ENG Light Kits: What Do You Keep in them?


Well-known member
I figured this would be an appropriate forum for this question.

I have a pretty basic light Kit
2 Pro-Lights
1 Color-Tran
3 Extension Cords with Splitter
3 Prong - 2Prong Adapter
Blue Gels
Tough Spun
Electrical Tape

Any Suggestions?


Well-known member
The light kit should be built around your camera. If it's an older betacam more wattage the better.
If it's a new XDcam, P2 or something in HD less is more. I've got a XDcam and work nightside so I have a very limited light kit. I roll with 2 Pro lights one with a 250 watt for my key and the other has a 125 watt for a seperation or background light. I have two dimmers in my bag. I used to have a ton of other stuff in my light kit but found it hardly got used in the day to day use.

What you've listed above is a good little light kit. I'd suggest getting some cheap dimmers to add the finishing touches.


Well-known member
Thanks Tie, I am trying to figure out a way to control my lights better. I am going to look into getting some dimmers and a few pieces of cardboard to tape onto my barn doors as well.


Well-known member
Harbor Freight Dimmers. Cheap and perfectly effective.
Google them, go to your local Harbor Freight. They can handle a 1k light (Lowel DP) just fine.

Now to the lecture:
Also, keep in mind that lighting is a master art. It is good to read a lot about it, just to get to understand that a junky little Lowel Kit is something you can grow out of very fast.
I know a lot of people that say, over and over again, that they "Don't need big lights to accomplish their work. These cameras are sooo good in low lights."
These people are talking about getting working illumination, and not lighting.
They suck at this stuff.
Sorry if I offend anyone, but it's the honest truth.

Please think about this: If that was true, and it's all about camera sensitivity, and 35mm film is more sensitive than a video camera, why would productions need all these huge grip trucks? Why is that? Because ultimately lighting is about setting a mood with light, not worrying about dimmers and stuff like that. It is a very, very, very knowledge based art, and it is terribly, terribly glossed over and sold as good by a literal ton of news photographers that think they know lighting, and absolutely, horribly, and truly don't crap about lighting.

I work at a highly, highly respected ENG shop, and I cringe at the lighting that people call good in news. It makes my skin crawl.
Man, do they ever think they know this stuff, though.
Oh, they're great at it.
They'll tell you they're awesome.
Others in ENG will agree.

Simply put, it is the uneducated teaching the uneducated terrible techniques in ENG, and passing them off as expert.

Ask any news photog what a fresnel light is vs. an open faced light, and three quarters of them don't know what you're talking about. They might say, "what's a fresnel?"
Ask them how a fresnel light works, or why you would want one, and you're knocking out about 95% of the ENG world.
People, there are only probably a dozen major types of lights.

You must, unfortunately, test where you're getting your advice from.
More than worrying about any light kit, beyond the basics, please seek knowledge outside of ENG photogs about lighting.


I have a short PVC pipe with caps on both ends to keep/protect my gels. It's also big enough to hold a Lowel gel frame or two. Nothing worse than have a hard earned collection of gels and then they get all crushed up and useless. Home Depot sells short PVC pipe that's close to what I consider the "right size" for my needs. Easy to cut a few inches off for me to achieve "perfection". ;)

You might want to look into getting some black wrap as well. I keep some of that in with my gels. It's basically heavy duty black aluminum foil...and it has a variety of uses as pseudo barn doors or as a quick pattern to put in front of a light to throw some broken light on a wall. You can split the cost of a roll with others. I use it over and over again instead of throwing it out after every use. I have a couple that I've cut/stabbed a couple of pieces that fit on my gel frames with hand made...dare I claim..."patterns". But they work great. Moving the closer or further from the wall at extreme angles can give you a variety of looks with the same pattern

Don't forget a few cheap wooden clothespins too! They work for both the gels or the wrap. Sometimes faster than an official gel frame.

Ditto on the dimmers. Harbor Freights are getting some good reviews and seem to be sturdier than the normal low watt dimmers. Best yet, the HB dimmers are about the same price...which is what always puts a smile on my face if the money is coming out of my own pocket.

I also have an umbrella. The down side is it is harder to control the light spill but...if you are doing an interview with a couple of people at the same time, it throws a wider, more even light, using a smaller amount of space in your set up area.

Last...add a couple of extra colors to your gel collection. No, you don't want to go color crazy but there are times a nice burnt orange, red, green, pink or yellow can add a little touch to something that will make your work stand out. Like anything else...use in moderation. ;)


Well-known member
I do a lot of work in Parliament. That means a lot of walking up and down the corridors of power lugging stuff. So have two light kits. Ones is just a run and go with a dado with gel and extension cord in the sound bag. It gives me a lot of options fast and with some help from a window and the top light I can do a basic three light set up at speed.
Then I have my real light kit. Two readheads, two dado's and soft light. It all fits in a porta brace backpack but is worth it's weight in gold. When a client is thinking who to hire often the point of differance is who can light?