KinoFlo setup suggestions (+ HMI background light?)
I'm looking to purchase a new lighting setup, and strongly leaning towards Kino Flo. I would be using these primarily for shooting sit-down interviews and talking head pieces. I've done my research, think I understand the differences between each light and I'm close to making a decision- but would just like to get a few opinions here in case I've overlooked anything!
I'm thinking the Diva 401 as key, either a Diva 401 or Diva 201 for fill and a Diva 201 or Barfly 200D as a hair light. I like the idea of having both lamp switches (having 4 or 2 lamps on) plus the option of dimming if I really need it (would just use plus green gel to combat the color shift) so I'm leaning towards the Diva over 4-Banks. From the photometrics I've seen, I think this combination should work well- plus having a flozier and honeycombs for finer adjustment.
I'm not too familiar with HMIs or fresnels but I think I'll need something other than a Kino for a background light (preferably would like a spherical light!). Any suggestions of something to look at there would be appreciated. It should be a couple stops below the output of a Diva and hopefully Daylight balanced as I expect to shoot with those lamps most often.
I would love to get your opinions on this setup, hopefully from those of you primarily doing this type of work and have experience with Kinos! Thanks :-)
Divas are certainly great keylights, especially for interview and talking head setups where you don't have to put the instrument far away from the talent. Highly recommended.
I never use flos for back or hairlights though (well I wouldn't say never, but rarely). I almost always use a small tungsten fresnel for a back/hair light (usually a LTM Pepper 100 or 300). They are just so much more controllable, and often with a hair light you need a lot of control -- say you want the light to spill on the side of a subjects face just a certain way... or lets say you have a gray or white-haired (or bald) subject but he's wearing a very dark suit. In an instance like that you'd likely want a lot of light on his shoulders, but be able to very carefully flag the top of his head juuuust right. You need a very controllable (and flaggable) instrument to do that. I'll sometimes find I'm tweaking the barn doors on a backlight just a few millimeters and it makes the difference in a good shot and a horrible one. You don't have that kind of control with a flo as a backlight, and they certainly aren't cuttable with barn doors.
HMIs should usually be limited to situations where you need a fair bit of light... simulating daylight, combating windows, etc. I often use a single 1200w HMI in an interview or talking head setup, especially if I'm in a big bright location. I'll put the head very far back behind the subject (and a bit to one side), and very high (usually maxing out a junior or combo stand). Then I'll blast it into a white 4x4 bounce that is in front of (and to the opposite angle of) the subject... that becomes the key. Then by finessing the barn doors I will "steal" a little bit of the direct light as a back/side/hair light. Sometimes I'll need to "Hollywood" a bit of diffusion by hanging it on a grip arm on a C-stand to cut the intensity of the direct light on the subject (but not on the bounce card), but often the direct light is fine. HMIs though I think are generally best left to specific situations, big spaces, bright locations, and frankly to people who are used to using them.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
For one person shots, I often find that one 401 diva and one low watt fresnel does the trick. I have quite a few of the kino flos in the studio but I find that I often turn off the fill light if lighting one talking head. I find that a properly placed kino covers the face well and produces only one catch per eye. Often with two kino's you'll get snake eyes as the talent turns their head. Plus with only one you get some modeling. That said a second one comes in handy with more than one talent or a talent that moves or if there are other things in the shot that need to be lit - props, background, etc. You might want to look into the new LED lamps as well. Still on the pricey side but they are pretty amazing. I really like the matthew's baby jr triple riser with the kino's and small fresnels. Makes it very easy to position the lights, move them as needed, and is fairly light weight. Under most conditions, no sand bags needed.
Because kino flo's are not as easy to control as fresnels, you might want a couple of c-stands and flags as well.
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