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Inexpensive Fluorescent

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Bob Cole
Inexpensive Fluorescent
on Jul 26, 2008 at 3:59:21 am

I find myself needing more output, with the option of daylight. Can't afford the HMI route yet, so I'm looking at adding to my fluorescent kit (Kino Flo Diva 4, and a little Lowel 2-tube).

On eBay I came across a company from Korea named Konova which offers 2' 6-tube units at an attractive price point. Has anyone here used these fixtures? Are the bulbs interchangeable with the bulbs for the Diva?

Bob C





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Todd Terry
Re: Inexpensive Fluorescent
on Jul 26, 2008 at 5:19:03 am

Hey Bob...

You say you can't afford HMIs yet... and that's very understandable. But have you checked out Richard's line of budget HMIs over at CoolLights?

I was a little skeptical but gave it a try and bought one of his 1200w HMIs about a month ago... and I've been pretty darn happy with it.

It's not quite an ArriSun as far as build quality goes... but close. And at a fraction of the price.

My only complaint is that the ballast has a fan in it... but at least it is pretty quiet. In an extremely quiet closed small "live" room it might be noticiable... but it hasn't posed a problem yet (and I doubt I'd need a 1200 in a small room anyway), and it has the usual 25' head cable so its relatively easy to put the ballast a reasonable distance from any mics. As for his smaller units, I believe the 575 uses the same ballast, but the little ballasts for his 150's are fanless.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Rick Wise
Re: Inexpensive Fluorescent
on Jul 26, 2008 at 6:26:38 pm

I tried, without success, to find any Konova units anywhere on the intgernet. You might look at Cool Lights, for example http://www.coollights.biz/cl655p-cool-lights-portable-watt-softlight-p-68.h..., a 6-bulb unit for $588. They are out of stock for the moment, but you could phone them up for more information.

FloLight also makes a 6-bulb unit for $629, http://www.prompterpeople.com/fb-330.php

The Cool Lights HMIs are still blazingly expensive for low-budget work.

Finally, there is the option (perhaps not in your area) to rent when you need some extra lights for a specific project. I find that to justify any purchase, no matter my own lust, I have to be able to pretty well count on enough upcoming projects to pay it off fairly soon. The exception is when you are just getting started and have to jump in, cold. But that's not your case.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Rick Wise
Re: Inexpensive Fluorescent
on Jul 26, 2008 at 6:31:13 pm

PS: I've signed up to write a Cow article comparing many 4-bulb fluorescent units on price, output, color temperature, ease to pack up, weight with bulbs, etc. It's a work in progress. There will also be a few non-4 bulb (like 9-bulb) units with similar output to the gold standard, the Kino Flo 4 x 4.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Vince Becquiot
Re: Inexpensive Fluorescent
on Jul 31, 2008 at 2:35:47 am

I hate to give bad reviews, and I think Cool Lights has some improved fluorescents versions that look a bit like the Diva 400, but the 2 we bought a year or so ago (all metal) were pretty funky. They would cast an obvious shadow in the center, the mirror barn doors are also a terrible idea (reflections all over the place, not what a barn door is designed to do). The metal bracket that held the bulbs were very very thin, to the point that I was afraid of moving the fixture without removing the bulbs. We also had a ballast go out after the second shoot. In summary, a bad experience, but as always you get what you pay for.

Vince



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Bob Cole
Fluorescent with punch/throw
on Jul 31, 2008 at 12:45:32 pm

[Vince Becquiot] "I hate to give bad reviews"

And I love to read bad reviews, especially before I buy something. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences.

I'm just going to rent what I need, and perhaps a good deal more than I need, which is better than buying something that may be problematic and inadequate. Probably an HMI and several fluorescents for fill.

Another question: What's a good fluorescent with punch or "throw?" The lack of "throw" in the units I've used (Diva, Foto Flo) bothers me because there is action across the set, and in order to keep the levels relatively uniform I will need to back the lights off.

Although Lowel is frequently dissed, at least they publish detailed information on the output of their fixtures. Is there a good source on the output of various fluorescent fixtures?

Bob C

MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
Kona LHe
Sony HDV Z1
Sony HDV M25U
HD-Connect MI
Betacam UVW1800
DVCPro AJ-D650


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Rick Wise
Re: Fluorescent with punch/throw
on Aug 3, 2008 at 11:39:54 pm

Unless you a)have enough steady work needing gear and b)really know what you need, renting is a much better way to go.

Most of the manufacturers of off-brand fluorescents do not publish good stats about their units. Kino Flo and Lowel do. As for a fluorescent with "punch", fluorescents are designed to be soft sources of light. They do not, in general, have "punch". From their specs, the punchiest of these units would be the Kino Flo Parabeams.

With all lighting units, the intensity drops off at the rate of the square of the distance. Move an actor twice as far from the unit, only 1/4 of the light will hit him. That's why it's far easier to have a large unit far back: as the actor moves a few feet closer or further from the unit the exposure varies very little. But a large, soft unit set close to the actor will cause you grief when he/she moves a bit further away. Sometimes, of course, that rapid drop-off is just what you want.

Another solution is to have a series of small units that stack up; as the actor walks, he/she walks in/out of each small unit, usually in a pleasing way.

I was going to write an article for Cow Magazine that would compare the output and other characteristics of all the available fluorescent units that are in the same general league as a Kino 4x4. However, the cost and time became prohibitive and we have spiked the piece.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Fluorescent with punch/throw
on Aug 4, 2008 at 12:14:00 am

[Rick Wise] "...the cost and time became prohibitive and we have spiked the piece."

Dammit!... I was seriously looking forward to reading that. Grrr.




T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Bob Cole
unspike that piece
on Aug 11, 2008 at 9:38:40 pm

I agree with Todd. A good comparison of fluorescents would be valuable.

I'd be interested in hearing experiences with punchier fluoro's like the Parabeam or Image 80.

MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
Kona LHe
Sony HDV Z1
Sony HDV M25U
HD-Connect MI
Betacam UVW1800
DVCPro AJ-D650


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