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Simple Starter Light Kit Suggestions Needed

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The Matt HallSimple Starter Light Kit Suggestions Needed
by on May 2, 2006 at 6:21:52 pm

Hi. I just landed a job where I'll be shooting a load of interviews and need a recommendation for a simple starter light kit. I don't have a whole lot of experience in lighting (mostly an editor) so I'm looking for an easy solution with nice results. Most of the interviews will probably be in private homes and I want a very natural look, incorporating the people's own lights and windows if I can. My budget is between $500 - $1000 (preferably on the lower end!). I'll be shooting on an Sony HDR FX-1. I really appreciate any suggestions or tips you may have.


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GregRe: Simple Starter Light Kit Suggestions Needed
by on May 3, 2006 at 7:14:01 pm

I'd suggest that you rent a light kit for this. Perhaps a couple of chimeras that will give you a soft key and fill light and a backlight. You may want a 4th light for some of the background to add a splash on a wall or on a plant.

Any "cheap" lighting kit you buy will most likely give you harsh lighting with shadows. Keep in mind that people's own lights and windows will give you different color temperatures and thus different colors on their faces/backgrounds.


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mark SuszkoRe: Simple Starter Light Kit Suggestions Needed
by on May 4, 2006 at 12:54:47 am

My experience has been, if you can afford just one light, to shoot mostly interviews, and you'er low on experience, a Lowel Rifa is a very good choice. Totally idiot-proof. It is a big softlight that folds up like an umbrella, it's faster and cheaper than a Chimera and speed ring. It gives a great, wrap-around light if you put it about 45 degrees of to the favored side of the face, and all but the smalest versions will have enough power to override the effects of other color back or background lights. If you bring a sheet of white foam core or cardboard covered in foil, on it's own stand, you can use that on the other side for a bounce fill effect that's just the right amount. You'll geta vermeer-like light quality with this setup. If you don;t buy the eggcrate front for it, you should be able to buy 2 of the small version or 1 of the intermediate size Rifas.

If you had less money, I would say rent a real 3 or 4-light kit. Lowel is my favorite. I would rent and eventually buy a 4-light kit comprising 2 Lowel Omni's, 1 Lowel Tota, 1 Prolight or mini-pro, extra stands, a totabrella and 4 tota-gel frames, a roll of black cinefoil, sheets of toughspun or tough frost, sheets of foamcore, gaffer tape, wooden clothespins.

I have had good luck making softboxes to put in front of ordinary open-faced 1K halogen video lights, out of foam core, gaffer tape and tough spun. if you build these right, they don't even get warm, and cost twenty bucks or less. Not very portable or sturdy, though, more for permanent studio use.

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The Matt HallRe: Simple Starter Light Kit Suggestions Needed
by on May 4, 2006 at 3:44:29 am

Thanks Mark and Greg,

I like the sound of that Lowel Rifa. A nice soft light and a bounce card was just what I was thinking. But renting could be a good option too, depending on how many shoot days I'll have. I'll have to check the local rates. Thanks for all the help!


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