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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:15 AM   #1
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dimmers on fresnels

I finally got some Mole fresnels (2 each of the 1000 watt and 2 each of 200 watt) The cords on them are old and cracked so we are going to rewire them. I am wondering if I should be putting inline dimmers in when I do this.

I have always shot with strobes and hot lights and softboxes so the fresnel is new to me. Should I use wire scrims to control the light output or inline dimmers.

Any advice here will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Bill
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:36 AM   #2
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If you dim then the colour temperature will move towards the red... Having said that I've never found it to be a huge problem in practice and a bit of "warmth" can be a bonus at very low levels. On the plus side, if you have the lamps dimmed to 80% your globes will last a LOT longer.
Finally, the convenience of adjusting the light with a dimmer, as opposed to fiddling about with hot units, hot barn doors and hot scrims at the top of a lighting stand is a no-brainer (in my opinion).
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:39 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice Robin. Any suggestions on brands of dimmers to use. I have seen some at 600 watts max. Who makes one that works with the 1,000 watt lights?

Thanks!

Bill
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 12:16 PM   #4
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Try the Harbor Freight "router speed control" units. They are rated at 1500 watts. I have used them effectively on 1k lights without any attendant noise or buzzing.
Foe $10-$15 they can't be beat.
Hope this helps.
Ken
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 06:05 PM   #5
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Ditto on the Harbor Freight router controllers.
I have heard a few people bitch about them not dimming to black, but thats just silly.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 07:15 PM   #6
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The harbor freight dimmers are a great bonus to a kit. I use them on 1k lights all the time. They CAN get hot, so I try to put the dimmer unit where the metal bottom can be exposed to the air. In other words, I don't place the dimmer on carpet if I can avoid it, or I lay it on its side.

So yeah, rewire your lights with good strong cords, with heavy duty inline switches in them. And then pick up some dimmer controls as well.

The purpose of the half scrim is to cut light in a particular area. This is really usefull if your talent is say, behind a desk, and gets up to walk around to sit on the front edge. The scrim in the lower part of the light, will help cut the light level when they move into that area... makes for more even lighting when they move about.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 01:57 AM   #7
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Ditto on the Harbor Freight router controllers.
I have heard a few people bitch about them not dimming to black, but thats just silly.
Not quite sure why it would be silly about not being able to dim to black--there are numerous applications of a dimmer that require that capability. However for that price, that is a reasonable compromise.

Here's a setup made for the film industry, with the expected pricetag:

Leviton 1000 watt Rotary Dial Light Dimmer -Boxed
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:38 AM   #8
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Funny, I checked both of my Harbor Freight routers, and they DID dim to black. Perhaps its just a case by case basis? But yeah, for the price point - they're a good buy. If you look at the link Charles put up, you'll see how there are 'heat dissipating' fins on the professional dimmers. Like I said, the Harbor Freights can get pretty warm. I'm wondering if I can attach some heat fins to the metal backs somehow...
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Old April 4th, 2009, 09:05 AM   #9
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Funny, I checked both of my Harbor Freight routers, and they DID dim to black.
That's why I said it was silly.

Charles, most of the time I need a smooth transition to black or a glimmer, I will use a DMX controller rather than manually twisting a dimmer.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 12:58 PM   #10
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David:

DMX is certainly the better solution but in a thread about $14.95 dimmers, probably somewhat "fancy" for most users here? Or do you know of an inexpensive DMX solution, in which case it would be great to share it.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #11
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Here's a setup made for the film industry, with the expected pricetag:

Leviton 1000 watt Rotary Dial Light Dimmer -Boxed
Thanks for the link, Charles. Have you used these personally?
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Old April 4th, 2009, 02:20 PM   #12
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While not a $20 dollar option, Guitar Center has DMX controllers under $200.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #13
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Thanks for the link, Charles. Have you used these personally?
These (or similar) are the in-line dimmers most often used on set when they need to hide behind or under furniture. Where there is room, these may be supplanted by the larger and heavier Variacs, although I see less and less of those. And on stage a full-size dimmer board is the way to go although there is still a place for the in-line version as needed. In other words--these are industry standard (as is the case with most of Filmtool's gear).
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Old April 4th, 2009, 11:23 PM   #14
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I understand that Lowes and Home Depot carry the 1000w dimmers now but haven't seen it for myself. Someone said on another board they got one there now (more expensive than the more common 600 type dimmer) but still not too bad. Just need to mount it in an electrical box and put the input and output plugs similar to the way the Filmtools one is outfitted--that is if you're determined to do it DIY. Otherwise, the Harbor Freight is one that many are using with good success.
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