Strobe Lighting verse Continuous Lighting at
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Old December 17th, 2003, 06:55 PM   #1
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Strobe Lighting verse Continuous Lighting

Quick question, say I was going to purchase some lights for video and still photography. Would purchasing a set of continuous lights for video, would those same lights do the same job for still? Do strobe lighting setups use different lamps that benefited still photography only?

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Old December 17th, 2003, 07:06 PM   #2
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The only light that would work for both would have to be continuous. How could video possibly work with strobe lighting?

If you're talking about modeling lights ,you'd get some use but they'd be pretty weak.
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Old December 17th, 2003, 07:27 PM   #3
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I knew strobe wouldnít work for video, but what Iím trying to ask (sorry its been a long day) is are there advantages to buying strobe lighting just for still photography or will the lights I use for video be just as good. Iím starting to get into still photography will all my soft boxes, photofloods, ext. work just as well for still? Is it worth it to buy strobe lights just for still?
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Old December 17th, 2003, 10:11 PM   #4
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Indeed, lights designed and marketed principally for videography/filmmaking will also work for your still photography work. In fact, they'll likely work better than most of the continuous fixtures sold for still work. If you are shooting digital stills, be sure to white-balance at the start of your shoot, just as you would when shooting video. If you are shooting film be sure to take note of the color temperatures of your lights so that you can select the proper film emulsion.

One caveat: be careful NOT to purchase soft boxes not meant for continuous lighting. Soft boxes designed for use with strobes will fry in the heat of continuous lighting.

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Old December 17th, 2003, 10:16 PM   #5
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I know that you aren't asking about strobe, but, just for interest, there are strobe lights for motion pictures. They are horrendously expensive if they put out any decent amount of light, and very much for special purposes.

Anyway, back to your question.
The answer depends a lot on whether you are doing still-life or live
Main advantages of continuous light for still photography:
Better preview of the light - better than the modelling light on flash heads.
No sudden flash - gentler in that respect
You don't have to buy two sets of lighting instruments.

Main disadvantages (doesn't apply to fluorescents):
Not as controllable in terms of light output
Large power requirement
Light modification gear is going to have to withstand the heat (but you are going to use this stuff for movies, so that is unimportant)
Not a lot of tungsten balanced still film available, so you may end up using blue gels with 2 stops of light loss. (late addition: I posted this before I saw Ken's post - we must have been writing at the same time - and as Ken points out, this is not an issue for digital stills)

So, if you use flourescents intended for photography or cinematography, you have few of the disadvantages of tungsten, but you are pretty much limited to large sources.

I like continuous light (tungsten) for still photography, and have never bothered to buy studio flash equipment, but I don't do a heap of studio work. The few tungsten still film types available are nice films.

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Old December 17th, 2003, 11:09 PM   #6
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Strobes have their place in still photography. Try shooting ice cream with hot lights. Food shots are just about impossible with hot lights. Grease melts, ice melts and lettuce wilts. Not very appetizing. Speaking of wilting, try putting people under hot lights for very long and you'll see what I mean. Hard to get a good portrait with sweat running down your models face. So, in general hot lights can be used for some subjects, but most do better under strobes.
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