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Old April 4th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #1
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Using Umbrellas with Redheads

Hi there.

I have some 800w redheads and would like to use photographic umbrellas with them - both reflective and shoot-through. Can standard umbrellas be used for this, or are there specific models that are resistant to the heat generated? And how would I attach them to the lights; so far this is the best solution I have seen:

Creative Video Arri LS026 (026) Manfrotto Adjustable Umbrella Adaptor

Many thanks,

Chris
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Old April 4th, 2009, 06:20 PM   #2
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I've used that adapter to mount an umbrella onto a Redhead. It works pretty well, the only real problem is gelling the light for colour correction etc because you end up removing the light's barndoors.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lewis View Post
Can standard umbrellas be used for this, or are there specific models that are resistant to the heat generated?
Make sure to use umbrellas designed for hotlights. You'll cook rubberized strobe umbrellas. I've done it. Browning, cracking, smoking... BAD!
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Old April 8th, 2009, 05:07 AM   #4
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Thanks guys.

Bryan - In the picture, it looks like the hole for mounting the umbrella is beneath the adapter's pivot point. Does this mean you were unable to directly align the umbrella with your light when you used it?

Also, Lastolite have a produced a blue umbrella for correcting for daylight, which is quite nifty, although I'm not sure whether it would be appropriate to use on an 800w light.
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Old April 8th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Chris Lewis View Post
Thanks guys.

Bryan - In the picture, it looks like the hole for mounting the umbrella is beneath the adapter's pivot point. Does this mean you were unable to directly align the umbrella with your light when you used it?
You basically use the adapter to point both the umbrella and the light as a single unit. The adapter could be upside down in the photo.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #6
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Of course, hadn't thought of that. Cheers mate.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 06:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
You basically use the adapter to point both the umbrella and the light as a single unit. The adapter could be upside down in the photo.
Yup, it is upside down in that photo. I just tried one in a store and looks like it will work. I am going to be getting one at some point to do just what you are doing.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #8
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Just since nobody's mentioned it....

In these days of highly sensitive cameras - 800 watts is a LOT of light to start with.

Typically, I'm DOWNLAMPING most of my larger fixtures trying to get them to output LESS light so that the result is easier to control.

Umbrellas, while still used a lot in still photography, are far less often seen in professional video kits since all they do is take a broad, uncontrolled wash of light and somewhat expand the size of the apparent source. They do little of nothing to control the spill of that light or direct it to somewhere more useful.

I can't personally think of a situation where I'd want an umbrella that I wouldn't just use a a broad primary light like a Lowel Tota. In fact, since I own an Arri kit, the light from any Arri 650 fresnel (mine are all downlamped to 500 watts) would be much, MUCH more usable in creating a broad, soft and CONTROLLABLE source.

Yes, umbrellas are inexpensive, light weight, and relatively compact. But I don't know many people in pro video who regularly use them for the reasons I mentioned above.

But if it's what you've got - no reason not to use them. Just someday buy a good Fresnel lensed fixture and once you use it for a while, you'll understand why there are probably 1000 Arri fresnel kits in use for every 1 umbrella kit.

FWIW.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 03:48 PM   #9
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Yes, umbrellas are inexpensive, light weight, and relatively compact. But I don't know many people in pro video who regularly use them for the reasons I mentioned above.
Virtually every talking head interview I do has an umbrella lighting either key or fill side, depending on what look I'm going for. Softbox, umbrella and light with barndoors is my STANDARD 3 light kit.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 04:44 PM   #10
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I'm a little unclear why you want to use an umbrella? My Ianiro redheads have clips on the barndoors to hold a big sheet of diffuser - this softens the light really well - and I've never found a need for an umbrella - great softening flash, but for video?
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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:50 PM   #11
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I'm a little unclear why you want to use an umbrella? My Ianiro redheads have clips on the barndoors to hold a big sheet of diffuser - this softens the light really well - and I've never found a need for an umbrella - great softening flash, but for video?
Diffused light looks different than bounced light. Simple as that. Why do people "grade" video in post? Because they are looking for a specific "look".
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Old April 12th, 2009, 04:59 AM   #12
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Diffused light looks different than bounced light. Simple as that. Why do people "grade" video in post? Because they are looking for a specific "look".
The umbrellas has become less fashionable, although they weren't that common anyway some top DPs liked using them. The Chimera has largely replaced them on film & TV shoots, I haven't used mine for a few years.

The effect of the umbrella is different to putting diffusion on the barndoor, it's more a controlled bounce. By playing with the positioning you can find a sweet spot with the umbrella where there's a wonderful "wrap around".

Soft light is less controllable than hard light, that's why large flags are commonly used in lighting rigs to prevent spill etc.

You can quite quickly run out of light even with 800 watts when you start putting on CTB and diffusion. The power also comes in handy if you need to light larger areas than just an interview. The 1/3" HDV cameras aren't that sensitive anyway.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 02:00 PM   #13
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As mentioned in this thread you can put the diffusion paper onto the barndoors. I take it one step further and built a few panels with the diffusion paper. Although it is a PITA sometimes, this way you have much more control over specular highlights since you can manage the distance from the light to the diffuser, and from the diffuser to the subject.

For example, on shiny metal surfaces you typically want the light source right there inches from the object, but want the light maybe three feet back from the panel so that the panel is lit evenly. If I put the light right up to the panel, or attach the diffusion to the light directly, I always get hot spots.

I also tend to favor using the photofloods from Ianiro instead of the redheads when doing stuff with diffused light. They are already somewhat diffused and tend to light much more uniformly than the redheads. With a diffusion panel in front of them the result is nice soft, evenly spread diffused light that looks great.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #14
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As mentioned in this thread you can put the diffusion paper onto the barndoors. I take it one step further and built a few panels with the diffusion paper. Although it is a PITA sometimes, this way you have much more control over specular highlights since you can manage the distance from the light to the diffuser, and from the diffuser to the subject.
.
Diffusion frames are pretty standard lighting kit, you can use various grades of diffusion and size of frame depending on the effect you want to achieve. The down size they're pretty large (4ft x 4ft is common) unless you have a frame that folds and you can then clip on diffusion. Of course, you can go for a smaller size than the one found in film lighting trucks.
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