Re: Lighting...starter kit?
Before doing anything, read this: http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/light.htm Makes sure you know what you are doing, or at least gets you started.
I don't know any specific brands, but I'd recommend having more then just 2 lights. The reason being, is that most cinema does not use 3-point lighting. Usually there are multiple main lights, back lights, effects, etc. (This is from studying cinema, not stop motion). The other thing is that you really don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to get high quality lights and other such equipment. I support this theory with having done the senior portraits for myself and a friend with just 3 fluorescent desk lights, a camera flash, and a reflector. Took a while to get set up, but the result looked almost as good as professional portraiture (if I may say so myself).
What you should have:
- Fluorescent lights (any desk/clamp lamp works). I like fluorescents since they are cooler lights, but often more harsh. Due to this harshness, you could improvise a soft box (what I did for the portraits).
- A soft box or something translucent (kitchen wax-paper works wonders). This helps soften light for fill light and other needs that don't require a direct glare or anything. And with wax paper, you can layer it.
- Reflectors (I have 2, enough for me). You can, again, go cheap like me and go to a crafts store and buy white poster paper (thick, sturdy white sheets).
- Tripods or something to set the reflectors up on (tape them on) to gives you a lot of control over them. For the senior photo I took, I taped a reflector to a microphone tripod, which worked really well for adjusting angles and rotations. Of course, for the other reflector I just stuck it between a few stuffed animals on my bunk-bed.
- Visors for the lights so you can limit how far their light spreads. I never tried this, but I'll warn you to be careful if you do it with cardboard. Lights (even desk ones) can get really hot. Which reminds me, if you go the pro way (which doesn't cost too much anymore, I guess)
So, long message, but keep in mind that is basically how I do lighting. It takes a while to set up (don't forget extension cables if no nearby plugs), and can take a ton of adjusting to get just right. But on the other hand, this costs a ton more.
Hope this gave you an idea of what to do. And don't worry about having to think outside the box or get in the DIY mode for saving a few bucks, it pays off. . . unless you have a steady income *cough*notme*cough* and want to pay for something nice and shiny.
Edit: oh, you could spend some time looking through photography books for essentials of lighting. They use flashes instead of steady lights, but the rest is the same. I know PopPhoto magazine talks about lighting every now and then.