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Old September 11th, 2003, 11:28 PM   #1
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Kino tubes and Gyoury wands are BOTH Osram.

After extensive searching thinking that Kino made it's own tubes and Gyoury was using Osram (Sylvania)... I've found that they're both Osram.

Kino's literature implies that they build their own tubes and use proprietary technology. I assumed that would explain the differences in the spectral charts and cri numbers. Well I don't know how everybody get's their numbers but I'm sure of one thing; When it comes to the facts of how these things actually work, the lighting companies want us in the dark.

So anyway, for you super low budget guys. Go down to Lowe's and get a decent fluorescent fixture and make sure it comes with an electronic ballast. It will say right on the ballast that it operates at 20K or higher. Pop in some "Kino" tubes and you've got a Kino softlight... minus the logo, case, and whatever other luxuries you would have had... but the light, the LIGHT will be the same.

Enjoy saving hundreds of dollars and professionally lighting your next shoot... albeit less professional looking then a Gyoury or Kino.
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Old September 12th, 2003, 01:18 AM   #2
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Indeed, Matt. There are actually not many manufacturers of high-output specialty flourescent lamps. Osram and Phillips are perhaps the two biggest. (The Lowell Caselight that I have also uses Osrams.) The "specialty" aspect seems to derive principally from the phosphors that line the tubes. For example, there are several varieties marketed principally for the marine aquarium market where specific intensities and spectral qualities are required to keep invertebrates (corals and anomones with symbiotic algaes) healthy. The historical alternative to these lamps has been hot, expensive, high-watt metal halide lighting. The Gyroury fixtures are suspiciously similar to (although much pricier than) the water-resistant fixtures sold for aquarium use.
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Old September 12th, 2003, 03:53 AM   #3
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I had a recent conversation with Chris Gyoury just prior to my recent purchase of his system where he described part of the custom spec'ing being done with the tubes/wands. I'll see if he can send me a paragraph on this and I will repost it.

There are definitely differences between a homemade setup and either the Kino (by the way, the Diva is the unit that uses the same tubes as the Gyoury--their 2 ft and 4 ft units use a larger, standard-diameter tube). The ability to dim the tube from the ballast with a constant color temperature is very useful, since there aren't really "scrims" for fluourescent work. You'd have to build a mount to attach to a stand. In the case of the Gyoury system, there's a whole lot of mounting and special use scenarios with those wands that would be time-consuming to home-build.

No doubt a basic fluorescent setup could be made. Digital is much more forgiving from a color temperature standpoint than film--what may photograph as white light on video may appear green on film. Whether or not all these factors are a considered a luxury or a necessity is certainly up to the end user.
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Old September 12th, 2003, 02:18 PM   #4
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> It will say right on the ballast that it operates at 20K or higher.

Matt, Is this the operating frequency ? 20 KHz ?
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Old September 13th, 2003, 06:09 PM   #5
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Charles,

In looking at the specs, it appears that the Kino-flo Diva 200 is the most similiar to the Gyoury. In looking at the prices on B&H, the Gyoury is about $300 more expensive.

The Diva 200 fixture is $544.95 with no lamps; adding two 2900K lamps at $22.95 each brings the price to $590.85. The Gyoury fixture including two wands is $919.95. Also, the Gyoury wands are more expensive ($39.50 vs. $ 22.95).

What do you see as justifying the price difference? Is it mainly the ability to remote the Gyoury wands (it does not appear that you can remote the Diva wands, but I have never seen one in person so it is hard to tell)?

Thanks,

Randall
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Old September 14th, 2003, 09:44 AM   #6
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To answer a previous question, YES, I meant 20kHz... and actually I've found that not all ballasts will say the operating frequency.

There is always a fine line that seperates people on any given criteria... and that's why I hope everybody that reads my posts knows themselves really well. Most guys are either handy or they aren't... the problem is that a lot of us aren't sure which category we're in and then we waste money "trying" to be handy.

You will see a lot of posts from me that offer ways to do things for yourself. This fluorescent saga has definitely proven to be a case where experimenting has paid off. I will probably do another whole new thread about this because I think it would GREATLY benefit people with low-budgets and big ideas.

If you can solder you can make your own "wands" from any safety coated tubes. Personally I'd think you were nuts to do this over just paying the extra for the Gyoury wands. The wands are very reasonably priced. The premium over Kino is more then fair on this item.

Where I take issue on the subject of pro lighting vs. cheap lighting is where the line of distinction becomes blurry. I recently had a chance to work with a Diva 400 and I wasn't very impressed for the cost of it. It does a good job and it's very functional, but in comparison to other routes it seems a bit high. First off the "case" is made from folded, plastic corrugated board... similar to cardboard, but made from plastic. It's the exact same material used for heavy duty YARD SIGNS... hmmph. Also the luminousity ratings for tubes varies in each place I look. According to the Kino site the compact tubes are 4500 lumens and the 4' true-match tubes are only 2380... that pissed me off after buying the 4' tubes at my local Kino store 'cause when I was there I read a Kino brochure that said the 4' tubes were 3640... that's a pretty big jump. So which is it?

In the end it didn't matter 'cause after playing with the Diva 400 and then playing with two of my home-made jobbies I'd say the output is pretty close. My home-made jobs use 2 of the 4' tubes each. So in another words, according to the website, the Diva should be giving almost DOUBLE the light, but in reality it doesn't appear to be much difference.

Here's where it gets interesting... and this is the stuff that probably should be it's own post, but now I'm warmed up. Everybody talks about the quality of the ballast and flicker and noise. What I've found is that if you get an ELECTRONIC ballast and NOT A MAGNETIC one you probably can't find the differences between ANY fluorescent powered by one electronic over another. Now I'm sure that a high output ballast may get your lights a little brighter or it supposedly changes the color of the tubes... but in my experiments THE CHEAPEST FIXTURE I BOUGHT THAT USED AN ELECTRONIC BALLAST GENERATED THE SAME COLOR TEMPERATURE AND APPROXIMATELY THE SAME LUMINANCE AS THE DIVA 400. Period.

And the only way you could hear ANYTHING was to put your ear to within 4" of the ballast. And even then it was a whisper quiet buzz. There was no shutter speed or aperature which revealed any "hidden flicker"... and obviously I couldn't see any flicker with my eyes.

When I set out on this little mission I expected to build my own fixtures 100% from scratch. I could tell you things about Lutron ballasts and Quicktronics (by Osram) and how Motorola used to make the Helios but now it's Sylvania (which is Osram)... I know the difference between phase dimming and normal dimming... basically I intended to create my OWN designs and sell them. But after experimenting and seeing the results of using cheap ELECTRONIC ballast shop lights I don't see as much point in it.

Here's what I did:

After buying and testing various shop lights and ballasts, with the hope of finding the cheapest possible route to fluorescent lumination, I've found indistinguishably good results with a $15 shop light from Lowe's. "Lights of America" Stainless Steel Finish (which means Gray Painted) shop light WITH ELECTRONIC BALLAST. Now go to the roofing/lumber department and get some SILVER ALUMINUM TAPE (the kind used for taping the silver "bubble wrap" insulation together.) It's $3 per roll of 30'... you will use 20' of that tape PER FIXTURE. If you want your creations to be stand mountable then you'll need an Avenger (Bogen) F810 mouting plate with locking swivel and 5/8" stud... from B&H or wherever for about $25... you can mount that in approximately the middle of the fixture using a support plate on the inside... I'd suggest cutting the support plate from a wide aluminum yardstick which you can get for $5 also at Lowe's... this will allow you to use your light on a stand and provide good positioning. To get even better control over your light get the 2905 umbrella adapters for $25 and now you have a link between fixture and stand which can bend and lock in any angle. All this fancy mounting stuff is optional of course... but that's how mine are.

So now you use the aluminum tape to create a fantastic reflector inside of the fixture. Take your time and mount the tape lengthwise. Don't worry if you seam it in. The lights won't notice the seams and neither will you. Just run one width down the center and two on each side... that way you can still take the light apart if you need to and yet 95% of the inside is reflective.

Now just pop in your Kino 4' tubes (daylight or tungsten)... hit the switch... and BE AMAZED. Fantastic softlight bathing everything 8-10' in front of it. Basically just as much throw as ANY softbox or fluorescent of similar wattage.

If I post something in the photon management section along with a note that says how great my new Kinos are, I guarantee that all the Kino owners will be saying, "yeah that looks GREAT... aren't those Kino's fantastic?... " and then you guys who read this can think, "I wonder if that image came from the $15 shoplight matt told us about?"

The answer will be "yes".

The other thing I think those who don't have experience with fluorescents should know is that IMHO dimming is over-rated. Until I actually USED a Diva 400 I thought there was NO way I'd get a fluorescent that didn't have dimming options. For one thing, I thought the Diva appeared to have a minor change in color temperature when dimmed. I know you guys say there isn't one, but you could fool me 'cause it sure looked like a shift to pink... just a small shift, but visible. Also the other thing about dimming is that the fluorescent throw falls off SO QUICKLY that you can dim it easily by moving the light back two feet. Every couple feet of distance made a big difference with the Diva.

I know there are times when you can't move a light, but I always keep nd gels with me and it only takes a second to clip a strip of nd onto my cheap shoplights.

BTW I want to tell you that the rest of my light kit is Mole Richardson... I didn't do this 'cause I couldn't afford Divas or Gyoury lights. I did it 'cause I honestly can't tell the difference.
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Old September 14th, 2003, 03:59 PM   #7
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Matt:

I think it's great that you built your own lights and are happy with them.

When you refer to the color temperature being the same between different tubes and setups, I'm curious how you are measuring them? The only way to truly do this is with a color temperature meter. With a skilled eye one can differentiate between a color temp difference of just a few hundred degrees Kelvin, but the mired shift (green-magenta balance) is extraordinarily hard to judge by eye. Take for example your observation that the Kino appears to shift towards the magenta when being dimmed. This is actually a function of the technology that Kinoflo and Gyoury are using to assure that the units PHOTOGRAPH a consistent spectrum throughout their dimming range, which is entirely different than what the eye perceives.

As I mentioned in my first post, video is much more forgiving regarding the mired shift than film. For instance, one can shoot under standard fluorescents in an office, and simply add 1/4 blue to your tungsten lights and have a pretty close match. Do the same with film, and you will find that the fluorescents and their output photograph noticeably green. Kino and Gyoury have ensured that their products can be used by either medium, and thus the additional cost and technology incorporated. A unit built purely for video would not have to address these concerns to the same extent.

As far as dimming, that's obviously a subjective choice. I think it is extremely valuable, myself. There's nothing wrong with using ND gel or nets to cut down output, but from a time saving standpoint, dimming is huge. Imagine you are shooting an scene or an interview against a window at dusk; every 5 or 10 minutes you need to knock down the level of every unit being used to balance to the diminishing light outside. It's much quicker to twiddle the dimmer than add hardware to the light. Or, imagine using a dimmable unit as the backlight, with the ballast accessible off the set. In a multiple-subject interview situation, having a blonde sit down in the chair means dropping at least a stop in the backlight level--once again a turn of the knob vs. getting up on a ladder and adding to the unit. Or even someone walking towards the unit itself; you can dial the unit down on the fly to maintain a consistent exposure. These are just some of the ways that a dimmable unit is very handy.

I personally chose the Gyoury over the Diva because I felt the flexibility of the Gyoury system suited my needs, although the Diva is a fine, robust unit. If anyone is prepared to spend the investment in a higher end system, I think it would be worthwhile checking both out. If budget is the critical factor, shooting film is not in the equation and you have the time and resources to build your own gear, then Matt's project sounds great.

Matt, I hope you get that I'm not contesting your position as much as pointing out that the difference between the commercial units and your own is not immediately visible. If you have access to a color temp meter, it may be interesting to check the output of your units for the mired shift, especially if you are possibly going to be playing with Super 8 or 16mm or still photography. Even if there is green present, the meter will allow you to calculate which level of minusgreen gel would be required to balance to your Moles.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 12:11 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info Charles. I certainly don't have all the answers. It's always best to go with pro gear if you can. I just never realized how good "ordinary" fixtures could look with pro bulbs and I wanted to point that out for other guys who are new to lighting.

I'm always flattered to see a reply from you on anything I've said... after all that new swimsuit you're wearing makes your bottom, like "pow!"
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Old September 15th, 2003, 01:38 AM   #9
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yikes! Just so no-one thinks that Matt and I have a--uh--special relationship, please see my latest Instant Film which may explain all!
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Old September 15th, 2003, 01:57 AM   #10
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A Japanese film crew was filming in the middle of a bridge by my apartment last night. They had a whole variety of handheld Kino Flo "Diva Lights." Most of them were the standard size, but one caught my eye that was being held above and behind the camera. It was fluorescent, but extra wide and extra bright. I couldn't get close enough to see it well, but it looked like it was the length of two ceiling mount units end to end, with about two long-bulbs height. Amazing how much light that put out.

I couldn't find anything like that on the Kino site...think it was homemade?

Something else I thought was interesting, they cabled all the way out to the middle of the bridge but only had the lights on a total of about 30 minutes. Surprised me they weren't using battery belts.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 09:50 PM   #11
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Nah, I'll bet that big light was Flathead 80 meaning a 4 footer using 8 bulbs.

With all the lighting you mentioned they were probably still pushing 1K-1.5K watts... way too much juice for battery belts...

Fluorescents are super efficient but once you get 10 of 'em going it's still a lot of current.
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Old September 16th, 2003, 02:01 AM   #12
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After the 4x4 units, the next size up I generally see are the Image 80's which have eight 4 ft tubes, individually switcheable. After that is the Wall O' Light which has 10 tubes. I don't think I've seen either on batteries.
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Old September 16th, 2003, 03:40 AM   #13
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I didn't figure the big honker could be used on a belt, but the majority of what they were carrying were the smaller Diva lights that are comparable in size to the Gyoury two-bulb fixture.

Instead of a few big light sources, they had four assistants with the smaller lights (two bulb fixtures), and only one with the really big one ( to be exact...one assistant was down the street a bit hiding behind a statue with a two-bulb fixture to give it a bit of rim light. Another three had two-bulb fixtures and were spread out over a stretch of path on the bridge. Then, there was the one monster mounted behind the camera.)

Thing is...ALL of them were cabled...and that was a lot of cable to run out over a few hundred feet of bridge. Seems to me the smaller fixtures should've used belts, leaving only one cable necessary for the big one.

So, in your opinion, the Diva Lite 200 won't work long enough off a battery belt? Seems like it would draw about the same amount of power as the Gyoury two-bulb fixture.
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Old September 16th, 2003, 07:19 PM   #14
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Mole Richardson is coming out with a new line to compete with divas... Molescent Biax Fluorescent Lights..

They use the same bulbs as Divas, but the reflectors are new and unique. They have more punch... One of the configurations uses 8-55 watt bulbs. There will be kits available.

I'll post reviews soon..

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Old September 16th, 2003, 07:39 PM   #15
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Thanks for pointing that out, John. I found a selection of them for sale here.

The prices are cheaper than Gyoury...not sure about how they compare to Kino.
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