When it comes to shooting video or still images with constant lights, compact fluorescent lights, (CFLs), give you one of the best lighting options when your project is on a budget!

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Why Compact Fluorescent Lights?

No matter the project, when shooting video, you always have to light your set and usually we use “hot-lights” that have been tungsten based and generate, (as their name suggests), a LOT of heat.  While you can always count on those lights, the problem was how to keep your set cool and your talent from sweating under the glare since you can’t really run a fan or air conditioning while filming to keep clean audio. This heat/cold and noise issue is the bane of pretty much everyone who’s ever picked up a camera to record film work!

The big advantage of using CFL’s is they consume way less power and generate far less heat than their hot-light brethren. So it’s also much easier on the talent, (and crew), and reduces your tear down times. (Hot lights you had to let cool down before packing up.)

The Kit

The Impact Compact Fluorescent Kit 2 is a wonderful light source at an incredibly cheap price ($123.80 via B&H), which includes 4 CFL bulbs, (at a reported 93 CRI @ 5500k), giving you approximately 420-500w of output! Kind of impressive for such a small price. Also included is a 43″ Beaded-Silver Umbrella, 9.5′ Light stand, the Porcelain Socket with Umbrella Mount and the Four-Lamp adapter for the porcelain socket.

From the box to powered up it took less than 30 minutes, so your time to live when this is in your actual production kit will be even faster!

Conclusion

At the price point, you can’t go wrong with the Impact Compact Fluorescent Kit 2 for a reliable and consistent light source for video and stills. I’ve used this now for 2 small projects and have been pleased with the output both times. I’d definitely would recommend for the beginning videographer/photographer or the seasoned pro looking for an additional/backup low-cost light source.

The only real down side that I could find is the quality of light that the stock CFL’s put out has a touch of Green, (vs tungsten bulbs), so you’ll have to manually compensate for your white balance to get the tones you want. You’ll also notice that the mounts/socket have a little play to them and the threading can sound a little crunchy. Basically implying that i’s not designed for a lot of wear and tear…so you’ll want to be very careful with the gear when packing it up for storage and traveling. With this, I only have two suggestions for improvement and they would be;

1) the ability to choose your own lights with the kit, or an option to buy without the stock bulbs so you can choose your own based on your CRI requirements.

2) some sort of travel case designed for this kit specifically to keep the lights and sockets safe while in transport and storage

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Additional information can be found on the B&H Website Here