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which practical bulbs to buy?


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#1 Lukeo

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 11:51 PM

Hey all,

I'm working on assembling my low budget light kit, and I'm wondering what are the best bulbs to get to put in practical lights sources. I've seen some that say they give off the whitest light..but I'm not sure what the colour temp of these are..it didn't say on the package. Also there's soft white bulbs, frosted, clear, etc etc. So many to choose from. Also are the coloured bulbs any good, or am I better off relying on gels for coloured light, what about flood lights? Any bulbs that will work good for a spotlight...in addition to some material to shape the light of course. Any what is the safest amount of wattage to use for practicals? is it really ok to put a 200 watt bulb in something that says max 75 watt?

Luke O
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 12:12 AM

You need to carry a WIDE assortment of light bulbs. If you are really concerned about the color temp being 3200K, you can use "photo enlarger" bulbs, which you can buy online or at large photo stores or movie expendable supply stores. They come in names like PH/211, PH/212, PH/213, like here:

http://www.donsbulbs...1|240v|75w.html

However, ordinary household bulbs, which are slightly warmer than 3200K, are used all the time for filmmaking as well. People will even put a practical on a dimmer to darken and warm up the color of the light.

Usually a frosted bulb would be used but there may be a creative reason to use a clear bulb and get that crisp light from it.

You can also use Photoflood bulbs, sold at the same places as photo enlarger bulbs. These are usually either 250w or 500w, and are 3400K except for the blue-painted ones that work out to be about 4800K. You can see some here:

http://www.warehouse.../BULBSTUDIO.htm

Reflector bulbs, PAR bulbs, etc. can be useful too in recessed lamp sockets in the ceiling, etc. These come in a wide range of flood to spot designs.

As far as putting a higher wattage bulb in a practical designed for a lower wattage bulb, you can do it IF you're careful, like by dimming or turning off the bulb between takes, keeping an eye on it. The socket and the cord will probably get overly hot over time. To be really safe, only use porcelain sockets (which you can get at a hardware store) for the higher wattage bulbs, and thicker power cords, like if you make your own Chinese Lantern and plan on using Photofloods in it.

I have a big cardboard box of lightbulbs collected over the years, not only frosted bulbs of different wattages and a few color bulbs (generally too dim for most shooting situations unless the bulb itself is in the shot), some blue-dipped Photofloods, and some spot or narrow spot PAR bulbs with ordinary Edison bases.
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#3 Don Bachmeier

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 02:44 PM

2 1/2 and 10 watt bulbs are handy to use in practicals. While warmer than 3200 they tend not to be as Jolly Rancher Orange as larger bulbs that have been dimmed. Also useful in one of those edison sockets that plugs right into the end of a stinger. Quick close-in fill and such.
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#4 Lukeo

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 01:47 AM

Thanks very much Mr.Mullen and goboboy, much appreciated!

Luke
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Glidecam

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The Slider

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Visual Products