3 point lighting kit

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Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi all,
I've just been asked to do a job which will involve (amongst other things) a number of interviews. I've done similar (but smaller) work like this before and just used the ambient light. Whilst it was ok it did look a bit flat.
So i have been studying 3 point lighting theory and want to incorporate that into this video as it actually has a reasonable budget attached!
My question is what should i buy?
My local dealer is trying to sell me a Red Head kit for £700.
Whilst i'm not totally averse to this suggestion what i really want to know is, is this the right piece of kit for my needs. Is there something better for similar (or less) money. The lights don't have dimmers so apart from diffusers, bouncing or moving the lights further away, how can i control the brightness in a limited area?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. What kit should i buy? What accessories should i buy?
And finally, anyone out there have exactly the right kit they are selling?
Cheers,
Mike

foxvideo
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Joined: Sep 9 1999

Redheads are the normal solution, £700 is around the right price for new, £500 upwards from Ebay. The problem with redheads is that in a smaller room situation you're using 2400W of very hot, bright lights - not very good for the subject or you. A better option are Dedo's, these run at 12v (or 24v) with dimmers and output 100w (or 150w) but with a much more controllable light, downside is the cost, around £1500 for a very basic kit.

Three point lighting is OK if you have the space to set it up, if not you'd do just as well with a single redhead bounced of the ceiling or a wall, you could also buy a softbox for the readhead (around £70) and use a single R/H with a reflector as a fill light - white poly sheets work well.

You can obtain a budget setup using "worklights" from B&Q, around £15/£20 with a stand. In conjunction with a white reflector panel these work surprisingly well.

Lighting is important to get right but don't think a 3 point set up is the only way to do it.

(Just noticed you're not that far from us, can possibly loan you the Dedo's..... PM with info on dates)

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi and thanks for your reply. The excess wattage in a small room is something that has been troubling me too. I've just been discussing this with a very helpful retailer who has recommended the Microbeam 200w setup which iscludes the 3 lights, stands, barndoors and inline dimmers for about £850. Slightly more expensive than the Red Head option but seemingly more relevant to my needs.
I take your point about not just sticking to the 3 point setup and i guess i could use one of these lights diffused with a reflector as you suggest. I just think that maybe (?) this setup will give me the flexibility for future work too.
If i'm going to have to spend money now (and it looks like i am) i would rather spend it right and get what i need so that i don't have to spend more next week or the week after.
Any thoughts?
Mike

foxvideo
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Joined: Sep 9 1999

Not familiar with Microbeam but from what I can see having done a quick "google" they are very similar in style and probably performance, to Dedo's. With dimmers they'll be much more controllable in an interview setup, scrim's or diffusers will add to lighting control and you won't need so much anti perspirant!

Maybe somone else on here has got them or used them....?

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

nash
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Joined: Nov 20 2003

Hi Mike,
Red Heads will work but trust me it will be hot. Fox is absolutely right. I have interviewed before using a "gelled" red head and a reflecter. You might need to put a soft filter on the camera too as the lighting can be harsh on the subject.

My experience is that you don't need "big lights" for interviews so the B&Q option Fox mentions is a good one. Also a narrow depth of field is good so the background is out of focus and therefore the emphasis is on the subject. Camera angles key too.

Fox, where do you get a Softbox for £70 from? I was quoted over £250 for a softbox for my Redheads.

Good Luck.....Neil

Neil Ashcroft
Fastroc is Media in Motion
http://www.fastroc.co.uk
[EMAIL=info@fastroc.co.uk]info@fastroc.co.uk[/EMAIL]

foxvideo
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Check out Ebay - Photography - Studio lighting and equipment

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi Neil and thanks for your input too.
Just one other thought that i forgot to throw into the pot! There is also an element i think i should consider and that is "professional looking" factor for the customer. This particular customer is paying me a reasonable amount of money to do a fairly large job and i get the impression they want to be impressed by me turning up with professional kit. I actually have a B&Q type twin builders lamp on a stand to which i have fitted dimmers and used previously, but i feel from my conversations if i turned up with that they might think i'm not entirely the consumate professional that i am trying hard to appear to be!!!
Maybe a good solution is 2 of the Microbeams with dimmers and my large reflector for the fill?
Still thinking. Still hoping someone has the perfect kit at a bargain price! Might be here a while!!!
Mike

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Just spent hours in ebay looking at just that. Came out more confused than when i went in, hence the posting here!
I thought i would ask those that always seem to know the right answer!
Cheers again,
Mike

nash
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Joined: Nov 20 2003

Mike,
I know what you mean about presenting a professional look but make sure that's not just in your mind. I'm sure it's not but the end result will be the telling factor in this area.

Listen, I don't know what your timings are like and whether you have time to practice, but before you make an expensive decision you should give some lights a test run. Potential sellers should have the ability to allow this.

If you get stuck, and time allows, I have a set of Red Heads that you can use (email me if you want to discuss details).

Regards...............Neil

Neil Ashcroft
Fastroc is Media in Motion
http://www.fastroc.co.uk
[EMAIL=info@fastroc.co.uk]info@fastroc.co.uk[/EMAIL]

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi Neil,
Thanks for the offer of the use of the Red Heads - that''s really very kind indeed. I'm not a huge fan of borrowing kit. The thought of someone elses expensive kit getting damaged is just too much! But i really appreciate the offer.
My timescales currently aren't as tight as i thought but if they change in a hurry i may take you up on your offer. If not, i have ordererd a training dvd about lighting and armed with that and more research i will hopefully be better placed to make a decision. I've also posted a "wanted" ad here so i'll see if that turns anything up.
I've also been concerned that the needing to look professional is more in my head than in reality. But i am also conscious that this job could well lead to more work in this area and i would like to create as professional an impression as i can. So I still think i need to get some form of lighting. On that basis, if i am shopping for kit then it makes sense to get the best that i can to suit a variety of needs rather than scrimping now and ending up having to spend more later. That said, the budget is still limited - hence the decision to sit back, assess exactly what i need and then get the right kit.
That's why this forum is so great.
Thanks again,
Mike

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003
foxvideo wrote:
Redheads are the normal solution, £700 is around the right price for new, £500 upwards from Ebay. The problem with redheads is that in a smaller room situation you're using 2400W of very hot, bright lights - not very good for the subject or you. A better option are Dedo's, these run at 12v (or 24v) with dimmers and output 100w (or 150w) but with a much more controllable light, ...............

I will fully endorse the good things said about Dedo lights (purely as a user!) - they give a huge degree of controllability, both in terms of varying the light output with dimmers and in being able to precisely control where it goes. I'd probably say that redheads WERE the normal solution when video cameras were less sensitive and lights were needed primarily to get sufficient illumination. Now lights may better be seen as being necessary to give modelling and shape, and for interviews redheads are possibly too powerful. Compared to ten or fifteen years ago much lower overall levels are necessary, and one of the main benefits is not cooking everybody in the room - as has been pointed out.

Good lights should last a long time - and if you buy right in the first place should have decent resale value in the future. Buying cheap could be a false economy. Expect them to last the lifetime of more than one camera.

Maybe more than you wish to pay (at the moment), but worth being aware of, is going to the other end of the scale in terms of light output and looking at HMIs. Expensive, but very efficient, high light output for relatively small power (hence heat), and daylight balanced. Extensively used to balance bright daylight backgrounds.

Mark M
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Joined: Nov 17 1999

Mike,

I would suggest that you think about hiring for this occasion. Lighting hire doesn't cost much. There are lots of places that do it. Even in your part of the world. For example I hire redheads at £ 9 a day. It takes an awful lot of hire to make it worth buying. You can hire what you want specifically for the occasion, you don't have to worry about damaging a "mate's" kit, and the initial expense is low.
For something like you're doing I would hire a Sachtler Reporter's Kit - lots of places do this - which is a low-wattage three light kit with stands, erfect for interviews. Or perhaps pay a bit more and hire Dedos.

HTH

Mark

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Dave R Smith
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Joined: May 10 2005

I share Mark's philosophy for ad-hoc gear.
The only downside is the time and hassle of 2 trips to the hire shop.
Assuming your daily rate doesn't include lighting, you can charge its cost to the client.

Mark M
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Joined: Nov 17 1999

What Dave says about trips to the hire shop is true. I'm lucky in that there are several near me. Many also have a delivery service, though this is seldom dead cheap.

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fuddam
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Joined: Nov 19 2005

hire, hire, hire - agreed

am fortunate in that have a rental company literally 5 mins drive.

would hire at least so that you can get a feel for the options. Hire a redhead kit, another time hire the Dedo's etc. THEN, if you really need them 24/7, buy the appropriate kit.

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi all,
I've never been a fan of hiring gear, just because it sems like dead money - money that could be used to get the right kit. That and the fact that if i have my own gear i will be able to have time to try it out, get used to it, and its there if i suddenly have a need for it, or if (more likely) filming schedules change at the last minute.
Having said that though given that i don't know exactly what i want (though i am learning thanks to all the help here) it would be a great chance to try out kit and see what works best for me.
Jurys still out on that one really. I think i will keep looking, keep taking all the advice that comes, and if by the time i need the kit i am still no nearer to knowing what i need i will hire.
Cheers,
Mike

fuddam
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Joined: Nov 19 2005

the problem with buying kit is that unless you use it frequently, the time when it's not being used is costing you money.

when it sits there on your floor, it's costing you money.

agreed that nice to have for those sudden opportunities, but always pluses and minuses

;)

DAVE M
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Joined: May 17 1999

I looked on ebay and although there are a few softboxes there none say that they'll be ok for Redheads. Any pointers?

foxvideo
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Joined: Sep 9 1999

I'll have a word with a mate who bought one (if he's in the country!) and get back to you.

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

HallmarkProductions
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Joined: Aug 29 1999
Fluos

If you want quality, no heat, no heavy power consumption, diffused, dimmable lights - look no further than daylight balance fluros - they are fantastic, quick to set up, and well worth the money. Yes they are bulky (but not heavy) and yes they fall-off very quickly, but the benefits far outweigh the problems.

Chris
Time for a new signature now...

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Look at what? Excuse my ignorance but if you have any more info on these i would be very interested.
Mike

HallmarkProductions
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Joined: Aug 29 1999

fluorecesnt lights made by Kinoflo (best and most expensive), Photon Beard, Bowens, Tres-D and others. We have 4 and 8-tube models, and sturdy mmanfrotto stands. Each light costs upwards of £400, but, bulbs are inexpensive and last forever. I have setup many interviews in a few short minutes, and you can get by with just one as the lighting is so soft.
Look out for the portable types - some are studio use, and do not fit onto stands easily. They all have inbuilt dimmers, but, be careful as some change colour temp as the dimmer is used. The best ones do not do that. Best to go for daylight tubes, though you can get 3200K tubes too.

Chris
Time for a new signature now...

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi and thanks for that,
I will have a look at the Kinoflo kit - it sounds good.
Mike

HallmarkProductions
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The Kinoflo is even better than good - but is very expensive (around £1500 for a light and stand, plus VAT). However, it will last for years and years. it is probably best to way up your usage over time with the cost. It MAY be best to try one of the intermediate units, like the Bowens or Tres-D, which are a lot cheaper - but will still last. Just avoid the really cheap chinese units that are around on Ebay - I have hear dthey are very inferior, and am not surprised by that at all.

Chris
Time for a new signature now...

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi again,
I'd only ever buy off ebay if i was 100% sure of what i wanted and knew it was exactly that for sale - but thanks for your words of warning.
I'ts hard to know exactly what to go for or how much to spend. There seem to be a lot of good lights around at quite a price range. Yes i know you get what you pay for but equally i could go on forever spending more and more. I think my budget has to be £1000 tops at this stage.
I will keep looking and taking advice from all the good people here who are so kind to give it.
Cheers for now,
Mike