Hi all

I'm hoping i get a reply from someone.  My other half is looking at producing a stop motion production.  He is at storyboard stage at the moment, he has the software and also a really good laptop and HD webcam, what i would like to get him is some lighting as i'm not sure what he'll need, i think it would have to be quite basic, but also he should be able to use barn doors and also Gel's (from my understanding) and would need to be able to change the intensity of the lights like a control panel.  The thing is i'm not sure what size or brand and what kind of stands to get, he would only be doing a table top sized set and would imagine he would need 2 maybe 3 lights.  Please help as i really don't know what i'm looking for.  I'm also in the UK

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This question comes up a lot. Try looking at some of the threads in the Equipment/Lighting category. You may be surprised at how little you actually need to get started. 

If you want to be able to use gels and barn doors, then what you want is PAR cans, which are the kind of lights you see used in night clubs and stage shows. 

Here's my ancient page about them: http://www.darkstrider.net/lighting.html

What I mostly use now are small PAR lights, the PAR 20's (also called Birdies). Since I wrote that page, the design of the light C clamps has been modified and they're now completely usable (the cheap one at the top of that page). 

Also The Set Shop has changed their layout over the years and broken my link - here's a good lighting gel pack that should suffice for just about any need: http://setshop.com/gelsdiffusion/lee-gels/color-packs/509ql-quick-l...(24-sheets).html (Aw geeze - that link is broken by prentheses! paste the whole link into your browser and it will work)

And the entire range of packs: http://setshop.com/gelsdiffusion/lee-gels/color-packs (keep in mind most of the less expensive packs are specialty and don;'t have a full range of colors in them). 

I know you're in the UK, but this should serve as a good starting point - you should be able to find the same or similar items there. Try a web search for "grip gear" for gels and diffusion and black wrap (thick black aluminum foil used to block unwanted light). Or just use regular household foil. Clothes pins, tape and cut pieces of cardboard are good for rigging little flags and shapes to strategically block light in places. Lengths of aluminum armature wire (sold in art supply stores that carry sculpting supplies - and the same stuff you want for puppet armatures) is a great way to position flags right where you want them. 

I know you can get PAR lighting units in the UK - when I used to search the web for PAR 20 units I kept getting UK sites for a long time. It took me a while to gfing sources for them in the US. 

Also - a work of good advice - any time you order anything from a store selling grip gear or photograpy equipment, throw in a roll or 2 of gaffer tape. Best tape ever made by far! You'll use it for everything, not just shop related stuff. 

thank you for your guidance, i think i'll go for a Par 20 Can with gels and barn doors.  I also think i'll need to get him a control panel, but they're about £90 plus so think that might have to be a Christmas Prezzie.  I also noticed that the Can's don't come with a power plug fitted - is this so you fit it yourself or do they have to be fitted to a control unit to work?  I'm sorry i'm asking so many questions, it's just most of the information out there is very technical and difficult to understand.

You don't need a control panel to control the brightness of the lights - that can be done by inserting neutral density filters (grey color gels) in front of the lights. On a site that sells grip gear search for neutral density and you'll find a range - you can get them in different densities, from thin to thick and dark. Here's a page of them at SetShop: http://setshop.com/Search-Results?manufacturers_id&keywords=neu...

If you get a sheet each of something very light, semi-light, and medium, like say a .3, a .6 and a .9, then you can cut pieces to fit in front of the lights and layer them to get any reduction in brightness you need. Also you can dim them by closing the barndoors down. 

You might also want to pick up a little diffusion. That's a frosted filter that scatters the beam, making it dimmer and softer - so shadows aren't hard-edged but very soft. If you get something like the Quick Location Pack it should include some ND and diffusion - my Master Location Pack had a sheet of each I think, but I ended up buying individual sheets of ND for greater control. 

Not as much fun as a control panel, but it's the traditional way. 

Some stores sell PAR cans with plugs attached, some don't - it's because they can't be sure what kind of connector you might need - for household use or something similar you'd want a standard Edison plug, but for club use you might want something different. So if you find a store that sells them without plugs they you're probably expected to wire them up yourself, or the store might do it for an extra charge. If you search around a little you can find stores that sell them with plugs already attached. 

If you do want a control panel I think what you want to look for is a DMX Dimmer Pack and DMX Controller. I don't know much about this - there was a thread on the old site with the info nicely catalogued, but that site is currently unavailable. You can plug regular household Edison plugs into the dimmer pack, then control the lights using the controller. All you'd need is a 4 channel dimmer pack and controller - I don't know if they even make them with less than that. 

You're looking for something like this: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/elation-dp-415-4-channel-d...

And a ontroller like this: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/elation-sdc-6-dmx-controller

That's a 6 channel controller, couldn't find a 4 channel on that site, but I think it could be used to control a 4 channel dimmer pack. 

Thank u so much, you're a wealth of information, I think it'll be best to start with using the Gels then later on move to the control panel if he wants one, so on the list is Par Cans, Gaffer Tape, Gels, plugs and Barn Doors. Not bad for a birthday prezzie :o)

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