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Giovanni D'Onofrio

Extremelly light kit, tools to have for fiction

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Our cinema school is closed because of the virus. And I'd like to keep experimenting with lights scenarios, for the fun of it but also to prepare for a small fiction.

I have 3 small leds, usually I use tungsten/hmi from school. I will maybe consider a godox or some tungsten set but at the moment I was thinking about grip, rigging and similar. I feel like that should be my main concern, those were the kind of most usefull item on the shootings I've been.

I've put up a small (around 400 euro) list of things on amazon. Is something clearly missing in your opinion? Or some priority to shift?

 

- 4 neewer stands (I've put in a lot of neewer stuff because it seems like the cheap/good enough brand)

- a couple of clamp lights, bulb, and china lantern

- gaffer and cinefoil

- a big 5-1 reflector, I already have a small one. Plus tissues.
- more clamps and stuff

2146632021_Schermata2020-04-30alle02_20.jpeg.77195cdb7a1bb8a1ad8a49752506224e.jpeg669799853_Schermata2020-04-30alle02_21.jpeg.cffedc9a914e3af8557f150c4e4591cf.jpeg735056611_Schermata2020-04-30alle02_21_21.jpg.5c5fcb2643af75da04143c6574c92e88.jpg206200259_Schermata2020-04-30alle02_22.jpeg.a1c5119928130ca66703e89533ea454e.jpeg1731205701_71In7SOjJL._AC_SX679_.jpg.f28050b9416429d4cf241964cd7085cd.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Giovanni,

How do you plan to hang the Chinese ball? You might need a long arm to put on the stands.

Since you are in Europe, you could also check shops like Thomann, which are cheaper on certain items. Manfrotto 035 clamp is Euro 16.40 (and copies for less than 15). They have black curtains that are higher quality than the "Neewer" you list: 320g/m2 (Neewer is 140g/m2), 3m wide by what-you-ask long, cheaper per m2, and most above all: flame retardant.

Edited by Nicolas POISSON

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Nicolas POISSON said:

Hi Giovanni,

How do you plan to hang the Chinese ball? You might need a long arm to put on the stands.

Since you are in Europe, you could also check shops like Thomann, which are cheaper on certain items. Manfrotto 035 clamp is Euro 16.40 (and copies for less than 15). They have black curtains that are higher quality than the "Neewer" you list: 320g/m2 (Neewer is 140g/m2), 3m wide by what-you-ask long, cheaper per m2, and most above all: flame retardant.

Hi Nicolas, thanks for your answer. I didn't thought of looking for manfrotto stuff there, I'll be happy to avoid amazon. Would you recommend other stores as well that ship in France?

Yes absolutelly I was looking for an arm of some kind, I just couldn't decide on one. Even the neewer "rotule" don't convince me that much.
How about this one ?https://www.thomann.de/fr/manfrotto_d520_40_extension_arm.htm

And this curtain? https://www.thomann.de/fr/stairville_euro_curtain_320g_m_cut_2x3m.htm

 

Edited by Giovanni D'Onofrio

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The curtain is exactly what I had in mind.

For the extension, be aware that a robust arm might not be a good idea on weak tripods, such as the "Neewer" probably are. I would rather buy black coated arms to avoid unwanted reflections. For the length, it depends on how far away from the stand you want your china ball. You can find kits of three stand & softboxes, including one stand with a long arm, bulbs, and bag, for a little more than euros 100. Note they are very weak. It is great to start to play with, but will not last long. If you want to avoid Amazon, you 'll find exactly the same products on eBay. However, the reasons you want to avoid Amazon might apply to eBay as well.

Thomann is more specialized in pro audio, but also in stage lighting. There is an overlap with lighting for film (as well as accessories such as gaffer tape, blackwarp/cinefoil, etc.). Oh wait! Blackwarp and aluminium gaffer are great tools. You could add them to your list.

There are other shops, but Thomann is by far the biggest in Europe, and with good after sales service. In France, "la-BS" is another good address for pro-audio & stage stuff, but usually more expensive (it depends). Bax-music is a good address too, very similar to Thomann.

I am not aware of any video/film oriented shop that are as big as those audio shops. I ordered several times from digit-photo, with no problems.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/30/2020 at 8:31 PM, Nicolas POISSON said:

The curtain is exactly what I had in mind.

For the extension, be aware that a robust arm might not be a good idea on weak tripods, such as the "Neewer" probably are. I would rather buy black coated arms to avoid unwanted reflections. For the length, it depends on how far away from the stand you want your china ball. You can find kits of three stand & softboxes, including one stand with a long arm, bulbs, and bag, for a little more than euros 100. Note they are very weak. It is great to start to play with, but will not last long. If you want to avoid Amazon, you 'll find exactly the same products on eBay. However, the reasons you want to avoid Amazon might apply to eBay as well.

Thomann is more specialized in pro audio, but also in stage lighting. There is an overlap with lighting for film (as well as accessories such as gaffer tape, blackwarp/cinefoil, etc.). Oh wait! Blackwarp and aluminium gaffer are great tools. You could add them to your list.

There are other shops, but Thomann is by far the biggest in Europe, and with good after sales service. In France, "la-BS" is another good address for pro-audio & stage stuff, but usually more expensive (it depends). Bax-music is a good address too, very similar to Thomann.

I am not aware of any video/film oriented shop that are as big as those audio shops. I ordered several times from digit-photo, with no problems.

 

 

It seems like the neewer stands can hold 5kg, I mean probably less but this arm could work? It's small, just for some extra reach https://www.thomann.de/fr/manfrotto_d520b_40_extension_arm_bk.htm The Manfrotto 1004 that my school have are great but for buying multiples I don't need to spend that much.
I think I'd like to avoid taking a full soft kit and focus more on grip stands etc, I wanna use my small leds, bulbs, play with reflectors, and probably we will be able to keep using some of the light of the school on the next months.

I've added the cinefoil yes! It's always usefull. But why "aluminium" gaffer specifically?


Am I missing anything obvious? I've used the real magic arm usually, the one that can hold weight, but I think this small one is enough for some smaller lights.

1820002899_Schermata2020-05-02alle03_12.thumb.jpeg.c4ca25446932b70768ae34c33553d5bb.jpeg1634937620_Schermata2020-05-02alle02_52.thumb.jpeg.d49cd52cdf45e42c14ec1be2d36c43c2.jpeg

 

Edited by Giovanni D'Onofrio

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Quote

But why "aluminium" gaffer specifically?

When using tungsten bulbs, it is mandatory due to the heat. Whith LED bulbs, you can probably use more basic (and cheaper) gaffer tape. Some LED lighting can go pretty hot however.

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14 hours ago, Nicolas POISSON said:

When using tungsten bulbs, it is mandatory due to the heat. Whith LED bulbs, you can probably use more basic (and cheaper) gaffer tape. Some LED lighting can go pretty hot however.

Oh, right, I hadn't thought to use it directly on lamps, I think I only tried the aluminium one once to make some shapes between barndoors. It is a little bit pricey!

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I did not thought to use it directly on bulbs either! But the housing can become pretty hot. Standard gaffer tape will melt, it will loose its fixing properties and leave glue everywhere as soon as the temperature becomes only "a little warm". If you do never plan to tape something directly to your projectors, standard gaffer tape is fine. But if you wand to create barndoors with the blackwarp and fix it directly to the projector, I would rather use aluminium tape (even for LED projectors).

Aluminium tape is expensive, that's why one use it only where required. Black aluminium tape is very expensive, standard aluminium tape is much cheaper and is OK for most situations. It is good idea to have both aluminium and standard gaffer tape in your toolbox. Do not buy the cheapest gaffer tape, they also leave glue. The "Gerband 258 Bk" you listed is great.

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The lack of c-stands is killing me! haha

I'd ditch the neewer light stands (they're flimsy) and shell out the cash for c-stands. Matthews is a solid brand, so is American Grip and MSE. Neewer makes c-stands, but they're also cheaply made. You'll have c-stands for life, so go with the brands I've mentioned.

Check out eBay for used Mole Richardson lights. A 650W Tweenie and 1K Baby can go a looong way.

The China ball is great, but they rip easy and require more rigging. They're best used as overhead lights, skirted with black cloth or black trash bags.

You also need to get sandbags

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, AJ Young said:

The lack of c-stands is killing me! haha

I'd ditch the neewer light stands (they're flimsy) and shell out the cash for c-stands. Matthews is a solid brand, so is American Grip and MSE. Neewer makes c-stands, but they're also cheaply made. You'll have c-stands for life, so go with the brands I've mentioned.

Check out eBay for used Mole Richardson lights. A 650W Tweenie and 1K Baby can go a looong way.

The China ball is great, but they rip easy and require more rigging. They're best used as overhead lights, skirted with black cloth or black trash bags.

You also need to get sandbags

Thanks!
We don't even have c-stands in our school, imagine that :)) We use manfrotto 1004BAC for lighter stuff and heavy aluminium ones for bigger lights. I would buy the manfrotto but since I'd like to have 4 stands for small tests with leds or natural light before the school opens again (who knows when or how) I was thinking those 260cm neewer could be enough...

I still have to decide if as bigger lights I wanna buy tungsten or new leds, since I can ipotetically still use school tungstens for a while.

And yes sandbags!! I had push the thought for later...

Trash bags sounds like a neat and simple idea.
 

Edited by Giovanni D'Onofrio

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I finally bought some C-stands used, out of desperation. They're shockingly expensive, especially new, but they are essential. I'm not aware of any realistic alternative.

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Just now, Phil Rhodes said:

I finally bought some C-stands used, out of desperation. They're shockingly expensive, especially new, but they are essential. I'm not aware of any realistic alternative.

For what lights are you planning to use them? even smaller than 2k?

Keep in mind that as for myself I'm talking about small leds, school 650-1k that I can pair with school stands, reflectors, cloth etc). I mean if I take those stands for 21 euro each at least I have 4 to play with for the time being. But I understand that it is not a professional item, it's a complex choice since I want to keep doing some light test asap and at the same time I'm imagining how a lighter future fiction kit would look like. Two different topic probably.

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Not even lights, most of the time. Flags and diffusion and bounces, and stuff. You end up using a £100 stand to support a £5 piece of polystyrene.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Not even lights, most of the time. Flags and diffusion and bounces, and stuff. You end up using a £100 stand to support a £5 piece of polystyrene.

dammit then! Is it because of the nesting properties?
Anyway thanks, I'll consider them. I'll keep coming back to this.

Edited by Giovanni D'Onofrio

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1 hour ago, Phil Rhodes said:

I finally bought some C-stands used, out of desperation. They're shockingly expensive, especially new, but they are essential. I'm not aware of any realistic alternative.

They are also annoyingly expensive! But, a good c-stand will last decades if you treat it right. Plus, they are actually useful around the house and workshop. 😉

@Giovanni D'Onofrio: I recommend getting the c-stand regardless of your unit size. It can hold pretty much any light that accepts a baby pin. C-stands can perfectly hold a light in a specific spot, which is necessary on low budgets when you can't afford the time and luxury of complicated rigging. Plus, like Phil said, it's best used for controlling and shaping the light.

Since you mentioned you're in school, I'm sure you've heard the phrase: "Lighting is about what you take away". A c-stand gives you the ability to shape and take away the light(s).

For context, I've owned the same two Matthews c-stands for a decade now. They're in great shape!

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I have five, and I want another five, if only because ten seems to be a standard basic kit.

It's easy to use three per light - one for the light, one for diffusion, one for a flag.

Get 'em used. They don't go bad. Neither do flags.

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whatever you do, forget about the Neewer stands, you will be sorry.  Think of some used Manfrotto, or Calumet, or Lowel kit stands.

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I would second the above. I had a Neewer stand that ended up breaking in half. 😕

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I've successfully used these stands for mounting (lightweight) lights:

https://www.thomann.de/be/superlux_ms_200.htm

I originally purchased them for mounting heavy microphones in a stereo pair mostly for drum recordings - they're incredibly strong, esp. considering the low price (but also very heavy and bulky in storage).

The fact that you can't remove the boom arm could be a problem, but they've come in very handy when I needed lights mounted up high, and can easily extend out of view on a wide shot.

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