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Old February 1st, 2009, 10:15 AM   #1
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Litepanels: Daylight or Tungsten Balanced?

I am thinking about purchasing a Litepanels kit and looking for feedback particularly with regard to choosing between Daylight balanced lights, versus the Tungsten balanced lights.

When lighting large indoor spaces, I plan on using tungsten balanced Lowell lights to flood the background scene, while using Litepanels to illuminate the foreground subject. Therefore, it makes sense that I should purchase the tungsten balanced Lightpanels so that all my sources are the same.

However, Litepanels is selling a "combo" flood/spot kit, but the kits are only offered with daylight balanced lights, which has got me to thinking: why would anyone want to use daylight balanced light sources with video unless they are mixing with HMIs or shooting outdoors? And when shooting outdoors, are Litepanels really strong enough to compete with the sun? I wouldn't think so. Therefore, it seems to me that the daylight balanced Lightpanels kits would be good either when working on a set that uses mostly HMI light sources, or when working outdoors with indirect or low light levels. The other disadvantage I see to buying Daylight balanced lights, is that if you are shooting under tungsten lighting conditions (as I am), you would have to start adding gels, reducing the Lightpanels output.

Am I on track here, or have I missed something? Would love feedback from anyone using Litepanels, and how they are using them and under what conditions.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

All the best,

-Emile
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Old February 1st, 2009, 10:25 AM   #2
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The advantages, as I see them, of buying a daylight source for indoors:
- Cool white fluoros are closer to daylight than tungsten if you need to mix colour temps
- The light loss adding CTO correction to daylight instruments is less than CTB on tungsten
- Daylight coming in through exterior windows
- On Pro cameras, the ND filters are normally on the 5600K selections on the filter wheel for more exposure control
- As you get to higher colour temps (closer to daylight), the change between temperatures becomes less and less. For example, there is less of a discernible difference between 5600K and 5800K than there is between 2700K and 2900K.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 10:34 AM   #3
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All right, so I'm posting a reply to my own message ;). Just thought it through, and came to the conclusion that I could always gel the Lowell background lights to daylight. In mixed-light situations--for example, an office with daylight streaming in--I would gel the Lowells, and therefore not have to gel the daylight balanced Litepanels. I'm trying to avoid having to gel the Litepanels given their limited output. Seems like the bigger more powerful Lowels could afford to be gelled. With this in mind, now I'm more inclined to go with the daylight balanced version of the Litepanels.

Under tungsten only conditions, however, I would have to get the Litepanels. Can anyone tell me how much light the CTO's cut back on the Litepanels. Is it significant?

Additional thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

-Emile
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Old February 1st, 2009, 10:37 AM   #4
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Thanks, Shaun. Very helpful.

-Emile
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Old February 1st, 2009, 11:36 AM   #5
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According to Rosco's website, a Full CTO (6500K to 3200K) has a transmission factor of 47% while a 3/4 CTO (5500K to 3200K) has a transmission factor of 58%.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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Keep in mind that cutting back half the light is the same as one f-stop. If your camera is sensitive enough to currently close one f-stop with a certain light then it can work with CTO. If you are in conditions that are causing you to use an open lens and gain with that light then the CTO won't be a good idea. Also look into the light output of the two lights at different color temperature. Daylight LEDs are often stronger than 3200K LEDs so a daylight with CTO may not seem so bad.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 01:30 PM   #7
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For me, I end up shooting often in spaces that have daylight, either indirect or direct, coming though windows and skylights. Sometimes I can use Duvetine and block the windows but often, I do not have time to do that. Simple, having daylight balanced sources is easier to deal with locations where you cannot control the ambient light.

I often key with daylight sources and then use tungsten sources for hairlight, BG light, etc. it just makes the hairlight or BG lighting golden or amber. For BG light, I am usually gelling anyway to either warm things up or cool them down so it is no big deal. LEDs and Fluoros are cooler, and easier for talent to deal with anyway.

IMHO, LEDs and fluoros are close to useless in ambient daylight, their output is way too low to do much. OTOH, LEDs can be really handy for after dark exteriors, car interiors, etc.

Before you drop thousands of dollars on the Litepanels (which are excellent lights BTW, but costly), you should make sure you have at least looked at Teleprompters - Prompter People and CL-LED600 600 LED Panel - Cool Lights USA

Dan
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Old March 28th, 2009, 03:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
I often key with daylight sources and then use tungsten sources for hairlight, BG light, etc. it just makes the hairlight or BG lighting golden or amber.
Dan
Dan:
- in such situations, do you gel the tungstens or not necessarily?
- if not, do you set the camera WB to daylight?
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Old March 28th, 2009, 05:57 AM   #9
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I'm obviously not Dan, but in order to get the effect he was talking about you'd leave the tungsten clean (no gel) and white balance for daylight. I've used this same setup for creating fake sunlight on a person. (it seems backwards but what're you gonnna do?)

Also I think the advantage of buying daylight balanced light panels are that you don't have to buy the very expensive bulbs for the other onboard day-light kits (mini hmi) as opposed to the relatively cheap tungsten kits.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 06:48 PM   #10
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I will sometimes throw on a half CTB to get the gold toned down, just depends on what I am going for. I would term this a creative choice as a DP, depends on subject and mood. If I am interviewing a celebrity or "hero" type of talent, the gold is great on the hair and shoulders. If a normal person, I will usually go with some half CTB on the tungsten lights, light is still warm but not amber/gold (hmm..sounds like beer, eh?)

Dan
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 10:08 AM   #11
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I shoot most everything daylight now, using LEDs and fluorescents and gelled tungstens, and renting HMIs when needed. Most places I shoot have some daylight coming in. I do a lot of things that involves closeups and medium 2-shots of people talking, in different retail environments. I used the LEDs in close and fill where necessary in the backgrounds. If there are big windows, then HMIs would be needed and a lot more light, but mostly I don't have to shoot into big windows.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 05:44 PM   #12
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And as if things are not complicated enough, Litepanels has a Bi-Color unit that will let you adjust the color temperature from tungsten to daylight as needed from shoot to shoot.
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