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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mobile Lighting Solutions

Build the location lighting setup that suits your style

This Article Features Photo Zoom

What You’ll Need For The Photo Shoot
Even with two heads attached to a battery pack and as long as you’re not running at full power, you may be able to get two hours of continuous use, or more, from one fully charged battery. That’s a ballpark figure and subject to numerous variables. So bring a spare battery.

The kit may come with only one head, but I’d recommend getting the second one to complete the outfit, while adding all the necessary accoutrements to fashion these heads to your needs. Aside from that, everything you’ll need here is practically the same as I outlined for monolights.

However, since these heads are supported by a vast network of accessories that are largely interchangeable, you might want to avail yourself of some of these. For instance, why stop with a simple umbrella or softbox, when you might prefer a large octabank or a huge parabolic dish? Larger light sources cover more ground and can be used farther away from the set while still providing the benefits of that light shaper. Eventually you also might want to add a ring-flash head. With the exception of exchanging heads, much of this also applies to monolights that are part of the same system.

When contemplating which battery-operated lighting gear to buy, consider how your lighting will evolve over the coming years. Pros buy lighting that lasts for decades, adding to it to meet new challenges or to expand their creative vision.

Selected Resources: Pure Sine Wave Inverters
Pure sine wave inverters use rechargeable batteries (often user-replaceable) to drive a wide range of monolights and power packs. The manufacturer may specify that a specific inverter can be used with certain lighting systems, but there’s really no reason it can’t be used with other lights—or a variety of other gear and appliances.

Inverters are designed to convert DC (from the internal battery) into AC, letting you operate a strobe as if connected directly to AC mains current and freeing you from the need to find electrical outlets or having to resort to gas-filled generators at a remote location. That means you can use any AC-operated flash with the inverter, plugging the monolight or power pack in as if into an AC outlet. The inverter, however, has no control over flash output. And pro-vided you don’t exceed the allowable limits for that inverter, you can drive even several different devices connected to a power strip.

Make sure the device is labeled “pure sine wave,” not “modified sine wave” or “square wave,” inverter to ensure reliable service with your strobes. And match the in-verter to your gear’s voltage requirements.

The distinct advantage the sine wave inverter has over a traditional battery pack alone is that it also will drive a modeling light (which, of course, translates into fewer pops at the same time). The inverter itself also draws current, so it’s prudent to shut it off when not in use, as you would with any battery-operated device.

The following pure sine wave inverters are marketed for use with AC-powered studio strobes (power pack or monolight):

Broncolor Powerbox 900 (www.bronimaging.com)
Dynalite XP1100 (www.dynalite.com)
Hensel Visit (www.henselusa.com)
Innovatronix Tronix Explorer XT (www.innovatronix.com), other models available
Vagabond II (www.paulcbuff.com)


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