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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old March 19th, 2002, 11:26 AM   #1
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Canon XL1s Lamp

I bought the Canon lamp (model VL-10Li) that mounts on top of the XL1s. Is there a way I can dim the light a bit? There's only an on/off switch and I've been reluctant to use the light because it is so intense. Good light, but too bright in some cases. I'm shooting wedding receptions and don't want to be too much of a distraction. I read somewhere about a thing called a diaper (I think that's what it was called) that would reduce the brightness from the viewer's point, but still give good light for the shot. What is this thing and how can I make use of it?

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Ron
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Old March 19th, 2002, 11:43 AM   #2
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Or, can I change out the light bulb in the lamp to something that provides a little less light?

Ron
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Old March 19th, 2002, 12:28 PM   #3
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Hello Ron,

The light basically burns at one power/brightness level. (There are cam lights that feature dimmers but that's a different story.) You might be able to rig some form of manual dimmer using materials such as vellum or scrim attached to the face of the light. Just be careful not to block the vent slots at the top of the unit. Although the light is small (by lighting standards) it gets hot and needs the ventilation.
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Old March 20th, 2002, 07:39 PM   #4
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Frezzi makes a soft box for their Mini-Fill that works just like a big soft box, with a white fabric front that gently diffuses the light and black fabric sides that contain the light kind of like barn doors.. I have no idea whether it would fit the Canon light, but you might take a look at one and mimic its configuration. Of course, I don't use my softbox so much because there is a dimmer on my Frezzi.
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Old March 21st, 2002, 08:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look into that and try to make something that won't catch on fire. (hehe).

Ron
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Old March 21st, 2002, 09:02 AM   #6
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Hi Ron,

I can't remember the brand name, but if you go to a large photo dealer I'm sure you can find a diffuser that can be attached by velcro. With a ball hinge attachment you could even set it to bounce through the diffuser, softening the light even more.

The diffuser I use to have could fit any flash unit (with the velcro strips) and would attach to the Canon light I'm sure. The reason I think it would be okay to use is because it ballooned up significantly around the light itself, giving lots of room for the heat to disperse.

There were a couple of brands that were practically identical, so I'm sure you could find one if you talk to a salesperson.

That's one way to go. Another way would be the Frezzi with softbox or the cool-lux with built-in bounce diffuser.
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Old March 21st, 2002, 01:06 PM   #7
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Mmmm...now you're talkin' John. Ron, sell the Canon light, get a Frezzi (w/dimmer) and softbox, and you'll be ready for anything.
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 05:16 PM   #8
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Ron, as suggested in a previous post, try a small velcro attached blow up diffuser...I use one from fotoflex and it works very well...costs about $24.00,just velcro the sides and leave the top open to avoid overheating.....I have only used my set up for a max of 5 mins or so....you may have to monitor how it performs for longer periods....the quality of soft diffused light is great for close work with people, and is much less annoying for the subject being filmed than the straight light...especialy when shooting in a dark room or outdoors at night. you do get a few wierd looks with it on, but the results are what counts,......good luck.
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 10:57 PM   #9
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In South Africa I am unable to locate a supplier of camera lighting. This obviously means an online purchase. I have never used a light and find it very difficult to select what I would need as I cannot relate to all the concepts.

Have looked at the Frezzi and the Varalux and am faced with many questions. Understand that I need to buy once and to buy correctly to my needs. I cannot nip down the road to get personal over the counter service, should I buy a Frezzi for example and this is wrong I would not be able to return an expensive item. Questions that come to mind are, (have posed these to Frezzi but they seem reluctant to offer an opinion), for example;

By the way this would be for general videography, weddings, holidays etc. and I have an XL-1.

How many Watts would be required and could one buy a range of globes to become more flexible?
Why would one need Barn Doors?
Why would one need a Soft Box when dimming is available.
Would one need the Dichroic Filter?
What is the average lifespan of globes?
How much battery would be needed for say a 2 hour shoot?
Has anyone bought the XL-1 package deal from Frezzi?
Has anyone bought the Minifill kits or is it better to buy individual components?

Would appreciate all the advice I could get.

Thanks
Andrew
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 11:22 PM   #10
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Andrew,

I'll jump in here and answer as much as I can based on my experience with the Frezzi.

<<Why would one need Barn Doors?>>
I bought the barn door attachment specifically because I wanted to block the light from the side so that others around me aren't blinded. It's simply a matter of consideration as far as I'm concerned. But I also thought it might come in handy with some lighting situations where I need to slightly fill something in the foreground but want to avoid lighting the background, too.

<<Why would one need a Soft Box when dimming is available.>>
Even with dimmed light...the light has a sharp edge to it. The softbox diffuses the light to give much softer edges.

<<Would one need the Dichroic Filter? >>
Yep. If you want to use the Frezzi as a fill in both indoor and sunlight situations, you'll need to change the color balance of the light.

<<Has anyone bought the XL-1 package deal from Frezzi?>>
I bought it indirectly from them through their local Korean dealer who had to special order it since it's unheard of here.

<<Has anyone bought the Minifill kits or is it better to buy individual components?>>
I bought the XL-1 kit and am glad I did. Everything that was included has wound up being useful.

Hope others jump in and pick up where I left off.

Really...in my opinion...you can't go wrong with the Frezzi Mini-fill with dimmer. It covers pretty much all lighting angles. If you decide to order one, you might want to check first withone of the sponsors of this board.

Good luck.
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 11:37 PM   #11
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Thanks John, just the kind of input I was looking for.

Regards
Andrew
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Old March 23rd, 2002, 02:48 PM   #12
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Thanks for jumping in John, you covered almost everything. And thanks for nominateing me ambassador! :-) As you know I am with you on the quality and performance of the Frezzi (I really do believe in Frezzi and they are not paying me a cent, I am paying them).

There are several different bulbs (globes?) you can get with this, Andrew, which will affect both light output and battery drain. The most common setup is the EXN (which is also used in emergency lights and low voltage building lights, and can be bought at building supply and electrical supply houses) which is a 50-watt, 12-volt lamp.

Frezzi says that their FNP1S battery, which is 12 volts, 2.3 AH, will power a 50 watt MiniFill for over 30 minutes, a 35 watt bulb for over 45 minutes, etc. This is the battery they supply with the XL1 kit. So you could carry extra NP1's for the longevity, OR...what I do is carry a 7.2 AH batt in a belt pack.

Obviously, a 2-hour shoot may only entail having the light on for 25% of the time, or more or less, depending on the nature of the engagement. I have never run down my 7.2 in the course of an event (although I do keep an extra one charged up just in case.) Oh yes, and if you use the lamp dimmed rather than at full strength, battery drain will be reduced proportionally and battery life extended.

One other thing about the soft box, the black sides of it serve a similar function as barn doors, blocking out side scatter. But a barn door can be adjusted so you can "barn out" parts of the scene you don't want lighted. For more on "hard" light vs. "soft" light Andrew, read Ross Lowell's "Matters of Light and Depth," available on amazon.com--it's a great book.

Bottom line, I shoot all different kinds of events, and have not regretted for one minute buying the Frezzi. I know Anton-Bauer is also popular among newspeople, but the name Frezzi is almost the generic title for on-cam lights. I don't think Varalux is the same quality, IMHO, but could be OK for wedding and hobby work.
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Last edited by Mike Butler; March 23rd, 2002 at 04:26 PM.
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Old March 24th, 2002, 08:55 AM   #13
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Hi Mike and John,


have just spent a whole lot of time at frezzi.com trying to figure out the Frezzi lights and accessories required.

Decided against the XL-1 Mini dimmer Kit. Have always done my own battery packs and chargers NiCd and NiMH this seems to be the only advantage in buying the kit as you also get the battery holder.

Will end up buying the std Mini-fill Dimmer and put together what I think I would need as extras.

Question 1. They do a light box with Gel Filters, amongst others a Dichroic Filter. Why would I want the fancy flip down Dichroic Filter and seperate light box? Is there a good reason? What would be the better option?

Question 2. In your experiences what would one require in the normal course of events. i.e. Barn doors / Diffusers etc.

Thanks
Andrew

PS: Mike your 7,2Ah battery you mentioned sounds like a Std 12V Sealed Lead Acid battery?
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Old March 24th, 2002, 09:08 AM   #14
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Andrew,

<<Question 1. They do a light box with Gel Filters, amongst others a Dichroic Filter. Why would I want the fancy flip down Dichroic Filter and seperate light box? Is there a good reason? What would be the better option?>>

Really you don't need both, I guess. I like the compactness and convenience of the flip down dichroic filter...I keep it on the light all the time. You have to remove the filter before you can add the softbox. I have both simply because there are times I don't want to carry the softbox attachment and/or when I want to be as inconspicuous as possible (if that's even possible with a fully-rigged XL-1)

<<Question 2. In your experiences what would one require in the normal course of events. i.e. Barn doors / Diffusers etc.>>

The little diffuser that comes with the barn doors isn't really enough diffusion IMHO. So, I'd say the softbox is a must...you can skip the barn doors if you want. The dichroic gel or filter is also a must. That's really all you need as long as you have your own power source.

Hope that helps. Enjoy your Frezzi!
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Old March 24th, 2002, 03:06 PM   #15
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Thanks John

Living in Johannesburg..........not planning on moving anytime.


Regards
Andrew
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