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Photon Management
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 09:43 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Incidentally, my dad's name is Bruce Watson, and it makes me do a doubletake everytime you post. :-)
You're a lucky guy! :D

I'm finding there are more Bruce Watsons in world than I would have guessed. Even found a guy in Australia with my name, and of course there's the one who's a founding member of the Scottish rock band "Big Country." Small world...
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 03:37 PM   #17
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I bought two Electra Masterlight 1200's. The lights have six 80 watt TC-L fluorescent tubes. Switchable in 3 banks. The spectrum of the light was nothing to write home about. Attempts to use filters on the light made it even worse. After some research I found true-light full spectrum fluorescent tubes These tubes are 5500 K, 4500 lumen and... CRI 96. Now that makes the videographer happy. Each Masterlight is now filled with 4 full spectrum 5500K tubes and 2 Philips Master PL-L 80W/830 (3200K, 6000 lumen). Now its possible to switch on 3200K, 3200K plus 5500K or just 5500K. Never felt the need to use any filter again. My so-so Masterlight changed into a very versatile light with high output. I also made black blinds to dim them when needed.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 04:53 PM   #18
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Referring to my reply above, I was misinformed that the lamps I have used were discontinued; we used Durotest Optima lamps for color matching; there are several other varieties made by the same company here: Duro-Test Lighting, Inc.

We purchased them from a graphic-arts supply house upon their recommendation, they worked well for print matching. I assume that, having a more-or-less continuous spectrum, they would work well for photo and video use.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 05:32 AM   #19
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Just a quick word on the numbering of fluorescents

The first number in the three number code shows the CRI (100 = excellent, less than 80 = bad) and the last two show the general colour temperature, so an 830 tube will have a CRI in the 80s (could be 81 which is crap or 89 which is almost acceptable) and a colour temp of around 3000k.

Since the CRI is measured by the manufacturer, they can be somewhat flexible in their scoring.

To add a Gotcha into the equasion, some of the cheaper lighting manufacturers, particularly those selling LEDs, claim that the CRI gives a bad impression of their products. So they adopt other measurements, such as CRA, which are more forgiving towards non-continuous light sources. You can usually tell this sleight of underhand because they quote a "CR of over 90" or "with a Color Rendition of 96" carefully omitting to claim that it's a CRI but giving the impression that it is.

I really must get out more!

Last edited by Robin Lambert; September 24th, 2010 at 04:16 AM.
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Old September 25th, 2010, 02:08 AM   #20
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For a DIY project you cannot go wrong with the Osram 'Studioline' tubes. I've built a couple of my own instruments using them. What makes them so great is I can easily buy the tubes, the sockets, the clips and a choice of ballasts including one for two tubes that's dimmable via 0-10V on two pins. Pretty certain Osram even make a dimmer module that you just wire up to the two pins on the ballast. Doesn't get much simpler than that unless you want to add DMX control as well.
The tubes are available in either daylight or tungsten as well and I see studios down here lit with bank after bank of fixtures using these tubes. The same tubes are used by many manufacturers including Lowell so you're in good company using them. The tubes do have a bit of an initial green spike that seems to fade after the first 100 or so hours of use. Another plus is I've used a couple of these tubes in an outdoor sign and they lasted for around 5 years which if my mental arithmetic is not too far off is way beyong Osram's rated life for these lamps.
Also worth keeping in mind that the Osram ballasts are UL approved which can make certification of the whole instrument easier.
Since the Chinese started building instruments using these tubes I've pretty much given up making my own. It's just cheaper and easier to buy some cheapies off eBay and if needed rework the dodgy bits.

I know the CFLs are attractive for the DIY project as there's less wiring and they're dead easy to mount. The only issue I have is these are great for space lights and I've made a few such lights myself however for anything 'directional' they're somewhat problematic
One alternate CFL I've used is a locally made mirror backed unit of 15W. To the eye at least these seem to have a reasonable CRI and they're very cheap and convenient for something you just keep in the car.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #21
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I have a 2X 24" DIY kino. I've been using high CRI bulbs from the home despot just fine. I have 3200K and 5600K bulbs. what I have noticed is that the 5600K bulbs put out more light. I also put in an electronic ballast to make it "flicker free", cost was under $20. I've got maybe $60 total into the light, and I use it on every shoot. its a great light. I'd like to try a T8 bulb fixture with 4X 24" config.... :)
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Old September 30th, 2010, 08:52 AM   #22
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Are your lights made with the 55 watt Biax tubes or just regular single tubes? What is the wattage? The ones I built are dual 55 watt Biax = 110 watts.

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Old September 30th, 2010, 08:57 AM   #23
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mine are 24" 20W standard T12 I think tubes. I'd like to put together a higher output light like what you have. got any pix ?

with mine I painted them black, added a 5/8 stud onto the back, and a handle, power switch. I also added a couple tabs of velcro on the side corners so I can put on a pair of simple black foamcore barn doors when I need them.
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Old September 30th, 2010, 12:58 PM   #24
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Hi Steve:

I don't have any photos of my fake Kinos, I made them up about 5 years ago and have since lost a couple of hard drives that had all my "making of" photos. But this will get you started. 36 or 55 watt Bright Kits

I made the housings myself and they look very similar to the light colored ones shown here, they are literally just painted black, wooden boxes. I discovered that using a baby plate or a Mafer or anything like that is really a poor substitute for the genuine Kino Flo Lollipops so I drove over to Kino Flo in Burbank and paid the big bucks for the real Kino Lollipops. There was nothing else on the market that even came close and they were expensive, I think perhaps $75.00 or $100.00 ea. but worth it.

The Miro reflectors work very well. Most of the time I end up just hanging some grid cloth in front of the fake Kinos anyway though, they have plenty of horsepower, even through grid cloth. I use real Kino 55 watt Biax tubes too, they work really well.

I have to say, my homemade Kinos ended up costing me about $250.00 ea. while a real Diva 200 kit is closer to $800.00. One of the smartest and best DIY investments I have ever come up with, I have been using them for over five years now, still on the original bulbs too. I have a big Storm case and I pack the two fixtures with towels layered in between them. I have shipped them all over the country and they just work great. I even lit an upcoming Andy Williams PBS special with these lights supplemented with just a few Arri tungsten fresnels for the BG. Used them as stage uplights too for an eight camera concert I shot in the Summer for my upcoming doc. I love them.


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