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Old January 27th, 2007, 06:17 PM   #1
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Latest Home Depot find.

Our local Home Depot has adjustable (up, down, & titl) twin-headed halogen worklights. Each head has both a 250W and a 500W bulb providing adjustability from 250 only, to 500 only, to 750 per head. Through 6 steps/adjustments, that's a total of 1500W. Is that overkill? Am I likely to ever need that much light? I like the ability to adjust the wattage, though I'm not terribly knowledgeable about lighting.

One kit costs $ 70. I'm considering getting 2 kits. One drawback is the sickly yellow color. If I spray-paint them black or aluminum and remove the protective wire grating, I think they'd look acceptable. The other drawback is that the individual heads cannot be separated much, so the 2 stands supplemented by a floor light might be required. Obviously no barn doors, but I have an upcoming job that will involve shots in a machine shop (think grinding, sparks and metal particles, oily surfaces, and lots of noise) and I think these kits should work well given the potentially harsh environment.

Other than the need for heavy-duty extension cords, what am I overlooking?

All input invited.
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Old January 27th, 2007, 06:46 PM   #2
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There are instructions out there for making barndoors for these kinds of lights cheaply.

This light would be great for lighting outdoors from a distance...especially if you throw the light about 10 feet away from a bedsheet stretched out and placed about 5 foot from the subject...the light dispersion before it gets intercepted by the sheet will make a large, close light which gives a nice soft wrap around to the light :) The light ends up about 15' from the subject which requires space...but the results are very nice.
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Old January 27th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis Danatzko
One drawback is the sickly yellow color. If I spray-paint them black or aluminum and remove the protective wire grating, I think they'd look acceptable. All input invited.
Who cares what "they" look like, what matters is what your "video" looks like!

If Home Depot lights are all your budget allows for then so be it.
Just be prepared before your shoot so you know what to expect from the lights.
Make a run to the hobby/craft store and pick-up a couple of pieces of white foamcore to reflect the light for a softer look.
A trip to your local lighting/stage store to pick-up a roll of black foil to control light spill.


A good way to put together a light kit is to buy used Pro lights one at a time when your budget allows.

Good Luck with your shoot!
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Old January 27th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #4
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Two things I REALLY hate about halogen worklights are the relatively short stands and the incredible heat they produce. Working indoors in Hawaii with these things is murder. Outdoors, they need full CTO and that kills the brightness. Indoors, the stands are too short and hit people straight in the face. I think lights need to be at least 7' off the ground (the lamp itself) to be useful. A 5' or 6' stand with a lamp 6" above that is too short. If you are in a professional situation, big yellow lights look cheap.

If you live in a cool climate and can get tall worklights and paint them with black hi-temp paint, they would be a nice addition to an affordable kit if they fit in your vehicle.
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Old January 27th, 2007, 09:29 PM   #5
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coleman makes a set with 7' stands! And flat black spray paint is cheap :)
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Old January 28th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #6
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THANKS for all the responses.

Cole: I hadn't thought about dispersion, particularly about the size of the reflective surface. Now you've got me considering that size as another way to use/control the light. I hadn't checked the height, but WILL check out the Colemans.

David: I agree looks alone don't affect performance, but I want to achieve/maintain a professional appearance", even if my lights aren't. I'm hoping this gig will lead to others (don't we all share that hope?) and want to make a good "first impression", even though the completed project will speak for itself. I've been skeptical of buying used. What's your experience with that? Is the equipment usually in good working order? Or is it really a crap shoot?

Marcus: Good tip on the height and spread. (I'd settle for 7', even though I think the textbooks suggest 12'. For this particular shoot, the ceilings are only about 10' high, though who knows what future shoots will provide). I was aware both would be factors, but hadn't considered the "in your face" factor, particularly at face level. Thanks for that. As for heat, I have this idea of fashioning an aluminum box housing a whisper fan to attach to each head. I realize that won't vent the heat from the room, but it should help direct some away from the lamps and shot.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 12:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis Danatzko
I've been skeptical of buying used. What's your experience with that? Is the equipment usually in good working order? Or is it really a crap shoot?
Every Pro light I own was purchased used.
With the economy like it is today, there is always some video production facility going under and selling off their gear.
Or some wanabe indi film maker selling their light kit to buy a better one.
Not to mention rental houses that sell off gear.

I have purchased everything from little Lowel L-Lights and Mole 1Ks to 575 HMIs, and everything in-between.
As long as the gear has been taken care of, you should be good to go.
Although I always like to purchase new lamps for each light I buy.

And I like to purchase my softboxes new, as they can yellow over time.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 03:06 PM   #8
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I think the Home Depot solution is a pretty good one. I know exactly which units you mean; I've used them from time to time.

The "scalability" of these is a nice touch. To help with dispersion and to eliminate blinding people, I generally just bounce these off the ceiling.

Color of the light shouldn't be an issue as long as you do a white balance prior to shooting (assuming these are your primary light source.) I guess you'd have a problem if you mixed these with other lights or with sunlight coming in through the window.

Outdoor is obviously another story.

One caveat: even one of these can blow a household circuit-breaker if there's other stuff being used on the same circuit. I've had it happen to me. If you use two, try to put them on different circuits, as many household circuits are only 15 or 20 Amps.

I'd leave the protective grating on. It's there to prevent a nasty burn, and given how low these things will stand it makes sense to leave them, I think.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 02:12 PM   #9
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Give the "continuous lighting" section of eBay a look, too. Keep in mind that, except for HMI's, there's just not a lot "to" many lights, making used stuff a potential bargain. Check out the wiring, tighten up connectors, and get a replacement bulb.

Pyramid Films sells tons of studio lights on eBay; they seem to drop 'em in waves, last week there were plenty of smaller moles & softlights. The market for cheap fresnels, pars, and scoops seems to have gone through the roof in the last 18 months, with tons of manufacturers importing a wide range of stuff. Quality may be an issue, but I'd think a 600w fresnel with a gel frame and barn doors and a matthews-size stand adapter for $100 or so would be worth considering over a work light, black paint, foil, and home-made tin barn doors any day (and all that TIME to tweak it all up). (I'm referring to this one: http://tinyurl.com/2pbrrk)

If you're handy with the black paint, give this a try:
http://tinyurl.com/yvtakl
(You'd need a couple spud adapters at $15 a pop or so...)

Theatrical fresnels can be a great bargain. they usually need paint, a spud, and you'll need to wire a switch and a plug to 'em. Take the lens out and slide the bulb tot eh front (Flood) position and they're almost as broad as a work light.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 11:01 PM   #10
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Timely Barndoor info

In reference to barndoors for halogen worklights, I just happened to be working on my first VLOG entry on my site teaching people how to add barndoors to their worklights. I saw someone mentioned they might want barndoors. So here you go. There's even a free template download for cutting out the pattern on a piece of sheet metal.

http://www.coollights.biz/wordpress/...video-magazine

Enjoy...
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Old February 4th, 2007, 05:13 PM   #11
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Wouldn't it be better to make yourself an egg crate if you're using a soft source like that??

(I've never used a light like that, so I'm just curious.)
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Old February 4th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold
I think the Home Depot solution is a pretty good one. I know exactly which units you mean; I've used them from time to time.

...

I'd leave the protective grating on. It's there to prevent a nasty burn, and given how low these things will stand it makes sense to leave them, I think.
And leave the glass on too! Its meant for UV protection. Those halogen bulbs emit a lot of UV. Only take the glass off if your converting to a fluorescent fixture like the one I showed in the picture.
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Old February 4th, 2007, 11:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Wouldn't it be better to make yourself an egg crate if you're using a soft source like that??

(I've never used a light like that, so I'm just curious.)
I really like the barn doors and an egg crate (as we know them) would just be too large and ungainly for such a small light. Perhaps the thinner, silverized plastic egg crate used in commercial lighting fixtures might work--then need a method to attach it. Haha--another DIY project. Maybe I'll try that and see if I like it better.

I love putting these all around my studio both hung on the ceiling and especially on stands to get them closer in when necessary. Its just so convenient and puts just the right amount of light (using a 30w bulb) out on the subject--whatever that may be.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 04:51 PM   #14
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I'll vouch for these guys' power and versatility. We hung a thin white blanket from two light stands and put the 1000w tower with two of these halogens, and taped another 500w one, and aimed them all at the blanket directly behind it, creating this huge diffuse wall. This was for a music video, and we absolutely loved the results. Total $ spent? About fifty bucks.

Take a look at these screengrabs.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 10:33 AM   #15
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Harsh Lights from Home Depot

I have a couple of these 500w hallogen lights from Home Depot. By themselves, they have a pretty fast falloff. I have no problems coming up with ways to diffuse them, but how would I go about making them even harsher? Does anyone have any ideas for how to convert one of these lights into some sort of Fresnel? I'm looking into low-budget ideas here.
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