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Home-made kinos


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#1 Antonio Bunt

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:53 PM

A long time ago I saw a post somewhere else where there was a how-to guide to make kinos on flourescent lights and things you can get at the local hardware store. Does anyone know where I can find that information? Thanks!
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#2 Christopher Arata

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 02:11 PM

Look at this site these guys make kits, kinda, everything but a housing or box for the actual light. I would recommend getting Kino Flo bulbs though. I have seen some nice stuff turn out by using this equipment. http://ahsupply.com

Its funny actually because these guys are a Aquarium Hobbyist Supply site.

Best.

-Christopher Arata
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#3 Richard Andrewski

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 04:57 PM

I think you may have been thinking about my site. Cool Lights at www.coollights.biz. I have had a video out for over two years now that shows the process and we talk about all the sources to get what you need. Hope this helps.
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#4 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:41 AM

Look at this site these guys make kits, kinda, everything but a housing or box for the actual light. I would recommend getting Kino Flo bulbs though. I have seen some nice stuff turn out by using this equipment. http://ahsupply.com

Its funny actually because these guys are a Aquarium Hobbyist Supply site.

Best.

-Christopher Arata


Have you ordered aything from these guys before? How was the customer service? I am thinking of building some small flouro fixtures, and their kits look like just the ticket.
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#5 Christopher Arata

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:48 PM

I personally have not...I only have had friends / people I work with order from there. I to recently have been thinking about ordering from them, as I said I have seen some decent stuff turn out and it is the most practically priced stuff I have seen plus no hunting down equipment from places. I would like to build some kits for my still photography, as I hate strobes.

-Christopher Arata
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#6 dan brockett

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 03:17 PM

Have you ordered aything from these guys before? How was the customer service? I am thinking of building some small flouro fixtures, and their kits look like just the ticket.


Hi All:

I built a set of "Aquarium Kinos" early last year and have been using them since then. The lights I built were dual 55 watt biax fixtures so they are the equivalent of Kino Diva 200s. I ordered the black wooden boxes from AH. The lights look nice and work very well. I have used real Kinos many times and other than the fact that my homemade Kinos are heavier and less protected, they are the same. I use Kino tubes, both 3200 and 5400 and I actually bought the Kino Lollipops, even though they were expensive. Nothing but good things to say about AH, service was prompt, the product is great and the prices were right. These lights actually have a superior reflector and ballast to the real Kinos IMHO.

The only bad thing I can say about them is that you have to be really careful about the tubes. Real Divas have the folded over doors to protect the tubes which these don't so you have to be careful with the tubes OR buy a Storm or Pelican for them.

Highly recommended.

Dan
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#7 JD Hartman

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 03:18 PM

I've done business with the people at AH as well. If your local to them, stop in, they'd be happy to talk to you about their lights. The lamp connectors they sell are actually superior to those used by Kino (IMHO).
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#8 Michael Belanger

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 06:07 PM

Look at this site these guys make kits, kinda, everything but a housing or box for the actual light. I would recommend getting Kino Flo bulbs though. I have seen some nice stuff turn out by using this equipment. http://ahsupply.com

Its funny actually because these guys are a Aquarium Hobbyist Supply site.

Best.

-Christopher Arata


I've used the AHS kits as the basis for my modular lights for about 5 years now. They're fantastic with customer service and very friendly over the phone. The ballasts are very light-weight and the reflectors are great. You may want a slight amount of diffusion over the light to soften the hot spots (lines really) caused by the folds in the reflector.

I do not recomment the tubes they sell however. They have a very small, delicate bridge between the two tube sections which is easy to break. I've actually snapped them by applying a little too much pressure to the center of the tube while installing. If you do go with their tubes (assuming they haven't changed suppliers yet) then always handle them by the ends, not the middle.

Michael.
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#9 Eric Clark

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 07:46 PM

Is flickering in modern flouro fixtures an issue? Shooting in a hallway full of modern flouro's hasn't proved a problem for me thus far, but I could be missing something important here!
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#10 Eric Clark

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 07:55 PM

Sorry, I researched the above on my own. Ignore please.
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#11 dan brockett

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 10:15 PM

Sorry, I researched the above on my own. Ignore please.


That was the thing that impressed me so much about the AH Supply ballasts, they are super high frequency. They are also very clean looking and easy to wire. Good stuff cheap.

I almost always cover the AH lights with grid cloth, it softens the output nicely.

Dan
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#12 Kar Wai Ng

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:25 AM

I independently came across the AHSupply site over a year ago while sourcing parts for my own diva-like kinos (which I still haven't made yet) and thought, gee, these kits would be perfect! Great ballast, reflectors, all the bits and bobs come included. Glad to know others thought the same thing and have good things to say about them. At the time they told me their 5400K bulbs were a German make with a CRI of 91, which isn't bad, but I would probably just put the Kino-branded PL55 bulbs in for their better CRI.

The only part I have to figure out is the enclosure...what are you guys making yours out of? Coroplast seems to be the easiest and cheapest (though least durable), wood is quite a bit heavier, and sheet metal is not something I really have the tools to work with easily.

Does anyone miss the dimmability of a Diva kit, or the hi/lo output of a select ballast, compared to your homemade kinos?
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#13 Michael Belanger

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 02:06 PM

I independently came across the AHSupply site over a year ago while sourcing parts for my own diva-like kinos (which I still haven't made yet) and thought, gee, these kits would be perfect! Great ballast, reflectors, all the bits and bobs come included. Glad to know others thought the same thing and have good things to say about them. At the time they told me their 5400K bulbs were a German make with a CRI of 91, which isn't bad, but I would probably just put the Kino-branded PL55 bulbs in for their better CRI.

The only part I have to figure out is the enclosure...what are you guys making yours out of? Coroplast seems to be the easiest and cheapest (though least durable), wood is quite a bit heavier, and sheet metal is not something I really have the tools to work with easily.

Does anyone miss the dimmability of a Diva kit, or the hi/lo output of a select ballast, compared to your homemade kinos?



My early lights used plastic storage boxes as the shell, with an aluminum pan inside that I had made by a local sheet-metal shop. Mounting to the light stand was with an exterior yoke and stud adaptor. The storage box top was clipped on the front for shipping to protect the tubes inside.

My newest lights are very minimalist, with each tube separate and the ballast in an external box. Basically the reflector itself is most of the structure. These are of course much more delicate and have to be packed for shipping in a larger storage box.

I don't miss the dimming of the Kinos. It's easy enough for me to adjust the position of the light, lay on a bit of diffusion, or dial up my tungsten backlights to match the keys.

Also, I wire my ballasts in such a way that I can use 1 tube or 2 by simply plugging in the second cable (with mains power off of course. Don't mess with the hi voltage side of things while its energized).
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#14 Christopher Arata

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 05:07 PM

I have not done this yet but I will. Some might find it silly but the point is I rather pay $200 or around that for a kick ass light rather than well a lot more & I do like the Kino Flo shell.

Mind you this is for personal use; if I'm shooting production is paying so then Kino's all the way, I actually really do like them, a lot!

The Plan:

I will get the AHSUPPLY kit, probably the 4 55watt, then I will just buy the Kino Flo shell, for those that don't think you can do that YOU CAN. From there mount it all inside and probably mount the ballast on the back, now I'm sure there will be more that comes into play but it should work some where along those lines.

When it happens I will let you know. If someone happens to follow those plans before I do please share.
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#15 dan brockett

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:42 PM

I have not done this yet but I will. Some might find it silly but the point is I rather pay $200 or around that for a kick ass light rather than well a lot more & I do like the Kino Flo shell.

Mind you this is for personal use; if I'm shooting production is paying so then Kino's all the way, I actually really do like them, a lot!

The Plan:

I will get the AHSUPPLY kit, probably the 4 55watt, then I will just buy the Kino Flo shell, for those that don't think you can do that YOU CAN. From there mount it all inside and probably mount the ballast on the back, now I'm sure there will be more that comes into play but it should work some where along those lines.

When it happens I will let you know. If someone happens to follow those plans before I do please share.


Hi Christopher:

Yes, you can buy any part of a Kino you want, just make the drive over to Hollywood Way. However, I bought the Kino Lollipop mounts because I could not find anything in the Mole parts bin or with Cardellinis that would work as well as the real deal Kino mounts. The mounts were expensive though, I think I paid $60.00 or $80.00 ea. Perhaps even $100.00., I can't find the receipt. Point is, by the time you buy the real Kino housings, I bet you are going to pay hundreds of dollars for them, at least. You do reach a point where it might make more sense to just pay the extra and get the real deal. My lights cost me a total of about $250.00 ea. so it is worth it. I just used the wooden boxes from AH, the black ones. Yes, they are heavier than the Coroplast real Kino housings but cost a LOT less and they look nice.

Not so sure I would shell out for the real housings. If you do, post back how much they charge. If you have not already inquired, I bet they will be costly. Perhaps too costly?

Dan
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#16 Christopher Arata

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 03:31 PM

Dan, you probably right but here is a link to how much the shell I'm looking at runs,

http://www.bhphotovi...Shell_Only.html

If anything it will make for a fun project. I still think I can build it for cheaper than Kino's, All I want from them is the shell everything else I can fab my self.
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#17 Brian Wells

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:07 PM

I still think I can build it for cheaper than Kino's, All I want from them is the shell everything else I can fab my self.

No doubt. But here's something to keep in mind. A couple of years ago I bought some Kino Diva 200's for $528 each, plus a Hardigg Case ($200), and lamps ($150-200, I think). I used the lights for about a year and then sold them on eBay for $1500, plus shipping. After it was all said and done, deducting all sale-related expenses, I owned the lights for well over a year and paid less than $100 that entire time.

Being in business for yourself, it's hard to predict exactly when you might need cash on short notice. Owning (and liquidating) name brand goods can be an excellent source of generating cash in a hurry. Kino Flo lights hold their value better than almost anything out there (Dedolights, too!).

The value of low end gear doesn't even come close. Something to keep in mind.
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#18 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 07:12 PM

I think you may have been thinking about my site. Cool Lights at www.coollights.biz. I have had a video out for over two years now that shows the process and we talk about all the sources to get what you need. Hope this helps.


The other day I shot a short comedic sketch using some of Richard's homemade Kinoflo's. They're not bad. Solid construction as far as the fixture and barndoors go. I had to break the frame off the grid to make them fit inside, but otherwise, I was quite happy with the quality and light ouput. They're on par with the Diva light.
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#19 Walter Graff

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:54 PM

And you don't even have to spend that much. About 10 years ago I started the trend of making home made fluorescents by not only using store bought lamps and making my own fixtures, but by lighting an entire documentary series' for History Channel, A&E, and others using what I then called Grafflights. I originally wrote about it as part of a story Called "Building a compact light kit" that was printed in DV magazine about 10 years ago:

http://www.dv.com/fe.../2004/graff0404

I later took the part about how to make a cheap fixture and made this article:

http://www.bluesky-w...es-30bucks.html

I had designed some great low budget flouros to sell called Bazzokas but never did get around to selling them, but inspired a lot of others to do so.

The easiest way to start is to head down to your local Home Depot or Lowes and hit the lighting department. You'll find all sorts of fixtures.

What you are looking for is how much light you want. That could be as simple as the size fixtures I use in the article I linked to above. Want more, buy a 24 inch workshop fixture. With two tubes you can get great light. There are many configurations.

The key to the floro lights is what is called CRI or color rendering Index. The higher the number, the more full spectrum, and pleasing the light. CRI usually goes from 67 up to 90. Below 85 CRI and the quality of light might look good to your eye, but will look pale and sometimes greenish to camera.

That is not necessarily bad if all your lights are the same CRI cause you can white balance them to look normal. But most of the time you are mixing flouros with other types of light so you want the flouro to have as close to full spectrum as possible.

So first you have to look for lamps that have the right color temperature. Usually daylight flouros (5600k) have high CRIs at 90 and above and you can simply plug them in and go in daylight senarios. It's a simple way to spend $40 on a 2 light workshop light and have a great 5600k flouro.


But if you are shooting for night or with 32000k light, you want lamps that are 2900-3000k. These flouros usually have lower CRIs and usually you have to be more careful about what you pick because of it. There are many different CRI lamps available.

So look for a 2900-4000k light often called warm white. When you plug it in it will look less white and more pinkish. Then turn it on and using your preset color temp on your camera look at someone under the light. If they look a bit green, then the CRI is low. You can easily correct this starting by wrapping the bulb in 1/8th minus green. That will take most 85CRI lamps into a range that works great. You can also buy the 90+ CRI professional lamps made by Kinoflo. They work in any fixture. About the only difference is that the transformers Kinoflo use are driven higher than normal so they burn bright in a Kino fixture.

And here is what you should know about transformers. Old style transformers can cause the light to flicker when shooting at 24 fps. But most all today's transformers found in home bought flouros are rated at higher frequencies so usually have little problem. And the type used in the article I link to above all have electronic transformers so will not be a problem.

So to start, find a light that is the size and wattage you are looking for.

Want daylight colored lamps? Then see what kind of lamps you can find that are 5500k for daylight, and with their normally high CRI you can simply plug them in and shoot when balanced for daylight. A four bank work light will make an awesome amount of light.

If you want interior use with normal practical lights, store bought fluorescents, and mixtures of professional 3200k lights, you want a fluorescent lamp that is between 2900k and 4000K. And you want to find lamps with a higher CRI. 85CRI is usually what you will find at this color temperature and that will mean they need a slight bit of help in reproducing more full spectrum. So get a 1/8 and 1/4 minus green gel and wrap the lamps. That should give you a start. If the color temp is closer to 4000k, then you can also use a 1/8th CTO to bring them to proper color temperature.

Hope that is a start. Contact me via email if you have more questions.
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#20 Chris Overholt

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 12:00 PM

Hi everyone, new to posting on this site. But I found another interesting Idea for Homemade Kino's using a premade aquarium 2 light flourescent fixture from petsmart. Thinking of building one this weekend.
Coralife Electronic Ballast (T-12)

Chris

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