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    What do you "really" need in a lighting kit?
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    Hello, what are some tools (or techniques) you find yourself utilizing most often? Is it because of simplicity, effectiveness, or uniqueness to that look? I'm just trying to understand which lights do which jobs... I hear Par-style lights are the best for bouncing into a card and bringing ambient light up, for example.


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    Senior Member wgzn's Avatar
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    the answer to your question depends entirely on what youre shooting at any given time.

    to answer as simply as possible (but there is a TON of variable and a variety of accessories in each scenario)
    - for corporate interviews, im all LED these days. mainly because of temperature and small footprint
    - for local television spots (standups and broad location shots) i tend to go to kinoflo divas.
    - for larger situations there are a variety of arri fresnels i often use.

    but with flags and scrims and gels you can adapt just about anything (within reason) to suit your needs


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    This is one of those bizarre questions... essentially the best answer is "knowledge and experience".

    I've done nice lighting jobs with nothing but open faced rectangular theatrical fixtures - basically shop lights with more lamping options, barn doors and real stand mounts.

    Look at some of Roger Deakins' BTS shots - Mole redheads blasting away at muslin taped to a wall, and big wooden rings with dozens of clear household bulbs hanging from ceilings. He'll do things that are just insanely primitive, and he's one of the best.

    It's much more about picturing the look you want in your head and then figuring out how to get there. Knowing when you need soft, hard or semi-hard light, how to bounce and flag, etc.

    (I'm sort of guessing you're starting out so I'll say...) I 2nd the daylight direction Wgzn mentioned. These days you can get dual biax flos for like $175 a pop. You can stick those big 85 - 200 watt flo bulbs in anything with a screw base (some of them will need a little minus green). The temperature and amp-draw of daylight stuff is unbeatable. Those Alzo HID bulb & ballast combos are crazy useful; their complete HID lights are really very nice as far as the light goes, but mechanically they're kind of crap compared to a nice fresnel - but I have three of 'em and use them all the time.

    A couple 500 and 1k fresnels (even used theatrical stuff) can be gelled, and using 1/2 CTB will preserve some lumens and give you some warm, hard light. Or go full CTB. Or get some big theatrical fresnels and convert them for the Alzo setup (I've done one and it's equal to a 650 fresnel, yet it's daylight - a 650 with a full CTB is worth about 250 watts) or use Cool Lights bulb & ballast. We are now talking more $$ than a handful of shop lights, but that's the direction i'd start throwing money if I were starting over.

    Decent stands and some white & black foamcore, a few grip heads and a duffel bag full of BIG sheets of fabric, a lot of tape, some power strips... you can do a heck of a lot.

    The main thing is to think about the kind of scenes you'll be shooting. If you're a romantic comedy guy with a DSLR, maybe a lot of bounce fabrics, an 8x8 butterfly for outdoors and a couple flos, and stuff that lets you use practicals to light a room realistically. Corporate interviews, maybe it's flos and some sort of cool-temp softboxes. Music videos, maybe you're better off going tungsten with lots of sizes of fresnel.

    I usually tell newbies to avoid getting some three-softbox kit... I just never use 'em unless I'm shooting tabletop product stills.


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    Senior Member maranfilms's Avatar
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    To be completely honest, I prefer an open face tungston can with barn doors and umbrellas. I can work so much faster than when using my softboxes, and I feel like I have more control. I can get hard and soft light from one setup with a two second modifacation. if I need to gel, then I use the barndoors to clip to. I do mix and match on just about every shoot, but my goto lights are my cheapest par cans with umbrellas. I also use alot of fresnels to bounce and create outside ambient fill.


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    Senior Member Gabel's Avatar
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    I can also vouch for reflectors! Almost every light I put up I try to bounce or diffuse (unless I want it very hard). While 5-in-1 reflectors can be OK, I have one who's name I can't remember (and not with me so), but it's something along the lines of Visual Departments (it's at least very similar to a Lastolite) and like some more expensive ones (I got mine used at a rental house) it's much more even, with the white and silver each being great for bouncing.

    I own a rather "basic" kit that works for a lot of things. It's one Arri 300 Fresnel, one Arri 650 Fresnel, two Ianiro Blondies and three Coollights 4x55 flos. That's a great tungsten kit that didn't break the bank. The Coolights of course can be daylight, but if I need it, I rent a big HMI (sometimes, that's what you need) as it's too expensive to own one for me.
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    Senior Member wgzn's Avatar
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    i have a similar discussion going on in another thread. but if i had to build a basic "cover as many bases with as little money as possible" kit right now, here's what id get:

    (i'll try to be as detailed as i can)

    3 lowel 250 watt prolights with barn doors
    1 arri 650 or 1k fresnel (very handy for larger sets)
    a variety of scrims for whichever arri youve chosen

    2 medium duty light stands
    2 avenger c-stands with boom arm
    4 manfrotto super clamps (or matthews mafer clamps) WITH PINS

    3-4 lowes depot small halogen floor cans and incandescent desk lamps
    5 lowes depot inline dimmers DO NOT USE ON THE ARRI
    3 100' extension cords
    1 50' extension cord
    2 25' extension cords
    2 HEAVY DUTY power strips
    a variety of bungee cords (multiple sizes) velcro straps and bongo ties

    2 bounce cards
    1 package of c-47s (wooden clothes pins)
    a roll of black wrap
    a variety of CTB as well as diffusion and effect gels
    4 sandbags
    1 roll black gaffer tape
    1 roll bright neon gaffer tape

    2 pair of work gloves, oven mitts or pot holders
    1 leatherman tool
    1 multi allen wrench set

    keep in mind, this list is supposed to cover a variety of situations. my primary work these days is corporate stuff. so my current kit is completely different (primarily LEDs) so once again. this answer depends on what kind of work you do and where you do it...
    Last edited by wgzn; 05-30-2012 at 09:39 AM.


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    I would add to your must-have list a pair of beefy babies or similar. The added security those suckers offer makes them a massive bargain IMHO. The Matthews Hollywood steel stands are similar, hold up to 25 lbs, and are under $90.

    I'm getting two or three more in the next few weeks. They'll make you say "C-stands? Phht!".


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    Steak Knife Member David G. Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Carter View Post
    I would add to your must-have list a pair of beefy babies or similar. The added security those suckers offer makes them a massive bargain IMHO. The Matthews Hollywood steel stands are similar, hold up to 25 lbs, and are under $90.

    I'm getting two or three more in the next few weeks. They'll make you say "C-stands? Phht!".
    Michael, do you have a link to those specific stands? I am looking to get some.


    To the OP, here is a good little intro to the basics of a grip kit.

    "The enemy of art is the absence of limitations"
    -Orson Wells.

    "To me the great hope is... people that normally wouldn't be making movies will make them and suddenly some little fat girl in Ohio will be the new Mozart and will make a beautiful film using her father's camera-corder and the "Professionalism" of movie making will be destroyed forever and it will finally become an art form."
    -Francis Ford Coppola.


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    wgzn,
    What lighting set would you suggest for corporate work?


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    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    These are very strange questions - I don't think there IS a standard kit. It's a case of looking at the set - and selecting kit, which means either using your own kit which may not be ideal, or renting in the right stuff. I used to do lots of stuff with a 3 redhead kit. It's rarely used now because we now also need to light green screen background, or add decorative lights for the set.

    Corporate work means what? presenter to camera with real background, green screen, presentations, arms, meetings, promos - etc? Each needs something different. Tungsten variable beam width Fresnels with barndoors, or open face Redhead types, Softlights with tubes, tubular tungsten, or LED panels? So much different kit now. I tend to think now that buying a 'kit' or a 'set' is no longer a product that will actually do everything anymore. You go to the client to shoot a piece to camera in their office with the intention of it looking 'busy' - but it looks a mess, so you decide to green screen. Different process, different ideal kit.

    Everything is too variable nowadays for stock lighting with minimal kit. Variety being the important thing if you need to purchase, not hire. My lighting stock keep growing and growing with every different job seeming to need different kit!


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