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Old June 7th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #1
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Diva ring light

Is this this ringlight:
Photo/ Video Diva ring light with tripod mount/c-stand - Stellar Lighting Systems
suitable for use in a 3 way lighting setup for interviews?
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Old June 7th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #2
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A ring light is generally used as a very soft fill for an individual very close to the camera. I suppose that light could be used as a general fill light, but it will be filling the key side of the talent as well as the opposite side of the key. If you want soft lighting and use a weak key, this light could be used but it is more of a specialty light for getting close to the talent. I'm sure it could be mounted away from the camera and still provide soft fill. My only concern is that they don't list it's color temperature. Also, it is not in stock.
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Old June 10th, 2010, 03:47 PM   #3
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Old June 10th, 2010, 10:07 PM   #4
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If you can live with a flat, high-key, fashion sort of look, three of the Divas worked very well. Most people, most of the time like a flat, high-key, fashion sort of look for interviews or presentations to camera. Just about every tabloid show on the air (Access Hollywood - type stuff) is lit that way. Covers wrinkles, saturates colors and makes the picture snap. OTOH, if you are going for a moody, film-noir sort of feel, not the right tool.

I was very impressed with the Diva, great product for the money and you can do a three light kit for under $500.00 and they weigh almost nothing. Perfect newbie light, they are almost foolproof.

They are 5400k tubes too.

Dan
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Old August 12th, 2010, 06:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
If you can live with a flat, high-key, fashion sort of look, three of the Divas worked very well. Most people, most of the time like a flat, high-key, fashion sort of look for interviews or presentations to camera. Just about every tabloid show on the air (Access Hollywood - type stuff) is lit that way. Covers wrinkles, saturates colors and makes the picture snap. OTOH, if you are going for a moody, film-noir sort of feel, not the right tool.

I was very impressed with the Diva, great product for the money and you can do a three light kit for under $500.00 and they weigh almost nothing. Perfect newbie light, they are almost foolproof.

They are 5400k tubes too.

Dan
I agree with Dan, if you're looking for a film-noir sort of feel, the Diva Ring light is a challenge to control. You'd be flagging/blocking quite a bit. I'm hoping they come out with an egg crate or I'm about to make one with a ceiling tile grid from Home Depot...where's that jigsaw :)

Not sure where else you can get a 3 light fluorescent kit for around $500.... if you haven't seen Dan's article, here's an image with 3 of the Diva's
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Old August 13th, 2010, 09:25 PM   #6
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I've gotta say, for all the portability and convenience, that's the LAST style of light I think I'd reach for as a interview key. Catch light for the eyes? Sure. But NOT as a key.

In the photo - the face is FLAT, flat, flat. Almost no 3d modeling. All the shadow detail that gives you visual cues as to depth are sucked out of the face.

This might be a great approach on an angular fashion models face where the goal is to make the skin texture look as flawless as possible, but I don't think I'd EVER go with a ring light for an interview unless there were other factors at work.

My 2 cents anyway.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #7
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Hi Bill:

That's the thing, I am finding more and more clients LOVE the flat, flawless skin look. I shot a huge press junket for Warner Bros. yesterday and while we didn't use the Diva ring lights, we arrived at a very similar look using Kino Flo Divas, flat and soft, devoid of any modeling. I spoke with the publicity people from WB, that is the look that they seem to want for all press junkets. Interestingly, they also want a very specific framing style that leaves very little leeway to adjust it or change it. They have a "look" that they want, which I find pretty boring, but they are the client so they get what they want.

I shot a commercial last week with a well known actor who has skin issues, same thing, director requested flat, soft and frontal lighting.

I'm with you, it is not my favorite way to light, I find it pretty boring but if you watch music videos and commercials, that look is definitely "in" right now. My challenge with the article was to see if I could actually do a three point setup with only the Divas. No softboxes needed and three of them are really cheap. Not the best way to build a kit but if you are an institutional user who needs to light flat news, fashion or junkets and have no money, definitely a valid way to easily and cheaply achieve that look.

Dan
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Old August 16th, 2010, 04:24 PM   #8
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Interesting, Dan.

Of course the answer is always "SURE" when the client asks for anything. So that makes a ton of sense. I do wonder if these requests are coming from people who actually understand lighting, or just folks who overheard a conversation about how ring lights are used as catchlights in high fashion work, and suddenly started specifying "flat fashion" style - not understanding that the actual lighting done for fashion magazine work is WORLDS more complicated than that... but the business IS what it is.

One thing I'm interested in with these Steller units, however, is that it looks like they put out so much light that you had to keep them pretty far from the subject in order to balance the key, rim and fill lighting. This makes the catch light a tiny spot, verses the traditional fashion shot RING highlight. Was that a result of the amount of light this fixture tosses off? Did you have a chance to test them closer to the subject? If so, was their fixed brightness a problem for the model?

God knows I have nothing against inexpensive and useful gear. Just wondering if these will prove to be a lasting solution or a passing fancy? Time will tell, I guess.

Hope all is well in LA - and hope to get a chance to hoist another beer with you in the future.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 09:07 PM   #9
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Starting a few years ago, I started seeing ring lights as the default method to light female pop stars. They were in differing configurations, but the flat glow effect with little rim/back light makes it obvious, as well as the reflections in eyes and glasses. One that I remember particularly I think was Britney Spears and the ring light was a radius of what must have been 4-foot fluorescent tubes (think "sunburst pattern") with the camera in the middle. There is lots of background lighting, of course, but any backlight was obscured by the strong ring light. It can be flattering to the skin but it also looks a bit weird so I would say it is almost an effect lighting since the audience won't see it as natural. Perhaps one of these ring lights as fill along with the regular softbox key and hard backlights would be okay in a more normal lighting scenario.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 11:27 AM   #10
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dan/guy-

thanks for allowing me to resurrect an old posting.

if the stellar dive ring light were used as the key, i imagine slightly above and 90degress to talent?

thoughts on using just a bounce card to fill in a wee bit?

thoughts on what type of other small instrument to be used has hair and/or bkgrd-somthing like a dimmable led perhaps?

i do a far amount of talking head interviews against black backgrounds and i'm hoping to travel as light (no pun :-> ) as possible.

any and all thoughts are appreciated.

be well

rob
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Old January 21st, 2011, 12:42 PM   #11
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Any light, to be truly useful, needs to be easily controlled in terms of output and color temperature. Classic fresnels and open faces have designated scrims (and will work with line dimmers) and you can easily attach diffusion and color correction gels to the barn doors. Flat panel fluorescents, being cool running even easier to gel right to the face, and quality ones allow you to switch off tubes or have a dimmer. LED's; most have dimmers and maintain color temp throughout, which is a big plus.

RIng lights are intended to mount around the lens, but there's no real reason they can't be used elsewhere. For a hastily grabbed night exterior on a music video I took our two ring lights and had PA's point them handheld at background elements (2:54,the tower and the curved building on the left of frame) and they worked fine. FYI the ringlight properly configured on the lens can be seen doing its thing at :31.

I was using the Litepanels Ringlite Mini on that shoot, which has a dimmer control and comes with various strengths of CTO and diffusion in rigid gels that snap onto the ring. From what I see, the Stellar unit has none of these essentials. Theoretically you could just cut round gels and have them rustle around the hole but that's pretty ghetto. Cutting standard gels and diffusion to the exact shape of the track would be a pain and they would be time consuming to add and remove (need to be taped on at multiple points).

Beyond that, with any of this type of unit there's no way to control or shape the output right at the light, so you'd be looking at flags and stands and blackwrap to do this for you.

Certainly these units are inexpensive but their utility is severely restricted in a typical production environment. As brute force area lights, such as I was using them in an emergency situation on that night shoot, they'd be fine. But as usual--if efficiency on set is less valuable than dollars in one's pocket, anything is more or less usable.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 11:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Katz View Post
dan/guy-

thanks for allowing me to resurrect an old posting.

if the stellar dive ring light were used as the key, i imagine slightly above and 90degress to talent?

thoughts on using just a bounce card to fill in a wee bit?

thoughts on what type of other small instrument to be used has hair and/or bkgrd-somthing like a dimmable led perhaps?

i do a far amount of talking head interviews against black backgrounds and i'm hoping to travel as light (no pun :-> ) as possible.

any and all thoughts are appreciated.

be well

rob
The 18" fluorescent Diva Ring light is a 65W model. If you're used to tungsten lights, that 65W of fluorescent equates to about 250W or so. It's bright, but not that bright and the fall off is rather rapid. I own the $2000 Litepanels Ringlite and at under $200, I consider the Diva Ring light a bargain. As Dan has shown, you can use it in a variety of ways, not just as in the typical manner with the camera through the middle. I would love to have some gels, grids, and a dimmer on the diva, but it's still very usable, and when we use the Litepanels, it's almost always on full blast. So the dimmer never really gets used.

That all being said, I've been quietly toying with a new smaller model - a 12-inch 40W. The slick thing about this one is that it includes not only an AC power supply, but also a D-Tap cable. Yup, you can run it off DC! It's amazing to see how beautiful the light is coming off this one. I'll be hiring a model to do some test shots soon. I wrote a bit on our blog A Smaller Fluorescent Diva Ring light?
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