Video Lights To Go
Video lighting kits are a cornerstone to production company, big or small. The Videssence Triple Fixture Shooter Kit is a 3-light kit that is ideal for high-key, studio lighting setups. Schools and small production companies that do relatively small studio shoots will find these kits a perfect match for their needs.
Included In The Video Light Kit
The Triple Fixture Shooter Kit comes in a hard-sided soft case with handle straps and a shoulder strap. For many people, this 30-pound kit might be a little too heavy to lug onto your shoulder, however it’s relatively small size for a 3-light kit makes it seem possible to carry it in this manner for short distances. Size and weight considered, it’s fairly travel-friendly compared to other 3-light kits.
The kit comes equipped with 3 Matthews Reverse Stands that have a maximum height of 82.5 inches and a maximum load of 11 pounds. When folded up, they are only 22.75 inches long. This makes them easy to pack into the soft case. In fact the soft case has a flap on the top tier of the bag that separates the bottom storage area for the light heads from the upper storage area where the stands rest. There is plenty of room in this case for additional lighting accessories in both compartments of the bag.
The two main lighting heads that come with the Videssence Triple Fixture Shooter Kit are the same. These are 57-watt fluorescent fixtures that throw quite a bit of light considering their low wattage. Details about these heads will be covered later in the review. These fixtures are complete with two 57-watt GE fluorescent bulbs that are rated for 12,000 hours of use and barn doors for shaping the light.
Finally, the Shadowcaster fixture rounds off the 3-light kit as a narrow beam light for accents and highlights. This fixture has a Sylvania 50-watt halogen PAR bulb, gel frame, barn doors, and a long snoot that helps make the beam very narrow. The bulb is rated for 2,500 hours of use.
Video Light Kit Setup
Setting up a light kit can be an intimidating experience for some people, especially those with little to no experience. The Videssence Triple Fixture Shooter Kit is by far one of the simplest light kits to configure. The most difficult part of any setup is installing bulbs. Putting the GE fluorescent bulbs in was a snap. In fact, it’s easier than changing a standard lamp bulb in your home. You simply seat the bulbs in the fixture. You don’t have to use any hardware or remove any plates to access the fixture. And, the Sylvania halogen bulb was nearly just as easy, except you have to unscrew the back housing before you can install the bulb. But, you can do that without any hardware and under a minute. Of course, we used gloves to install the bulbs, although we suspect at such low wattage you might be able to get away with installing the bulbs bare-handed. We figured it wasn’t worth the risk of getting our oily fingers on the glass. Finger oil residue can lessen the liefspan of some bulbs, so proper care is always a good idea.
The fluorescent heads make for a really nice even, flat field of light. This is ideal for studio lighting and green screen lighting. With a little bit of modification, these heads can also play the role of a good soft fill light, too. All you need is some diffusion.
The intensity of the light is just perfect for small studio sets. It falls off pretty quickly so you won’t be able to get a lot of depth out of these lights. The throw is very even across the center of the beam and then slowly falls off around the edges, however the edges stay pretty bright even outside 45 degrees of center. This is not really ideal if you are trying to control the light coming from these heads. The barn doors do little to help since they have a reflective interior surface. As you move the barn door in to shape the light, you end up bouncing more light in the opposite direction. If you want to shape the light more carefully, flags and cine-foil will be necessary accessories. While this is a weakness of the light, it also can’t be ignored that it’s also a strength if your goal is to wash a room with plenty of bright light. High-key lighting environments are a good match for these two lights. With a little bit of work and a few lighting control accessories, you can get more out of these lights than just high-key scenarios.
It takes a few minutes for the bulbs to warm up and reach their maximum output. The On/Off switch makes it easy to run tests when configuring a multi-light setup. The color temperature of the light is pretty warm, matching typical indoor light.
We were most impressed with the operating temperature of these fixtures. After a half an hour of use, the fixtures were pretty warm, but not too hot to touch without gloves. And, with all three lights on at the same time, we were challenged to heat up even a small living room. This is ideal for student operations where safety is a concern.
The third light in the kit is truly unique. The 50-watt halogen Shadowcaster head is a much more controllable light source that complements the other two fixtures very nicely by providing accents and highlights to the scene. The most notable feature on this head is the long snoot-like face that helps make the beam angle very narrow. It’s so narrow it seems almost like a spot light, yet it has a fairly even field of light in the center of the beam. Outside the center of the beam, the light falls off very quickly. This light is not nearly as intense as the fluorescent fixtures, but it’s just strong enough to create highlights. It’s small size makes it easier to hide when it’s being used as a rim light or back light.
The Shadowcaster is much easier to control with its barn doors that are a nice matte black. The gel frame makes it easy to attach gels for modifying the light. We weren’t pleased that the light head is not equipped with an On/Off switch like the others, making it difficult to run tests quickly. Also the cord length is pretty short, even with the supplied extension cord. With the stand at full height, the cord and extension cord together has a little bit of slack past reaching the floor.
The Shadowcaster operates in the same warm color temperature as the fluorescents, yet it’s physical temperature gets much hotter. Gloves will be necessary for adjusting this light after a few minutes of operation, however it’s still a relatively low wattage. It would take a couple of hours to warm up a small room with this light on.
Given the strengths of Videssence Triple Fixture Shooter Kit, we set up a classic studio lighting scenario with a talent sitting at a table that is typical of a basic news set. With the two fluorescent lights on either side of the talent and the Shadowcaster providing a backlight, we were able to get a very pleasing image. The even quality of the fluorescent lights is ideal for this type of setup.
Some of the challenges we faced with this kit was the double shadow that results from two equally bright lights place at nearly right angles from the talent. We were forced to move the lights higher on the stands until we reached the maximum height. This pushed the shadows down below the framed image, hiding the shadows from the viewer. It would have been nice to have a stand that could reach a little bit higher. The Reverse Stands can be tilted up off the ground so that the light stand rests only on the tip of the legs. This is not ideal for safety and balance, but we were able to squeak another 6 inches of height.
Striking the Kit
The Videssence Triple Fixture Shooter Kit is a no-fuss light kit that is perfect for creating a flattering studio look. With some additional time and accessories (e.g., diffusion, gels, flags, etc.) this light kit could also be much more versatile and do dramatic scenes, too. The light output is surprisingly high for it’s ultra-low wattage, which makes it a user-friendly, super safe light kit that won’t likely burn operators or blow out fuses at your shooting location. It’s light weight, compact size and durable quality make it a light kit that will last.
Parts shipped in kit:
- (2) SH057-157BXQE 120 or 230 Volt Non-Dim Fixture. 57-watt compact fluorescent multi-purpose fixture
- (1) SC050-150TH 120 or 230 Volt Fixture. 50 watt PAR 20 halogen fixture
- (1) BD-SC050 Barn Door
- (1) GF-SC050 Gel Frame
- (3) MT-LOS-K folding Kit Stand
- (3) MT-MH-BS 5/8″ Baby Spud mounting adapter
- (3) CB-P-16 16′ Standard Power Cord
- (2) F57QBX/830/A/4P/EOLTungsten Color 57 watt Biax Q/E Lamp
- (1) 50PAR20CAP/SPL/NFL30 Flood, 50 watt Halogen Lamp
- (1) CS-KSH2057-SB Soft Bag
Overall size: 30″ L x 13″ W x 12″ H
Weight: 30 pounds
- Easy to set up
- Light weight
- Even fields of light
- Cool operating temperature is safe
- No On/Off switch on Shadowcaster light
- Reflective barn doors on fluorescent lights
- Stand height could be a little bit taller
The Videssence KSH2057P-SB Triple Fixture Shooter Kit is the ideal light kit for setting up a small studio anywhere. It’s easy to set up and operates at relatively cool temperatures so that you don’t make your talent sweat.
Contributing editor Mark Montgomery is an independent video producer and editor.
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