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Does anyone have some recommendations for a light kit?

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Saul Kennedth
Does anyone have some recommendations for a light kit?
on Sep 10, 2012 at 10:59:04 pm

I've used a tungsten light kit in the past, but have never really researched the topic in depth. Honestly my lighting knowledge in general is pretty weak. I've always just used whatever was available.

I'll be doing some corporate videos for a company and I need to recommend equipment for them to purchase. We'll mostly be doing a bit of green screen shots and a few case study interviews (talking head shots in various offices with room light)... All of these videos are designated for the web and I'm trying to keep their budget reasonable (for example, I'll probably recommend they buy a DSLR to save money as opposed to a more expensive camcorder). I'll likely be handling all of the video shoots as a one man operation. I probably just need something simple.

I know LED is far more expensive. I've heard Flourescent is less bright, but the bulbs don't get nearly as hot as tungsten (which I guess helps in breaking down the kit quicker). I imagine i'll need a simple kit that has a key light, fill light and back light. There will potentially be a bit of traveling involved so the more portable the better.

Any recommendations? I spent a bit of time looking on bhphotovideo.com, but I could use some advice. If possible, I'd like to give this company a few options (good, better, best) and let them decide what they are willing to spend.

Thanks in advance for any help.


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David Wheeler
Re: Does anyone have some recommendations for a light kit?
on Sep 11, 2012 at 3:29:43 pm

Hi Saul,
I've learned over the years that purchasing good lighting equipment from the start saves money in the long run. LED lights are very expensive, but they can run off batteries and are extremely portable and easy to gel if needed. I prefer KinoFlo Diva 400 kits for local interview work since the color temp is easily changed from tungsten (32K) to daylight (55K) by just switching the bulbs (or even mixing them if needed. They are not hot lights, so striking equipment is easy afterward. For green screen, however, you'll need to light the subject and background separately, so you'll need four Divas or a mix of other lights. Unless you have a bigger budget and a grip or two, they are a bear to travel with due to the bulk.

I normally travel with tungsten hot lights since they are cheaper than Divas, easier to pack and carry. Usually that means two Lowel Rifa 88s and a couple of fresnel kicker lights and a folding bounce card. The Rifas pump out a lot of soft light (with 1000W bulbs) can be set up quickly but need a lot of cool down time as you know. Additionally, the 1000W bulbs need to be on separate electrical circuits in most locations so you don't overload a breaker. That is a major headache if you are running both at the same time. If you can get by with one Rifa and a bounce card, you'll do better. Of course, setting up a remote green screen interview with tungstens is potentially a power nighmare that will require a lot of amps and drop cords if its more than a talking head.

Bottom line: If your company is starting out and you expect a lot of travel to different locations with minimal help, you'd be better off with LEDs if you have deep pockets or some Lowel kits if you're like most companies that don't want to fund what's really needed.

David Wheeler
EX1R; EX3; FCP 7; 17" MBP, MacPro Quad, Matrox MSO2,CS5
dave@marcombiz.com


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Harry Pallenberg
Re: Does anyone have some recommendations for a light kit?
on Sep 11, 2012 at 11:02:27 pm

If you use cheap, cheaper and cheapest as your scale (and it sounds like you might have to) I suggest some CFL lights. You can get a 2 light (equal to 1000 watts per) kit for a few hundred dollars with stands & softbox AND they are cool and will not blow the fuse box.

Next might be some LED knockoffs. these are even cooler and will probably run off easy to find cheap batteries.

re: DSLR - Expect announcements for new cameras (Panny GH3 ? others?) next week - so you could get one of those or the old model at reduced cost.

Good Luck.

Thanks,
Harry

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Saul Kennedth
Re: Does anyone have some recommendations for a light kit?
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:16:02 pm

Thank you for the advice. I had a couple people recommend purchasing KinoFlo Diva 400 specifically, but I have a feeling those will be out of the price range for the company and it sounds like they might be difficult to travel with due to the size.

Harry can you expand on your advice to purchase a 2 light CFL kit? You mentioned: " You can get a 2 light (equal to 1000 watts per) kit for a few hundred dollars with stands & softbox " ... Can you possibly show me an example of this on a site like BHphotovideo.com ? I looked a little on the site, but honestly wasn't exactly sure what I was looking for. You also mentioned LED knockoffs. I'd like to look into all of that more, but I could use a little further nudging in the right direction. Any specific brands/models I should consider?

Thanks again.


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