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New light kit suggestions...

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John Higgins
New light kit suggestions...
on Feb 24, 2009 at 9:53:44 pm

Hi all,

Long story short, I was hired as an Editor (so I thought) for a company that just started a video production department. Well, it looks like I'm going to step into the production side of things for now (was a shooter years ago) so I need a light kit. I know it's a broad question, but for now I'll be shooting talking heads, offices and communication labs and I want to have them purchase what I'll need first time around. I don't have a lot of lighting experience but I remember the basics and they've given me a budget of $3k. One thing I have learned in my first month here is they like to purchase their equipment all at once instead of piecing together from several sources, hence the idea of a complete kit. Thanks for the help.

John Higgins
posteditguy@gmail.com


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Rick Wise
Re: New light kit suggestions...
on Feb 24, 2009 at 10:11:02 pm

This topic has been covered recently. For 3 K you have several options. Basically you can get a heavy, solid Arri kit, or a lighter Lowell kit. You can go for tungsten fresnels and open-faced units (and add 1/2 blue if you shoot with mixed daylight or daylight fluorescents,) or else spend the bucks on a Kino Flo or Lowell fluorescent kit or one of their cheaper rivals, possibly mixing in one or two small fresnel units. Don't forget to get some 1/4 plus and some 1/4 minus green gel sheets to balance your lights to existing lights, as well as 1/2 CTO and 1/2 CTB. Add also some sheets of opal and 1/2 grid for diffusion. Also you will soon be wanting c-stands along with grip scrims and silks, but probably cannot afford them on this round.

With lighting, often less is more. Look at what's already in place (the overheads, desk lamps, window light, etc.), then add only what you really need.

You are lucky to be fully employed.

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.recessionvideo.net
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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John Higgins
Re: New light kit suggestions...
on Feb 25, 2009 at 1:53:11 pm

Great info, thanks Rick. My previous employer filed for Bankruptcy and let go of 1200 of us the Monday before Thanksgiving so trust me, after 12 weeks of unemployment, I know how lucky I am to be working again.

John Higgins
posteditguy@gmail.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: New light kit suggestions...
on Feb 25, 2009 at 6:10:04 pm

Rick is right on. I would have a chat with the fiscal officer and ask if they allow you to buy used gear, in this one instance.

With lights in particular, this is almost always a winner. A good Arri or Lowel or equivalent instrument lasts decades, and this way you could get more for your limited funds, or use the savings towards the additional and very important grip gear Rick mentioned. Any repairs are generally minor, and things you can fix yourself with a screwdriver, like new knobs for the Lowel stands, or a worn power plug. Thanks to a lot of kids playing at being "film makers" and running out of cash early, there is a lot of hardly-used like-new stuff out there on ebay or craigs, etc. to be had.

I have Lowel and Century brand kits here in the shop that have been working daily since the late 70's, with no sign of needing "retirement". I think good lights are among the best long term investments in video. Aong with a tripod and mics.

Some companies and government agencies have rules against buying anything used, b-stock, or gray-market, but in this economy, you'd be a fool not to at least ask about it, if they say yes, you could pick stuff up for pennies on the dollar, good stuff.

My own favorite small kit to shoot interviews with is a large Rifa light and a 3-light Lowel OmniPro kit, with accessories like the gel frames and clamps, diffusion, etc. I also cram an old Lowel Tota and spare umbrella in there, as well as foam core, black foil, and an extra stand. With those tools, There's almost nothing I can't find a way to light well. If I have to run and gun, I have the soft triangular bag for the Rifa, I can cram 3 stands, an omni, a tota, gels and an umbrella and the power cables all in that bag, and carry it on my shoulder with the tripod and camera. Very compact and easy.



I favor open-faced lights over fresnels because they are lighter and more damage-proof; in the ENG and low-budget EFP-type work I do, I've never really missed it. Blasphemy, I know. I don't lose sleep over it.

I really like a lot of what's happening with flos and LEDs but for me they are mostly not ready yet, in a sense of cost versus convenience. Though the newest Rifas offer quick-change options with flo and halogen heads in the right color temps, and this I feel is very good indeed, where you want the big wrap-around source, but not the heat or high power draw of halogen, in a package that deploys in a minute and stores in the smallest, lightest package. You can get Lowel to convert your old Rifa to the new heads for a fee.


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Richard Herd
Re: New light kit suggestions...
on Feb 25, 2009 at 7:56:39 pm

Don't forget a way to measure/meter the light! Whether a monitor or a light meter. (I like a light meter.)



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Dennis Size
Re: New light kit suggestions...
on Feb 27, 2009 at 8:49:17 am

What are you shooting with?

DS



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