I recently received funding for my stop motion project. I would like to purchase lighting equipment that I can use for this and future projects. Any suggestions? Lighting is the one area that I don't know much about. Thoughts on dimmer? Any thoughts on halogene Birdies?
I have heard of Birdies but can't say I've actually seen one or know what wattage they are. I mostly use low-cost halogen lighting from Disco lighting suppliers.
Halogens are gradually being replaced by energy saving LEDs - I believe there are now LED replacements for the light globes used on my 50 watt halogens.
If you want, and can afford more professional lighting, the Dedo lights are very good, and they have smaller units that are suited to stopmotion sets. This 3-light kit costs just over $4000 in my country, so it's out of my price range. Probably cheaper in the US: https://www.videoguys.com.au/Shop/p/2689/dedolight-dedo-basic-tungs... - just checked, same kit $3,374 in the US at bhphotovideo, still pretty pricey. I've seen them in use on two stopmotion productions, but I didn't have anything to do with the lighting, they had a DoP setting that up.
I'm not certain, but I think the ballast - the transformer that converts mains power from 120v (US) or 240v (Aus, UK) AC to 12 or 24 v DC - may also smooth out the power so it stays steady. The two films had no issues with flicker from slightly varying voltage, despite being shot in an area of small factories where fluctuating power is common. With my cheap lights I have to have a power conditioner to smooth out the 1 or 2 volt variation in mains power where I live, otherwise I get flicker with the lights responding to the changes. If it is true, that makes a dedo light kit look like a good choice.
I was using very cheap halogen 12v 50 w downlight kits, and mounting them, complete with transformer, on a piece of plywood with home-made barn doors. I'm moving now to mains powered (240v here) 50w halogen par16 lights, after the electrician told me they are more efficient, the transformer loses some of the power as heat. So they put out the same light but use a little less power. LED replacement globes for those appear to be about $15 each, so I will replace them for my next production. (I will stick to the same lighting I started with for the film I am doing now.) I have 3 of the mains powered par16s, and 4 of my home-made 12v downlight ones.
The Par 36 pinspot - 6 volt, 30 watt - has a built in transformer, and throws a very narrow beam of light, so it is great for backlighting a puppet without splashing light all over the set. I have 4 of those. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/American-DJ-PL1000-Par-36-30w-Pinspot-Pi...
I also have one larger Par56 with a 300w globe in it, for when I need one big light source, like the sun in an outdoor scene. par56-sb.jpg