Can anyone recommend a good lighting kit for Under $5,000?
I need the lighting for shooting both SD and HDV using cams like the XL-1, DVX-100, HVX-200. The primary style of shoot will be an interview format of 1-3 people. I will also be shooting small demonstrations of how to do things like assembling items.
For fresnels, I really love LTM Peppers. They have several kits well within that price range. I find them to be really well made, and comparable to high-end fresnels costing much more. Pepper kits (with three instruments or more) range from about $1500 to about $3000, and the kits are VERY complete... with extras you wouldn't expect as standard such as complete scrim sets, lamps, three-prong to two-prong adapters... even leather gloves (and, depending on the kit, a darn nice wheeled road case).
For diffusion, I'd recommend the softboxes from Photoflex (although put your own instruments in them, the Photoflex instruments themselves are a bit pricey for what you get). Photoflex boxes are fairly comparable to Chimeras, but priced quite a bit less.
On a lark I recently bought some Norman instruments. I think Norman only makes one model of continuous light, as they are usually a strobe company. Anyway, these instruments are quite well made, and have a very cool dual-bulb feature. They have two bulbs, so you switch one on and get 350w... switch the other one and you get 650w... and switch them both on and you have a 1K. You can get snoots and barn doors and the usual for them. The best part of these instruments is the price... they are unbelievably cheap although extremely well-made. The worst part... each instrument head has a tiny fan in it for cooling. So you have to be very careful if you are using them for dialog scenes to make sure the fan sound is not picked up by the mics. Some of their kits include softboxes, some include umbrellas. You can get a 3-head 3K kit for something in the thousand buck neighborhood. A couple of them are even less.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc. fantasticplastic.com