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Old December 23rd, 2018, 09:50 PM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Sacramento, California
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Arri Tungsten Frensels or LED...

I need to add a few more lights to my setup and my first thought my ARRI fresnels, but can anyone convince me on some good LEDs? Something reliable, not build out of cheap plastic, and somewhat affordable?

Specifically for lighting a 10' by 8' greenscreen. Been using 2 300 watt tungstens, one on each side, but they are getting pretty old and unreliable at this point. (15 years old and cheap plastic Briteks).

I know LEDs run cooler, less power, etc. But there are two things I don't like on the few LED lights I have tried in the past / researched on:
1) Reliable....most reviews on BHvideo have a few stories of their $800 LEDs not working at first or needing a return.
2) Housing.....plastic plastic plastic. At least ARRI Fresnels are almost indestructible!

Thanks so much in advance for the information!
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Old December 24th, 2018, 03:20 PM   #2
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Re: Arri Tungsten Frensels or LED...

I've *not* been an early adopter of LED tech, mostly because tungsten is light weight, compact, durable, relatively inexpensive, and produces better light. And, I already own as much lighting as I want to set up myself. Larger sets call for more lights *and* crew!

On the other hand, we're well past the early adopter stage of LED lighting, and it's become light and compact, and color rendition has much improved... for the pricey lights!

But if you're talking lighting the screen, it's hard to do better than vertical 4' fluorescent fixtures. The leader would be a Kinoflo 4' 4-bank "gaffer" two light kit, which I speced and we use for screen lighting at my college. They are great for this! We use Kino's green tubes for head to knees, and usually tungsten-balance for head to toe shots.

For greenscreen in my home office, I grabbed a couple of 4' shop lights, u-bolted them to mic stands vertically, and have some pretty decent screen lights for less than $100 USD. 4 tube shop lights, if you can find them...

When you're lighting the screen, CRI isn't so important, IMHO, though, getting the pure green of the Kino green tubes is very nice when you cut the key. I'm happy enough with my cheap lights at home, they work fine. Likewise, the color temp for dedicated screen lighting isn't important either. Cool white, warm white, whatever, in my experience.

Given my tungsten inertia, at home I continue to light foreground subjects for greenscreen with a variety of soft and hard conventional lights, with Lowell Rifa 55 as my go-to soft light.

At school, we start with Kinoflo Diva 401 as a soft source in the foreground, we usually run the foreground tungsten-balanced for max flexibility with our lighting inventory.

It isn't clear from your initial post whether you're lighting the screen separately from the foreground - certainly it's the best way to have good green source for easy keying. It also allows you to maximize subject-to-screen distance, decreasing spill, which also makes for easy and clean keys.
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
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Old December 25th, 2018, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: Arri Tungsten Frensels or LED...

Arri Fresnels are wonderful things - I've been doing theatre lighting since the late 70s, and then video later and only about 8 years ago did I bring in some Arris to augment a theatre rig and was surprised to find they worked well in that role too. For theatre I've been using Strand kit for ever - because it was (not is) standard here, and the 1K and 2K Fresnels were great with nice blending and reliability - many still being used despite being new in the 70s, and even late 60s. As they do eventually die, modern replacements don't cut it. The Arris do.

LED washes from either micro-Fresnel lenses (horrible things) or multi-source designs kick out plenty of light but have very odd shadows. I've been washing green screens for a while now with the in-line types - 24 cells or RGB, and washing a green wall with just the green LEDs produces a nice key able green, but I'm still using 650 and 1K Arris for face light. The LED panels and other designs just looks hard and less 'pretty'. Currently I have a 650W as a key, and a 1K with diffuser as fill, with the LEDs doing the green screen and it works pretty well.
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Old December 31st, 2018, 11:01 AM   #4
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Re: Arri Tungsten Frensels or LED...

I mainly use LED panels to key and fill with but I still have my Arri fresnels to light BGs, hair/rim. Unfortunately my Arri 1k open face finally bit the dust. I have had so many softboxes on it over the years and the gaffers I work with have had to crank the yolk down so tightly to support softboxes that the screw from the yolk actually separated from the housing. I called Arri Burbank to see if they could repair and they said yes, but it's something like a $150.00 to $200.00 repair minimum. I see used Arri 1k open faces for as cheap as $100.00 on Craigslist and Facebook groups but I have to say, in the LA market, you can't even give away tungsten lights. I've had several listed for months at super cheap prices and no inquiries. So I threw away the Arri, it's broken and too expensive to repair, I think it would need a whole new housing. Still have my two 650s, 300 and 150 fresnels but I have to say, I am buying the Luxli Cello 10" LED specifically for doing color washes for BGs for interviews, it's a much better tool for that than messing with hot lights and gels and dimmers.

Sadly, even though Tungsten gives better skin tones, I can see that pretty soon, I may sell them. The heat and cool down is a hassle for a lot of the types of shoots I have been doing and they just cannot provide the convenience and versatility that the newest RGB LEDs can. The Luxli Timpani is pretty nice for $900.00 and I have been wanting the Aputure COB 120D II mainly so I can buy that killer $150.00 Aputure Briese softbox to use with it as a key.

Nothing wrong with using Tungsten, it just depends on what you are shooting and how you are working. I recently did a shoot in a recording studio where I had to light three different rooms and there were no windows and we did the whole shoot with about 25 Arri fresenels, it was fun. But we did blow the fuses twice as it was a home studio with LOTs of recording gear setup and the power draws in specific circuits were unknown and adding in 1ks and 650s put them over the edge a few times. It was weird, we haven't blown a circuit in years because of LEDs.
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