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Thread: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

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    Super Duper
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    Wink Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Jack mentioned wanting to hear more about this subject so I thought I'd kick off a thread where we can discuss our different approaches, experiences and applications. Long post, but a lot of experiences to share

    Experiences: I originally started with Elinchrom gear, mostly Mono Lights ... at the time the Octabox light modifier was "King" and that, more than anything, influenced my decision to select Elinchrom. So my initial system was built around the light modifiers as the priority.

    Unfortunately, I found the lights themselves not up to the tasks I had to perform. I was constantly frustrated by different heads misfiring or dying while doing sequential images for animation or action series ... not a good thing with a set full of models and stylists. I had to keep a back-up for every light I owned and repairs where eating up my time and money.

    I also came to hate the Elinchrom modifier mounting system, and carried repair kits just to keep them working. But switching systems is expensive considering the investment in all the light modifiers ... the Octabox and gobo projector box alone were over $1,000. each ... which was expensive then and now. So research any buying decision throughly before jumping in the deep end.

    Then I discovered that Profoto made an adapter to use Elinchrom Light Modifiers on Profoto heads So, I switched.

    My apologies to Elinchrom owners with an excellent track record. My experiences on the job were what they were, and yours may well differ. As long as the mount stays the same. I'd never consider Elinchrom again.

    I re-started with some Profoto Acute boxes and a few heads along with a Mono-Light 3 head kit. Due to some aggressive promotional deals, I graduated to D4-2400 boxes which is the nucleus of my studio system today. I kept a 600 and 2400 Acute box for placement options on location ... the 600 is a tiny box and a great location unit if there is power available. The strobe head inventory runs from a Dual bulb strobe head for great depth of field needs, to a stick light for tight places, to a ring light, to shelves full of regular stobe heads.

    I use two battery driven solutions ... a Profoto Acute B 600R for less demanding, one light location use with reflectors for bounce ... and an all weather Hensel Porty 1200 2 head box ... the only non-Profoto lights I own ... but I use this mostly with umbrellas on location so the need for duplicate light modifiers aren't an issue. This kit is a tank, and I also use it with the highly portable Hensel Carbon Fiber ring-light with a handle ... recycle is lightening quick with the Porty Premium 1200 AS/RC ... and it comes with a on camera sender that allows separate control of each head.

    IMO, the drawback of the Acute B 600R is that it only powers one head. Today, I would opt for the new, small Broncolor A2R which powers two heads and uses tiny but powerful Picolites which are the size of a pop can.

    I also use a full set of Profoto Hot lights for special applications ... especially on location when using an ambient light selective focus approach. Set up outdoors, they turn any window into sunny Sunday summer afternoon light streaming in on the subject.

    Light modifiers: for the most part I now use Profoto light modifiers which are built much more heavy duty than most anything I've ever used ... a wide array of different things to solve most any lighting challenge (rather than list them all, see pics below.)

    I would like to make special mention of Gary Register's Plume "Wafer" Soft-boxes to fit most any system. I use two of his units ... one for overhead and the other for full length people shots. My in-home studio is limited in space and Gary's "Wafers" minimize the depth of the soft-boxes without sacrificing light quality. The only draw back is that they are not easily torn down and set -up. They are pretty much fixtures in my studio. However, I do have Profoto and Hensel rings to use these boxes on either system.

    http://www.plumeltd.com/waferrect.html

    I also still use the Elincrom Octa as well as a number of Modifiers I already had from my Elinchrom system. The Octa breaks down and sets up almost as easily as an umbrella for location work ... but you need a whopper of a light stand to hold it.

    Applications: My studio applications vary widely, from precise product work for clients like American Axel and GM, to more evocative select focus food for Unilever, to animation sequences, to corporate portraits, to situational people shots on to be cut out and placed in stock shots for layouts (a good reason for Hasselblad's software super imposition and live view.) ... and so on.

    Obviously, each job requires different lighting solutions. However I have a basic table top set-up I leave in place for quick solutions. It consists of a coved milk glass plex shooting table, with lighting arrayed around it top, bottom, back and side. I can vary the amount of light from any direction for quick but diverse solutions. The D4s allow very refined selection of light levels to create subtile shifts of lights and darks. Most of this lighting is broad but directionally specific, and I then use reflectors, mirrors and small degree grids for specific areas of interst ... plus often apply "subtractive" lighting techniques ... where you light broadly, then begin blocking the light with strategic placement of silks, flags, and so on.

    (A special note for bottom lighting: a ring light is fabulous for bottom lighting because it lays so low to the ground. It can be used as a broad source or large grids can be used to concentrate the light more.)

    Well, I could go on and on, but that more than enough for now
    Last edited by fotografz; 22nd August 2008 at 14:58.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Okay, I am impressed. What a phenomenal assortment of gear, not to mention the awesome studio space!

    BUT!!! The part that impresses me even more, is the magic you can perform with them!

    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    I agree, Interesting your take on the battery stuff which is something that I want to get also more of. I use a external sine battery the Dynalite 1100XP but want something smaller and lighter. I use that bottom light gig a lot myself. Have a lot of samples on my site with that in use and just does a nice job and look to it. I do it mostly with color gels too. I need to get started getting into this section myself. Thanks Marc for jumping in here
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Thanks Jack and Guy. Hope this Lighting section gets some traffic and contributions after all that work ... LOL!

    BTW, you should post your lighting seminar notice in this section also... or a link back to it. Just a suggestion.

    Guy, here's a snap of the Hensel Porty ... and a side view of my basic table-top set-up showing the rear "back" light.
    Last edited by fotografz; 22nd August 2008 at 14:58.

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    Workshop Member Joseph Ramos's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Where did you get that background and stand ? That is just what I have been looking for to shoot the home audio gear we take in on trade. Thanks

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Joseph great shop in New York called the set shop. www.setshop.com

    Really neat place has all kinds of stuff
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Joseph,

    Is this what you were asking about?

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont....y=0&Go=submit

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    Workshop Member Joseph Ramos's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Thanks for the reply guys. The bigger I can find one the better. The one at B&H is 79x49 anyone know of one bigger. Guy I like the prices of The Set Shop but they dont seem to have one that big. Does anyone know how big is the one in the pictures?

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Holy Cow,
    I knew I was stepping into a tar pit, but I didn't imagine that it would be this deep
    -bob

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Marc,

    Thanks for the post and tour. This is the kind of thing that I wanted to see out of this forum. (The actual set-up you use for those great product shots.)

    Best,

    Ray

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Ramos View Post
    Thanks for the reply guys. The bigger I can find one the better. The one at B&H is 79x49 anyone know of one bigger. Guy I like the prices of The Set Shop but they dont seem to have one that big. Does anyone know how big is the one in the pictures?
    I bought that one in the photos locally many years ago. Can't even remember where.

    But one thing to look for is one that takes a standard 1/8" 4'X8' sheet of Plex so you can just go to a local plastic's shop to inexpensively replace it.

    Folks, this kind of studio is not an overnight build ... you add on as your needs expand. Patience is really a virtue here so you can take advantage of specials and deals on the strobe equipment when they come up. Things like D4s are mondo expensive, unless you work deals and bargain shop. Multi light kits can save you a lot of cash.

    But one thing I have learned for certain, buy the best even if you buy less.

  12. #12
    dlew308
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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    That's an impressive setup
    Reminds me of the Samy's (L.A. store) floor with all the cool lighting gear.

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    ....IMO, the drawback of the Acute B 600R is that it only powers one head. Today, I would opt for the new, small Broncolor A2R which powers two heads and uses tiny but powerful Picolites which are the size of a pop can.....

    Thanks Marc for the thread,
    I'm considering the Broncolor A2R for a week-long project in September.
    Have you looked into having a Profoto flashhead adapted, or adapter cable made to mix & match with your Hensel?
    Billy

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Yeah, my pals call my studio "B&H West"

    I'm a studio pack rat. You just never know when you'll need some do-dad to pull off some assignment ... so I keep it all.

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Quote Originally Posted by BJNY View Post
    Thanks Marc for the thread,
    I'm considering the Broncolor A2R for a week-long project in September.
    Have you looked into having a Profoto flashhead adapted, or adapter cable made to mix & match with your Hensel?
    Billy
    Interesting idea Billy. Do you know of a source for something like this?

    What I would really like is an adapter that would allow Hensel mount to Elinchrom so I could use the OctaBox on location with the Porty. The Octa is the most portable, easy to set up large modifier I've used to date.

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Your local pro strobe repair shoppe could advise.

    A pigtail adapter cable
    allowing any Profoto "head"
    to connect & be powered by your Porty
    would serve to maximize your investment in Profoto attachments.

    http://www.prophotohome.com/forum/li...sel-porty.html

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    What I would really like is an adapter that would allow Hensel mount to Elinchrom so I could use the OctaBox on location with the Porty.
    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=27031429

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    Re: Lighting & Light modifiers ... what are you using, why and how?

    Marc, you've got quite the studio there. Thanks for posting pictures... I find that with lighting setups a picture is worth a thousand words. Never thought to use my ringflash from below but it's a great idea. I saw the Broncolor picolites in Orlando while visiting Steve Hendrix and really, really liked their size. I'm thinking one of their A2R's may be in my future pretty soon. Curious if you still use a light meter... I've started a thread about it and would welcome your input.

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