How to use CFL bulbs? at

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Photon Management
Shine an ever-loving light on you.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 6th, 2008, 08:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 2
How to use CFL bulbs?

I would be very grateful if anyone could help me with a few questions about CFL bulbs as I have no experience of using them. I intend using them mostly as practical lights in regular sockets.

1) I will, at most, be using 85 watt bulbs. Am I right in thinking the sockets will need no protection (compared to tungsten photofloods which require porcelein sockets)?

2) I live in the UK. Is there anything important to note regarding the difference in electricity supply when using these bulbs? I think I will be buying from the US due to the greater selection.

3) Could anyone tell me how bulbs with lower CRI's actually look? I know a higher CRI is 'better' and renders colour more accurately but I am interested to know how a lower CRI CFL looks different, as it may be useful.

4) Finally, who are the best suppliers in terms of selection and price?


David Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 6th, 2008, 11:06 PM   #2
Regular Crew
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 73
Couple of quick responses:

1) Typically don't need any additional protection. If your practical specifies an 85w max for a tungsten, you're definitely OK for an 85w fluorescent. An 85w CFL draws about the same current and gives off the same heat as an 85w tungsten but gives off nearly 3 to 4 times the light output (250 to 300 watts).

2) Not sure about this...

3) I've read a few posts that flos with lower CRI's (around 85) are OK and there's not a significant difference to the bulbs with higher CRI's.

4) Again, not sure, but Google turns up a number of vendors and you might want to scour a few of the boards to see if there are any opinions.

Leo Versola is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 6th, 2008, 11:23 PM   #3
Major Player
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 204
Rich Andrewski, who I always defer to regarding flos, can answer better. But as I understand it, a lower CRI yields a greenish cast. That said, I think in the mid 80's and up, it won't be a problem on video (film won't be as forgiving). Just remember to white balance. You can also pick up some minus green cards in various strengths to correct more if you need it.

Good luck.


EDIT: For the record, there's been talk about some manufacturers' bulbs being engineered to have a higher CRI in such a way that their output has been reduced somewhat. Something to ponder...
Dave Dodds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7th, 2008, 12:45 AM   #4
New Boot
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 24
Any lights you by from the US will probably be rated to operate on 120 volts and therefore will not work in the UK on 220 volts, they will fail immediately! You should look for suppliers in the UK that can get you CFL's that will work on 220 volt mains.

As far as CRI goes, yes a higher number is better. Lower numbers will either give you a greenish light or slightly magenta. This can work if the sources where you are shooting match either of these. Then when you do a manual White Balance everything will shift together. It's when you mix light sources and do a manual white balance that something will shift (color wise) in a strange direction. Most often we are using our own lighting to light faces of our "talent" and I believe it's always best to put the best quality light on their face, to make them look good! Do some shopping around to find the best you can afford in order to make the work you do look the best possible.

Simon Hunt
DOP & Gaffer, Film And TV
Simon Hunt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10th, 2008, 10:01 AM   #5
Major Player
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Shenzhen, China
Posts: 781
If you're wanting a green effect, try to go for anything under around 80 CRI. As you get lower into the 70s and especially the 60s, it really gets worse. I wouldn't buy anything in the USA as it will all be 110v 60hz. Better to try to find the sources you need in the UK (or at least within the EU).
Richard Andrewski is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:34 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network