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Author Topic: Continuous Lighting... an Introduction?  (Read 11765 times)
Yoram from Berlin
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« on: April 27, 2012, 02:20:10 AM »
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Hi all.

I am increasingly frustrated with Flash, and would like to move to Continuous Light. I have been shooting ProFoto for years, at my studio I use the Pro8 System with ProHeads and some D1s, all nicely controlable via the (rather lame) Air Remote system... I see that ProFoto has a continuous light system... but what other systems are there, and what are people's comments and experiences in general. Any discussion would be helpful.

Apologies if this is the wrong sub-forum.

Best,

Yoram
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 09:13:22 AM »
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There are many continuous light systems that might fit your needs. Since we don't know what your source of frustration is and as I haven't looked at your portfolio, that makes it rather hard to suggest what kind of system might best fit your needs.

Clearly you have spent a lot of money on your lighting gear and probably wish to be able to continue using your collection of Profoto based light modifiers. If that is the case look at the products from http://www.k5600.com/ as they make an adapter to use their HMI lighting tools with Profoto mount light modifiers.
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Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
Yoram from Berlin
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 09:23:24 AM »
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Will do, thanks for the link.

My frustration is simply not being able to see what I'm shooting. I like the idea of being able to shoot "available light" that I control... shooting what I see. So my frustration is general, not manufacturer-specific. And although being able to use my existing modifiers is really nice, it pales in comparison to the overall cost of a system... but Yes, having a system that fits warrants being part of the evaluation process.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 09:33:26 AM »
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Okay Yoram,  I've looked at your portfolio now. It is beautiful work. I'd describe it as  strongly narrative based surreal erotic fashion with top flight production values, styling and set construction.

 If you haven't worked with continuous or "hot" lights before here is a rough rule of them for gauging how much power you need:  Electronic flash at a shutter speed of 1/60th second is pretty close to 20 times more efficient if you are comparing watt-seconds (AKA joules) to quartz-Halogen and HMI* sources. meaning that if you shoot at 1/60th second and you have a Profoto head putting out 1,000 w-s to get the same intensity of light you'll need a 20K watt source. If you can shoot at longer shutter speeds the ratio goes down ( if at 1/60th the ratio is 20:1 at 1/30th the ratio is 10:1, etc.) and if you shoot at shorter speeds the ratio goes up. One way to think about this is that you'll be getting into  Gregory Crewdson size productions ( crew, bulk and expenses) which is also  essentially what is  required for a movie set.

(*HMI maybe a bit more efficient than quartz-halogen but is not terribly more efficient.)

You might consider using stronger or supplemental modeling lights in your Profoto heads if they will let you do that. I never dim my modeling lights but that is just me.

You should go check out some of the film/ television production company rental houses near where you are based.

Continuous type lights also create a very different look than electronic flash does.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 09:38:15 AM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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Petrus
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 10:07:58 AM »
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Correctly set up modeling lights in a totally darkened studio shows quite exactly what the exposure is going to look like. I do like to shoot with continuous light, but there are serious limitations: just not enough power for short exposures and enough DOF at the same time. Just another day I was able to shoot action shots at 1/1000 sec, but that was at f:2 and ISO 800 with three 2.4kW and two 800 W HMI fresnels provided by the video crew (circuit breakers were popping all the time). Getting nowhere near the same illumination power what even a mediocre studio flash system provides would mean a huge investment in cinema style lights, ten times bigger electric cabling and power bill, and sizable investment in air conditioning to get rid of all the heat produced, not to speak about the weight and positioning limitations of the light fixtures. For portraits lighter LED panels and KinoFlo type fluorescents would work, but the color temperatures are not nearly as exact as with matched studio flashes.
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TMARK
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 11:13:16 AM »
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I agree with the above responses.  I learned lighting in film and TV.  When I was shooting comercialy I mainly used strobes, but started mixing in Kinos, then a bunch of Arri 1 and 3ks, then an Arri Sun and other HMI's.  The cabeling, crew (you need grips for this stuff, its usually not in the average assistants' experience), multiple distro boxes, heavier grip equipment (ever use a Cinevator?) and massive power on location presents a challenge.  When I was doing comined film and stills, we used Red cameras and 5D2's, bumping the ISO so that we could use the least amount of power possible. 

You will also need to up your grip skills, or really "cross train".  I always made my own mdifiers for continious, because alot of the stills modifiers just don't exist for a 1k fresnel.  I was obsessed with building a hot light modifier like the big Briese Focus.  I did it in the end, with difussion and grided fresnels, but it took a long time to set up.  In the end I jut rented a Focus and use dthe Briese HMI.

That being said, I like continious, I like how digital reads 3200k as a white point, makes things look nice, puts a heen on skin rather than penetrating it like 5600k sources.

Kee in mind that it is not really What You See is What You Get.  More so than strobes, but at the same time, the DR of the scene you just lit will be compressed to what is viewable on a monitor and eventually print.  So those shadows will go dark, the highlights may be lost, etc.   In short, I'd hang oin to my Pro 8 and get some HMI and Kinos, maybe a Arri fresnel, and experiement.  See if the extra pain is worth it.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 12:03:28 PM »
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Nice work Yoram. Great sense of mise en scène. (scenery in english ?)

TMARK (wich isn't Mark T but T first) is right IMO.
You'd need to up your grip skills. (grip is a very north american term when it comes to lightning crew) Also this wysisn'twyg drove me crazy. I sort of found a d.i.y that supose to emulates the compression's results on a monitor that I always have mounted on cam 1; but it eventually decalibrates after awhile. The power is a prob.

But as a visual render point of view I prefer the CLs.  
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 01:28:58 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2012, 12:59:53 PM »
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Yes, interesting stuff you've got here!

Two things: from whence cometh this idea of the fear of female sexuality, to which you have referred; I think that the black/white in Sketches is, for me, the very best work.

Rob C
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TMARK
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2012, 01:49:16 PM »
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Fred,

Nothing looks better to me than tungston lit portraits on large format film. The light leaves this sheen on the skin whih strobes and daylight can't.
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TMARK
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 01:50:54 PM »
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There is a book you should get, called the Lighting Technicians Feld Guide, or something along those lines.  Really very useful.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2012, 02:16:46 PM »
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Subscribing to American Cinematographer, the magazine published by the American Society of Cinematographers,  is a great place to start: http://www.theasc.com/ac_magazine/April2012/current.php
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Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
fredjeang
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2012, 02:57:34 PM »
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Fred,

Nothing looks better to me than tungston lit portraits on large format film. The light leaves this sheen on the skin whih strobes and daylight can't.

I agree ! One of the reason I like the Alexa is that it's, IMO, working brillantly with this config and very close to film look. It's organic, erotic. (curious those ends in "ic")
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 03:30:19 PM by fredjeang » Logged
David Sutton
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2012, 05:13:56 PM »
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but what other systems are there, and what are people's comments and experiences in general. Any discussion would be helpful.
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com
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smthopr
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2012, 02:08:57 PM »
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Beautiful work Mr. Flatline!

You are doing quite well with the strobes.

In movies, we're shooting ISO 500-1000 at 1/50th sec at f2.0-f4.0 for the most part.

If you need to freeze motion or shoot hand held, or have deep depth of focus, you'll proabably stick with strobes.

For an experiment, you might want to hire a movie gaffer and small crew. Come up with a concept and see if you can shoot it on a budget that you can afford.  It might even be enough to have the concept and consult with the gaffer on a lighting budget.

For the most part I would suggest using daylight balanced lamps as they are more efficient and will give also a more efficient result with digital capture.  With this, you might be able to avoid renting a generator. Just determine the highest ISO you can use, along with the longest shutter speed and widest aperture you can use. Scout the location with the gaffer and see if it all makes financial sense.

That's my suggestion Smiley. Keep up the good work!
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Bruce Alan Greene
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Yoram from Berlin
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2012, 01:12:05 AM »
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Thank you all so much for the comment, and thank you for the compliments :-)  Ok, I will go play... I shoot in studio... the forest is in one of my studios in Berlin, not a location... so access to power and space are not a problem.

Is there a central way to control light systems? Like a fader board, or something more sophisticated?
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John Camp
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2012, 01:29:39 AM »
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Kirk Tuck, a photographer from Austin, Texas, has just written a book on the new LED continuous lighting, and has discussed the uses of LEDs several times in his blog. That might be what you are looking for. His blog is here: http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/
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Yoram from Berlin
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« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2012, 01:58:32 AM »
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I have a couple of these LED things, but they seem like the Speedlights of Continuous Light. They are finicky, require AA batteries, and are quite small... No, I want something beefy.  I made that mistake about five years ago when I began focusing on Flash, and the websites said "all you need are speedlights, they're just as good now as big strobes." I bought one, then two, then two more, and then realized they didn't work for me. I need power, group control, and I do NOT want to worry about charging AA batts.
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K.C.
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« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2012, 03:26:00 AM »
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You might contact James Russell and his team. They're shooting images like this with HMI.

http://www.russellrutherford.com/julia7/

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jsch
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2012, 07:35:21 AM »
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...
(*HMI maybe a bit more efficient than quartz-halogen but is not terribly more efficient.)
...

I thought HMI are approximately 4 times more efficient than tungsten. If you take the blue filter (1 1/3 f-stops of light loss) into account to come to daylight balancing with tungsten it is about another f-stop advantage for HMI. If I remember the numbers right, if not correct me:

HMI 575 approx. –> tungsten 2k without blue filter
HMI 575 approx. –> tungsten 4k with blue filter

That makes HMI so attractive. Unattractive is their price and the hassle with all the ballast and stuff.

Best,
Johannes
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Yoram from Berlin
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« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 08:10:48 AM »
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Help me understand this a little better, please... Tungsten are what we formerly know as light bulbs, right? Except these would be more bright and consistent in their light color. What is HMI? Is it Halogen?
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