Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Video Studio - Figuring Out What I Need

I have done my research on the equipment I will need to set up the video studio. FYI: I already have a digital video camera, microphone, and tripod. So, they are not included in my lists of equipment needed. 

Here is my very "tight budget" option:

  • 2-Fluorescent lights on stand - each with two 40 watt, 48" 5000k fluorescent tubes

  • Light reflector

  • Muslin backdrop - 10'X12'

  • Hair light - 30 Watt GE Reveal True Color Flood

If I buy the above equipment new from a reputable vendor I can stay under $1, 500. But many corners can be cut. For example each of the 48" 2-tube fluorescent on stands are going to run me $550 each (the largest expense). I can opt out of buying professional video lighting and buy everyday fluorescent surface mounts and put them on a stand. But I worry about having noisy, flickering, fluorescent lights.

In addition, I made a great connection with an expert in film production. He gave me advice on putting this together inexpensively. However, it will cost more than the prior. Here is the equipment he suggested.

  • 4-tube Kino Flo Diva for the key

  • 2-tube Lowel fluorescent for the fill (if there's enough room to back it off)

  • Small (200 watt) Fresnel on a dimmer (any good brand: Mole, Arri, LTM Pepper, etc.) for the hair-light (need to be able to adjust it quickly)

  • Theatrical light with patterns and various color gels (Source 4) for lighting the background

  • Muslin backgrounds are a great idea.  I like to steam them flat and make them interesting with patterns and gels in the Source 4.  

The above will exceed $2,000, but I can cut out the theatrical light and shave a few bucks off.

He also added the following advice:

"If you are going to have a dedicated room, I'd look very seriously at putting in an overhead lighting grid, so you don't lose floor space to a bunch of stands and wires.  But if you don't have the budget for a lot of lights and a control box, you may want to keep a key light on a rolling stand, just to have that flexibility for various shooting situations.  Everything else can probably hang on the grid."

Great idea, my space is limited, but I want to have the option of moving the equipment "on location," if needed. More to think about.

I will be mulling all this over. There are some overlaps in the two lists and I may end up mixing and matching from each list. When the decision is made I will post it. If anyone has suggestions/advice, please leave a comment.

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