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My first light kit?

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pixeldustfilms
My first light kit?
on Feb 12, 2007 at 8:32:32 pm

Hello all,

My small production company has started to take off this year in the area of video biographies. We film mostly indoor interviews, mostly torso-up/headshots, and it's usually one person on camera at a time. Last year, I brought a lighting guy around with us, but I felt it necessary to make an initial investment in a kit (he's not with us on most of the shoots we've scheduled this year).

So, I certainly need to learn about lighting a scene, but more importantly, I want to make a good initial first investment that I can build upon. I only have around $600.00 budgeted to get me out the door and need to purchase something within the next few weeks.

I've read a number of posts here and wanted to see if there was any strong feeling towards one solution vs. another.

Here's what I'm looking at:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=...

http://www.jtl-lighting.com/ but there's so much there I'm not sure what I'm seeing

and finally,
http://www.lowel.com/caselite/index.html (looks a little cheesey).

Thank you in advance.

Gino

http://www.pixeldustfilms.com


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pixeldustfilms
Re: My first light kit?
on Feb 12, 2007 at 9:38:48 pm

Oh, and in the meantime, I've purchased the seemingly popular DVD on the subject...
http://www.vortexmedia.com/LightingDVD/LIGHTING.html

http://www.pixeldustfilms.com


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Wayne Orr
Re: My first light kit?
on Feb 13, 2007 at 12:25:03 am

Hi Gino. The usual guys here are probably pretty burned out answering this question, which is the most asked question on any lighting site, and will yield almost as many different answers. Since I'm familiar with the companies you mentioned, I'll give you my take. But please search the previous posts here for other opinions.

I was an early fan of the JTL kit, having found it at a local photo shop, and thinking it might be just what "newbies" on tight budgets were looking for, I picked up one and pretty well ran it through it paces. The one line review; the JTL is sort of the Kia of light kits. It will get you where you want to go, just not in style. That's not a bad thing if you can save some dough, and the three light softbox kit for around $500.00 is a pretty good deal. This kit will not take a lot of heavy abuse, and is not a quick set-up/tear-down, so if time is tight, or you are rough on your gear, you might want to look at the Chimera or even the Lowel softbox, which is their best product in the line, IMHO.

What do you do with three softboxes? Leave one at home for a spare, but take the stand with you. Buy another light, preferably a professional light, like an LTM Pepper. They come in various sizes, and the smallest is a 100watt, which is quite adequate for hair light or a kicker. Its a true fresnel, which means it is focusable, which is great for putting it some distance from your subject and still being able to puch some light on your subject. And since the JTL stand accepts the 5/8" standard spud, the Pepper will slip right on it. With a four-way barn door, and a bulb, it will run around $250.00, which will take you a bit over your target dollars, but you will be able to do a lot with these two purchases. You can use one softbox for the key light on your subject, and the second to light the background, if it needs it, and your Pepper for the hair or kicker light. If you want a bit more fill on the off-key side of your subject, you can bounce it with a white card, or get a flex-fill. You'll need an extra stand if you want the bounce.

Other items are stingers (extension cables), a dimmer or two, C-47's (clothes pins), gaffer tape, and later some colored gels. A stand with a boom arm is nice to help position the back light. There is an "egg crate" available for the softboxes, which is nice to have but not necessary. I have a kit similar to this that I pack in a hard shell golf case that wheels around and weighs in at the airline fifty pound limit. Works great.

You can save set-up time if you can assemble the softboxes at home, and load them into your vehicle, rather than at the location. BTW, don't believe the ads that you can use 1000 watt bulbs in the JTL lights. No! Only with the lamps that use a fan, and you absollutely do not want the units with the fans! (Use the 750 watt with good ventilation)

You can see some work I did just after I bought the JTL kit (I also used a Pepper 350 and a bounce board) here: http://www.digitalprods.com/LSmontage%20copy.jpg

Good luck and don't forget to search the old posts.

Wayne Orr, SOC


G5, Dual 2GHz, 1.5 GB Ram, OSX 10.4.6, FCP5.1, AJA Io, SATA External Array 500 Gig


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pixeldustfilms
Re: My first light kit?
on Feb 16, 2007 at 4:08:56 pm

Wayne,

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I certainly did a search before posting, and to your point, the large number of opinions actually made the waters slightly more murky. I was hoping some opinions had perhaps changed in the meantime!

I think I'm going to look into the Lowel kits.

Thank you, once again, and to everyone for thier support.

Gino

http://www.pixeldustfilms.com


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pixeldustfilms
Re: My first light kit?
on Feb 16, 2007 at 5:19:44 pm

Well, Wayne, I did, in fact, opt for the JTL 1500 kit. Although I realize I could have gone in any number of directions, at that price, it seemed like the best way to get out the door.

Thanks again for your opinion and I'll let you know how I make out!

Gino

http://www.pixeldustfilms.com


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Wayne Orr
Re: My first light kit?
on Feb 22, 2007 at 10:56:42 pm

Gino meet Nino
New lighting forum has some good examples using a three softbox light kit that you (and others) may find helpful.
http://efplighting.com/
Wayne

G5, Dual 2GHz, 1.5 GB Ram, OSX 10.4.6, FCP5.1, AJA Io, SATA External Array 500 Gig


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