Matthew Wormald

Matthew Wormald

Hi all, I'm just beginning to research lighting kits.

We work mostly in short documentaries, and often in foreign countries, so portability is important for us. We generally like things to look as natural as possible, so we're not looking at a huge investment, just something to help us out on filming interviews. Not set budget yet per se, as we're just starting to looking into this.

I'd love any advice anyone might be able to give concerning good brands and set ups for someone in our situation. Thanks everyone!

matt wolfe [cc]

matt wolfe [cc] Plus

I noticed you said "huge investment" - but I don't know what means for you, numbers-wise. I've worked with people who got $500 light kits, but you get what you pay for. If you have no money, well, you can always build your own softboxes and put them on construction lights. It ain't pretty, but maybe you can work with it.

Isaac Murray

Isaac Murray Plus

KinoFlo's are great for doco work because they are very portable, low heat output, low power consumption & you can switch the tubes out to match/compliment the color temperature of the interview area. They have all different sizes with the Diva-Lite 401 being one of the most compact. Expect to pay $1-3K depending on the number of sources and the model. One of the cheapest keylight solutions is a soft 1K tungsten light. They range from $250-500. Like Matt said, you get what you pay for. I would recommend investing in a good kit if you have enough work to justify it. I added a link to a brief overview of the different type of lights/sources/modifiers that might clear up the differences between different lights if this is something new to you.


Matthew Wormald

Matthew Wormald

Awesome, thanks Isaac. I know almost nothing at this point, so all this information is really appreciated.

Tracy Landon

Tracy Landon

I probably wouldn't buy any tungsten lights new. Buy used and you will save a tremendous amount of money. I have 18 lights, all professional fixtures meant for motion picture use. I'm pretty sure for all of them I paid right around as much as the 3-light kit posted above.

Kino Flos are great for the type of work it sounds like you're doing (heat can be a big issue with tungsten for people not used to it), but finding used ones that are in acceptable condition for a good price can be difficult. They're mostly made out of coroplast, designed more for portability and being lightweight than durability like Mole gear. But if you have the budget for a Diva kit, I would go for at least one of those and a couple small fresnels.

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