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Newbie looking for CFL advice
  • Here's the background. I did a shoot a few weeks ago, using a GH2 and the Cake patch, to shoot interviews. We set up a lighting rig using three LED panels and umbrella stands. While we were shooting my camera's screen showed a set of green bands running horizontally across the image. This was new to me, but I reasoned that the adjustable LED panels might be causing it-- you know, refresh rates and alla that. So I switched to 100-watt incandescent bulbs for the rest of the shoot.

    Well, the footage shot with the LEDs was fine, no green bands. But the 100-watt bulbs weren't as bright. So, it seems to me that I should use more powerful lights, and I'm thinking CFLs equivalent to 200-watt incandescents.

    So my question is: what color temperature should I look for? Floods or standard configurations (for use with white-umbrella stands)? Do they make dimmable high-power CFLs, so I can adjust the lighting more delicately? (And if I did this dimming thing, would there be problems like flicker or banding with my GH2?)

    Sorry if this has been asked before, but the info I found was in many different threads,and I figured, let's assemble it all in one post/thread.

  • 6 Replies sorted by
  • My experience is that most fluorescent lights have issues with proper colour rendition. Do a bit of research with Google and check the spectrum of sunlight vs. artificial lighting and you will start to see what the technical issues are.

  • All you need to look it is CRI and spectrum. High CRI leds are better than same CRI CFLs due to nature (no dips and spikes on spectrum). But not best leds have some green spike.

    As for flickering - it depends on bulbs and/or ballast. For leds it depends on PWM implementation used, in cheap noname leds it is usually much worse.

  • I've tried quite a few CFLs and come to the conclusion that they are OK as a wash on green screens.

    Kinoflos are much better than I expected.

    LED's from just the last few months are very good. I have some $55 LEDs from Vitaliy deals that seem to be better than $1200 LEDs from 18 months ago.

  • I use BlueMax 95 cri CFL. They are good, but I had some no name German ones in Europe that were made in China and were just as good. The BlueMax trap the mercury so if you break one they are less dangerous. They are also very quiet. You can buy 2 or 4 socket lamp heads and run the light through a translucent umbrella, optionally with a reflector.

    All of these bulbs vary by batch. Most of mine meter in the 5000 to 5200K range. On my list of things to do is a studio setup mixing the high CRI CFL with the high CRI light panel advertised here on PV, using the panel as a center spot.

    Flicker not an issue, but can be with cheap ballast.

  • Thanks, @DrDave. I have two more questions. Are those BlueMax CLFs dimmable? And if so, does this create video problems? That's not a deal-breaker, but it'd be nice to adjust lighting that way.

  • I haven't tried it---I don't use dimmers on wired connections because they create noise in the electrical current which can be picked up by other gear. I use like a four head lamp with on-off switches and then use say two of the four lamps, and have say two forty watt and one thirty to get different overlap.

    You would want to check if dimming the bulbs changes the CRI and the color temp. With the multiple socket system, at least the temp stays more or less the same.