September 25, 2015 at 5:08AM

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lighting gear - completely lost

hey guys,
I am currently researching my first 3 point lighting kit. I am totally confused by all the options. My idea, 3 clamp lights, 3 led bulbs, 3 light stands but what led bulbs to take? or go cfl? or just buy a good and cheap kit? or some of those cheap limo kinoflos? I want to spent 200€ max and already got two light stands. where to take it from there for a very basic kit?

17 Comments

For that price you'll be fairly limited. Good lights aren't cheap. That being said, you'll most definitely be able to find some small LED panels that will suffice. In my experience, Kinos are undeniable in most any situation. Whether 4x4 Banks, Divas, BarFlys, etc. They are all extraordinary lights with high price tags, but big payoffs in my opinion.

September 25, 2015 at 10:45AM

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Gabe Reuben
Director of Photography
253

In light of the above comment, you have to understand that while your light stands themselves won't be seen in your shot (usually), the actual photons from your lights will be seen in the images you capture. Sub-par light stands may be a hassle to work with, and perhaps even a danger to you and your set; they may cost you a lot in terms of time and trouble, always or only when you can least afford either. But they will not actually degrade the quality of your shot (unless you yourself cut corners because you have run out of time and/or patience to really get things right).

Lights on the other hand will forever affect the way your image looks, and they are worth nothing if they cannot deliver, due to lack of throw or power, lack of proper placement or modifiers, etc.

The most basic, standard 3-point lighting setup calls for a key light that's twice as bright as a diffuse fill light and a hair or edge light that can be focused, cut, and balanced with the key/fill ratio. There's a lot of assumptions encoded in the above, not least of which is that at least two of your light sources are either powerful enough to both do their job and still balance with the 3rd, or that at least two of your light sources can be modified down enough to still balance with the 3rd while still giving your camera enough light to shoot. And if you have ambient lighting sources, such as a window, that all three lighting sources are powerful enough to balance against that. And it also assumes that the actual quality of the light sources are helping, not hurting, the subjects you wish to film.

September 25, 2015 at 5:41PM

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If your funds are tight you can get quite good daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulb systems from Amazon.

2 x 105 Watt 6500K Day Light Fluorescent Bulbs : $22 US
http://goo.gl/UiqETx

Some of the fluorescent light soft-boxes will take up to 6 of these lights, so you end up with a VERY bright 630 Watt daylight fluorescent softbox.

Linco Flora Fluorescent Light Bank
http://goo.gl/BWLFR0

NOTE: The Linco Flora lighting gear is better quality.

September 26, 2015 at 7:43PM, Edited September 26, 7:51PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32132

Guy--following that Amazon.com link and looking at other sources suggest the above lights have a CRI of 82. That might be OK with trying to get a white balance on a white chip, and it might be great for product shots of random objects for eBay, but I can only imagine what it might do to wardrobe colors and/or skin tones!

Michael Tiemann

September 27, 2015 at 10:12PM, Edited September 27, 10:11PM

Thanks for these answers so far! I am going to look into those options.
I am currently thinking about spending a little more. I feel that portability is something I find a very cool feature. So I was thinking about getting 2 312DS LED Panels and a white cardboard for the fill and maybe later getting something else.
Would make 400€. For 400€ any better ideas?

@Guy Thank you especially. Its not the first of my questions you are answering. Thanks to you I now have a Nikon Nikkor AI set of lenses (28, 50 1.4, 85 2)

September 27, 2015 at 3:17AM, Edited September 27, 3:19AM

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Hey you're welcome. The Nikons produce a gorgeous image. Best lens investment I've made so far...

As for the 312DS LED panels, I would try and buy panels with a high CRI rating if you can. The old-school lights can have a CRI rating of anything from 60 to 80 CRI, while the newer lights are 90+ CRI. ( I would not buy anything with a CRI rating lower than 80 )

Guy McLoughlin

September 27, 2015 at 11:15PM

>>>Guy--following that Amazon.com link and looking at other sources suggest the above lights have a CRI of 82.

I've been shooting with 1x1 LED lights with about the same CRI rating for the past 3 years, and while not an ideal situation their color is not as bad as you might think.

Also, Linco Flora branded fluorescent bulbs have a CRI rating of 90+. So if you are careful about the bulbs you buy you should have no problem with color rendering.

Here's a video that was lit with Linco Flora softboxes using 85 Watt Linco Flora bulbs, and I think the color they recorded looks great...

WALLEY POS-86 Promo Video
https://vimeo.com/93325163

- Guy

September 27, 2015 at 11:09PM, Edited September 27, 11:10PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32132

Yes, but...COMEDY ISN'T PRETTY ;-)

Michael Tiemann

September 28, 2015 at 4:27AM

Trying to find Linca Flora here in Germany is tough. Dont just wanna jump to another brand. Should I not find them, what is important with those fluo lights=
Thanks all!
I guess I will give these a try: http://www.personal-view.com/deals/lights-fresnels-led-kits/small-led-pa... (scroll to 312DS)
as back or hairlight. Fluo as key plus a bounce card.

September 28, 2015 at 3:18AM

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>>>Should I not find them, what is important with those fluo lights

For both fluorescent and LED lights you want something with a high CRI rating. ( CRI stands for color rendering index. CRI 100 = same color quality as sunlight )

Today CRI 90 or higher is considered very good for an artificial light.

September 28, 2015 at 1:30PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32132

You can do it. There's a ton of money that you could spend, and some very good reasons to do so. But if you really only have a little bit of money and want to do 3 point lighting, I suggest constant light, daylight balanced soft boxes. Like those referenced here: https://youtu.be/r9kf9RKf_VU

September 28, 2015 at 9:32PM

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Cory Johnson
Producer/Entrepreneur
75

Keep your eye out for used bargains. I got a three-light Sachtler kit (£1400 new) for £180 on eBay recently. And many cheap, fold-away reflectors also have a translucent centre which could be used to diffuse and increase the effective size of lights.

I'd recommend getting some basic kit and then spending a few hours with some patient friends exploring various lighting scenarios. Don't leave it until a proper job to explore your lighting! And you may find you can stray from the conventional arrangement and still get good results - eg. some bounced light can often be enough instead of a fill light.

September 29, 2015 at 6:00PM

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Two words: Lowel DP.

Search ebay for used ones. Workhorse lights! They take 500w and 1k lamps, have a robust range of accessories, and are dirt cheap used. I've bought a few recently for our kit and they are my go-to, for almost everything.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR10.TRC2.A0.H0.Xlowel+dp.TRS0&_nkw=lowel+dp&_sacat=0

Right now, there's a set of two, with barndoors, for $99. That's insane!

LEDs are the craze right now, so hot lights are getting cheaper and cheaper used. Lowel Omnis are another good buy.

Both of these are open face, so you have a lot less control over the beam, but you can do a LOT with a good, reliable set of open face lights.

September 29, 2015 at 6:21PM, Edited September 29, 6:21PM

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David S.
2917

Yes, Lowel tungsten lights can be a great bargoon. I own a bunch of them, but they aren't great when you want to match daylight coming through windows. They run very hot and gelling them for daylight eats up almost 2 F-stops. Most of my shooting happens in the day time, so LEDS or fluorescents are a better fit for me. ( I bring out the Lowels when I have to shoot at night or in hotels, where almost everything is lit by tungsten )

Guy McLoughlin

September 29, 2015 at 10:05PM

They certainly do run hot, but so do all hot lights! It's true, though—interview subjects don't always appreciate the heat, so that's a consideration (but for the price, you can't beat a good hot light).

Not do discount what Guy said, but I frequently use them alongside a window. I guess it's up to how you use them, but I've never had any trouble matching them to daylight. A ctb gel gets the job done well even though it eats some light. If it loses too much, just gel the window to match exposure.

To the OP: That actually brings up another relatively inexpensive lighting tool—a big roll of ND gel. For exactly the situations like this where you're using a window as a light source (or is in the background) it is amazing to be able to control the amount of light spilling in from the window. ND gel gives you some control over the best free light of all—the sun.

David S.

September 29, 2015 at 10:18PM, Edited September 29, 10:18PM

Stick with tungsten while you're on a budget. You don't have to worry about color accuracy, and they won't cost you much. You can get really good deals on used Fresnels right now. As David said, Lowel DPs are great too. So are the little 250W pro-lights.

November 22, 2015 at 6:58PM

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So in less than two years I went from 3 Little shitty LED Panels to a grip and lighting Armada: C Stands, Floppys, 4x4s, 6x6s, fresnels, softlights. Wow to think back how little I knew!

August 8, 2017 at 7:37AM

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