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Old November 6th, 2006, 12:53 PM   #1
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I found a sweet light - major problem solver

Hi all:

I just had a find yesterday that was too good not to share. I was at Home Depot yesterday, buying some home repair stuff. Whenever I am at Home Depot, I always stop by the lighting department to see what kind of cool new lights are available.

I have bought lots of interesting nook lights and accent lights at Home Depot over the past year or two. The one light that seems to be the holy grail for a lot us is a battery powered fluorescent. I have not had much luck in locating them, although I know that they are out there.

Here's what I found. It's a 12" fluorescent fixture that is powered off of 8 AA batteries or a generic 12V DC source. The light is small and has a clear plastic lamp cover. Here are the specs:

Light:
Amerelle 73040 Utility Lite.

Size:
The light is about 13" long

Lamp:
Uses the popular F8T5 12" lamp. The lamp that comes with it is unlabeled and is probably a warm white although I don't have a color meter to check it's true temp.

Cost:
US $10.95

Accessories: The packaging includes three decent sized Velcro hook and loop fasteners.


You can purchase the KinoFlo F8T5 Tru-Match lamps in 2900K or 5500K for about $20.00 ea.

Think of the great flexibility and versatility you can obtain with these. For those of you always lamenting how to light car interiors, this light is a match made in Heaven. Tape or Velcro a couple of the visors and you have a perfect, soft and subtle daylight or tungsten light for about $30.00 ea.. For those of you doing tabletop, these are so handy for acting as a minature soft source for documents and photos.

Two or three of these around a lens would make a really nice, cheap triangular ring light. How cool would triangular catchlights be for the right project?

As a nook light, these are a dream come true, wrap some party gel around them and add a nice soft glow to objects on tables and shelves.

The possibilities are endless. Best of all, the Kino MiniFlo two light kit goes for $829.00. A pair of these that should basically yield similar results with Kino lamps are around $60.00 total!

The only catch is that I have not done a camera test yet to see if there is any flicker at 24 fps or variable frame rates. I have high hopes though, the manufacturers seem to have finally discovered that nobody wants a fluorescent with flicker.

Will report back as soon as I do some tests.

Best,

Dan
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Old November 6th, 2006, 01:56 PM   #2
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Thanks for this great tip, Dan... can you attach some photos of it if you have a chance?
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Old November 6th, 2006, 02:24 PM   #3
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Hi Chris:

Sure, I don't have my camera here at the office today but I can snap a few tonight and post tomorrow. Just shot a small test with my old DVX-100 in 24P. No flicker that I can see, it's also quiet. The lamp that it came with looks blue under 3200K preset so it's either a 4100K green tube or a daylight balanced thing but I am going to FilmTools to pick up the Kino lamps this afternoon anyway.

D
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Old November 6th, 2006, 02:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett
The only catch is that I have not done a camera test yet to see if there is any flicker at 24 fps or variable frame rates. I have high hopes though, the manufacturers seem to have finally discovered that nobody wants a fluorescent with flicker.
It's more like the cost of electronic ballasts have come down to the point that mfgrs. can use them instead. Since this light is battery powered, it likely won't have any 60HZ flicker. Using it with the Kino tubes should be a good deal.

I may pick up a couple of these myself and try them out. Thanks for the good find.

-gb-
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Old November 6th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #5
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Let's get a shot or product info for a Google image search.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 10:42 AM   #6
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Some Images of these lights for you

Hi all:

As promised, some pictures

ooh, pretty lights
http://homepage.mac.com/blfilms/.Pic...KinoBeauty.jpg

Here's what you are going to see on the shelf at Home Depot or Lowes
http://homepage.mac.com/blfilms/.Pic...ightInPack.jpg

This is the model number although this could vary, depending on the brand name the light is packaged under
http://homepage.mac.com/blfilms/.Pic...odelNumber.jpg

Here is how the batteries fit in. It take 8 AA batteries. Have not tested run times yet but I estimate about 2-3 hours perhaps?
http://homepage.mac.com/blfilms/.Pic...earPackage.jpg

The one closer to camera is the Kino 2900K lamp, the one in back is the Kino 5500K lamp
http://homepage.mac.com/blfilms/.Pic...BothLights.jpg

Hope that this gives you an idea of what these lights look like.

Dan
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Old November 7th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #7
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Throw in a set of NiMH rechargeable AA batts and a charger and this becomes quite a handy little kit... now to find just the right bag... much appreciated, Dan!
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Old November 7th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #8
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I saw those at Home depot, didn't think they would be useful, glad I was wrong.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Throw in a set of NiMH rechargeable AA batts and a charger and this becomes quite a handy little kit... now to find just the right bag... much appreciated, Dan!
I just got a hand me down Dell laptop bag from a neighbor who was moving. I'm thinking it would hold a couple of these units with batteries and charger.

hmmmm.....

-gb-
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Old November 7th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #10
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Thanks for the review, Dan.

I have discovered through using lights of this size on a regular basis that a dimmer is almost a necessity, because of the situations they are used (on camera light in really dark rooms, etc.). Having a dimmer lets me knock down the light level a bit when I go in for a close up, without having to "stop down" the lens, thus maintaining a consistent look. It's really neat. But, for the low price of this light, I might pick up a couple in addition to my Litepanels setup...
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Old November 7th, 2006, 02:53 PM   #11
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How would you dim this fluorescent fixture, other than putting a filter or gel over it to block some of the light?
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Old November 7th, 2006, 03:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton
How would you dim this fluorescent fixture, other than putting a filter or gel over it to block some of the light?
You would need a ballast with a dimming feature... But, dimmable fluorescents are pretty much useless because they only do one stop (50 - 100%) before the color shifts towards magenta.

LED's are the only source I know of that can be dimmed 0 - 100% without noticeable color shifts.
It's the 0 - 50% range that is the most fun!
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Old November 7th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #13
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Another idea...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Throw in a set of NiMH rechargeable AA batts and a charger and this becomes quite a handy little kit... now to find just the right bag... much appreciated, Dan!
Hi Chris:

I just received a Duracell 15 minute charger with 4AA rechargeables. Adding four more puts me in business for one, guess I need to buy another charger or two. Frys Electronics (www.outpost.com over the web) has Chinese no-name NIMH 2400 MAh in 10 packs and 30 packs for pretty reasonable prices.

Even with spending to get good chargers and lots more rechargeables, these lights are still dirt cheap for what they can do. Like I said, the Two light Mini Flo kit runs over $800.00 and essentially looks the same on camera.

My next idea is to find a cheap cigarette lighter to dual DC 12V splitter and try them in some night car scenes.

Best,

Dan
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Old November 7th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #14
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I wonder if these would be good to go under pews in those badly lit ceremonies?
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Old November 7th, 2006, 04:54 PM   #15
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Hi Steven:

I have been using them to light up objects on bookshelves and tables for narrative scenes and interviews. Really, anywhere you need a nice small soft source, they do the trick.

Best,

Dan
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