Cheap lighting question

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yoda310

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Hello all. This is my first post to this forum, and I am a newbie, so please be gentle. :smile:

My question is this. If I buy a set of worklights from Home Depot, and replace the halogen lights with quartz lights, could I attach a softbox to this without burning down anything?

Also, would an 80a filter be the correct filter to use to compensate for the quartz lights?

I am on a mico-shoe string budget, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
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It would be VERY difficult to get a softbox to work with a set of halogen lights. Even if you replaced the bulbs. The heat build-up would still be intense (the quartz bulbs on a flash unit produce intense heat, but only very briefly, you areproducing this heat constantly), the softbox would have to be made for or adapted for just those lights, etc.

As for a filter, why not just try B&W?
 

Ed Sukach

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I don't think the usual soft box could even begin to take the heat. The modeling lamps in my DynaLites are 200W halogens and I'm pretty sure that without the cooling fans in operation I'd just about destroy the soft boxes. I haven't tried it, though ... hmm ...
Nah! I'm not curious enough to try.

If memory serves, an 80A is the prescribed filter to balance the light from a clear fash bulb (anyone remember those?) for use with daylight color film (3800K > 5500K); an 80B would be for R2 Floodlamps to daylight (3200K > 5500K) -Note 1.

Does anyone here know what the color temperatures of either quartz or halogen lamps are?

Note 1: I'm sure that if I'm wrong about the numbers here, there will be someone to correct me - faster than the speed of light.
 

blansky

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Most soft box companies, Photoflex, Chimera etc all make products for the movie and TV industry. Their softboxes are designed to take the heat. Where you will run into to trouble is adapting the light to the softbox.

These companies make "speedrings" which fit on most lightheads that are designed for photgraphers, still and video etc. These speedrings attach easily to the the light head and then to the softbox.

In your application you would have to adapt some sort of universal "speedring" to those lights and it may or may not be easy.

If you shoot black and white it shouldn't matter too much about the color temp. In color you would have to, as others have mentioned, filter either the lights or the lens.

For more info on softboxes just do a google search or Photoflex or Chimera.


Michael MCBlane
 

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you might consider instead of home depot lights looking for olde lowel lights ( now they are called "L" lights) you can usually find them on feebay for way under 100$ for a 6-light kit. they take floods instead and places like topbulb.com or bulbman.com have daylight floods ... i have a bunch of them bought cheep ... i don't use them with soft boxes - i think lowel light also makes soft boxes - for their hotlights ..

you might consider doing "bounce" with foam core - it would be cheeper than a softbox THAT is for sure :smile:

good luck!

- john
 

blansky

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As jnanian says there is a lot of different options. It would help if we knew what you liked to shoot and what your plans were as well as what kind of budget you have for this.

But there are many different ways to light things and more of a description would help.



Michael McBlane
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Also, think outside the softbox for diffusion options.

Stretch some translucent fabric on a frame and use it as a diffuser. I've seen really big ones made out of military surplus parachutes. In the movie business this is called a "silk."

Bounce the light off a sheet of white foamcore or foamcore covered with aluminum foil (or make it one side white, one side silver).

Bounce a light off a sheet of foamcore, and then put your fabric diffuser between the light and the subject, so the bounced light is coming back through the fabric for lots of diffusion--softer than a softbox and heat isn't as much of an issue, since it's an open structure.
 

dr bob

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A cute trick I read recently (somewhere) indicated the use of one of those $2.00 styrofoam "coolers" as a cheap soft light apparatus. I haven't tried it but maybe soon.

I think the guy cut a hole in the bottom and inserted a strobe or something... boy old age sucks.... My birthday today too. Truly, dr bob.
 
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Happy birthday Dr Bob.

You can aviod filtering the lights all together if you use tungston film. They have it for both color neg and Transparency. As for lighting you can get away with almost every type of light out there. And it does not have to cost much of anything. The key is to once you have some light, experiment. It's really a lot of fun. make lots of mistakes to learn form. You can take old house lights out of the trash or spend lots of money for ones designed for this business, but they produce the same thing, light.
 
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yoda310

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Thanks for all the replies! I'm just getting into taking decent pictures, and eventually would like to open a small studio, as I'm sure everyone else here wants to do also. Or maybe already has.

There is a large market for Senior Pictures in my area, since I live near my old high school, and currently one man has a complete monopoly on that market. And at this time, my budget is very small. Around $200 for lighting and filters, construction of any kind of device, etc... But, in time I will be upgrading to some Photoflex lights. That is if I can get a good start.

I will look into the photofloods, and also the silk. And I will experiment and see what I come up with. Thanks for everyones help. You've made a newbie feel at home.
 

photomc

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Well, you've gotten some good advice form people I really respect - one option I haven't seen here - maybe for a good reason. Seems like I have seen a couple of folks using the old reliable Vivitar 283 with an umbrella and a stand. Just a 3 flash system one behind the subject, one off to one side and one more just off center..seems like I have seen the layout for 2 or 3 light system in a couple of books. Other than you will have to figure out the light ratio (something I have never tried myself) to determine the flash output, seems like this is good way to put together a inexpensive light system (buy the flash used, although they are still under $70 at B&H). Does anyone know why this would not work, like I said this is not my kind of thing but have seen a layout like it before?
 
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Yoda Where are you located? I have a very old Ascor unit that I learned with, If you pay the shipping I'm sure, until you can get what your hoping for this will help.
 

Flotsam

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I use a Lowel Folding Softlight. Stretch a piece of diffusion material between the top and bottom barndoors and you have a 1000 watt quartz softbox.

By no means an inexpensive solution but just to demonstrate that a hot softlight is possible.
 
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yoda310

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Thomas, thank you very much. I have PM'd you with my info. Thanks again!

Flotsam, since these are worklights, even with quartz bulbs, wouldn't it still be too hot for a piece of fabric? And how long is too long to have them on?
 

Ed Sukach

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photomc said:
Seems like I have seen a couple of folks using the old reliable Vivitar 283 with an umbrella and a stand.... Does anyone know why this would not work,

This *would* definitely work.

Using "Thyristor" - controlled flash units (like the Vivitar 283's and *many* others) and one or two of the Wein slave control units --- there are "Peanut" units selling for ~ $10 - $15 each), wonderful results can be obtained. Even *one* slaved unit as a fill is a *massive* improvement over a single on-camera flash. The silly "pop-up - red-eye reduction - (and I mean STUPID) can be used to trigger the good units.

Check with Calumet. Their Professional Lighting Catalog ... (I wonder if it is still available - I haven't seen one for a while ...) has all kinds of small flash units, inexpensive slave triggering units, stands, clamps, gaffer's tape.

I know a few accomplished Wedding photographers that use just such a set up, for the portability and versatility.
 

blansky

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Yoda:

There are a lot of very nice people here who will tell you all sorts of ways to achieve a lighing system. And as Thomas has suggested light is light. That, and what everyone here tells you is sincere and will be helpful.

What I'm going to tell you is what you are probably going to need to get yourself into any kind of situation where you can get to be professional at this. This is all bare bones and in my opinion what it will take to get you started. I have been exactly where you are and know what you are trying to achieve. One problem with some of the ideas presented is that you will find it easier to achieve duplicatable controlled lighting with "professional lights" with modelling lights, than with any other system. So by all means use their ideas but if you are serious about doing this for a living you will eventually have to buy what I'm suggesting. All these things are available used and on ebay for hugely discounted prices from what you will see in new catalogs.


You will need:

A monolight (self contained strobe) with modeling light (minimum about 600 watt seconds) examples Photogenic, Alien Bees Calumet etc

A softbox for the monolight (about medium size)

A stand for the monolight

A piece of fomecore for a reflector

A stand for the reflector

A light meter/flash meter

A muslin background and a background holder

The reasons are as follows,

Monolight vs power pack and strobes - both work well but for one light to start with I would suggest a single monolight.

Softbox vs umbrella - both work but the softbox has the ability to control the light better.

Obviously there are many ways to go on this but if you spend the money on experimental jerry rigged systems you could have put the money towards equipment that you could use professionally for years.

Michael McBlane
 

photomc

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I ask you, is there another forum where you can get the kind of assistance and help from folks in the know? Nice job Michael, that should help anyone that is thinking about doing this type of lighting.
 

noblebeast

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Yes Michael, thank you very much! I didn't even ask the question but your reply has helped me greatly in my own low budget portrait aspirations. Just thought it'd be nice to mention it. :smile:
 

Cheryl Jacobs

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Yeah, I pretty much agree with Michael's equipment list. It should be noted, though, that there are a lot of photogs who work exclusively with natural light, as I do 98% of the time. Works just great, as long as you know how to use the light you're dealt.

For the situations where I absolutely have to use it, I have a White Lightning monolight with a huge softliter (60") that I use to mimic windowlight. I think I used it twice last year. Either way, you'll HAVE to have a handheld meter. Besides your camera and lenses, it's the most important piece of equipment you can buy IMO.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I like Michael's list as well.

I'll note that umbrellas are considerably less costly than a good softbox and both are useful, if that's a concern. Look at the portraits of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders--almost all done with one umbrella, sometimes a fill reflector, sometimes with background lighting.

I started with seamless paper rather than muslin and still like it for most purposes. If you have a background light, one roll of medium grey seamless can be quite dark, neutral, or virtually white, depending on how much light you throw at it. A roll of super white, one medium grey, and one black will cover most situations.
 

Ed Sukach

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Nah!!! Don't go with monolights. The large drawback is weight. Separate "heads" are far more comfortable on stands and booms, and, unless you go for the sophisticated stuff, are more easily controlled from the power packs themselves.

That said .... you could easily get into a powerpack/ monolight argument - as easily as -- *more* easily than ...photographers arguing over the "best" film / developer combination to use.
 
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