can you tell the difference between flash and hot lights?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by stradibarrius, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    When you look at a shot you really like and you start to analyze how it was lit, are there clues that tip you off to whether the shot was done using strobes or hot lights?
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    If it's nude and the model seems nice and comfy, it's a hot light.
    If the model is sweating, it's a hot light.
    If the studio is on fire, it's a hot light.
     
  3. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Strobes tend to be daylight balanced which is about 55000° Kelvin while hot lights are tungsten balanced at 32000° Kelvin. I prefer hot lights because you can see lighting ratios easier. Also, hot lights tend to be cheaper, but you gotta replace bulbs.
     
  4. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

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    I look back at the 1930s glamour shots of movie stars and wish I could do that with flash, but no way. Hot lights can give you a real edge in set up and getting the right look before you shoot, IMHO. I miss them.
     
  5. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Look at the eyes Hot light often equals closed pupils and flash open pupils. This isn't always the case though. Frozen movements is in most cases flashlight. Prefer hot light as well.
     
  6. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Other than MDR's tips above about the eyes and stopped action, I would say that the answer is "no".

    What does happen, however, is that certain photographers tend to gravitate to one or the other. What I tend to notice is the difference between the photographers' approach, rather than the equipment they use. And that approach is either influenced by the choice of equipment, or the choice of equipment is influenced by the approach.
     
  8. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I remember my first photo class that involved artificial lighting they taught us strobes. I felt I had no control. Later, I got a job assisting a photographer that used hot lights. It was a true revelation for me. Hot lights have a richness that strobes don't have. I use both, but I prefer hot lights. Especially using LF. Way easier to focus than strobe modeling lights.
     
  9. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    I worked in a UK studio 40 years ago that had both, 12" and larger hot lamp fresnel units and a number of them that had been converted to electronic flash. The easiest way to tell was look at the exposure settings written on the 4x5 negative sleeves. In winter the hot lamps were handy to have. :smile: Other than the size of peoples pupils, it was impossible to tell, the lighting effects were identical, as they should be considering the light units were identical except for the bulb holders.
     
  10. macandal

    macandal Member

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    I feel the same way. I'm a newbie at lighting. In my class too, we were taught strobes and, like you, I felt I had no control over them. When all of you talk about hot lights, are you referring to "continuous" light or the "lamp"-looking thing that cannot be regulated (as far as power is concerned; i.e., quantity of light)? I was shopping for some lights and I wanted to get continuous as opposed to strobe. I don't know if I'm confused. Thanks. (Sorry for jumping on this thread. Didn't mean to take it on a tangent.)
     
  11. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I got started shooting hot lights, and they were fine when using 35mm or medium format. Once I moved to large format, the painfully slow exposure times you get without circuit-popping (and paper-igniting, hair singing, sweat-inducing) wattage were useless for me. The other thing about hot lights is that when they're really bright, they make models squint - with flash, you can keep the modeling lamps dim so the model doesn't squint. The heat may not have been a problem for someone like George Hurrell, who had a giant studio to work in, but if you've only got 9' (or lower) ceilings and a relatively small working space, a couple of 1000 watt floods or fresnels will very quickly tax your a/c.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a 10" fresnel that's been converted to strobe (Norman used to make these), and except for motion artifacts and pupil effects like those mentioned above, you can't tell it isn't a continuous light source.

    There are some kinds of light modifiers though that are just more practical with strobes, so you can usually identify, say, a softbox, and you can usually assume that there's a strobe inside it, though there are fluorescent arrays that look like softboxes.