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2700K CFL to light a scene?


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#1 TW Foley

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:22 PM

I bought a couple of compact fluorescent bulbs (120w and 300w equivalent) to replace the incandescents in my table lamps and want to light a small apartment with them. They are 2700K, and the film stock I have is tungsten 3200K.

also, for shooting night exteriors at ISO 200 or maybe pushed to ISO 400, i was going to use these CFLs in chinese lanterns or even a scoop worklight and place them around the subject. How close do they need to be to the subject to get sufficient light?

I also have a 200w incandescent. Also, what can i use to diffuse light using c47s, but not an actual photo light diffuser? I hear using wax paper is OK?

Edited by TW Foley, 18 April 2012 - 06:27 PM.

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#2 Kevin Horn

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:07 PM

Wax paper will catch on fire. Been there done that in film school.
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#3 Kevin Horn

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:18 PM

Sorry, meant to add more to that reply.

Why would you want to use CFL's over Tungsten bulbs? You're shooting on Tungsten balanced stock, don't mess around with the CFL's if you don't have to. They also tend to have a green spike, so unless you're going for that look, stick with Tugsten bulbs. Chances are you're not going to be able to light a scene with table lamps. Especially with 120w and 300w bulbs in them, if they're in frame they will be huge hot spots. You can motivate light and keep your Tungsten bulbs in the lamps, adding something as small as a 100w bulb in a China ball somewhere in the scene for soft fill, or if you have access you can motivate a lamp with a 650w Tweenie or a 1k with some opal over it.

I also don't recommend shooting night exteriors at ISO 200 unless that's the only stock you have access to. Your lighting package will need to be pretty big, even pushing to 400, those CFL's especially won't do well.
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#4 TW Foley

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:28 PM

Sorry, meant to add more to that reply.

Why would you want to use CFL's over Tungsten bulbs? You're shooting on Tungsten balanced stock, don't mess around with the CFL's if you don't have to. They also tend to have a green spike, so unless you're going for that look, stick with Tugsten bulbs. Chances are you're not going to be able to light a scene with table lamps. Especially with 120w and 300w bulbs in them, if they're in frame they will be huge hot spots. You can motivate light and keep your Tungsten bulbs in the lamps, adding something as small as a 100w bulb in a China ball somewhere in the scene for soft fill, or if you have access you can motivate a lamp with a 650w Tweenie or a 1k with some opal over it.

I also don't recommend shooting night exteriors at ISO 200 unless that's the only stock you have access to. Your lighting package will need to be pretty big, even pushing to 400, those CFL's especially won't do well.


I'm shooting in black and white so I'm not worried about color temperature. Plan was to use the 300w cfl in a china ball. I'd rather use CFLs because they produce less heat and place them close to the subject just out of frame. But as for the table lamps, i have three table lamps around a small apartment living room. what wattage incandescent bulb would you recommend in order to light it without having to use any artificial light?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 07:06 PM

If color accuracy is not an issue since you are shooting b&w, then CFL's make sense -- they put out more light per watt, with less heat. I don't know if there is a CFL version of a 500w photoflood though but it is easy to make a paper lantern with multiple sockets inside for more than one CFL to increase brightness. Of course, with tungsten bulbs, you can use dimmers to have more control over the brightness. With CFL's inside a paper lantern, if you have a two-socket fixture, you can always turn off one bulb or switch it to a lower wattage one if it is too bright, or use some bobbinet around the paper lantern.

Another issue may be 60 Hz flicker if you are shooting b&w film on a Bolex or something with no crystal-sync motor, you would be safer with tungsten bulbs.

As for the 200w incandescent fixture, if you have barndoors and clothespins, you can use diffusion gel on the outside of the barndoors, but I wouldn't use paper for anything other than on a separate diffusion frame on a stand far enough away not to get hot. Otherwise, just bounce the 200w fixture if you want to soften it.
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