small light package comments please.
I'm looking for professional feedback about a lighting package I'm considering. I know we read these all the time but I guess I'm just taking my turn now...
I'm looking to first prepare myself for (indoor only) talking head, news interviews. I have been renting or borrowing an arri softbox kit, where I usually key with a chimera 1k and scratch with either a window(out of frame) or a 650 and a ton of diffusion. I then use a 300w or 650w to play with the background and finish it off with a bounce card if need be.
These are always tight conditions and I'd say I get away with a key(1k), a window(scratch) and bounce card about 65% of the time. So the whole softbox kit is usually overkill.
Very quickly before my question, I also get hired on as a grip and gaffer to other shoots where we have this same arri kit and often rent a 1200 HMI and bring ND and try to include the background of windows in the shot.
I'd like to get myself set up to not have to borrow or rent the arri kit for the news set ups AND to have something to offer the larger shoots that we would go out with a rented HMI and full Softbox.
Oh yeah, I have a tight budget...
Here's my concept: I've been in love with the DIVA 400 since the NAB and think that I could key with it for the tight quarters news shoots. I could go ahead and continue to scratch with the window when I can and then I need to hit up the background somehow, maybe getting a single lonely arri 650w with an optional chimera. When I can't use the window to scratch I could employ the 650w and a 300w for background (or visa versa).
So I guess it'd be great to get both a softbox kit and a diva and have all my bases covered, but my news shoots are one man band operations and everyone I work with has a softbox in house and this wouldn't help me much from a rental standpoint.
What are people's thoughts so far? One fully loaded Diva 400 with bulbs and case is going to run about $1200. And I have that in my budget immediately. The second phase would be to get the two tungsten lights. Maybe another $500 for the $650 fully loaded with a chimera and scrims and stand and another $375 for the 300w.
This looks like $2000 and a bit of change for three lights.
Nearly the same as two Diva 400s...
Please weigh in! Obviously I
This is what I use for the kind of work you describe, location headshots:
Key: Mole Richardson Biax 8. Plenty of punch to work with a daylight window in the shot. Not as much punch or as soft as our 1200 HMI with a large Chimera, but takes up much less space, is cooler, and draws little power.
Fill: I almost never use a fixture for fill; a Flexfill works fine.
Kick: I often forgo the Kick because a no-kick look is usually more natural; when we do kick, I like a soft light such as a Diva 200. A Mole Richardson 300 makes a good kick and is more versatile than the Kino Flo.
Background: I like Fresnels for the background because I can paint and shape with much more control than with soft sources. Usually a couple of 300's work fine, but larger scenes may require 650's.
Right off the bat, the Biax 8 seems like a large and heavy presence. Just going off the B&H photos. I haven't seen them in real life.
So the same is true with these biax, the dimmer doesn't affect the color temp? When you do compose with a window are you using ND as well? Are you satisfied with the cutters on the biax? They seem so rudamentary compared to the kino's...
But it really does sound interesting that I could achieve my small news shoots and also offer a rentable light to my larger shoots, possibly a competitor to the 1200 HMI if budget is an issue.
What do you rent yours for?
Any other visions out there?
Shoulder High Productions
Media of the World; For the World!
The Biax is very compact for an 8-tube fixture. It's solidly built; not too heavy for me and I'm close to social security; can't answer for you.
Color temperature does vary slightly when dimming all fluorescent fixtures. It's not been a problem for me.
I don't use ND on the windows. It's time consuming and generally problematical; of course you almost have to gel the windows if your key doesn't have enough punch.
No "cutters" really work on soft lights. Use the barn doors to mount diffusion. The honeycomb grid is effective in reducing spill.
I rarely rent my gear to others.
Doubtless there are alternatives to the Biax 8; Kino Flo has some fixtures with hard reflectors that are supposed to give more punch from fewer tubes but I've not tried them.
Sorry you don't rent your gear but how much do you charge your clients for your kits? Do you know how much specifically you charge for this biax8? And just so I can look into it do you know what the kino product is that you mentioned?
Thanks so much!
Shoulder High Productions
Media of the World; For the World!
The Kino Flo fixture is the ParaBeam 200 & 400.
I don't charge my clients on a per item basis for the Grip & Electric; it's just part of my package price. I'm sure you can find a rental house that has them to glean the usual and standard rates. Perhaps Mole Richardson can help as well.
Chris -- I'm curious what kind of news shoots allow you the time to set up that kind of lighting. I shoot freelance news (both breaking news and background interviews) and just rarely have time for anything. I have a mini softbox on my on-camera light (ultralite) which improves the look a lot, and makes it easier on the subject. If I have a bit of extra time I'll just put up an umbrella with a tota. Never seems to be either the time or space for more (although I'd like to get a Rifa) and the interview subjects seem to always be in an incredible hurry (not to mention the news room wanting the tape ASAP). Good thread BTW, I hope to see you post after you get your gear and get a chance to evaluate the look.
I looked long and hard at all of the flourescent options I could find at NAB this year after having only worked with Kinos. I didn't see anything that made me think there was a better option based on price and features. I particularly lean towards the Kino VE systems with the seperate ballast from the lamp. The light weight makes it great for flying the lamp where needed. No need for a dimmer since you can simply turn off single bulbs to bring things down. If you're not in a huge rush I say keep your eye on E-bay for fresnels and open faces. I picked up an ArriLite kit at a steal of a price. 3 Arrilite 1K open face, barn doors, 3 single and 3 half scrims, 3 Arri stands, Case, 5 600w lamps, 7 1K lamps and some gels and diffusion for $700 with shipping. In excellent shape! I already put together an Arri kit with 650, 300, and 150/200's so it added nicely to my "arsenal". I did have a bad experience with a 4 foot single Kino I got via E-Bay though. The ballast has issues and isn't worth the fix. Also check B&H's used lighting. I got my 650 and two 300's at a greatly reduced rate. Once again it's about having the time and keeping looking.
Anyone want to buy a 4 foot single Kino?