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To Kine-Flo or not to Kine-Flo?


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 07:00 AM

I identify myself as a DP because I do indeed get hired to shoot a lot, mostly low-budget projects with
first time filmmakers. Consequently, I tend to use the tools I've started with rather than risk somebody's
money on something that I can learn about on one of my less frequent bigger budget projects.
So, I was on the set of a friend's low-budget HD feature and the gaffer brought the lights. Basic stuff
such as Lowell DPs. He also used two 3200K four tube Kine-Flos. They seemed nice and all but what's the
advantage to them -unless you just happen to own them anyway -compared to say bouncing an open-
faced
Lowell Omni 650w off of a piece of Foam-Cor? (okay, sure, each is 250w less but that wasn't really an
issue. The whole shoot was so low wattage that there were no tie-ins/generators and the most draw was
3k (!) which pretty much anyplace could accomadate by running a stinger or two to another room.)

This is my second and last question of the day. I don't want to hog the postings but I'm burning to know
these things -"To kine-flo or no to kine-flo" and my other post "shooting "24" daybreak scene".

Thanks everybody. This is a great site and when you share your wisdom you really help people!
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#2 Chris Cooke

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 01:35 PM

Kino's are more easily controlable than a bounce (you can actually crop the light to make it go only where you want it). They output a lot more per watt, they're lightweight, they're easy to rig, they can fit in small spaces, they're a lot cooler than any tungsten or HMI and all you have to do to change the color tempurature is change the tubes. Although, bouncing lights off of foam core has it's advantages too such as being cheaper and you can't get the output of a bounced 5K HMI from a 4 bank kino.
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#3 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 01:47 PM

I agree with all of the above. Another nice thing about the kino's is the ability to do half or full (2 bulbs as compared to 4) and IMO they produce a really nice quality of light. Also, they don't get very hot, which is a plus in small spaces.
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#4 David Sweetman

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 02:42 PM

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous illumination...or to take arms against a sea of cables, and by opposing, end them.

Anyway, I'm not particularly partial to kino's myself - but that's only because they aren't practical to me. As Chris said, they definitely have their purpose and their advantages. But the way I look at it, you can always soften a hard light; you can't harden a soft light. And I tend to like hard light anyway, so having a hard light I can also soften by bouncing or diffusing makes more sense, it's like a two-for-one deal. But of course I'm coming from a sub-micro-budget mindset.
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#5 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 02:48 PM

it's true, they are a niche device. i like them, but i also have 5k's, 2k's and the lot. there are many different ways to get to the same destination.
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 05:22 PM

But the way I look at it, you can always soften a hard light


No, you can't! ;-)

You don't always have the space at the location or at the edge of frame to set up a bounce or diffusion plus a hard light. Nor do you always have a safe way to rig the weight, or tolerate the heat. Nor the time.

When you're lighting real locations on a feature film or TV show schedule, you begin to appreciate the speed and size of Kino units. On most shows of this type, any time you need a little extra fill, 9 times out of 10 a Kino is the first thing a gaffer or electrician will have ready to fly in.

It's true they're not for everything, but neither are traditional "hard' units. I prefer to use the smaller kinos more for fill and accents around the set, as the quality of light is kind of ugly when used as a key. But if you use larger units like Image 80's or Wall-o-lites you can get a beautiful key out of them.

Even on a "sub-micro budget" it's good to learn how to use a variety of lighting tools and rigs. I still use things like regular houshold bulbs, shop lights, and ropelights placed strategically around the set to get the right look.
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#7 Barry Cheong

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 07:47 PM

I also prefer the smaller Kino units. The 2 footer units are some of my favourite. Lots of times I've stripped them out of the shell and taped just the tube to a wall or something to get a bit of fill light in hard to reach places. That said they work well complementing traditional fresnel lights.
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#8 Tim Tyler

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:06 PM

I still use things like regular houshold bulbs, shop lights, and ropelights


How do you use ropelights, Michael?
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#9 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:27 PM

This stuff is great! Thanks. I just got in and I've been looking forward all day to hearing what people have to say. It's like a present in the mailbox.

Edited by DPinthewilderness, 23 May 2006 - 10:28 PM.

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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 11:31 PM

How do you use ropelights, Michael?


As accent lights behind objects and built into the set (not counting when they're seen on camera as practical set dressing). Since their output is so feeble, you really can't "key" anything with them, but tucked under and behind objects they can cast a slight glow on nearby objects. You almost always have to use a couple strands (or doubled back on itself) to get enough output.

I was shown a cool rig by an electrician who sometimes provides his 10-ton for 24; a device he calls a "snail light." It's just ropelight coiled up like a snail shell, glued or J-lar taped flat onto a piece of foamcore. Thw whole rig is maybe 12" in diameter, and gets taped to the center of the steering wheel for driving shots. Bingo, soft key light for the driver's face without any of the "burnt knuckles" you can get with kino's placed on the dash. I have yet to use it myself, but it's made appearances on 24.
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#11 Christian Tanner

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 12:25 PM

talking kinos...

i thought about keying with kinos.
because i think it hasnt been mentioned that the kinos have a nice fast drop off. my theory is... that if keyed with kinos - that drop off shows on the actors/actress face. i believe to have observed that - and i quite liked it. but again, just a theory.

anyway - what reasons not to key with kinos?

Edited by cary, 28 May 2006 - 12:26 PM.

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