tungsten fresnels figure @22.00 each so with spares you're near 100.00 more.
Total is aproaching $2400.00 and we still don't have stingers or a case. Nor have we added in the time and effort to research, purchase, assemble our "cheaper custom kit". It's going to run about 3g's by the time we're done...did I mention diffusion and C-47's and....
You're not saving anything...especially enough to put towards a "pro" gaffer to come in for a day to show you what to do.
Compare that total with the Arri D-4 kit...which includes a 650 with soft box, a 300w plus a pair of additional 150w lights...pre cased and "good to go", for about $2200.00, minus the agrevation of a neophyte having to shop around. All that's left is a few stingers...14-2 25' ac is about 9.00 bucks each so at most say total final price for it all is $ 2270.00, including shipping.
Buy the kit...as you progress you'll add and subtract as you need. Trust me, in thirty years you'll end up with a 5ton grip truck's worth of gear anyway.
I must respectfully disagree.
While I'm sure you can do a masterful job with your kit, it has many disadvantages for the use described, especially for a novice. Perhaps your experience and style compensate, but I don't think it's as versatile or practical for most.
First, it's all tungsten; to match for daylight windows or use in shaded exteriors, you've got to put enough blue gel on the lamps to reduce the output severely. There's no way those small fixtures can balance a daylight window in the shot.
As far as the color balance issue, I almost never use tungsten in my Kino Flo fixtures, unless they're working in the studio, which is all 3200
Man o man! The kit vs. no kit is like the ongoing debate of "taste great" "less filling" or "Apple" vs
Windows"! LOL! ;-)
Anyhow...thank you all for the great feedback. I think I have to do a lot of homework before I jump and purchase something. Too much to learn....so little time.
Cheers to all.
Marcelo: Go with your original instincts! To further guide you I asked the VP of ARRI LIGHTING about the kits in your price range (both of which I've used extensively, and successfully). Here is his reply. Feel free to contact the ARRI website for more info.
For about $2500 (discounted street price) the Softbank I kit is one of our top of the line kits, with lots of flexibility, It includes an Arrilite 1000 & Chimera Video Pro Small, 2 x 650 Fresnels and 1 300W Fresnel, plus all the accessories etc.
For lower wattage (and lower cost) the D1 kit includes a 650 Fresnel with a Chimera Video Pro XS, a 300W Fresnel and a 150W Fresnel. Great for simple interview set ups.
Trust all is well with you,
617 Route 303
Blauvelt, NY 10913
I think I will go with the Softbank IV. My company is willing to purchase it and I can concentrate more on learning how to use all these lights then figuring out which lights to purchase. I'm sure as I know more in the future, I'll figure out which work best, but for now, I think a kit is the way to go for a beginner like myself.
Here is the Softbank 1 link article I read:
And here is the Softbank IV I will purchase:
We've all missed your wise advice.
Please continue to share it with all of us.
It's always nice to be missed. I have not really been away; work has been keeping me EXTREMELY busy .... but I have actually been reading all FORUM posts.
In all honestly though, I found it totally disheartening discussing the virtues of using proper equipment and gear to accomplish quality lighting design as opposed to using some piece of bastardized crap from HOME DEPOT.
It's totally demeaning to our profession, and to the manufacturers of proper television, film, and theatrical lighting equipment, especially when it's twisted around to make it look like we're wrong for feeling that way.
In addition, life is way too busy and complicated to respond repeatedly to the same posts that have been beaten to death over the last few years in this Lighting Forum. If someone is truly interested, it's not that difficult to read through previous discussions to find the answer to the same question that had been posted more often than I care to remember.
Finally, as I'm sure you can understand, it also pains me to see the abilities of talented professionals like you, Leo, and others questioned by people who couldn't light a match. I hurts me to even read such stupid, insulting, diatribes from obvious hacks, let alone dignify any of them with an answer.
In the "real" world people pay me a great deal of money to take advantage of my 25+ years of experience as a Lighting Design Consultant. They respect and value the knowledge I have, and the opinions I impart.
I don't need to justify my rationale to someone who wants to be given, in one paragraph (for free), the perfect answer that will solve all his lighting issues.... so that he and several others can then argue about it. I admire your patience and ability to continue to do so.
Keep up the great advice.
What's that beautiful music we hear? Ah! That must be the ring of a nail being struck resoundly on the head.
bravo, maestro Size.
I must respectfully disagree back at ya...
I don't think Marcelo is looking at Hollywood...from my take on his post I'm guessing that its mostly head shots and product/training in your standard office/classroom...(assumption). I know a majority of that work isn't going to require a lot of "daylight", especially if the daylight is for "art", i.e. the CEO shot in front of the window or the need to show the "campus".
I don't remember doing a lot of night anything for the corporate work I've done...most of the suits are 8-to-4 and gone and the management/training staff is usually dayside as well. And product/training is again usually in the "classroom" with the gacky overhead flos and r-lamps. So I feel confident that, given the budget constraints, the Arri kit may be the best choice.
Arri has a wider array of kit combinations, but still, as you've pointed out, the kits aren't the end all as far as being able to mix and match...another problem the maufactuers might address some day; the kit cases are mostly the same, why can't they develop a lot price and order what you want?
I've had this conversation with the Parkers @ Mole a few times over the years...If Mole would build a kit that included the Biax, a pair of Betweenies and a Tweenie and bring it in for $2400.00, they'd smackdown the Arri competition. They still haven't escaped the "studio" era and their kits still show that.
You are right, however, when you say that Kino-Flo has changed the world. It is better from a "green" standpoint...and the soft look is obtainable with one fixture without a bunch of attachments and bulk.
The price is still out of the range of most industrial and corporate users. Most beancounters balk at the price for one light fixture...without lamps and a stand. I've been trying for two years to get just one Biax, but the beancounters here ( at the LARGEST gaming corporation in the known universe - look under "more money than God", for an explaination of their income levels), they make the same point, especially when they see that a tungsten unit costs half that.
And I've tried the "educate" approach..it generally results in a P&L discussion and believe me, in corporate America, unless you're a profit maker, then it's a write down and the cheaper gear is what they'll buy, everytime.
Yes, it's different in your shoes...you (as I was - this is my semi-retirement gig) are "the pro from Dover" and the go-to guy when corporate image or sales are on the line...not "how to imput the 362J from a miltimode server". In the "in-house" world, if it costs more than your staff's hourly then many times it isn't done.
I forgot you're in Las Vegas; there isn't a window in sight on the casino floors!
Corporate offices, however, have plenty, especially in the executive wing where a lot of shooting takes place. The prettiest compositions almost always include a window, if not a wall of them. At least that's my preference.
As far the "Hollywood" bit, the Southeast is about as far away as you can get before you're treading water in the Gulf Stream, but there's no reason not to strive to make everything we shoot beautiful. Of course the overwhelming preference for Kino Flo type fixtures isn't all due to a preference for beauty; fluorescent fixtures have numerous other advantages including small footprint, fast setup, cool burning, daylight balance, and low power draw. I'd almost rather retire than go back to the bad old days!
It's not like I'm suggesting that emerging cinematographers purchase an expensive set of HMI's; a single Kino Flo or Mole Richardson fluorescent fixture and a couple of small Fresnels make a very practical starter kit for doing beautiful corporate interview type work.
[Leo Ticheli] "The prettiest compositions almost always include a window, if not a wall of them. At least that's my preference."
And that was my arguement that you can pick your background...if you don't have the gear to light it then you pick another. The suits rarely give the in-house guys an assignment that calls for really pretty pics...as I said they'll call in guys like you or me to do that work - the in-house guys get the basic stuff. It's not a question of skill, it's a issue of perception - many times the suits have the perception of more gear = more professional.
We strive to make our pictures look as good as possible - Charlie King, my partner here and myself came out of broadcast and commercial work. We also know that we're the "in-house guys" and as such, regardless of the Emmys, Clios and Addys we have earned, the corporate managers will always make the statement about bringing in "the pros" when they shoot our national spots - even though Charlie produced most of the campaigns seen across the country for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority for over a decade. Its still the "perception" that in-house isn't as good as the $10k a day agency. But boy, they sure scream about how high our salaries are!
RE: Kino's vs others...[Leo Ticheli] "I'd almost rather retire than go back to the bad old days!"
I agree with you there...I spent more than a few years hauling 4ot. and carbon arc Brutes - don't ever want to to that again!
We so rarely need a daylight source (and yes we have LOTS of windows in casinos - and outdoor features and ammenities and CEO's who demand a skyline shot for every speech or interview) because we set our shoot up to avoid the glass whenever possible. If I need daylight, I'll rent, but generally when we rent we're talking 2.5k or bigger HMI's - the Kinos just don't have the punch for those situations - and those are about all we have the need for. (I still want a Biax for the interior work...)
But your milage may vary.
The Arri kits are probably the best "starter" kits on the market. You get the basic tool and the accessories that will get you through 75% of the work you do in-house. Get more skills, add more gear, do better work - the cycle continues. Then comes the day that you're ready to do the independent thing and stake your rep on your work...not just collect a paycheck.
As always, buy what you can afford, work with what you have, find alternatives to what you need. It makes your cinematographer's brain much bigger when you have more of a challenge that just grabbing a 12x12 overhead and a few HMI's off the truck. Or as the Jefferson Airplane put it..."Feed your head."