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Old March 7th, 2003, 08:03 AM   #16
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Does anyone know what the color temperature of these work lights is? Even roughly? Can we assume that the bulbs are made well enough that the CT is the same buld to bulb?
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Old March 9th, 2003, 07:17 PM   #17
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The color temps of the work lights are between 2900 and 3100 K. You can spend a few bucks more on Ushio or GE and be sure of the color temps.
Generally the closer to 3200K you get the shorter the bulb life. Using a dimmer reduces the color temp also.

http://catalog.gelighting.com/

http://www.ushio.com/
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Old March 13th, 2003, 09:59 AM   #18
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It's been a very productive week since I first posted in this thread because I've become quite a bit more educated. The tips in Photon Management have been excellent and informative.

I'd especially like to thank Bryan Beasleigh, with whom I've had a lively and informative off-line discussion, and Wayne Orr, for his diligent study of the JTL Everlight Kit.

Nonetheless, I'm still stalled. I seem to have three choices.

1) From comments here and my brother: Suck it up and make the cheapo worklights work! A little bit of foamcore here and black cloth there and I should be okay. (My brother adds, lovingly of course, "Don't be so lazy.")

2) From Bryan: Expand the worklights by buying a good softbox setup as the key light. He has recommended a Photoflex Silverdome on a Lowel Tota light. The worklights would be used for fill and back light as needed. I also have an old 600W quartz light, manufacturer unknown, that I can use, reducing my need for worklights to one stand instead of two.

3) From me: Buy a cheapo kit ala the Smith-Victor K70 or the JTL Everlight.

My lighting requirements are pretty simple -- static set with waist up or head shots, computer product shots, and hands demoing things shots. My studio requirements are a bit tighter. My studio is my basement, so I must strike the lighting when a shooting session is complete. My quarters are not spacious, so compact storage is helpful.

So here is how I currently view the three options:

1) I've tried several cheapo methods of controlling the light from the worklights. The results are okay, not great, but the mechanical aspects remain a problem. The mounts I made are cumbersome and difficult to store; the same goes for the "scrims" I created. In addition, the work lights don't store well. If I break them down, assembly is time-consuming. I have considered buying pro mounting equipment, but buying the parts individually puts me in the "good money after bad" category, another $200 or so.

2) From all I've read, there's no doubt that the Photoflex softbox and Total light will give a great result. But the package costs $380 from B&H, not including storage (I have a stand). From my budget el cheapo point of view, this is a lot for one light.

3) With either the K70 or Everlight kit, I get three sources, stands, and light control. The kits seem quick to set up and strike. Storage is compact. I can get rid of the space-hogging work lights and their stands. I can get the K70 for $660 and the Everlight for $500. $660 is more than I want to spend but not out of the question.

You will conclude that I'm settled on 3) and you're right. Unfortunately, I have heard nothing but complaints about Smith-Victor equipment so far and Wayne Orr is telling a cautionary tale regarding the Everlight kit.

Your opinions, even ridicule and smacks up side the head, will be most appreciated.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 10:16 AM   #19
 
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"Wayne Orr is telling a cautionary tale regarding the Everlight kit."

I would like to hear more about this, being on a tight budget myself.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 10:17 AM   #20
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Will-
I would just like to recommend that you first get your hands on a Lowell Tot light before you buy one.

Having seen all of the ads, I shopped around and bought the VIP go kit. I was happy at first, but then I started using them. The knobs are flimsy plastic, which prevents you from cranking them too much. When you use an umbrella, the light will drop after a few uses. Also, the stands are rather flimsy, and definately need sandbags. After spending roughly $800 on this kit, I feel I would have been better off buying some $20 worklights with stands from Sears. I could have used the rest of the money on other things.

The biggest problem, is actually finding these items so that you can scrutinize the quality before you bite the bullet. Around here, the closest shops I could find were photo supply stores. They didn't have any Pro video equipment, nor did they have a clue about this field. I had to mail order everything, which meant crossing my fingers and hoping I didn't buy junk.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 02:35 PM   #21
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Will, I think the Everlight kit will work just fine for the applications you indicated. For shooting interviews, one light can be your key, a second can be a 3/4 back light, and the third can be a fill for the entire scene, or just a stand-by. The use of bounce cards opposite the key side will provide nice soft fill also.

The soft boxes are excellent for the product shots you mention. The possible lighting set ups for this are numerous. I will be happy to give you suggestions for specific shots, if you like.

What would be very cool, would be the addition of a LTM Pepper light in the 350 watt area. I believe these are available for around $250.00. This could give you a more "punchy" light source, since it is a fresnel. The combination of soft light and harder light can work wonders, but it is not absolutely necessary. You will have plenty to learn with the three soft lights. And don't always try to use all three at once. Sometimes one or two lights and a bounce card is sufficient.

Thanks to Keith for pointing out just a few of the problems with Lowell lights. I cannot advise you against their low end product strongly enough. The end.

In regards to the "problem" with the Everlight Kit. It appears that the original information from the company regarding the use of high wattage bulbs is incorrect. The Kit ships with 500 watt bulbs, that will be very adequate for the uses that Will has indicated. They will not work with 1000 watt bulbs, as advertised, and you will not be able to locate the lower wattage bulbs below 500 watt that the advertising shows. They simply are not made in those wattages. So, you basically are left with the 500 watt bulbs that ship with the kit. Not a serious problem. If you need to lower the wattage, you can add a sheet of diffusion, such as 216, over the supplied diffusion material. This works great. Also, be aware that manufacturers, such as Roscoe, sell their gel material in 24x20 sheets that will work well in the 24x24 Everlight soft boxes. Other manufacturers soft boxes are 24x32, which requires using gel material from rolls, which gets very expensive.

The Everlight Kit from JTL is a three light soft box kit that comes with wonderful air cushion stands and bulbs in its own nylon carry case. It is not the rugged gear that Chimera and Photoflex make, and will require a bit more care on your part. But the light output is just as good, since a soft box is a soft box. And for $500 (or less) it is a good buy for an entry level kit that will allow very professional results, and won't burn your fingers. I will get out a more detailed review in the near future.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 04:23 PM   #22
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diffuser for work lights

the jtl lights look great for the price and at some point I may pick them up, but until some of this equipment begins to pay for itself or presents further opporunities for same, I'm looking to find a way to diffuse my hot work lights. These are standard work lights with the cage that I'll be removing. The set I currently have uses two 500w lights on a single stand. I'd like to connect a diffuser plate out in front of the lights. Any thoughts on appropriate materials that won't melt?
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Old March 13th, 2003, 04:24 PM   #23
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Wayne, thanks for the tip about LTM lights. I hadn't bumped into them before. A 300W Pepper is $210 at B&H plus $25 for the lamp, so your pricing is right on target.

I do have several other quartz lights that I can put into service. I have a 20-year old light of undetermined origin that has an acceptable stand, a 6" aluminum reflector, a good set of black barn doors, and a DYH 600W bulb. It provides pretty hard light but obviously will not focus like the Pepper. I also have two 150W Asahi Research Corporation (ARC) lights intended for on-cam use, one of my better eBay purchases. These are variable intensity. I thought they might be useful as backlights, especially to backlight a head.

Despite all the lighting experience I got spending 4 years on a stage crew for summer stock theatre in the '60s, I really don't know what effect one gets from a fresnel. Why does it deliver "punch?"
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Old March 13th, 2003, 05:07 PM   #24
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"Despite all the lighting experience I got spending 4 years on a stage crew for summer stock theatre in the '60s, I really don't know what effect one gets from a fresnel. Why does it deliver "punch?"

Will, if you have two lights of equal wattage, say 500 watts, and one is a fresnel, you will find the fresnel lamp delivers more footcandles to the subject, because the glass lens focuses the light on the subject, whereas the non-fresnel (or, "open faced") light is spraying light everywhere. So we say the fresnel is more effecient. Additionally, a quality fresnel will offer a "flood to spot" control on the fixture to pinpoint the light even more. Besides providing more light where we want it, the fresnel will help to keep the light from spraying everywhere. This also means that a fresnel will allow us to light from farther away from the subject, which is very important in drama, where we need wider shots. BTW, fresnel is pronounced fre-nell. The "s" is silent.

In your stage experience, you probably worked with a lot of ellipsoidel lamps, which is another type of fresnel that is an extremely focused beam, similar to a spot light, but at much lower intensity. Ellipsoidel lights are also used to project patterns, on walls, floors, or just about anywhere.

So why a fresnel and not just another soft box? If you use a soft box for a backlight or 3/4 backlight, you will get a nic soft effect. Sometimes it is almost too soft. Go to a fresnel, and you can create something a bit harder with a sharper edge that will really separate your subject from the background. Also the narrower beam from the fresnel will be easier to keep from hitting the lens and causing flare.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 05:07 PM   #25
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Bud:

That's exactly the point -- it's not all that easy to make something.

My first effort was a frame made of PVC water pipe, easy to work with and cheap (I think I spent $20 on everything, enough to make frames for two stands). The frame was about 40"x24" to cover the two lights on each stand. I built the frame with Ts so I could build a stand-off to get the frame out in front of the stand, and this is where I've had trouble. The PVC is round, the stand is round, and it's difficult to hook the two together. I'd hoped to use some strong plastic clamps, but the whole thing has collapsed several times.

I used 2'x4' diffusers for suspended ceiling light fixtures as one kind of diffuser; these cost $3 each and soften well without tremendous loss of light. I also tried old t-shirts (white), which work quite well but lose a lot of light, even with one layer.

My second idea was copper tubing. 1/4" copper, like might be used for an icemaker connection, is pretty light. It can be bent into any shape, so it would be easy to make 4 frames 12" or 16" square. It's strong enough to hold gels or scrims or t-shirts or even the ceiling diffusers. It's easy enough to solder. But I'd still be faced with the problem of getting the stand-off to connect to the stand or light. Just last weekend I spent an hour at Lowes trying to conjure something up, but left frustrated.

The last alternative was building these little copper frames but mounting them on their own stand. But that means I'd need the stands! Good money after bad...

I've always been inventive about things like this and I'm reasonably handy. Nonetheless, I admit that my attempts so far have been pretty feeble and not very clever. I'm out of time, which is why I'm back to thinking about buying rather than building.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 06:04 PM   #26
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Thanks, Wayne, good explanation. Oh, by the way, I did remember how to pronounce fresnell. I am forgetting lots of other things, though.

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Old March 13th, 2003, 11:12 PM   #27
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Some one commented that the Lowel v light was crap. Yes it is. I told Will that the Tota was a sturdy little light that would fold down around itself and it will. For the money the lights a good buy. The Tota , photoflex medium kit, speed ring and bogan 3086 stand is the way to fly.

He could make do with what he has and eventually add a prolight, an arri 300 watt fresnel , a collapsable reflector, one piece at a time.

If some one wants to knit a softbox and build gear from pipe and two by fours great. Glue on a set of mouse ears and away we go.

That's my op[inion and I'm entitled to it.
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Old March 14th, 2003, 07:52 AM   #28
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A summary of things I've learned so far

1. Walter Graff is a lighting god. (His articles are extremely interesting and very worthwhile reading. Many thanks to Jay Gladwell for the link in the "Back Lighting" thread.)

2. I've yet to hear a bad word about the Lowel Tota light, here or elsewhere.

3. Entry-level Lowel kits tend to skimp on things like stands, yet are a bit pricey. Not recommended.

4. Anything PhotoFlex gets high marks.

5. Arri is top-flight.

6. A softbox works well as a key light.

7. I can get good to excellent results using almost any equipment if I learn how to light. (Also a Walter Graff maxim -- "Although the more expensive hammers have their appeal, in the end the person who's using the hammer, not the hammer itself, is going to determine how well a project turns out.")
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Old March 14th, 2003, 07:56 AM   #29
 
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Will wrote: "5. Arri is top-flight."

You left off the part about Arri being top dollar, too! ;o)
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Old March 14th, 2003, 08:03 AM   #30
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That's because every time I think about Arri pricing, I faint. Please try not to mention it again.
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