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Thread: Striplights

  1. #1
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    Striplights

    I am in the market for some striplights for my Elinchrom equipment. Anyone any recommendations for some?

    I am mostly inclined to go for the 13"x70" (35cmx1m75) indirect stiplights made by Elinchrom themselves. I figure the indirects probably provide a nice even 'strip' of light because of the indirect nature.

    I am however most willing to listen to what other people think about striplights.

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    Re: Striplights

    No other people that want to share their experiences with striplights?

    Instead of coughing up 1700euros for 2 indirect strips I bought 2 of the cheapest 25cmx1m80 striplights I could find online.I plan on using them as rimlights together (which is why I want 2 of the same) so I reckon ultimate quality is not necessary.

    If it is, or if it turns out a disaster I have only spend 200euros which is cheap education I reckon

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    Re: Striplights

    Dustbak,
    Sorry that nobody else jumped in on your thread. I was buried in a new camera and learning the frustrations of NLE ;-)

    Anyway, I have a Westcott 12" x 50" (30cmx130cm) strip softbox that I mount to one of my Profoto Acute/D4 heads. Sometimes I use a Lighttools 40 degree egg crate diffuser with it, when I want to control the spill. I like the Westcott boxes, as they are pretty sturdy, and do not cost like Profotos and other light shaping tools, so if I wind up trashing one accidentally, I do not feel as badly about replacing it.

    These are not direct striplights that are contained and powered, but a softbox that takes either a flash head or a continuous light source like the daylight balanced fluorescent coils that fit a standard light bulb socket. I use both set-ups depending on what I am doing or needing. The continuous light fluorescents are nice for wide aperture shooting, as the are not putting out nearly the wattage of the flash heads, most of the time, and they also work nicely for video. The egg crate diffuser can make a big difference for being able to control the spill from some of these things.

    If you are looking a genuine strips, then you will want to consider barn doors for them also. I think the narrow strip of light, delivers some important light shaping for some kinds of shots, as well as providing a broad swath of light for things like backgrounds, to evenly light for large group shots. Just how I use it. Only have one, but it has come in handy for several lighting situations.

    LJ

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    Re: Striplights

    Thx!

    The Westcott's might be a good idea too. You are right. I have been looking at the real Broncolor striplights (and Profoto) as well but these are way above the level I am prepared to pay for it. Also the power coming out of these is way too much for me.

    The ones I got now don't have egg crates which made me doubt but since boxes tend not to scatter light too much I figured with 10"x75" I might not need them. Anyway, for these prices I can always get others like the Westcotts

    NLE? Which camera did you get?

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Striplights

    Accent lighting using the same brand as your main lights helps to ensure a level of color balance. That said, I'm not convinced that's 100% a good thing for portrait work. An accent light should, well, accent or help with background separation, etc. While I have 4x6, 54" starfish, and strip all from Larson, everyday I use a cheapo Dynafus 14x48" with eggcrates I think I paid maybe $50 for it on eBay, plus a smaller Wescott strip.

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    Re: Striplights

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustbak View Post
    NLE? Which camera did you get?
    I added a Canon 7D to the collection of things I use to shoot polo. Nice rig, from what I can tell so far. Although putting out nice 1920 x 1080/30p video, wrapped in a .mov wrapper, things like Final Cut Express cannot handle it natively (AIC does not have any Full HD "progressive" options yet), and Final Cut Pro still requires a plug-in for their ProRes codec collection. Looking at Adobe's Premiere Pro CS5 now....good looking, nicely integrated.

    Sorry to get off topic....

    The egg crates are not always cheap, but they can do a nice job controlling spill, as even boxes that have lipped edges, light still spills beyond their edges. May not be a problem with broad lighting, but part of the reason for using strip lighting is to create a more definitive light shape....not always, but for a lot of its uses.

    LJ

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    Re: Striplights

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Accent lighting using the same brand as your main lights helps to ensure a level of color balance. That said, I'm not convinced that's 100% a good thing for portrait work. An accent light should, well, accent or help with background separation, etc. While I have 4x6, 54" starfish, and strip all from Larson, everyday I use a cheapo Dynafus 14x48" with eggcrates I think I paid maybe $50 for it on eBay, plus a smaller Wescott strip.
    Good points, David. Some folks really do want their light color temps to match, others are less worried and like the accent options. All depends upon what you are trying to accomplish. When I use a strip light for lighting a background, or as a hair light, for example, I may even add color gels for the effect. When I am using one for a portrait, I tend to want all the light temps to be the same, so I am not adding strange, but subtle differences at times.

    While I think some of the lighting gear for professional use does need to be more bullet-proof, especially when breaking it down and moving it a lot, or in a rental situation, for most smaller studio uses, many of the lesser priced things do remarkably well, and do not break the bank. The only concerns are getting rings to fit your gear, and if the boxes can take the heat of some lights, both flash and modeling lights. I have seen a box go up in flames once....scary sight. Beyond that, I have found the Westcotts to be pretty good for the price, but I like the light output from the Plumes best ;-)

    LJ

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    Re: Striplights

    HI Dustbak

    I used to own 2 of the elinchrom indirect strip banks and also one of the 28x68 rectalites. Just let me know if you're still curious to know anything about them.

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    Re: Striplights

    Great! Sure I am still contemplating getting the indirect striplight. I would always love the opinion of someone that actually used one.

    Most important question: Is it worth the money?

    How easy is it to set it up, comparable to other Elinchrom boxes (eg. the Deep Octa)? Does it fold away nicely, which means is it easy to transport? How is the quality of light?

    Other things you think I should know about it?

    I currently use the El Cheapo's, actually have not yet had an opportunity but one and let that slip by in favor of using gridded reflectors as rimlight. I did not want to fool around on set with boxes I just got that day.

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    Re: Striplights

    Setup is actually really easy because it basically pops open like an umbrella and then the only thing left to do after mounting the light head is to add the diffuser cover. It's really simple and fast.

    The mount inside the strip to hold the head can be a little funky. I prefer to work with head + powerpack because the weight distribution is better than with a monolight. Also, it's nice to adjust the power settings from a power pack since the head is basically enclosed inside of the strip and difficult to reach. The elinchrom RX monolights have a wired remote option, so it can possible to change the power settings and modeling light on them without opening the strip. But not all Elinchrom monoblocks can be remotely controlled, so it's something to think about. Some people think that they can adjust the power settings by using the skyport or something like that...but I had all kinds of issues with mine and couldn't rely on it.

    The light quality is perfect. There isn't any more than about 1/3 of a stop difference between the far edges of the strip and the center. Basically, it's as close to being a perfectly evenly distributed source of light as a photographer is ever going to need. Of course, the edges of the source are not recessed and there are no barndoor or grid options. So the light can spill around a bit and that might bother some people that want more control on a tight set.

    It really needs a stand with some weight attached in order to prevent tipping. A regular bogen type of kit stand should work fine, but it's definitely going to need a sandbag or some kind of counterbalance weight attached. I developed a preference for using it with matthews beefy baby stands.

    I can't really comment on how useful it can be since each photographer has his own style and idea of lighting. Personally, I liked to use it as edge lights on full-length people photos. It's absolutely gorgeous for that...

    As a mainlight source it's important to be aware that the shadow direction can be controlled by where the center of the source is placed. For example, if the strip were to be used as a mainlight on a full-length human subject then the center of the strip might actually have to be placed slightly above the subject's eyes in order to create pleasing downcast shadows. If the center of the strip is placed pointing towards the center of the person, then the shadows will go slightly sideways. So it just depends on the effect that the photographer is looking for...It's kind of hard for me to explain but would really be easy to show. Maybe try and imagine that a person is standing right next to the strip and the bottom of the strip is a about the same height as the person's feet and the top of the strip is about the same height as the top of the person's head. IF the strip were being used as a mainlight in this fashion, then the shadows would be going kind of sideways on the person. In order to get teh shadows going down then the strip would actually have to be raised so that the center of it is at about the eye level of the person. I hope that makes sense.

    Anyhow, I love all of the Elinchrom indirects and think that they are the best modifiers in the lineup. I actually can't stand to work with direct softboxes anymore because the light is too contrasty (for my taste). I love the look of indirects. The only reason for getting rid of my indirects is because of economic reasons, it had nothing to do with the quality of the modifiers or the light that they produced. Just for the record, I ain't plannin to go outta business just hopefully moving up (broncolors)

    Not sure if that helps or not but feel free to ask if you've got anymore questions. Good luck with whatever you decide
    Last edited by Mike M; 12th September 2010 at 18:34.

  11. #11
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    Re: Striplights

    Yes, that helps.

    I use the RX's both Monoblocks as well as powerpacks. I think you are right about the powerpacks and the weight of their heads. I have opted for the 600RX because I find these monoblocks have good weight/power ratio but the SEE heads are lighter and smaller. These heads & packs can be controlled via the Skyport USB wireless stick and the computer, much better than the control from the radio unit on top of the camera.

    Edge lights with people is exactly where I plan it for.

    I get the point of the shadow cast.

    I like the Broncolors too, I have been tempted to go Profoto as well. Sofar I have not had good reasons to do so besides lust

    Despite of the economics I am doing pretty well. 2009 was the worst year in this dowturn but it was not even too bad. 2010 is panning out to become one of the best years ever! I just see it from day to day and keep a tight lid on expenses and go from there. I have been living like it is a crisis since 2000, personally I believe that the current crisis has come from actions taken after 2000. I guess being careful always makes sense.

    Thx!

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