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Old February 25th, 2004, 07:42 PM   #1
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Is using Fresnels in a Softbox a good idea?

I'm going to have a few interviews to do in a few weeks, and as yet I don't have a lighting kit. I scored a couple of small LTM 150w Peppers from a local shop that had a good deal ( NZ$150 (US$100) for light, barndoors and gelframe) but obviously I'll need a couple more grunty lights.

Now due to the usual budget contraints etc, I was trying to think "versatile" and along the lines of using something like an Arri 650 Fresnel with a softbox so I can use it as a standard Fresnel or a Softlight. Unfortunately in my searches I haven't found anyone saying definitively that this would be a good idea.

Does anyone do this (Not necessarily an Arri, but a fresnel) as a main source of softlight and what do you think of it?

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Aaron
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Old February 25th, 2004, 09:50 PM   #2
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Go for it Aaron. Many people don't use a fresnel light in a softbox because there are cheaper alternatives, such as any suitable open face fixture. But a fresnel will work fine, and I see a lot of them used in the motion picture studios with softboxes. Here is a link to a company that sells softboxes that are meant to be attached to the barn doors of a fresnel light, such as the Arri 650 you mention. http://www.backstageweb.com/lcd.htm
Or course you can also purchase the more exotic softboxes from Chimera, Photoflex and others, but you will spend almost as much for their speed ring as for the Backstage softbox.

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Old February 25th, 2004, 09:51 PM   #3
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Should work but I might remove the Fresnel lens for the softbox.
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Old February 26th, 2004, 01:09 PM   #4
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We actually have a kit for a Fresnel light. Comes with a speed ring (the aluminum ring that goes on the light, and rods for the soft bag connect to it), rods and soft box. They make a lot of them- yes its fine. You can actually build a cheap one by cutting out foamcore in 4 trapezoid shapes, and gaff-taping them together with some diffusion material in it. You just clip it onto the barndoors.

Good luck,

Jeff Patnaude
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Old February 26th, 2004, 01:23 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. Jeff, by "we", who do you mean? Arri?

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Old February 26th, 2004, 04:59 PM   #6
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Sorry-
nope I sure dont work for Arri. I'm a corporate videographer for Primerica- a sister company to Citigroup.

We have two camera packages that go out in the field. We use videoPro soft boxes with tota lights, an Arri kit with 2 650's and either a baby soft or 1k, and a Dedo light kit.

Jeff :>)
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 07:38 PM   #7
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softbox

It seems to me that you could use just about any open faced light in a softbox and get more even results than what you would get with a fresnel. I bought a Photoflex Cine Dome to go with a 6" fresnel and liked the output better when I used it with a 500 watt tubular bulb that fits in the photoflex lamp fixture. The boxes are better built that some of the cheap stuff.

You can even use an old 600 watt smith victor home movie light and can attach it to most speed rings with a small amount of ingenuity, just make sure it's not close to the fabric or it will start a fire.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 12:15 PM   #8
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Go with a deeper softbox (like the Photoflex Cinedome) for use with a fresnel. You'll get more even coverage than with a standard box. Granted, it'll be even better with an open-faced fixture, but you'll still get pleasing results with a fresnel.

Good luck.

~~Dave
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 12:28 PM   #9
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Or you could use darn near any light and shoot through a silk for about 1/3 the cost. Or bounce off a piece of foamcore for even less money. Similar results, more cash in your wallet to buy other things.

Foamcore spills everywhere so it's handy if you've got the space behind the talent. Silks and diffusion spread out a lot like a softbox, so you'll have to flag like a softbox.

Softboxes are great, and I have one (and use it a LOT) but there are other good solutions too.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 05:26 PM   #10
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I think that's definitely true that a fresnel in a softbox is not optimum.

The softbox is like a big parabolic reflector and if you know about that, you know that its at its most optimum when the bulb is right in the sweet spot in the middle of the parabolic. When using a fresnel, its not at optimum position. I think many that have fresnels just consider this to be:

1). an extra use for the fresnel (as opposed to having to have a softbox fixture by itself, thereby getting two uses out of the fresnel--alone and with softbox to make it more utilitarian) and

2). a convenient way to add a large diffusion to the front of it (getting the bigger soft source).

So yes it is best to have a bulb specifically in the middle of the reflector and you cannot do that with a fresnel since the bulb is hidden inside of the fixture and thus you have just a flat source (the lens) emanating the light from well behind the sweet spot thus keeping the reflector from doing much good.
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