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Help me flag on a tight budget....


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#1 Micah Fernandez

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 10:12 AM

I'm sure several of you at one point or another have worked with those rectangular halogen tungsten lights that are used to light up garden exteriors. They dissapate an ungodly amount of heat, melting brand new gels in mere minutes. Anyway, I've been using 5 of these units (one 1kW, 4 500W) in a short I'm shooting for a friend. They're incredibly difficult to control; it's either they give off too much light or none at all and they spill all over the place. Because of this, I'm always afraid of ending up too flat, or not having enough light at all. Maybe I'm just not flagging right...anyway, does anyone have any advice, flagging tips, emulating barndoors, ways to make the light fixtures more "spot"....anything. It's quite a bother, and it doesn't help that the location we're using has an incredibly reflective orange floor (skin tones and white walls on daylight balance are freakishly red)

Thanks. Hoping to hear great advice as usual. :)
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#2 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 10:25 AM

Though I haven't worked with those halogen work lights, I am very familiar with open faced tungsten sources. While you can spot and flood some open face units, the ones you're working with usually don't offer that option, which is one reason why they're $25.

The cheapest and easiest way to narrow the beam spread is to use blackwrap on the unit, only be careful to allow a little breathing room so they don't overheat and blow the bulb. If you put gels or diffusion too close to any light, it will burn up and melt. Diffusion should be put on frames away from the face of the light. If you put it right on the barn doors it isn't really softening as much as it is just cutting the amount of light. The further away you can get it from the source, the softer the light will become.

One effective way to turn those worklights into something useful is to bounce them into bead board and let the bounced light pass through diffusion, this practice is commonly called a "booklight". It's useful for creating soft light in close courters where the units are fairly close to the subjects. The other way, if you can get the lights far away enough is to aim them directly at the subjects and sets but make sure you have 6x6 or 4x4 frames of heavy diffusion. 216 or greater at least a few feet away from the light.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 07:33 PM

You should buy a couple of rolls of black wrap. You can snoot it or square it off like barn doors if needed. Also, it's very reusable, so you won't need too much of it.
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#4 Micah Fernandez

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 08:35 PM

use blackwrap

That was my first idea, but since the AD isn't interested in helping me out I guess I'll try to source it on my own. It's very difficult to find here. I've been using all sorts of alternatives to little effect.

bounce them into bead board

I usually bounce the lights on an illustration board or a styrofoam reflector. What is a bead board and how will it be different?

Thanks for the tips.
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#5 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 03:50 PM

What is a bead board and how will it be different?


Beadboard is the same thing as styro board.
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#6 WLphoto

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 11:19 AM

Black "cinefoil" is available at

www.calumet.com
www.bhphotovideo.com ---- cheaper
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