Thanks for all of the great info on this site. Reading these posts makes for a good education. I am in need of a light kit that I will take on location. From what I have read so far, most people suggest making your own kit. My question is, how do you house the lights? I am assuming you get a case of some kind. What do you all suggest. Do you keep everything in one case (lights and stand)?
Thanks again for the info.
There's some terrific soft cases that can hold lots of lighting & grip gear, perhaps enough for your kit. Some are as tall as a person and roll on casters. Check them out at a place like B&H.
If you want to have a considerably large light kit you probably can't house it all in one case. I started with one and now I'm up to seven travel cases, plus half a dozen milk crates for local shoots. One of the biggest challenges is how to transport gear if you're flying. Many airlines restrict weight of each case to 50 ibs. and you have to pay huge overweight charges otherwise. They also charge if you have more than a few items of luggage. And worst of all is how the baggage handlers treat the stuff. A soft case will likely not protect much of anything.
I suspect that your question is why so many people like their Arri kits; cases can be a big pain in the butt. There are custom case manufacturers around; I'd be interested too if someone has a recommendation.
[Mitch Gross]"One of the biggest challenges is how to transport gear if you're flying"
Great point. I hand carry the camera, and use Tuffpak tripod cases and Pelican hard cases with protective inserts or soft dividers for the rest. What do the rest of you find useful and protective?
When I was in a daily ENG situation, I used what has become known as a "chicago light kit." It is a golf bag that carries 3 or 4 heads mounted on stands (up to 6 - dependent on your bag size - in my case it was 4 Mole 600w. w/ barn doors and a Colortran 1k pan). Big ol' shoulder strap made it easy to carry.
The pouches carried spare lamps, a gel roll, foldable diffusion holders, extra scrims, C-47's, a short roll of gaff and a roll of black wrap. 6 - 25' ac stingers were clipped to the bag via PortaBrace velcro straps that were attached to the bag rim and one ac distro - a quad box with a 6" pigtail was in the lower bag pouch.
My bags never had wheels...I once used a bag trolley (sold separtly) for a month while I was tooling around Congress. For air shipping, I put the bag, heads and all in a hard shell golf bag shipping case along with a few power strips.
The kit got it's name fron the Chicago (WGN and WMAQ) news crews who used taxi and bus to get to downtown stories and press conferences.
Speaking of golf club cases, you might look for the SKB line at golf outlets. They make a hard, light-weight case that sells for around $100.00. Very good for those shoots where you can't bring a lot of gear and you can adhere to the airline limits of fifty pounds. I fill it with a few lights and stands, a light-weight tripod, AC cords, gel pack, a few grip accessories and expendables. The built-in skate wheels make it easy to move around.
I would also recommend dealing with a skycap at curbside. More likely to let you go over the weight limit, which is an arbitrary rule anyway. I don't bother locking the case, since you have to allow it to be inspected.