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I've been given a bunch of clamp lamps w/fresh fluorescent screw bulbs


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#1 Steven C. Boone

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 02:59 PM

I shoot on a DVX-100A, so can these augment my existing 3-piece light kit in any way?

The lights are soft and warm. 30 watts, puts out 100 watts worth. Good for faces with diffusion? I know, I know: test them. But I was wondering if any no-budget types have anything to report about such lamps...?
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 05:34 PM

The fluorescent bulbs will have greenish cast on camera, no matter how warm they appear to the eye. NOT so good for faces. ;)

Keep the fixtures but replace the bulbs with normal tungsten bulbs (set aside the flouresent bulbs for another project). Check the sockets for the highest wattage or amperage they're rated for. If you use too powerful a bulb it will just melt the socket.
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#3 Matt Irwin

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 07:49 PM

Nikatsu,
You're talking about complact fluorescent "coil" bulbs right? I know I've seen daylight balance compact fluo bulbs (no green cast) before. They were in a scoop-like fixture with three sockets, can't remember the brand though. I saw them in the still photo section at Samys Camera. That said, there have to be tungsten balance bulbs as well...
Where are you located? I could point you to a few fluorescent places if you're in LA.
Fluos aside, I agree w/ Michael. Just find some photofloods that will work with the socket rating.
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#4 Steven C. Boone

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:35 PM

The fluorescent bulbs will have greenish cast on camera, no matter how warm they appear to the eye. NOT so good for faces. ;)

Keep the fixtures but replace the bulbs with normal tungsten bulbs (set aside the flouresent bulbs for another project). Check the sockets for the highest wattage or amperage they're rated for. If you use too powerful a bulb it will just melt the socket.


Excellent advice, Matt and Michael.

Let me take a detour with this question: Is there ever a situation, in your opinion, where this greenish cast might be put to good use? Do any pro DP's ever shoot under raw, unbalanced fluos? I'm assuming some of those verite-style commercials I see, and maybe some of the more freewheeling work of DP's like Lance Acord or Chris Doyle? Or you guys?
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 07:40 PM

Hi,

Watch "8 Mile".

I understand that was more cold mercury vapour, but similar sort of thinking. The problem with green is that everyone'll just go "Oh, it looks like Matrix".

Phil
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#6 dancordle

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:48 PM

After reading an article on the film "Primer", I bought cheap flouresent lights (including some of the coil variety) and used them for a short as an experiment. The camera I used was the dvx-100. The coil bulbs that were balanced for daylight looked okay. The normal flourescent bulbs looked a little strange, but were easilly color corrected in Final Cut.
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#7 Matt Irwin

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 01:56 PM

Watch "8 Mile".

My thoughts exactly.

The problem with green is that everyone'll just go "Oh, it looks like Matrix".

That's true, for an overall green cast. I think the "uncorrected cool white" look can be gotten away with just fine, as long as there is a white (or warm) light reference in the scene or whole film isn't that way.
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#8 Steven C. Boone

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 11:22 AM

Great advice, all.

It was my hunch that I could "get away" with this kind of lighting, providing that it fit the mood or source motivation of the secens, but wasn't 100% sure. Certain scenes in the Korean film "Oldboy" had this patina, in my opinion, but I don't have any info on that one.

I'll post stills when I've got something to show. Thanks again.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 06:32 PM

I shoot under fluorescents all the time, when I want that "authentic" cold fluorescent look. It doesn't always have to end up with that greenish "Matrix" look; it usually comes out more pale cyan on tungsten balanced film or video.

Other times when shooting in large commercial spaces like grocery stores I'll "live with" the overhead lighting, and gel my movie lights to match. Then I'll color time or white balance for the ambient light color temperature. The key is to get all the lights to match color, so that after color correction all the lights still match.

It's not that hard to time or balance out the green spike from fluorescent lights, but it's not the best for accurate color rendition. After shifting the magenta-green balance to make things look right, you're still left with a wacky, uneven spectrum. Many times it looks okay, but certain colors will be compromised in the process. For instance anything cyan-colored will end up gray, as you've had to pull down that color.

Also keep in mind that there are numerous colors of fluorescents, each with their own amount of green. The cheapest cool whites are around 4300K with a lot of green; warm-white and deluxe will range from 3500K to 3000k and have less green. Daylight and daylight deluxe run about 5000-6500K with a similar amount of green.
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