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Essential lighting?

If I'm working with a Canon EOS 7D, what's the minimum of lighting kit I can get away with? Ie. what is essential, what would be advisable for me to have on hand, etc.? I'll be shooting in varying degrees of light, natural daylight, lit city environments, etc.
 
Bounce Card

That's your essential lighting kit. You need a bounce card, aka a big piece of white construction paper.

As time goes by, and your filmmaking experience grows, you'll figure out exactly what kind of light-kit you want to own. For now, you need a bounce card.
 
Bounce Card

That's your essential lighting kit. You need a bounce card, aka a big piece of white construction paper.

As time goes by, and your filmmaking experience grows, you'll figure out exactly what kind of light-kit you want to own. For now, you need a bounce card.
Thanks for the post... I did some reading, apropos of your input.

Any further insights will be appreciated, though. I have a screenplay written and intend to begin shooting it at a variety of locations in 6 months or so. In terms of equipment, I need to be somewhat prepared for varying conditions that may arise. Having a fairly versatile but somewhat cost-effective kit setup ready is my aim here.
 
Yeah, if you're going to be mostly outdoors, bounce cards are your best option, especially if you're low budget. I would get some in different sizes, including some big ones (4x4). I'd also recommend those 5 in 1 reflectors, you can not only bounce with them, but the diffuser and solid come in very handy. The large size of those, 5', I think is best.
 
Yeah, if you are shooting outside, a bounce card is all you technically might need. If you have interior scenes, there are little LED lights that are made to be mounted to cameras. I use these sometimes and just have a grip holding it on the side, etc. I don't recommend actually mounting it to the camera, because it will make your image a little flat. But this light is a great tool, and it's dimmable! Even in my more complex lighting setups, I will use that light to get some last second exposure on the background, or my main subject or as an eyelight, etc. Here's the one I use: https://www.amazon.com/NEEWER®-Dimmable-Digital-Camcorder-Panasonic/dp/B004TJ6JH6

You can also buy some cheep lights at Lowes or Home Depot which is what most DIY indie filmmakers seem to do until they can afford a more complex kit.
 
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directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
what's the minimum of lighting kit I can get away with?
How about a budget range?

I suspect you aren't looking for a good kit that will last for years but
you are looking for the least you can get away with. Am I correct?

Get two of these:
HLGN.jpg


And four or five of these:
Reflector-Clamp-Light1.jpg


Get some foam boards for bounce and a couple of
paper lanters.
 
If you're also thinking about interior lighting, then knowing your budget would help. I shot my first independent short with the work light stuff above, I think now I'd be pretty frustrated by them (though that short has probably done better in the festival circuit than everything I shot since, so go figure. It was stop-mo though and just one set.) Now I have a fairly nice kit of used Arri's, Mole's and oddly, some 600W Bogen open-face that are real work-horses. That being said, I recently shot a feature in the summer and was really concerned about heat. Also, it was mostly interiors and a romantic comedy, so all high-key stuff, and no need for a lot of strong lights. So I got a china lantern and a high CRI 85W CFL lamp, which was mildly expensive, like $85 or something, but for about $100 you get a very versatile, quick and easy fill light. For keys, I got 2 run-of-the-mill 4' 3 lamp garage flouro housings and 2 cinema stud plates. Disassembled the back of the housings, drill 5 holes and mounted the plate and now I have a way to properly mount some inexpensive flouro lights. Still had to get some high CRI flouro lamps, but it was cool because I could get daylight and tungsten lamps. They worked really well, with a surprising amount of punch. Also, you could control the brightness by using less lamps. So something like the package above set me back, I don't know, maybe $200-$300, not too much really. HOWEVER, I strongly recommend good stands, and that's where the price goes up. Nobody wants to spend money on stands because they're not sexy, but they keep people from getting hurt, and they protect your equipment. I have Matthews Medium-Duty Kit stands and they work well, but they are not in-expensive ( I can't remember for sure, but maybe $130 per, you'd have t check). But, please, do not trust the $20 stands on eBay. They bend and are flimsy. A friend of mine gave me some, and they are all but unusable. The nice things about stands, is they will never become obsolete, even if you get some heavier equipment and move up to c-stands, a bunch of medium weights will always be useful. If you've still have a few dollars, get a Hollywood arm for the lantern and some gobo heads or Mafer clamps for flags and such and you're good to go. Oh, that's another thing for interiors, if your picking up some white foam board, get the kind that are white on one side and black on the other, and you got bounce and flags, or negative fill for exteriors (though honestly, the double blacks are better for flags, but it saves some money.)
 
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Thanks for the replies, guys. I'll be back a little later with my own responses when I have a few more moments to type. Any further insights/suggestions are very much welcome in the meantime.
 
Depends on so many things, not the least of which is budget.

I would invest in bounce boards and blacks. Forward of that... depends. Tell us a little more and we'll be able to guide you a bit better.
 
Personally, to start out I would go for one of the typical photographic light kits that include 3-4 soft box lamps.

These use those curly-cue fluorescent bulbs, and typically run for about $100 to $200 for a simple set. They won't get you very hard shadows like a spot would, so don't expect that these will be useful for all purposes. But if anything, getting some form of light that isn't too hot, too dangerous, too heavy, or too hard to put together is the way to go, as I did.

Don't get anything too large either, though. The really big soft boxes, unfortunately, have plastic necks with plastic tightening nobs on them. And with 5-6 bulbs inside and a wire framework, the ones I bought fall over quite easily, making them impractical. So go for a set with single or triple bulb configurations. And get a set, or two, that allow you to have both soft box and umbrella reflector lamps. Both give off the same kind of light, but the umbrellas seem to give off a bit more light than a soft box will, especially with the metallic fabric on the inside of the umbrellas.
 
I have a screenplay written and intend to begin shooting it at a variety of locations in 6 months or so. In terms of equipment, I need to be somewhat prepared for varying conditions that may arise. Having a fairly versatile but somewhat cost-effective kit setup ready is my aim here.

Okay, so this is your first short? And how long is the screenplay? Because depending on your answers to those questions, there may be other things that I'd advise you to spend more time preparing for. You've got six months until production -- that is more than enough time to learn and practice three-point-lighting.

And how many locations? How varied are the locations? It would probably be wise for you to limit the number of locations the bare minimum, allowing the screenplay to be re-written to accommodate for this.

How about a budget range?

I suspect you aren't looking for a good kit that will last for years but
you are looking for the least you can get away with. Am I correct?

Get two of these:
HLGN.jpg


And four or five of these:
Reflector-Clamp-Light1.jpg


Get some foam boards for bounce and a couple of
paper lanters.

Yes, this. I'd also recommend picking up a china ball or two.

And pay attention to the color temperature of the bulbs you purchase. You'll also likely need some gels.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Yes, this. I'd also recommend picking up a china ball or two.
I also recommend these. I call them paper lanterns and linked to them
at the bottom of my list. Easy to transport and they are perfect for
a nice, soft fill light. I have several of different sizes in my "essential"
kit.
 
I also recommend these. I call them paper lanterns and linked to them
at the bottom of my list. Easy to transport and they are perfect for
a nice, soft fill light. I have several of different sizes in my "essential"
kit.

Oops, I missed that link. My big dumb brain was only attracted to the photos. :)
 
Learn from robert rodriguez:

Get two lights, "scoops" (I call em) with stands. Get diffusion material. Get some 100 watt bulbs, if you feel you need 200 wattasget those Y adaptors that will let you put two 100 watt bulbs in there. Ignore those high wattage (500W) photofloods they sell. They WILL pop/blowout. Get regular tungsten bulbs from the 99 cent store. cheaper and more reliable. YOu can prolly find the Y adaptor there too.


the setup:

1. one light for the subject(s). Put diffusion on it with a clothespin to soften it a bit and hit your actor(s) close and from the side-ish. You've just essentially made a small softbox. If your working micro budget your locations are prolly small anyway so this should be ok. If the light is soft you likely wont need any fill light.

2. One light for something else, usually the background but you can do a backlight/ kicker for the talent if u want. You may or may not diffuse it.

2 lights:

light the actors--- light the background

my short (a bit embarrassing, but hey lighting came out OK. lit the actors with a side-softlight and the BG with a hard light)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tJ0HQvssWg

el mariachi example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KNFhqtmlf0

get these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/487997-REG/Impact_401486_Tungsten_Two_Floodlight_Kit.html

subscribe to my channel if u love horror flicks! :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dtoxn16xruo
 
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