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Nurdin Orlich

Which lighting kit for semi beginner?

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Hi. I've been shooting videos (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXpPlbLuppb3zwKwuwuzA9Q) for the last year (mostly outside) and I caught myself in buying quite a lot of gear, but not the lights icon_smile.gif (which I should probably do first). Now I wonted to shoot one video inside of the house and I realised I need some lights. I started now learning about lighting and I checked little bit recommendations on youtube and amazon, but there is so many options to choose from. In the future I would like to film music videos and weddings, so what do you recommend for those areas? My budget is around 500 €. What was your beginning of buying and learning about lighting? Do you think is better in beginning to buy some cheap lights and then later more expensive or go with expensive from the start? Thanks.

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On that budget, I'd probably suggest some second hand tungsten fresnels (which is what I currently have in my kit). I would recommend getting at least 3. I started with (2) 1000w fresnels and (1) 420w fresnel. The issue with fresnels (and why they seem to be selling cheap on eBay) is that they run hot and use lots of power. I got my two 1k lights for 75USD and 100USD and the 420W for 65USD. Of course I patiently watched eBay for deals and bought one of the 1k's with the wrong electrical plug and had to re-wire it. The 420W failed on me about two months in and it also needed to be re-wired as part of the wire had worn out. I also bought bulbs for all the lights because I wasn't sure the how long the bulbs that came with them would last.  Your mileage with eBay lights may vary, but if you are patient and willing to make simple repairs, you can get them at a steal. I'm not sure what electrical circuits are like in Ireland (I live in the USA), but here most breakers are 15A or 20A (at 120v). So you have to be careful not to exceed the amperage of your breaker. However once you've gotten used to calculating this, it really doesn't slow you down too much.

That said if you are going to buy tungsten lights I would recommend some CTB gels to match them to daylight if necessary. I'd also say get a roll of CTO in case the power of your lights with CTB just isn't cutting it (since CTB cuts almost 2 stops of light). The CTO can be placed on windows to convert daylight to tungsten white balance. I bought two rolls of CTO on eBay for 60USD so if you keep a patient eye on eBay, you can typically get most of this for cheap.

I'd also recommend at least two reflector/diffuser discs. These things have saved me a few times when needing to bounce light in a tight spot or diffuse it. Very rarely do I use my lights without some kind of diffusion or bounce.

Add a few light stands (get extra so you have something to clamp diffusers/bounces too) and you've got a decent little light kit. I'm not sure if you can get all of this for under 500€ but if you are patient you may just do it.


That aside, I use these lights for shooting music videos on a regular basis. I now have 7 lights in my kit and sometimes I use all of them, sometimes I use nothing but daylight. It totally depends on the location and feel that I want for the video. For the weddings I've shot, I don't use any extra lights. I have an LED in my bag, but I never bring it out because I cheaped out on it and the quality of light is terrible. It has a very strong green bias that is hard to get rid of and it's simply not worth the headache. So personally, for weddings, I recommend smaller tungsten or led fresnel fixtures. A number of friends of mine have used Dedo lights for weddings and some use the fiilex led fresnels. I've heard good things about both but never used them. I personally don't like adding lights to weddings because (to me) it feels inauthentic, however the best looking wedding videos I've seen use some amount of extra lighting. So it can go either way, depends on what you are going for.

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At that budget level I'd second the recommendation for tungsten Fresnel's. Get Arri's if you can, they are built like tanks and last years. 

On small digital shoots - I find myself using 300w and 650w most often. 

Dedos are good, but would tend to be a bit more expensive. 

Budget LED's are hit and miss colourwise - I'd avoid and focus on getting the basics in tungsten.

If you need punchy brute force lights DIY halogen work lights can give you a good amount of light for a low price. Not good for direct light, but can be bounced and shaped with flags.

Same with PAR64's they can be picked up very cheaply and useful when you need a cheap punchy light to bounce or push through diffusion. 

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