Preparing to buy whole light kit ($1,500) Need Advice.


New member
What kind of brands and types of lights would you use in your expierence? I'm filming corporate videos and small commericals for my business.

Here are my plans (no brands picked out yet, or kits or prices)

In my expiernce i've never needed to use more than:
3-5 small lights (150-300watt)
1 DP (larger style flood light 500watt+)
1 large softbox (not sure on wattage)
at least 4 stands.
at least 3 umbrellas
at least 3 gell holders
Custom case I can cut the foam out and put most of it in (except the softbox of course)
Light clips that can clip on to door frames and hold lights (Saw bogen made some of these for 22$ at B&H)

I was thinking about buying my own extention cords to save

Is ther anything else that I should buy that can increase my production value?

I'm still a college student so I'm wondering if buying with "academic pricing" could help me.

What kinds of brands should I be looking at? What kind of pricerange shold I expect? Is 1,500 too much or too little for what I'm trying to get? Can I get lights wher bulbs could be locally bought? (I live in Indianapolis, IN)
If you go Britek you could get something like:

-1k or 2k with Softbox
- 2 650w
- 2 300w
- 5 stands

The 650w and 300w come with barndoors and softboxes. I wouldn't get gel holders or umbrellas.

If you want to stay budget I would just use a rolling duffel bag for everything. Or you can you can get a nice Pelican case for like $200.

If you have more money after the kit I would get gels, flags, stingers, gaff tape, and baby grip accessories like maffer clamps etc.

If you are looking for Arri Frensel lights you wouldn't be able to afford 5 lights.
I think Matt is right about this one. If you want that many lights for that about of dollars, Britek is the way to go. Also, I wouldn't waste your money on gel holders or umbrellas. Gels can be attatched right to the barndoors with some trusty c-47's. I'd get some diffusion (250, 216, etc.) and/or bounce boards (bead board, foamcore, or show card) instead of the umbrellas, which are generally used in photography. Another good solution for you might be investing in a few chinese lanterns. As you can read on many threads in this board, these are great for providing a base illumination and getting a really nice, all around soft source. They can be slightly controlled with some duvetyne. For the most part though, follow Matt's suggestions.
Noah said:
Gels can be attatched right to the barndoors with some trusty c-47's.

One of the brilliant features of the Briteks is the gel clips that are built into the barndoors. They work extremely well.
I can always spend a little more on lighting if I really needed to.

Are the Britek lights going to be sufficent to get the job done? Or are they going to be a huge headache?

Also tell me what you would use on a shot for a small commerical or corporate video (mostly shot indoors).
Stay away from Briteks!!! They are not a good investment by any means! My friend has three, two 1ks and a 650... the 650 started flickering on and off 3 hours into use! After about the third short film we shot, his stands just fell apart, and the lights started losing screws ( i assume from the plastic heating up too much) So you really do get what you pay for! If you search this forum you will find many a topic about Briteks going bad!

Now as I stated earlier, you get what you pay for! lighting wise I'd seriously consider Mole, Arri, Altman, or even a newer company to the US, FilmGear... the cinemills dealer in Socal sells them. I saw them at LDI, and they look as good, if not better than Arri fresnels at around $100 less per fixture (B&H prices) when you include items such as barndoors and scrims. I believe the main reason these lights are cheaper is because they are chinese made, rather than european or american. However, If you are looking for a Kit, the FilmGear kit will run you nearly the same as an Arri kit due to the fact the Filmgear kit contains third party stands, case, etc.

Anyways, keep in mind, Arris, Moles, etc (good instruments) will last you a long time... and they keep a pretty good resale value. Recently I was looking at spending $1500 on a light kit, but just couldnt find a good setup for that price. In the end after lots of research I dropped a good deal more cash on a 5 light Mole kit, as well as an assortment of grip equipment since I know it will last forever and its all top of the line gear... well worth my investment. So keep all this in mind... if you are going for long term equipment, buy the best you can for the best price.
I had Briteks and they worked very well, until they were stolen out of my car! Oh Well. I used them to shoot a promotional video for a Martial Arts Website. They worked with Green Screening as well.
I just purchased a Britek kit from Tom at Rostronics. For what I do they will work absolutely great. NO, they are not Arri's and will probably not last as long as Arri's but I needed lights now and didn't have $1,800-2,400 to spend on a similar sized Arri kit.
I'll throw in one more plug for the Briteks. I agree with Sirius_Doggy, they may not be the best, but I felt like at my level of learning, they were a great place to start. I was able to get a small but servicable kit together very cheaply.

Shooting in small NYC apartments, 3 300W lamps (with dimmers and reflectors) have provided pretty much everything I've needed in the past couple of months.

But rather than trying to figure out the perfect kit, I've been building mine as needed.
Oh, by the way, I'm a student as well... I looked very heavily into academic pricing however here is what I found... Mole Richardson offers good student prices, say around 20% off their stuff if you walk in the door at their LA office, the problem is, their MSRP is much higher than B&H, so even after the discount, assuming you could buy these in LA, they still cost a little bit more than just ordering from B&H. I also checked into Matthews Studio Equipment for grip stuff... If I again were to walk into Matthews in hollywood they would sell me stuff at 10% off as a student price, but once again B&H's everyday price is less than their MSRP minus the 10%.

Now if you can't afford the Arri's and Mole's (seriously check into the filmGear lights though!) I'd say go with a lowell kit, sure its not as sturdy and long lasting as a Mole/Arri, but I can say with confidence it would beat the pants off Briteks! I just really feel strongly that if you are going to spend money, that you should spend it wisely, especially for me being a student, I want something that will last me a long time and be useable way into the future. In fact, rather than buying a Britek, I'd seriously consider just picking up some Home depot worklights and affixing barndoors to them... would save you money and they would be much more rugged than a Britek. Once again, search this forum for info on Briteks, alot of people have problems with them. And PLEASE check into the FilmGear Lights! They may be exactly what you need at a good price, sure they aren't brand name, but after seeing them in person I can say they really are made very well!
Have you looked into Arri kits. They are a little more expensive, but you may be able to find a nice price on eBay. Arri has done a nice job with building lights that last, are light weight and that cool quickly. Lowell kits are cool as well (they have all kinds or really cool little pieces of grip gear) and there are thousands of them out there. You may be able to find the nice price out there. When you are going to drop a bunch of cash, get what you want. Some times the deals are great for a year or 2, then stuff starts to fall appart. I've never used Briteks. I have great confidence with arri. I've been using the same 650's for over 10 years now and the worst thing that happened was a broken lens (op error). I think Filmmaker04 up there has the right idea.
Happy hunting
If you want to be daring you could also forget the typical kit and go with a cheaper lowell kit dp kit, which are okay, and get a lite panel kit. Those are sooo nice.

Of course you need your 1k softbank and some 650's but the lite panel can fit in places where big openface lights can't and they run on very little power.

Also Dedo lights are very nice and run off very little power. Collecting too many Arri's and Briteks is a pain because you need a generator running down the block. There are smarter options now, if you have the money and (cahones?) to buy them.

WORD. :evil: