Which Kinos for me? - two Foto-Flow 400s (kit) or two Diva-Light 400 kits? at DVinfo.net

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Old April 12th, 2005, 04:30 PM   #1
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Which Kinos for me? - two Foto-Flow 400s (kit) or two Diva-Light 400 kits?

I want to start using fluorescent lights for digital video production and I am trying to decide between getting two seperate Diva-Lite 400 kits (each setup consisting of four 2-foot lamps in a fixture for a total of 220 watts each= 440 watts total) for just over $2,000 versus getting one of these kits the Gaffer Select Fluorescent for around $2300 consisting of two four-bank fixtures (FotoFlo 400s?) each consisting of four 4-foot lamps for a sub-total of 160 watts each for 320 total watts.

One big question occurs to me- How is it possible that the Diva's with their smaller lamps are rated with more watts than the FotoFlos with their four foot lamps?

The Gaffer Select Kit (which I presume consists of two Foto-Flo 400s)
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=258951&is=REG

and how is this kit different than this similar kit but cheaper B&H exclusive, the Photo Gaffer Kit with two Foto-Flo 400s

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=265671&is=REG


The Diva-Lite 400 Kit
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=258599&is=REG
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Old April 12th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #2
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Hi Jim,
I would say that you have to evaluate what you are looking to do with the kits. I broke down some of the differences between the Diva and the Gaffer kit, and it should hopefully help you make a decision. I don't know much about the foto flo's, but I included what I knew:

The Diva lights are more compact 2-ft. instruments, the gaf kit is longer.

The Diva's put out more Watts because they have a U-shaped bulb that puts out greater wattage (55W), so in reality it is 4' long but curved in half, the other kit uses straight 40W bulbs.

The gaf kits are longer so they wrap around a face better, and can also be used vertically to light someone's entire upper body. So functionally they differ from the shorter Diva's.

The Diva kits have a ballast built-in, so there are no trailing expensive ballast cables, but just a simple power cable. The gaf kit has a separate ballast, but that way, if something happens to the ballast, you can just fix it and not the entire instrument.

The 2 Diva kits weigh 50lbs together, and come in 2 separate lightweight cases for doing separate jobs, the gaf kit looks like it weighs 70lbs and it's all in one metal case.

The Diva kits have a dimming ballast, but the other kit does not. I think the gaf kit will allow you to individually power off lights though, but one of us will have to call Kino on that one. The fotoflo has a three way dimmer.

Either way, you win with a Kino. All their kits are a peach to work with!

Edit: Here is a link to a similar post:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=42115
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Old April 12th, 2005, 10:46 PM   #3
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I got a chance to play around with a Diva and it didn't really impress me that much. It's a capable and versatile tool... and for that it's desireable... but that plastic construction didn't exactly blow me away.

Just the other day I got a chance to play around with a Kino ParaBeam... and THAT I loved. The ParaBeams are definitely high dollar, but man are they fun to use and well-made.

If you break it down there's just no way around the cost of location flos... and if they dim, then forget it... that's where the cost really adds up... but that's also what makes 'em valuable.

I'd put the priority on usability and dimming... so for this budget the Divas would get my vote... even though I don't really like the look of 'em you'll never see them on cam anyway. You get lights for what they do with your shot... not so you can look at 'em.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 12:42 AM   #4
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Rush, thanks for the info. I want to use two (and eventually four or more Kinos if necessary) fluorescent lights to wash small to medium sized indoor rooms with a nice soft 'daylight' (5500K bulbs) for movie/ tv show production. (I do not want to use tungsten, I have plenty of hot Lowell tungsten lights, incl. a couple of Riffa lites, some Omnis, Totas, Pro & V lights already)

My sets are typically in houses, sometimes on studio sets or other practical locations- maybe a room with a couple of small windows 15'x20 ' or so, e.g. large-ish master bedrooms, living rooms, a bar or other place) with a foreground for actors to sit and stand and talk and move, getting up and down, moving around say, several feet to either side, and with a background that has some depth that is also moderately lit.

Maybe the larger-sized lights like Foto-Flo 400s would be better suited for this purpose. I may need four or more of these evetually for decent sized rooms and/or the larger Kino lights. The main point is I want to wash a room like that in a very soft light, not have to shut all the windows tight and just let my actors move around the room a little bit without having thousands of watts of burning hot tungsten lights over top of my shoulder making us all sweat and having to adjust the lights if they move even a couple of feet one way or the other.!
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Old April 13th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #5
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You're welcome sir. I think in the case of small interiors, a combination of both the Fotoflo's and the Diva's would work better than all instruments being identical. Here is why:

I am assuming that the windows are doing the job of the key here, coming in from one side and creating the f-stop setting. The foto-flos can be used vertically, one in front of each performer as their own fill light. One Diva can come from the opposite and back, to act as kicker, because it is brighter and smaller, it can be placed clean out of the camera's eye. Another Diva can smoothly light the background, with intensity dialed in as needed. A third Diva, maybe a 200, can come directly over camera to create eye-highlights and additional fill, dimmed so as not to make new shadows. There are many more things you can do, but this is just with 5 instruments. Additional Diva's can broaden the scope of the kicker, help round out the daylight to the front of the face while keeping the window in the background, create new spots on the background, etc. More Fotoflo's can create a wall-o-lite effect, tiered to create a 12-lamp source with a 1/2 stop silk on the whole thing. The more fill you have, the broader you can keep it while moving away from the subject and giving her more freedom to move.

In the end, they all work well, and a variety of source-types can create a more interesting visual than 4 of the same, even though that means the bulbs are not interchangeable. The precise dimming of the Diva's is a treat for when you're in a hurry.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 09:07 PM   #6
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Be wary of planning on light from windows or glass doors. I've been burned by that a couple times and I finally learned my lesson. Plan ahead and be ready when the light is what you want it to be... either that or you better get all your takes done quick 'cause the light will change amazingly fast.

After a few shoots which depend on a balance of natural and artificial light it gets obvious why many productions are done on a closed set. Bang everything out in short order or you'll see how fast a day passes when your key is Mr. Sun.

I've got a few fixtures that use 4' Kino Daylight tubes and I usually position 'em right next to the window that I like so much... then as the day wears on I increase the output of that fixture. Sometimes I'll try covering the window right from the start and see if I can recreate the same thing completely from the fixture.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 10:30 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Matt Gettemeier : Be wary of planning on light from windows or glass doors.

I hear you on that- I probably will use these Kino lights in situations where there are no windows open or not open enough to use as a key light. I am hoping that two of the Foto-Flo 400s with daylight bulbs will work as as the key and fill lights, even if I am in a small to medium sized room without any large windows. If I need more, I will get more Foto-Flos or Diva Lite 400s later on. I decided to get the Kino Flo Photo Gaffer Fluorescent Kit that consists of two of the Foto-Flo 400 fixtures, cables, ballasts, with barndoors and a case for just over $2,000. It's supposedly a B&H special, I think it's the best deal. Just need a couple of good stands now and some bulbs.
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Old April 14th, 2005, 12:41 AM   #8
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It's too bad you can't check any of this stuff out in person. I don't know how the Kino Diva pushes the tubes in those lights... but I've got the same tubes in a fixture I've been working on and I can tell ya' that two of the Diva tubes in this fixture is wacky bright... I mean like "fills the room" bright. That's with TWO of the tubes... not four.

But like I mentioned earlier I also have a crap-load of fixtures that use the Kino 4' tubes and they've served me well. I just got tired of managing the size of 4' fixtures. I still use 'em... but I expect the "Diva style" to take over much of my lighting.

The 4' fixtures do much of the softboxing for you... right out of the tubes and onto your set... the compact flos in the Divas get hard to look at when you need the same coverage... but they do a reasonable job anyway.

I think it's a toss-up and you'll enjoy fluorescents either way... it's just too bad you can't play around with them before you buy.
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Old April 14th, 2005, 12:19 PM   #9
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Just wanted to let you guys know that I'm a KinoFlo dealer and I can beat that price on the Foto-flo kit, which is in-stock... Sorry, I just had to mention that...
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Old April 14th, 2005, 02:39 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Matt Gettemeier :
I think it's a toss-up and you'll enjoy fluorescents either way... it's just too bad you can't play around with them before you buy. -->>>

I haven't been able to see them in person, but I have seen some behind the scenes videos that some of my peers have shot on their sets and it looks like they are happily using 4-foot, 4 bank kinos (or similar from othher manufacturers), so I feel confident that the kit I bought will serve me well.
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