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Lighting Kit for a short film.


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Hello forum!

Our little crew has finally got a nice camera, it's Ursa Mini Pro! We did some tests and now we think that it's time to buy some lights that we could use to shoot a couple of short films. We want to have a basic kit for everyday use, and to expand it/rent as we shoot more complex scenes.

We really need your recommendations! 

We want to have a key light that we can set to tungsten/daylight (preferably with a switch/dimmer, not with gels, so LED is obvious option, but we're lost choosing something bang for the buck) and power from the wall while shooting inside, or power with batteries when we shoot out in the wild. We want to be able to control the spot/flood, and attach a chimera to it with honeycombs to control direction.

Is there a good kit, that would include various attachments and have a relatively powerful yet mobile source? So we can swap chimera for china ball or a pancake, or just have it as a hard spot light, and have an attachment with barn doors to control it? Something modular?

We have used kinoflo previously, and we loved the quality of color and light overall, but it was really bulky. We once saw someone using open faces on a commercial shoot with just swappable fronts to make them adaptable to any scenario, but we didn't catch the brand.

For our fill and backlight we were thinking to maybe go DIY (or use practicals in combo with hardware store lights, specifically for backlight), so maybe it will make sense to get a set of two lights, for key/fill?

We have only worked as a camera crew with DPs who had their own light and really we just know what we observed on sets (so we don't know much). We liked SkyPanels from one shoot we were helping on, but when we saw the prices we were sort of shocked, so we're looking for a bit more budget solution.

We are looking for a kit because we want to get stands/flags/eggcrates/honeycombs and softening all bundled with the lights, hoping it would reduce price a bit if we get a bundle? Also we are in Chroatia, and everything here has a 150% markup, so we want to buy from USA and just ship, so having one package would be cheaper.

We really have little experience with this, so any recommendations we will look at. You will probably ask about budget, we would say we have $3k as absolute maximum, we also wanted to try and squeeze a slider in this amount (for ursa it will have to be big), but we can also rent it when we need it. Probably $500 would be import tax, so we are looking at around $2500 as a maximum, preferable 2k.

Thanks you so much.

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I would recommend Aputure as well. The 300d, and 120d/t lights are extremely versatile. They can be transformed from a fresnel, to an area, to a large soft source - thanks to the bowens mount. If you're shooting mostly indoors you could get away with 2 of the 120s. Maybe add a couple of Quasar Science 4' dimmable tubes. You can literally gaff tape those to a ceiling or wall for backlight/fill.

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Not battery operable, but Cool Lights just slashed the prices on all their fluorescent fixtures. A lot of very good light for the money, and the softbox/grid options are both cheap and work well. Add one or two Aputure hard lights and you'll have an extremely versatile kit without breaking the bank.

You might also think about grabbing one or two tungsten fixtures as well, just for the sake of variety. A source four leko w/50 degree lens and/or 650w fresnel are both incredibly versatile lights that are plentiful and cheap on the used market. A Lowel Rifa or two might come in handy too--one of the best lights for making talent look good, quick to set up, lightweight, and very easy to control with a grid or duvetyne skirt. Search eBay, you can find them for great prices.

Probably more important than which lights you choose is your grip package, so make sure you don't skimp on bounces, flags, clamps, gels, frames, diff, etc.

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On 11/9/2017 at 4:42 PM, zerocool22 said:

Look into aputure ls 1s, aputure 300d and some quasar science crossfade tubes.


On 11/9/2017 at 6:10 PM, AaronChicago said:

They can be transformed from a fresnel, to an area, to a large soft source - thanks to the bowens mount.


On 11/9/2017 at 8:40 PM, TheRenaissanceMan said:

Cool Lights just slashed the prices on all their fluorescent fixtures

Thank you for all the replies!

We have looked into all the options mentioned above, and it seems like Aputure 300d is what we might want to get. We also looked at Ikan lights, and they have some LED panels as well that have Chimera softbox attachments. Not sure which one we like more.

Looks like 300d can be a great spot light/flood with fresnel on it, and with a bowens chimera quick attachment can be transformed into nice softbox with ability to use honeycombs. 

We are just scared about powering it in the field, and in this regard ikan panels look better, though not as versatile.

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