As everyone will tell you, there is no camera in the world that will make your image look better than good lighting. Cinematography is “Painting with Light”, and a few well-placed light will make the difference between a home-movie, and a short film.
“Kino-Style” Fluorescent lights
I LOVE these lights. they are cheap as chips, have a decent ballast, and will accept authentic Kino-Flo bulbs, and they’re UNDER $100. Here’s what they won’t do: They won’t dim, and they are turn off/on in banks of 2. The stand and mount that they provide will also only mount horizontally, so you’ll need a right-angle baby pin if you want these things to run vertically.
These are the same lights, but just as a strip light. Obviously, these are also lighter, and ,might be a better option if you want to run them vertically on a baby pin, or slide on a narrow space for a rim light.
CFL Softbox kits
Everybody I know has had these at some point, and they’re tempting. they’re cheap, don’t draw too much power, stay cool, and produces soft light! However, they can be a pain to set up, aren’t very durable, and the bulbs can be a little green or magenta. BUT, if you’re just starting out, its a good place to start.
LED lights are finally starting to come into their own now. For a LONG time, they were just too wonky in their Color Rendition, and didn’t prodcue enought power. The technology has changed, and they are a great way to get a lot of light out on location without a generator. I LOVE the lights from APuture- they are a 95+ on the CRI, so they have really good color, and you can get a 1K equivalent out on location in this little pad.
Frugal filmmakers have been using worklights as movie lights for a while now. This is a little update on that- LED bulbs to keep your set cool.
Backdrop Stand and Rod
A backdrop holder is always handy. Throw a white sheet on there, and you have a nice soft white bounce or diffusion panel.
Frosted Shower Curtain
Bounce some light off a board, and through this frosted shower curtain for a stunning Book Light a la Shane Hurlbut.
I prefer these rectangular reflectors over the round ones. You can use them to light up an entire person body better, or even use them as a background in a pinch.
Green Screen Reflector
If you need a green screen when you’re out in the field, instead of dragging around a whole rod and stand kit, just fly this beyond your talent for some easy keying in post.
Bags to carry gear
It’s amazing how much stuff you end up acquiring, and if you don’t take care o fit, you end up buying it twice. these bags are big enough to hold all your light stand and give them light protection while you load up into your car and onto set.