by Mike McNamee Published 01/09/2005
This feature is unlikely to be of interest to those of you who are already established in a studio, although you might amuse yourself by doodling your own list together. The aim is to discuss the requirements for lighting under four scenarios and, notionally, at three price levels for the studio. It is assumed that the studio commissions are for either single persons or small, family groups. The equipment lists were compiled, during a car journey, between Terry Hansen, Tom Lee and Mike McNamee, with additional input from Damian McGillicuddy and Chris Burford of The Flash Centre. Once we had the basic list we approached a number of suppliers for comment and prices. The equipment specifications are for:
1. A low-budget, starter kit capable of being transported to a client’s domestic or business environment with a budget limit of £1,200.
2. A medium-budget, home-based studio kit which can be set up and broken down (for storage and the preservation of domestic harmony). It could also be taken on location in an estate car. Budget limit £3,000.
3. A high-budget, fixed-studio installation with maximum lighting flexibility for small or larger groups. Budget limit will vary widely but probably start at £3,000, rising to £12,000+ if a built cove is specified along with higher spec fittings all round.
4. A set intended for on-location shooting with maximum flexibility and ease of transport. It assumes that there is no on-tap electricity. Budget limit £1,000.
The prices and recommendations have been gleaned from discussions with industry experts and our advice before you buy is quite concrete – talk to your supplier! You should be able to gather together a starter kit for a price which totals less than that shown, by getting everything in one go. Look towards buying two take-out packs for example, even if you have no intention of going out with them, the assembled pack deal may be better. You should not assume that our specifications are recommendations; we have not tested all of the kit specified – go to a professional supplier and ask to look at the kit, even better, attend the SWPP/BPPA convention in January and talk to the lecturers and the trade who will be there! You are hopefully going to be using this investment for some time, so get it right.
We realise that the choice of carry-out kit is personal. Terry Hansen specialises in nursery photography, in the main, these days. Having been in business for so many years, everything that can happen to him probably has and, acting on the motto that, “we won’t get caught like that again”, he and Sue spend 15 minutes packing an MPV with a huge amount of kit. They have done this so many times that it is now a smooth operation, but it has taken a lot of experience to refine it to the state it is now in. Having protection bags and a methodical approach to packing will repay you in time and equipment preservation. Bags with wheels or trolleys are vital if you want to prevent arm, back and shoulder strains.
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