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Old July 15th, 2003, 02:38 PM   #1
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A Conflict of Protons?

Okay, here's another thing I'm curious about--I've read a few threads that discuss flourescents (Kino-Flos, Caselights) and their advantages ( less heat etc., though expensive); yet I also read where some people also toss in the occasional fresnel or tota into the flourescent mix. How many actually do this? Would there ever be a conflict of protons between hot and cool lighting in terms of overall look? Could a Lowel caselight readily sub for a Photoflex setup? To me flourescents don't seem quite as versatile as non-flourescents in terms of manipulating light, but then too I'm only after basic, rather restricted lighting setups. I can see the advantages of flourescents, but can they fully eclipse our favorite tungsten lights, or can the latter still serve as a useful partner to flourescents?
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Old July 15th, 2003, 03:27 PM   #2
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Barry,
I've not used any Kinos but I do have a Caselight 4 and routinely use it in combination with tungsten lights, both fresnel and open-faced.

It does often take some gel-ing. The Caselight can be re-lamped with warm-white Osram lamps to better match the tungstens. To be honest, though, I most often gel the tungstens as long as I can afford the slight light drop-off from them.

Regarding a Caselight's ability to substitute for a soft-boxed tungsten light, I would say yes it often, but not always, can. The Caselight will throw a very even, soft light across a broad area. It can be somwhat controlled with it's dual barndoors and can be easily tilted/rotated to nearly any orientation. There are times, however, when the light from a tungsten soft box just seems more appropriate. Hard to express in words, actually.

Regarding the relative expense of flourescents compared to tungsten fixtures, flourescents will win this race over the life cycle of the light. The lamps have rated lives of thousands of hours compared with hot tungstens which might last in the low hundreds if handled carefully. A Caselight 4 uses four 55w lamps -- considerably lower in energy cost than the standard 350w-1,000w tungstens (although this might not be meaningful to you if you don't pay the electric bill).

Regarding "flexibility", that's such an elusive concept that it's hard to address with any accuracy. Yes, a flourescent panel can only throw soft light whereas a tungsten can throw soft, hard and in-between. So on that point tungsten wins. But you can deploy flourescents in places and situations where you might have a hard time using tungsten. On the floor or inside ceiling of a car, for example. I have a luggable Statpower battery with inverter that can run my Caselight 4 at full blast anywhere for hours.

So, in summary, lights are not either/or propositions. Each has its range of capabilities and possibilities. Generally when it come to lighting you have to forget what the books might suggest and just experiment for yourself.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 03:44 PM   #3
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With adjustable white balance, is the issue of mixing different types of light sources moot with modern video cameras ?
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Old July 15th, 2003, 04:07 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Gints Klimanis : With adjustable white balance, is the issue of mixing different types of light sources moot with modern video cameras ? -->>>
Sorry to offer such a corny reply, but yes and no.

If all light in a scene was evenly distributed you could, indeed, manually white balance with reasonable confidence of normalizing the image for the lighting's overall color temperature.

But mixing broad, soft flourscents with more intense pools of tungsten light becomes more challenging. If you are trying to normalize the lighting temperature on a scene you will need to bring the color of one source at least closer to the other. It's really not too hard with some practice-built judgement.

This is an appropriate opportunity to note that it is sometimes, maybe even often, preferable not to completely normalize lighting temperatures. You might, for example, white balance to a daylight flourescent panel and leave your tungstens a bit warm to achieve a particular effect. It really all depends on your scene and the motivation of your lighting design. It's all great fun!
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Old July 15th, 2003, 06:52 PM   #5
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Actually, it >does< sound like great fun, since we're "painting" with different lighting concepts, and flourescents I now see are another promising tool, especially from a durability angle--which offsets I suppose their initially high investment. Also, would it seem fresnels with no higher than 300w work best as a supplement, or does higher wattage (650 plus) start to compete with a key soft flourescent? Or would it be no different than, say, working with a Photoflex softbox?
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Old July 15th, 2003, 07:31 PM   #6
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I wouldn't say that one wattage of tungsten light works better than another with flourescents. It really depends on the light's angle, distance to target, required spread, etc. Again, it all depends on the scene. Also remember that gels, if you end up using them, will reduce your lights' brightness. So having a little more horsepower is generally a better idea, and easier to manage, than having less horsepower.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 07:38 PM   #7
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Thanks, Ken, for your help so far. I got more questions! :)

What gels do you use on flourescents?

Also, all things considered, is the 4-caselite a better investment than settling for the 2-caselite kit? How limiting is the latter? Thanks!
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Old July 15th, 2003, 08:37 PM   #8
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I generally don't gel the Caselight, but when I do I use a CTO (color temperature orange), offhand I don't remember which Rosco number I've used, but I think it's a RoscoSun 1/2 CTO.

The Caselight 4 is more flexible in terms of light production and, in my opinion, worth the extra money. You can run 2-4 lamps, depending on your scene needs. The Caselight 2 does have the advantage that it's smaller and can be placed in small spaces more easily. "Settling" for the 2 would really not be much of a stretch. You could always get a 2nd 2 later if you felt you really needed the extra lamps.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 09:36 PM   #9
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My brilliant take on this is if one settles for a Caselite 2, one might then have extra cash in the till for, say, a small fresnel. Just pondering!

By the way, what would 110w flourescent be the equivalent power of in tungsten soft? Is it a reasonably efficient light?

Thanks...
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