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    Versatile Lighting kit under 1000
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    I am trying to put together a led lighting kit for general videography work, for cinematography for a coming indy documentary (talking heads and action), as well as a minimum set up for a micro budget fiction short film to be lit by me or a cinematographer. It should be under 1000 euros and include the following:

    at least one hard light that can be diffused with a soft box (or possibly an amaran 672w instead of the above combination)
    at least one hard light that can be modified more accurately perhaps with barn doors. (fresnel add on - worth it?)

    This should resemble the basic 800watt redhead kit that has been used in film schools and almost everywhere and be versatile for paid work and also micro-budget creative lighting as I want to learn to light my own shorts.

    I am currently torn between 3 x Godox ml-60 or 3 x Nanlite Forza 60. Without any add ons, they cost less than 1000 which leaves some money for a soft box.

    Any ideas?


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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    You probably researched and know more than anyone else about the differences. I think these lights aren't very powerful with diffusion and you'll quickly out grown them. I'd spend most of my budget on the most powerful key you can afford (150-300w).
    Last edited by Peter C.; 02-06-2021 at 12:19 PM.


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    Hi Peter, thanks for your suggestion. I would love to get my hands on a UL150 for example. That would be a great key light. But it would be impossible (or at least very hard) to carry it around for interviews, not to mention any travelling.

    Since my main concern at the moment is sitting interviews (talking heads/medium shots) for corporate use and my upcoming documentary I would first need to fill that gap. The problem is I am going in circles with all the various reviews. Although it seemed that the forza 60 and ml-60 were good options, I saw a review saying they are not powerful enough for key light in interviews after they are put behind diffusion.

    So I am going back to square one and thinking if it would be wiser to purchase a set of 3 panels like amaran 672 (spots or wide angled), or perhaps a combination of 2 panels and one hard light.

    Any thoughts on that?


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    It might be worth pointing out that a Nanlite Forza 60, or similar, really isn't a particularly powerful light. It depends entirely what you're intending to do with it, of course, but the company's claim that it's the equivalent of a 500W tungsten-halogen light is probably a bit ambitious, and redheads are (were) traditionally 800W to begin with.


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    If I look over my 'evloution' of lighting.

    You can do good things with a 60w - basically shooting through a 1.1 softbox/white sheet indoors or direct unmodified in the sun (from 24in away - head shot only) both these things will get the (hand/air/subway) travelling videographer out of jail

    A 60 will only do headshots in the main. (50-80mm head fills frame)

    A 200 godox will get one into pretty good places when shooting a heands to head shot.

    Id look to have a 60 that runs off a couple of little sony batts that will and also a 200, youve got a bit of money left there for another 60 and a couple of bits of grip.

    When you have to travel light take the 60 and understand its limitations.

    I dont see that Apture is worth the extra cash over Godox.

    S


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    Fwiw when I’m planning a simple travel kit (or for here, a low-dollar versatile kit), I typically base it off one strong fixture and 1-2 less expensive fixtures. There are plenty of things you can do with one punchy bicolor light that are a total time-killing PITA to rig with three weaker single-color lights.
    Pudgy bearded camera guy
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    I would recommend one powerful bi color key light (panel 150w or better) and then a more spotty/directional light like a fresnel/COB LED type light (daylight only is fine) you can dim way down as your edge light in interviews (gel it for tungsten if needed), or crank up for the "action" shots you're talking about (bounce off the ceiling to bring up ambient, shoot through a window to mimic the sun, etc).

    You don't have to get a panel as your key, lots of options for non panel lights kitted with a softbox/octobank/etc. I think people are really enjoying the Godox lights and accessories, lots of bang for your buck.


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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    I would buy a Godox VL150 on sale ($299.00), a Godox VL300 on sale ($499.00). The remaining $200.00 for a pair pf used,
    good quality Beefy Babys or the like (there are amazing bargains on used grip gear lately, I picked up an American Grip a
    few weeks ago for $40.00. That was $400.00 stand when new) and pick up a pair of the Chinese Nice Foto or similar parabolic softboxes with the grids.

    Why bother with one trick pony LED panels, or fragile, plastic junky lights that will fall apart? The VL150 and 300 give you serious
    lighting horsepower, you can stick on barndoors or a fresnel attachment later when you have a little more money so you can make
    cuts, BG patterns, spots and you'll have two powerful, reliable and quality sources. I used these new lights all last year on a variety of
    shoots and I am convinced they are best bang for the buck on the market. They are not that large or heavy yet are MUCH more useful/versatile
    than LED panels.

    I am done with my panels except for very specific tasks like lighting a car interior by velcroing my Kamerar Brightcasts
    to the headliner. Can't understand why people are even using panels anymore, they are wimpy output compared to COBs
    unless you spend a lot of money for a Gemini or Nova, they mostly cannot be used bare on talent so you put them through diffusion
    which takes more of their meager output. COBs are so much better in the sub $1k category.
    I still have my two Aputure Lightstorms, I have not even used them once since stocking up on COBs (I have seven of them).

    Also, I am pretty convinced, owning a few, that almost nobody needs bi-color lights. Maybe one RBGWW light for accents but generally
    bi-color lights sacrfice power and output for, whoop de doo wow I can do tungsten too. Not bad to have but when you are struggling to
    have enough output, can only afford one or two lights, you don't need bi-color, you need horsepower/output and bi-color is a compromise.

    Unless you are constantly shooting exteriors or in remote places, VERY few people NEED battery powered lights, they are largely for lazy people
    who won't get off their ass to run a stinger, why sacrifice power and run time for laziness? I have four battery powered lights and almost
    all of the time when I have gone to use them on real shoots with batteries, they die at the worst possible time, we have to switch out batteries and that can be
    nightmare when the light in question is on a Cardellini on a flat, 13' in the air as an accent or hair light.

    I shoot documentaries with LONG interview sessions and live streams that often go all day so for my use case, battery powered lights suck. YMMV. If you shoot
    outdoor narrative or short comedy bits, battery powered lights may be a life saver, everyone's situation is different. But if you shoot interiors mostly, you don't need
    battery powered lights. You might want them because they are convenient but since the batteries die all of the time, I find they blow takes, talent gets annoyed
    and when directing, I get annoyed with lights dying in the middle of takes.
    Last edited by puredrifting; 02-09-2021 at 08:26 AM.
    It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
    G.A.S. destroys lives. Stop buying gear that doesn't make you money.


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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    I agree 1 or 2 vl150 with cheap parabolics will take care of the key and fill. When I have quick headshot interview I shoot one key with large parabolic near center, adding additional light for separation if the situation permits. While pros might scoff, clients often care only about soft flattering lighting and will not pickup on the nuances of 3 point lighting. But if you truly want the easiest quickest setup that would be led panel lights with a built in plastic frosted diffuser. While panel lights are not as nice I know colleagues shooting interviews on professional jobs and getting adequate results. So what type of lighting is needed isn't written in stone. If you need to hop on a plane and fly to a hotel your setup will be different from, I would like a light setup I can pack in my car and carry into a building in one trip. All of this comes down to 1. the situation 2. the client expectations and budget 3. what results you are willing to live with. For example if you need to film at 3 locations at a company, have only 10 minutes setup time, and the client isn't interested in Hollywood quality results then a simple panel light setup might be more appropriate vs this is 10k job that will be used as part of a tv ad campaign or you're being paid well to film to interview the president of a company and you have over an hour to do a great setup and looking to impress to win over a client.
    Last edited by Peter C.; 02-09-2021 at 09:54 AM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by puredrifting View Post
    Also, I am pretty convinced, owning a few, that almost nobody needs bi-color lights. Maybe one RBGWW light for accents but generally
    bi-color lights sacrfice power and output for, whoop de doo wow I can do tungsten too. Not bad to have but when you are struggling to
    have enough output, can only afford one or two lights, you don't need bi-color, you need horsepower/output and bi-color is a compromise..
    As a run and gunner shooting interviews, having bi-color options on my Area48 panels have saved my butt a bunch. Luckily with the Area48s you don't sacrifice any power going between daylight + tungsten. It's a 120W light but still powerful enough for almost any interior interview key. The advantage of the panel is that it's a really wide throw so I can fill a 4x4 frame of diff without much space at all (4ft?). The The op would need to decide how important bi-color is to him. Gelling a 5600k COB light for tungsten isn't hard, so I see your point there.

    As far as horsepower goes, if they are mainly doing interviews, the panel should be fine, but if they want max options to light a "scene," then COBs are the way to go.


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