Hi-Tech Studio: An Option For Continuous Lighting

With DSLRs and video taking the photography and film worlds by storm, more and more photographers are looking to break into motion work. With that in mind, some photographers who have been more accustomed to strobe lighting are finding that continuous lights for both still and video might be a better fit for their new workflow.

Strobe lighting has some advantages over continuous lights, to be sure. You get tack-sharpness, thanks to the strobe’s ability to freeze all motion, and the strobes easily fit with modifiers to create particular lighting effects. But strobes, obviously, just don’t work for any kind of motion shooting. Also, many still photographers have preferred continuous lights because of their instant feedback (what you see is what you get) and because continuous lights give you options for showing motion in the shot.

One of the main drawbacks of continuous lights (also called hot lights) has been that they are, in fact, hot. Typical tungsten lights can get very hot indeed, which can make them difficult to work with and requires special care when using any kind of modifier on the lights.

The venerable motion-picture company ARRI produces some of the highest-quality and most powerful lights in the industry. ARRI has been a household name for film and video shooters for as long as there have been motion pictures. They make a continuous-light solution for any problem, and their tungsten kits have an excellent reputation for packaging the most useful lights and accessories in a single case that can be transported easily.

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For photographers and those interested in doing still and motion, the ARRI 300/650 kit is a good option. The standard ARRI 300/650 kit includes: 2 300-watt, 120-volt Fresnels; 4 Barndoors; 4 Filter Frames; 2 full 5-inch Single Scrims; 2 full 5-inch Double Scrims; 2 FKW 300-watt, 120-volt Lamps; 2 650-watt, 120-volt Fresnels; 2 full 65?8-inch Single Scrims; 2 full 65?8-inch Double Scrims; 2 FRK 650-watt, 120-volt Lamps; 1 Acces-sory Pack; 1 Ceiling Scissor Clamp; 4 AS-2 Lightstands; and 1 40x19x131?2-inch Heavy-Duty Case with integrated wheels.

The Fresnel lights are a good choice in situations when a compact, lightweight tungsten spotlight is required. The ARRI lights are constructed of corrosion-resistant extruded and die-cast aluminum. This adds body strength while keeping the weight down. The short focal-length lenses with wider angles give more good output and light distribution over the full beam area. The ARRI 300-Watt Tungsten Fresnel is 3.15 inches in diameter and provides light beam angles of 53° in the wide position and 14° in the spot position at 30 feet. The 650-Watt Tungsten Fresnel is 4.41 inches in diameter and provides light beam angles of 52° in the wide position and 12° in the spot position at 30 feet.

Recently, ARRI added to their tungsten kits by making hybrid kits that include both tungsten lights and accessories and also LED lights and accessories. LED systems, which have been increasingly popular in motion-picture studio environments, have evolved into the field. Made into panels with an array of individual LEDs, the lights are much cooler than tungsten, and the panels have an inherent softness to them because of the physical size of the light source. (Pinpoint light sources are very harsh while softboxes make a softer light because they spread out the light source over a large area.) LEDs also consume much less power, which can be particularly important when you’re not shooting in the field.

As we go to press on this issue, the Hybrid kits are still being finalized, but the advance word is that there will be four kits. They will include either one or two ARRI LoCaster LED panels and either one or two 150W Fresnels, as well as accessories like barndoors, scrims, clamps and stands. One of the kits also will include the 300W Fresnel light for those who want more lighting options.

The LoCaster LED panels are ideal for location work because they’re quite lightweight. Each panel weighs about two pounds. The panels have an onboard controller to adjust the color temperature of the output. There are six color temperature settings and continuous dimming control. Color temperature and dimming remain constant and stable once set.

As full details on these new ARRI Hybrid kitsabecome available, we’ll be filling you in. Look for more information in the March/April issue of Digital Photo Pro. Contact: ARRI, www.arri.com.

Required Reading

Want to sharpen your lighting skills? Our guide to Portrait Lighting Essentials provides instructions on the must-know basic lighting techniques, and provides tips for making a memorable image.

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