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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:26 AM   #1
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Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

I just replace my car's headlights with an HID (Xenon) kit for about $120, including both low and high beam. Is this the same type of lighting technology used in HMI. After doing it, I began wondering if anyone has tried to use the same for video lighting, or tried building their own HMI.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

Alzo Digital seems to think it's okay and is selling HID based lighting kits. Photography Equipment by ALZO Digital

HMI's however are "Hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide" lamps, completely different thing.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:40 PM   #3
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Re: Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

Cool Lights, coollights.biz is also working with HID.

Not so different from HMI, which IIRC is a trademark.

Of course you don't want an automotive-style beam reflector for most video work. I really don't know how automotive HID might differ from what Alzo and Cool Lights are doing, but the video lights are working with a ballast, like HMI.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 12:50 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

The Lowell id video light much favoured by stills photographers uses a regular automobile halogen headlamp bulb. A 12V 50W bulb gives about an hour of use with the 12V 7Ah motorcycle battery they are commonly used with.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 05:22 AM   #5
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Re: Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

There are lots of different flavors of HID. In my tests with the "automotive" stuff aimed for 12v the color rendition is all over the place. One of the beams had a really blue center spot, a ring of pink then orange and while overall it was "daylight" it was almost a rainbow in practice.

There probably are really nice ballasts/bulbs out there, but I haven't found any that I'd use for a shoot. I bought some "store lighting" 70w cdm fixtures with ballasts that work perfectly well with good color rendering, but the size of the ballast was uncomfortably large. With the source 4 cdm pars and the cool lights cdm fresnels around $500, I have yet to find a DIY solution thats worth the time. Thats not to say its not out there, but simply getting a 5600k hid headlamp hasn't been nearly the super cool battery powered dream i thought it would be.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 06:11 AM   #6
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Re: Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

For any "off grid" work I have 3 of these and they work surprisingly well:

XeVision HID Xenon and LED Lighting Technology for Aerospace, Military, and Industry - HID Work Lights

I have the 35w version with the handle at the top of the page.

I've mounted them to cars and put them on a light stand. Not cheap though. The set of 3 was about $1500 (6 years ago).

I wouldn't use them in place of a normal light kit. The light quality is good but the color is between daylight and tungsten so they won't play well with standard lights without some work. But if you need light in a place where battery power is all you got and you don't have a lot of space for gear they are great.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 02:36 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

I tried, it works but it is hard to find a bulb that low enough in color temp.
Most HID are very high, like 5000-10000K.
if you really need a lot of light on battery it is a good solution
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Old February 8th, 2013, 02:14 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

The main reason for going with professional equipment is for repeatability,which I think will be hard to find without doing your own calibrations. I just spent a couple days doing colorbalance tests on all my lights. I didn't try HID, but did try a variety of consumer and professional CFL and LEDs. Based on that experience, and my experience that my car's HID lights were drastically different colors after 100k miles, I'd guess you would have a difficult time getting true consistent daylight color from auto HIDs.

Good enough for playing around and even for making an ultralight rig if you're into that sort of thing, but not good enough for pro consistency.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 07:36 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone tried using automotive HID lights?

The thing is almost large portion of people think it's different. but actually it's not.

HMI is a Metal Halide with special purpose. it has right proportion of Halide Salt and optimum wattage to get Kelvin rated.

Have you ever seen HMI was very fast Warm up type of Metal Halide? One thing this told you is they are Overwatted.

I've made this DIY HMI with parabolic garden fixture, pretty darn beam of light.

150W rated 6000K but using on cam get green cast so I overwatt them to 250W and get gorgeous result at 5600K on 60D. mixed very well with my Osram StudioLine 5600 Fixture.

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