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Different types of tungsten softlights


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#1 Marc Roessler

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 01:37 PM

Hi...

I'd like your input on tungsten softlights. Tungsten rules out Kinoflos and similar fixtures, so what seems to be left is a Zip-type light, a Chimera-type light or home made bounced light (fixture plus reflector card/bounce/...)

When do you use which setup? Zip lights seem to be more power hungry (and thus hotter) than Chimeras, but they are still sold (and in use), so there has to be some positive side to it?

Also what are your experiences with the different Zip-type lights, such as Mole Zip, ARRI Duplo (old), ARRI Softlight (newer), Quartzcolor Arturo, Strand Antares, DeSisti Botticelli ... both in light quality and ease of use/mechanical quality?

Thanks,
Greetings,
Marc
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 03:17 PM

I'd like your input on tungsten softlights. Tungsten rules out Kinoflos and similar fixtures, so what seems to be left is a Zip-type light, a Chimera-type light or home made bounced light (fixture plus reflector card/bounce/...)


I assume you're only interested in lights with a Tungsten filament, such as halogen bulbs. As Kinoflo do make Tungsten balanced bulbs, and they're a great soft source.

I've used smaller Mole zips here and there, and they're fine if you're going for that quality of light.

I have a couple Photoflex fixtures and softboxes, and use them A LOT. If you have egg crates and flags, they're not too difficult to control and they're very friendly to pretty much any subject's face.
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#3 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 04:16 PM

Don't forget that 'zip' is the terminology for the location friendly (ie small) versions of the softlight. Studio softs generally are much bigger, and thus have a much bigger bounced area, which of coarse equals a softer source.

Zip lights themselves are usually not that soft as the bounce area is only 1 by 2 feet or so.

I would say the most common tungsten soft fixture used for lighting faces is the chimera because it's relatively easy to setup, lightweight, and doesn't spill (much) - get yourself an egg crate for it and you barely even need flags.

I love zip lights, but I found them to be an acquired taste.
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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:31 AM

In a studio environment I use Zip's all the time. I love the 4K's and 5K Mole's. They're soft, but still have a reach. And the eggcrate is very good at
keeping the soft light from going everywhere. They're great for backlight as they're big enough to create that reflected sheen in hair etc, and strong enough to get through. A too hard a backlight almost never looks good to me. Besides, they're super cheap lights and as long as you have the power, you
get a lot for your money.

I also use Rifa's a lot.
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#5 JD Hartman

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:20 PM

A 1k with a Chimera softbox draws the same current as a 1k zip softlight. I prefer the Mole or ARRI zips over a chimera as they don't take up as much space on location and setup time is almost nil. In my opinion an eggcrate is a manditory accessory with either type of softlight.
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#6 Marc Roessler

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 01:11 PM

Jonathan, you're of course correct... I meant "tungsten" as in "contains actual tungsten" ;) not as in "tunsten color temperature"

OK so to sum it up so far:
Zip style lights run hotter but are faster to setup and have more reach.
Chimeras are more effective (thus run cooler).. JD, or are they? Of course 1k is 1k, but is a 1k Zip as light efficient as a 1k Chimera?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:13 PM

Sort of apples and oranges because the softness is determined by the size of the soft area (like the front of the Chimera) relative to the distance to the subject. So most Chimeras have larger bags and diffusers than a 2K Zip light. But you need all sorts of sizes to make a movie, so both have their uses. But a medium bank Chimera (something like a 4'x3' diffusion) on a 1K fresnel is not the same effect as a 1K Softlite.

Sometimes I run 2K Zips in a row to create sort of a bright Covered Wagon unit effect.

Basically a 2K Zip is like a tiny white cove that two 1K bulbs can bounce into.

Generally larger soft lighting techniques are less power-efficient but produce softer, less directional light.

The thing to remember about lighting is that it isn't "soft versus hard", there are many degrees in between.
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