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Small Kit for European Travel

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Johnny McDonald
Small Kit for European Travel
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:57:03 pm

I'm looking to build a kit that is portable enough to come along on flights between several European countries. I'm going to shooting mostly interviews in various settings and lighting for a combination of Black Magic Cinema Camera and Canon DSLR.

Here are some on my radar:
Cool Lights 4x55 fluorescent

I also really like the look of the Arri Locaster LED light

Then I'd probably bring a Lowel Pro for hairlight/backlight

Any advice for lights or kits that would be useful for this kind of set up? Durability, versatility and portability are all huge factors for me.


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john sharaf
Re: Small Kit for European Travel
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:22:07 pm

HI Johnny,

It's funny how everyone wants a proper lighting kit that fits in a ditty bag; it really is a fantasy not to mention counter intuitive. But I understand the desire (I'd like a full head of hair again too!).

The problem is that while cameras (like the ones you mention) have been drastically reduced in size (although lenses really have not) good lighting instruments are defined by their brute force and large size (or ability to fill at least a large light box like a chimera). In addition the need for efficiency (high output to wattage) and daylight color make HMI's the ideal choice for portable lighting, yet their bulk is increased by the need for a ballast in addition to the head, cable and accessories. Your question is a constant dilemma for the traveling cinematographer.

Logistically the first consideration should be whether you can afford to travel with a box of lighting kit as excess baggage; if so (I hope that's your answer) find out how big and heavy the box can be with out incurring "overweight" charge and build a suitable kit.

Remember you'll need stands, extension cords, bounce boards, etc in addition to the lights themselves. I have never really been able to do it with just one box; at the least, it's been a box with lights and a bag or box with stands, gets and cables.

If I had to pick one and only one light to use on a trip to light faces, I'd pick a Joker 800 with a Small Video Pro Chimera and a way to "slow it down" for night interiors or otherwise darker locations. You could use ND gel and/or net clipped to the outside of the Chimera. If I could add another box, I'd pack a 4-light Dedo kit, which could be used for backlight, fill light or background lights. With a stand box this is three cases that can do a lot of damage.



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Josh Groft
Re: Small Kit for European Travel
on Jul 9, 2013 at 1:21:55 am

I'm probably not the expert John seems to be. But my personal opinion is that the Arri Locaster is a solid choice. I've used this for interviews, by itself, as a key light for interviews. With the Blackmagic camera and the a DSLR (such as the 5D), the need for a full light kit is already diminished. I used the Locaster with the 5D MkIII in a room with a lot of natural light. I couldn't have been happier. I would still bring a case of filters, diffusion and perhaps a roll of ND to help control the natural light in whatever room you are in (or a portable diffuser/reflector for outdoors), but outside of that , I think you're on the right track.

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