Mole Richardson softlights vs Cool-Lux Soft Boxes at DVinfo.net

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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:28 AM   #1
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Mole Richardson softlights vs Cool-Lux Soft Boxes

I am wondering if anyone can compare these two products for me. I have always shot my video with 3 of the Cool-Lux hot lights with 1,000 watt bulbs and the large softboxes with white diffuser panels. I am looking at some used Mole Richardson 2K softlights. I would still use 3 lights on set but may not need turn on both bulbs in each of the new lights. How is the light spread from the Mole softlights. Would I have comparable lighting to what I get from the Cool-Lux setup?

Any advice or feedback you guys can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Bill
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Old November 9th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #2
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Bill:

2ks are only sometimes usable on normal house circuits, they are right on the edge of popping the circuit breaker on normal 15 amp circuits and will often even pop 20 amp circuits. You also need to be really careful about stingers, I have had my 2k Mighty Mole actually melt smaller diameter stingers.

Not sure what kind of lights you are talking about, are these 2k zip lights? If so, your source will be smaller than a softbox, therefore the quality of light will not be as soft as a softbox. I personally often use a Mighty, which is a 2k open face light and pair it with my medium Chimera and a 40 degree eggcrate. It's a great light for lighting up scenes with 2-3 characters, as long as they are not roaming all over the place. I used it for a scene with three characters gathered around a computer as my key source, then used an Arri 1k with a small as a rim.

a 2k is a lot more light than a 1k. As far as the lights themselves, Moles are in the top of the class, good, professional, heavy-grade stuff up quite a few steps from Cool Lux products.

If you don't mind having a light that is not usable in all locations, the 2ks are great. You can also look into 1500 watt bulbs, they do exist for some Mole 2ks.

Dan
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Old November 9th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #3
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....and even if you have the power, they get very, very hot so the temperature in the room is really going to shoot up. You don't say which model they are, but I believe you'll also need to get them much further away from anything combustible.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 02:19 PM   #4
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Power is not a problem. I am shooting in my studio with dedicated circuits for the lights so I have no concerns there (fortunately we are in the process of building a new studio now and replacing the entire electrical system from the meter so I spoke to my electrician and he said that I would be fine with these lights on my system. (He is running multiple circuits up the aisle between my sets so I can plug the lights into their own circuits.

The heat issue is definitely a concern of course. The warning about not having them near anything combustible is a bit scary LOL. I was also under the impression that they have 2 bulbs in them each. I will have to check. I am not sure how I would deal with having 6,000 watts of power all the time.

Most of my shoots are either 1 or two people who are usually in close proximity to each other and do not move around the room very much, but they are quite active within their small area. With the 3 Cool-Lux lights I have been able to get a nice even spread of light. I am worried that with less than 3 light sources I wont have even lighting.

Thanks for the replies and I am interested in hearing more

Bill
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Old November 9th, 2008, 04:35 PM   #5
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With plenty of power, then the world of real TV studio lighting opens up. Assuming you can deal with the heat, then you can have access to loads of perfectly workable kit - new and second hand. For soft sources, fluorescents are becoming much more common - the low heat emissions being the main advantage. I'm not really sure of the state of play in the US, but for softlight my studio favourite is still the Quartzcolour 1250 and 2500 models - these can be single wattage, or switched versions that let you run one tube, or two. They get damn hot, but the light is very smooth. A couple of these and a fresnel (like their Polaris) for your key work rather well. We've access over here to very cheap 6 channel dimmer packs now, and if your electrician has the power, why not add a cheap dimmer - it will give you access to better lighting - subject to the usual rules on colour temp. Best of all - these type of studio kit can be operated with a pole, so getting the steps out is not so common for simple re-focus adjustments (and changing the power settings if you have those). I guess you'll have American versions of these kind of products, so I'd guess the same comments would apply.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 05:24 PM   #6
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I've used 1K, 2K and 4K zip lights. they are 1960's technology at best. heat is one thing, but huge power draw is the other. you can get a whole lot more light from flows. its also worth mentioning they are lighter and easier to boom. 1 20A circuit can run a room of flo lights. I say skip the zip lights, they are big, heavy, suck power, and should be left in the front reception area as decoration antiques

also flo lights can run 5600K which is a nice bonus. you also have LED options too.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 07:23 PM   #7
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I have not shot with flourescents but have had several people warn me that the throw is very short on the light output. My shooting style and content make it beneficial if I can have the lights spread a bit farther back from the talent. Is there any basis to what I have heard or is not a real concern? Hearing from you guys who actually have experience shooting with both would be great.

Thanks!

Bill
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Old November 9th, 2008, 08:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Wilson View Post
I have not shot with flourescents but have had several people warn me that the throw is very short on the light output. My shooting style and content make it beneficial if I can have the lights spread a bit farther back from the talent. Is there any basis to what I have heard or is not a real concern? Hearing from you guys who actually have experience shooting with both would be great.

Thanks!

Bill
Hi Bill:

Very true, that's one of the reasons that I only use my Kinos in certain situations. The recent shoot that I did that I describe above with the Mighty and a medium (36"x48" Chimera), key source was about 6-10' from talent and it still looked reasonably soft with nice wrap. I find that with smaller Kinos like the Divas, you need to be pretty close to have much throw and softness. You move them back 5' from talent and you are losing most of the output and what output there is will become more specular.

There is no substitute for size of source when it comes to softness, its physics. Even Kinos, when DPs need them soft, but from a distance from talent, they often use the physically large fixtures like a Flathead 80 and they stack them and use multiple units. It's simple physics, the further from a source the subject is, the more specular and hard the light is, which in reverse, is why some us will throw up a few 5 or 10ks through an 8x8 or 12x12 silk, it's the only way to have soft light on widely framed subjects where any softboxes or Kinos would have to be too close to talent and would intrude on the shot.

Nothing wrong with flouros but they are not nearly as versatile as tungsten, although they sure do run a lot cooler.

Dan
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Old November 9th, 2008, 10:28 PM   #9
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or as Dan said, any diffused light , tungsten + softbox or Flo will fall off pretty kick. OTH, it will be smooth and even. I use flo't to subtly kick up room ambience all the time. not the same as a fresnel or open face, but every light servers a purpose. there are also HMI and CID lights to consider for hard source which are also MUCH more efficient then tungsten. tungsten while still useful, is not on my list as inefficient, too hot, ungreen. still use them, but as little as possible going towards HMI & flo these days whenever possible
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Old November 10th, 2008, 08:50 PM   #10
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I am shooting a car installation training video tomorrow (MUCH more exciting than hanging around on the set of "24" or "Prison Break", let me tell you! Not.) and I am lighting the interior of the car with my two Kino Diva 200s. The rest of the shop is lit by T8 4100k fluoros, fortunately arranged so that they ring the entire installation area. The ballasts all seem fairly new, no noticeable flicker and colors seem consistent.

Since my Kinos have 5500K tubes in them, I will add some plus green to them to try to get to the 4100k of the rest of the overhead lights. This is a perfect situation for flouros, inside a Prius, tight space, don't want to burn anyone, need to keep the heat and wattage down, need soft light for the interior. Tungsten would suck for this setup.

That's why I use both quite often. I still much prefer lighting interviews with the my tungstens, they are generally more flattering to skin tones and I get better wrap with my Chimeras than with the Divas but for this installation gig, no question that the Kinos are the right tool.

IMHO, you ideally need a pretty mixed light kit for 2009, some tungsten, some flouros and some HMIs if you can afford them. Oh yeah and Richard Andrewski's new LCD that is supposed to be available next month. Drooling for that one.

Dan
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