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Does anybody buy Kino tubes and use them in standard ballasts?


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#1 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 06:34 PM

I've seen lots of pictures of the various Kino-Flos but haven't had much opportunity to use them
and probably won't for a while. However, I was wondering if I could make out okay buying some
standard fixtures and ballasts at a home improvement store but using the Kino tubes.

1. The Kinos are available in daylight or tungsten balance (or close to it I understand) with good
C.R.I.s. Do they produce more light than comparable wattage standard (non-film industry) tubes?

2. It seems from the Kino site that their ballasts help prevent flicker. If I bought home
improvement store type set-up, would this be a problem?

3. The Kino site has detailed photometrics tables. I was surprised that the light output
is much lower than I would have expected given all the shoots I've heard about that use
only one or two of the two or four bank 2 ft. or 4 ft. units.

What do you think? Could I cobble together a low-budget kit this way?

Edited by Jim Feldspar, 16 January 2007 - 06:34 PM.

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#2 Troy Warr

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 07:06 PM

Hi Jim,

Just wanted to mention that there's a thread going currently that talks about a very similar topic:

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=19692

I think there should be some useful information in there about what you're looking to do here. As for the actual Kino Flo brand bulbs, a quick search on bhphotovideo.com shows that they run about $42 per 6' bulb, which seems pretty astronomical to me. I'm not quite far enough in my own research to know what a different brand high-CRI bulb would cost, but I would think that you could make your money go further with a slightly less premium brand. I know that I've used the more expensive bulbs (<$10 each) from a standard hardware store like Home Depot and they performed well enough for my purposes at the time, so that may be worth some testing.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 07:17 PM

The Kino ballasts are high-frequency flicker-free ballasts that help output too -- the Kino tubes themselves are not brighter than other tubes. They do come in a protective plastic sleeve so if the tube shatters, you don't get glass everywhere. I do find that any tube closer to daylight-balance seems brighter than one closer to tungsten balance, although I've never tested this specifically.

If any large number of tubes are needed, generally productions will opt for something cheaper to buy.
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 08:02 PM

with Kinos one also is paying for a nice film friendly means of attaching lights to stands or rigging and ballasts that are dimmable, each bulb may be switchable, and may be DMX ready. it is not just abvout the bulbs.

One could get the Optima 32's or 50's, or Chroma 32's or 50's, and there is a comapny called Movietone that makes color correct bulbs as well. There are probably others too.

Hey David, don't forget that the saftey coating on some flourescent bulbs not only keeps the glass from shattering all over, it also keeps the detrimental health affects to a minimum by keeping poisonious gases and phosphorous chemicals contained.

Best

Tim
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#5 Miguel Bunster

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 08:55 PM

I have used or tried kinos on normal fixtures and the tungsten tubes went magenta and loss a lot of output...have seen in in some other cases so i dont try it to much....
Best
M
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#6 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 09:21 PM

Hi Jim,

Just wanted to mention that there's a thread going currently that talks about a very similar topic:

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=19692

I think there should be some useful information in there about what you're looking to do here. As for the actual Kino Flo brand bulbs, a quick search on bhphotovideo.com shows that they run about $42 per 6' bulb, which seems pretty astronomical to me. I'm not quite far enough in my own research to know what a different brand high-CRI bulb would cost, but I would think that you could make your money go further with a slightly less premium brand. I know that I've used the more expensive bulbs (<$10 each) from a standard hardware store like Home Depot and they performed well enough for my purposes at the time, so that may be worth some testing.

"Some useful information"? The replies here are great but I've just spent 40 minutes on that
thread following all of its links. It should be a role model for threads. I did a search all forums
search before I made this post but I think that I may have been too specific because I got
only one thread and it wasn't that one (which I'm surprised I missed in just my general
daily perusing.)


Yes, I think that you're right on that I can make my money go further by finding some good
tubes with good CRIs that aren't necessarily Kinos. Stretching a couple of bucks may mean
that I can buy more lights and maybe make both a daylight and tungsten balanced set-up.
Thanks.
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#7 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 09:39 PM

The Kino ballasts are high-frequency flicker-free ballasts that help output too -- the Kino tubes themselves are not brighter than other tubes. They do come in a protective plastic sleeve so if the tube shatters, you don't get glass everywhere. I do find that any tube closer to daylight-balance seems brighter than one closer to tungsten balance, although I've never tested this specifically.

If any large number of tubes are needed, generally productions will opt for something cheaper to buy.


That other thread had some links and the general sense that a do it yourself project could be
done because it's possible to buy high frequency ballasts which will help with flicker although
I'll have to find out if they'll help the output at all.

I've seen clear plastic protective sleeves for sale at the store and they're not terribly expensive
plus they'd be a one time purchase unlike the lights, even though they seem to last pretty long
so replacing tubes wouldn't be as much of an issue as needing to replace blue dipped photofloods.

It seems to me that if the Kino tubes aren't brighter inherently, then I probably could find some
decent tubes for less money. Right now I'm shooting mostly video (Mini-DV) and there seem to be
a fair number of tubes with CRIs above 95 and good color temperatures.

Is flicker more of a problem when shooting film than shooting video? I beleve that flicker is
caused by different frames receiving unequal amounts of light. I like to shoot 24P at 1/48th of
a second which I guess is pretty close to film at 24 f.p.s. and 1/50th sec. exposure.

Thanks.

with Kinos one also is paying for a nice film friendly means of attaching lights to stands or rigging and ballasts that are dimmable, each bulb may be switchable, and may be DMX ready. it is not just abvout the bulbs.

One could get the Optima 32's or 50's, or Chroma 32's or 50's, and there is a comapny called Movietone that makes color correct bulbs as well. There are probably others too.

Hey David, don't forget that the saftey coating on some flourescent bulbs not only keeps the glass from shattering all over, it also keeps the detrimental health affects to a minimum by keeping poisonious gases and phosphorous chemicals contained.

Best

Tim


Yes, but if I have to use a more unwieldy light that I can afford rather than have none at all
that should be okay. Thanks for the specific recommendations. I'm going to check them out.

As far as minimizing detrimental health effects, it mentions on the Kino site that single tubes
may be
used handheld if desired. Would this be unwise with other tubes and would it depend on
contact with chemicals and/or hotter surfaces? Thanks.


I have used or tried kinos on normal fixtures and the tungsten tubes went magenta and loss a lot of output...have seen in in some other cases so i dont try it to much....
Best
M

I'm going to research tube and ballast combinations and see what I can get.
Thanks, Miguel.
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#8 timHealy

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 06:39 PM

As far as minimizing detrimental health effects, it mentions on the Kino site that single tubes
may be
used handheld if desired. Would this be unwise with other tubes and would it depend on
contact with chemicals and/or hotter surfaces? Thanks.


You can use all fluorescent fixtures safely any way you want. The only thing to avoid are inhaling or touching whatever chemicals and phosphorous gas and dust are inside if the bulb breaks.

best

Tim

Edited by timHealy, 18 January 2007 - 06:39 PM.

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#9 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 10:41 PM

You can use all fluorescent fixtures safely any way you want. The only thing to avoid are inhaling or touching whatever chemicals and phosphorous gas and dust are inside if the bulb breaks.

best

Tim


When fluorescents break, I hold my breath and sweep fast! Thanks.
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#10 Walter Graff

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 09:46 PM

Kino tubes are over driven and hence why when you use them in a standard ballast they are green deficient. But I have built homemade fixtures that work perfectly fine with Kino Flo tubes. The ballast must be high output and high frequency 20k+. They are more expensive tan standard ballasts.
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#11 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 12:19 PM

Kino tubes are over driven and hence why when you use them in a standard ballast they are green deficient. But I have built homemade fixtures that work perfectly fine with Kino Flo tubes. The ballast must be high output and high frequency 20k+. They are more expensive tan standard ballasts.


Thanks. I've been doing some window shopping and it seems like the various elements
such as high frequency ballasts are available from various places.

With your homemade equipment, did you mount to a stand and if so, how?

What did you use for a backing surface/reflector?


I understand that Kinos have cables that allow the lights to go up to 75 feet away from the
ballasts. Would there be any special considerations here for homemade units other than
simply more wire?
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#12 Walter Graff

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 06:56 PM

Thanks. I've been doing some window shopping and it seems like the various elements
such as high frequency ballasts are available from various places.

With your homemade equipment, did you mount to a stand and if so, how?

What did you use for a backing surface/reflector?


I understand that Kinos have cables that allow the lights to go up to 75 feet away from the
ballasts. Would there be any special considerations here for homemade units other than
simply more wire?


I use some studs and articulating arm I got from BH photo. Works great.
Reflective silvered mirror tape makes for a great reflector.
It's easier to simply have a fixture mounted ballast. Keep in mind that ballasts ARE DANGEROUS. Don't wire one if you are unsure. You can easily be killed.
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#13 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 07:33 PM

I use some studs and articulating arm I got from BH photo. Works great.
Reflective silvered mirror tape makes for a great reflector.
It's easier to simply have a fixture mounted ballast. Keep in mind that ballasts ARE DANGEROUS. Don't wire one if you are unsure. You can easily be killed.


I'll check out BH photo.Where do you get reflective silvered mirror tape? A specialty store of some
kind? I have a Lee Filters swatch book here and in it is Lee mirror silver 271 which "produces hard
reflection". What do you think of that?

I am careful and also have electrician friends who help me and sometimes do things for me if they
think that I don't have the skills yet. I consult with them before wiring something that I haven't done
before. Thanks.
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#14 Walter Graff

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 02:32 PM

You can purchase specialty mirrored tape or get a roll form an air conditioning supply store or even home depot style store that sells a pretty well mirrored tape for duct work.
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#15 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 03:18 PM

I understand that Kinos have cables that allow the lights to go up to 75 feet away from the
ballasts. Would there be any special considerations here for homemade units other than simply more wire?


Bear in mind that a 4 tube fixture will have 16 cables from it, and probably 12 of them will have to connect to the ballast.

That means that you will have to use something like YY control cable, which has enough cores to cope. Control cable is expensive, and fiddly to work with.

Another issue is that some ballasts require one or more of the connecting cables to be less than 1 metre (sometime 1 foot) long.

It's very nice to build yourself something that looks and functions like a Kino, but it is simpler and cheaper to build the ballast into the fixture itself, as Walter suggests.
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#16 Thomas Worth

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 05:52 AM

Bear in mind that a 4 tube fixture will have 16 cables from it, and probably 12 of them will have to connect to the ballast.

This isn't true. You can build a 4 bank light using 5 conductors. If you buy cheap lamp cord, which is basically two cables in one, you only need 3 cables running from the ballast to the bank.

A 4 tube ballast will have 6 leads coming out of it:

+ Red 1
+ Red 2
+ Blue 1
+ Blue 2
+ Yellow 1
+ Yellow 2

First cable: Red 1 and 2, for tubes 1 and 2 (one end of the tube)
Second cable: Blue 1 and 2, for tubes 3 and 4 (one end of the tube)
Third cable: Yellow 1 and 2, for all 4 tubes (the other end of each tube). FYI, the yellow leads are usually shorted together (i.e. the same). The ballast will just have two leads for convenience. If you are unsure, check it with an ohm meter. And yes, you'll need to make 2 leads into 4 somehow. Be creative. You can do this all at the fixture -- don't do it at the ballast, otherwise you're running extra cable for no reason.

If you can find 5 conductor cable, congratulations. You only need one cable.

Oh and by the way, the two pins on either end of the tube are shorted together. You only need to send power to one of them.
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#17 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 05:06 PM

If you can find 5 conductor cable, congratulations. You only need one cable.

Very light duty 3-phase cable is handy for this sort of thing.

Oh and by the way, the two pins on either end of the tube are shorted together. You only need to send power to one of them.

There's a filament at either end to preheat the tube and excite the gas ready for firing. If you're using a magnetic ballast then you do need all four connections, but all electronic ballasts I've come across will work perfectly fine with only one wire to each end of the tube.
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