Fresnel, some light questions. (Strand Arri etc.)

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Quinten, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    Just bought 2, very old but fine working, 2000W Strand-quartzcolor castor Fresnels and some things puzzle me.

    Is there much difference in lens quality between brands?

    1) The beam of a 650W Arri gives much harder shadows than the beam of the Strand. (Both focussed in spot) Is this just the size of the fresnel, 122mm versus 250mm or is the lens in the Arri simply better?

    I figured the Strand would give a bigger parallel beam because of the bigger diameter lens, if you like the fresnel type of light this should give even better results. For example Arri made an ST version of their T series with a bigger diameter lens. But is this more of the good per se?

    2) The Strand has a matt black inside! (Arri is silver/grey) Would it produce noticeable more light after putting aluminium foil on the inside or might this overheat the lamp?

    Any knowledge on these great lights is more than welcome!

    Thanks,
    Quinten
     
  2. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    There should not be much of a difference between the lens qualities. The size of the fresnel lens is definitely what would be affecting the light qualities. Is the opaqueness of either fresnels equal? Or is the Strand more diffused than the Arri?

    I wouldn't bother lining the inside with foil on the Strand. I don't think it would make a noticeable difference, and on a 2000w light, it could definitely burn the foil or raise the temp inside the house enough to continuously burn out your bulbs. I've seen foil lined 1000w soft boxes burn off the foil... not too much fun.
     
  3. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    The size of the lenses would make a difference to quality of light but most fresnel lenses made for Arri and Strand come from the same glassworks and should have the same manufacturing quality when the lamps were originally sold as new. That said I have seen, over the years, some lenses with a slight translucent quality to them (as mentioned by Cscurrier). Mostly these were replacement fresnels. Apart from the size issue, the other difference might be the reflector attached to the lamp carriage – my Arri's have a polished mirror-like finish alloy reflector while the Strand's that I have are brushed matte-like alloy. Don't forget to check the optical path that may be out of alignment i.e. filament and reflector both centred on each other AND on the middle of the fres. Oh and one last thing which I think might be way too obvious....dust on the inside of the fres. The internal surface bits of the lamp housing would not make anything more than a negligible difference. If you had ultra sensitive foot-candle meter you might see the diff but over all I doubt it. In my opinion though if you are talking about the quality of "hardness" of the light beam you should be observing it at the flood setting rather than the spot. Hope that this helps....p.s. do not forget to lubricate the carriage rails and mech, from time to time with a mixture of kerosine and graphite (the kero will evaporate quickly leaving the graphite in situ). Cheers, Sam
     
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  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Of course a bigger focusing lens is needed to achieve a bigger parallel beam, but typically parrallelity is not the issue with spot lights, but the eveness of lighting and the variability of beam angle.
     
  5. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    Great maintenance tips, Sam!
     
  6. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    Thanks for the replies! The foil sounds potentially messy, not to think of the glue! Thanks for stopping me from doing that:wink: And the about the dust, it might sound obvious but I didn't think of it, those lamps have been hanging under a studio roof for years so little cleaning won't hurt them.

    Do you guys use the fresnels for lighting scenes? ASA 400 seems about the lowest you can shoot with a 2000W key. Wonder what lights guys like Vincent Peters use, he shoots kodak portra 160, but maybe those HMI lights are a different ball game.
     
  7. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    At work, for commercial/video work, we typically use a 1200w HMI along with some smaller lights for fill/specialty lighting. Sometimes we bring along an additional 1200w or 2000w HMI depending on the scene but still try to bring the exposure down(mainly by either bouncing light, scrimming, or silking the light) so we can shoot f1.8 on our lenses.

    For my own personal analog photography, I like to work with natural light as much as possible. So I guess in other words... I don't shoot with studio lighting much. But on the few occasions I have, I'll just throw up our 1200w HMI(to sort of edge light) and put a silk diffusion in front of it, maybe a half or quarter scrim to cut down on the light a bit, and I'll be shooting between f1.7-f4ish with 400 speed film in my ME Super.

    I don't know if what I just blurted out really helps at all, but I figured I'd share my common uses for studio lights, atleast. Fresnels are great because they are much easier to focus. I would recommend getting some sort of flags/filters/gel set if you don't have some already. Fresnels can be harsh and it's nice to soften them up a bit.
     
  8. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    For what it is worth, in APUG's world, I am a street photographer so I use ambient light when shooting. I am also however a Gaffer/Chief Lighting Technician on motion pictures (35 years now) and use the whole gamut so to speak. I concur with Csurrier having a selection of light modification devices on hand to trim the shapes and/or to soften the output of fresnels. Examples of cutters/flags/nets/kookuloris/wires/bounces/ diffusions are available in images all over the net and can be home-made very inexpensively. Gels for accents or colour temp modification is usually a purchasable item but can he had at film production houses. Gels also last "forever" depending on how they are treated. I notice that you are from A'dam and I have used Het Licht once or twice so they may have some off cuts that they can throw your way instead of throwing in the rubbish bin. Because I am a very "old fart" I have aesthetic tendencies leaning towards bare fresnel lighting....this IS somewhat old fashioned by todays standards but I have noticed that a "retro" look is now coming back into portraiture. There are many picture folios of the old style "noir" lighting looks from Hollywood films and portraitists of yesterday available at the usual internet book places.Just my humble opinion but it's not the light source that is an issue (HMI v. tungsten v. flash) in portraiture but the last thing that affects the light before it hits the subject (be it a naked fres or a frame of diffusion or a bounce board – in pecking order from hard to soft). HMI's produce an extraordinary amount of light for the given current pulled from the electricity source. They are daylight balanced (5500 - 6000º K) and have a CRI (Colour Rendition Index - i.e. the ability to make a red apple appear the proper red) of 95+ (100 being perfect). They are great if you have the $$ (hire or purchase) and the ability to colour balance either the lamp or the camera or the film stock to daylight. I do think that the important concept here though is the placement of the key (lamp height and azimuth) to the sitter. Next decision should be various other lamps to accent – fill, kicker, back, set and other lights as deemed necessary. One last thought though and this again may sound superfluous but many time in my life it was NOT how much light you used to illuminate a subject BUT rather how much you took away with judicious cutting ........ I have seen incredible lighting with just one source but cut up in such a way as to make a breath taking picture. Anyway sorry to all posters and readers fro rambling on like this - can't help being old. I am not sure (like Csurrier) whether I have answered your question or if in fact helped you at all but hey, there ya go! Good luck and cheers for now, Sam
     
  9. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    Seems continuous lighting is getting more and more popular for still photography lately. I'm happy we have Sam here as a good resource! I've always told young filmmakers that when they find a good gaffer... stick with them! :wink:

    I may have to PM you Sam sometime in the future if I have any questions with studio lights!

    Cameron
     
  10. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    Cameron,
    It would be more than a pleasure to be of any assistance whatsoever mate!!!! Please feel free, if only for a chat.
    Cheers once again,
    Sam
     
  11. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    Hi Cameron, Hi Sam,

    You sure answer many questions! Not sure if I asked them, but please keep those personal messages public Cameron, this is interesting:wink: Reading between the lines of your messages it seems the 1200W HMI can handle a lower ASA than a 1200W tungsten? Not that I would be ably to use HMI much, but it's interesting. The gap between 650W and 2000W tungsten is smaller than you expect when you take the lightmeter out, and it makes you wonder how these photographers shoot ASA 100 films with their fresnels.

    Het Licht! It sure is a small world, only a week ago I checked if they had 2 1200W HMI for rent, but it looks like they mainly focus on big productions. Did you work on films in the Netherlands Sam? It almost is a shame you don't use all of your lighting experience with lights in photography. Light is so fascinating, I started experimenting with mirrors and then discovered their light is very similar to the fresnel light, parallel beams, a character you can't get from most flash deflectors. The attached image for instance has no light sources other than the sun, I just used some mirrors and cloth and then bounced the window light to make the scene interesting. Like you said, less can be more! Actually it is a bit harder to create the right light with fresnels only, but as you probably know we don't always have the sun available in A'dam. (I suddenly realize why you don't need lights: Australia:wink: )

    Maybe the fresnel got out of fashion with color photography? HMI being expensive and tungsten being the wrong temperature for most films and different than daylight?
    Still there are some of today's top photographers who use the open fresnel, Peter Lindbergh and Vincent Peters for instance. The last guy also uses a lot of wierd materials to deflect light, I've seen him work with big crystals etc. but his fresnels are always at the basis. And isn't it still the main light source in moving pictures? Sounds like a stunning job you have Sam! I've watched films like pride&prejudice (2005) without sound (not so great story, stunning light) just for the light and in their 'making of' it looks like many open fresnels.
     

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  12. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    Quinten,
    Thanks for the post. I really really love the photograph and it is a perfect expression of what I meant about "less is more" and sculpting with light. So often in my working life I have had to deal with cameramen who light themselves into a corner so to speak by adding more and more lights to illuminate away ugly multiple shadows when really all they had needed to do was to use less and less lamps with more cutting to shape the light into an interesting pattern.

    I remember a guy I worked with who is one of my favourite cameramen here who came up with the idea to have only one brute arc as a light source pointing AWAY from the subject and use dozens of mirrors to reflect light back onto the set. In my eyes this looked great. If you do not know what a brute is try this:

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id...ABw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=brute arc&f=false.

    Today the arcs are long gone because of the electricity and man power required but they were the staple of film lighting long ago.

    Just for you information light illumination works on what is called the "inverse square law" which simply states that the foot-candles on a subject is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. In human language this roughly translates to mean that the amount of light hitting a subject will double if you halve the distance from the source to the subject. It also means that you lose half your light each time you double the distance. It also means that each time you double the wattage of a similar type (fresnel, or open eye, or bounce etc. etc.) you double the foot-candles. It also means the same in reverse - half the wattage and half the foot-candles. But the kicker is that all these "halves" and "doubles" are equivalent to f stops. So if you need 1 more f stop you drag the lamp half way in to the subject or you double the wattage. Therefore the difference between the 650w and the 2k lamps are: 650w. x 2 = 1300w. - that is 1 stop; add 2/3 of a stop for the last 700w. and the difference you get 1 and 2/3 stop more light with a 2k than a 650w. This IS ONLY theoretical "back of the envelope" type calculation but it is a good place to start from. Obviously you cannot compare apples to oranges i.e. a tungsten lamp to an HMI (unless you know the scale of the value of the output differential, but that is a whole 'nother story!). Likewise if you bring a 650w. about 66% closer to the subject you will get about the same illumination as a 2k. and so on and so forth.......hope this is understandable.

    For many years my Best Boy was a man from A'dam who started out in stills in fashion in Nederlands and moved onto London and finally Sydney. After awhile he got into the film industry to work with me. Today he is back in Holland and has started a technician booking agency called Crew Call. He and Het Licht produced a yearly directory of all film technicians in Holland and the cover of the books were a modern rendition of very famous Dutch paintings i.e. Rembrandt etc. etc. The book was published under the name of Five Star Crew but each year that it came out it had a different photographic rendition of a different famous painting shot using Het Lichts equipment. They are worth looking at if you can find the book or if you are at the studios and can ask....the one I am referring to at the moment is the 2010 book. Anyway thru this guy I have met many Dutch lighting guys but, no I have not worked in Holland - I just have drinks with the crew every few years when I visit.

    Anyway sorry to be so long winded but I would tell you of my fave film for lighting if you ever get a chance to watch - Road to Perdition. It was for me the best photographed film that I have ever seen followed by Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

    For now goodbye and good luck,
    cheers,
    Sam
     
  13. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    Those cameramen lighting themselves into a corner sound very familiar. At art academy there was a studio with more lights than I could ever dream of, before you know it they are all burning..... Every first year student made the same mistake, most of them never returned to the studio to learn that only one light doesn't give 'multiple' shadows.

    Are there clips or pictures of the project you did with the mirrors? I am really curious how that looked. Must have been fun days working with those arc lights, I heard stories (not sure if they are true) that you had to change bulbs in protective clothes and a helmet because of the pressure on that glass.

    Still the challenges remain, specially when you want to create debt, setting your model appart from the background by backlighting, or bring out the shapes of the face and body with big angles on the key, creates blacked out parts you have to fill. I'll remember it though: even for the fill one lamp extra is enough:wink: Is this why the fresnel can be such a difficult light in big sets, the shadows are so sharp that everything becomes so much more apparent? Experienced guys probably love it because of the possibilities, but the guys making mistakes won't get away with them. The light becomes a character of it's own with the fresnels.

    The inverse square law, it is so tempting to place a fresnel a bit further and further, and further to be able to light a big scene with one source but before you know it you're out of light and your buying 2kw lights and find them a little weak! haha.

    Hopefully I am not to curious with asking if you can estimate how much lights this guy uses for these pictures, there is the open fresnel look with the sharp shadow lines but the contrast is a lot lower, it's almost as if these shadows are filled with big soft sources but the crispiness stays in the light, normally the soft light takes that crispiness out of the light. It's crazy, that's probably why I can't explain it very clear either:wink:
    http://freevector.info/dev/vogue-magazine-italy-2005-sept-08s.jpg
    http://www.lifelounge.com.au/resources/GALLIMAGE/VINCENT_PETERS_24.jpg
    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0gkjwlDpX1qcku9ho1_500.jpg
    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7eipeSODu1rzkgboo1_500.jpg
    http://www.oitzarisme.ro/images/fashion/2008/1105/vincent05.jpg
    The typical fresnel hollywood portrait seems higher in contrast, the overexposed back lighting is almost soft in some of the pictures above yet very hard in the typical hollywood portrait but it seems to be the same source, the same seperation:confused:

    Road to Perdition tonight! Sam, next time you are in Amsterdam I will buy one or more Belgium beers (They make nicer beers than we do:wink:

    Cheers!
     
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  15. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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    Road to Perdition is quite possibly one of the most beautifully lit films! Definitely a good recommendation... so is Oh Brother!

    I know I've been on many sets, or even some of my own, where we start throwing up more and more lights to try and achieve the look we're aiming for. It's always good to remember that when you're getting close to that point, stop and start with a "blank canvas." Then start "painting" one stroke at a time! I'm sure with your experience, Sam, you don't get ahead of yourself like that anymore! Still gets me every once in awhile...
     
  16. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    G'day Quinten and Cameron,
    I hope that this finds you well in the bleak winter of Nederlands!!! :sad: I just got an email from my ex-assistant who has decided to hibernate.......I will try to go thru your queries one by one as I am in a slight rush so forgive the brevity. I does sound to me like the missing factor in teaching lighting is to limit the number of lamps one allows a student to use. I use to run lighting workshops for DOP's at the Australian Film & TV school and the first day of the hands on workshop I would say "you only have three lights to work with......figure it out". It is amazing just of economical people get when limited this way. They actually learn to "see" the light and not the hardware which was the biggest stumbling block. So many young people ate stymied by the hardware but do not look at the light. Pity. Gradually as the students gain confidence I would ad one more lamp and then one more and then one more...you get the picture. So they actually have to make it look good with next to nothing and then learn what "adjectives" they can add to make a scene look great.

    Arcs never needed "radiation suits" to change the carbons. The arc has 2 carbon rods that are connected to a D.C. electrical source and are brought into contact briefly to spark up a plasma arc. They are then separated by about an inch and a half. As the rods "burn" they wear down and a mechanism drives them together continuously to keep the arc gap constant.

    HMI are arcs too but they are A.C. powered and are self contained in inside a a quartz globe that has a vacuum in it. As a result the negative air pressure, no explosions ever occurred and the need for protective suits were obviated.

    Movie projectors however used to have a xenon arc globe like the HMI but under several atmospheres of pressure and it is these lamps that one had to wear protective head/eye and body armour when changing the lamp.

    The project that I lit with a brute arc and mirrors was a commercial many dozens of years ago but I have to apologise and say that it never occurred to me to take photographs of what we were doing....I probably would get yelled at by the producer for NOT doing my job :D!!!!!

    Anyway I had a look at the clips you links that you attached and while I can say for sure that they are very nice and seductive (the models help there too) I can only take wild guesses at them to figure out what they used. The B & W shots that were head to waist and head to toe are obviously a fresnel to my eyes judging by the crisp shadows. The photog obviously used a series of cutters (shadow devices) to make the head-waist shot. This picture reminds me of a technique that I have used over time by illuminating a subject with one light thru a large tracing paper frame that creates a soft ambiance and then using a razor blade to cut holes in the trace to allow direct hard light thru onto particular parts of the set/body of the model. I would suggest on the head to toe shot that the model is lit with on fresnel going thru a kookaloris (look this up on google) or something similar to "cut" up the light. It looks to me that a separate source is putting the shadows of the window sill on the background.......in both the key seems to be coming from camera right at an angle greater than that of the models gaze to create those beautiful cheekbone shadows.

    With any light modifiers like the ones I described above the closer they get to the model the sharper the shadow gets so in the colour shot it looks like there is a large soft source from inside the window casting light onto the girl with her key light (again a diffused or bounced source) coming in from camera left but cut so only her head is lit by this and her body is lit from inside the window. She has almost no shadows to speak of on her face so that the key is most likely close to the lens with perhaps a touch of fill lite to make her pretty from camera right. The background seems to take care of itself with the practical lights ringing the roofline.

    The B & W two shot and the head and shoulder are in the similar vein as I am sure you can figure out but with very soft shadows. This look can be achieved numerous ways from diffusion to bounce...just remember the closer the diffusion gets to the model the softer the light will be.

    Anyway I must dash - hope lighting 101 was not too boring. BTW I will hold you to that beer although having lived for a bit in Prague I am partial to Czech Republic refreshments!!!!!:munch:

    Stay well,
    Sam
     
  17. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    Whow! It seems putting things between the source and subjects is a common practice in film, photographers should do much more with this. For them it usually is a bounce, a piece of cloth, an umbrella, a softbox, a reflector or sometimes a fresnel and nothing more... Reading your post while looking at the pictures makes a lot of things obvious and also very predictable, but I didn't always see it myself.... ouch!

    It might be the high contrast with soft shadows that looks mysterious since it is such an uncommon combination. You mention the light source being soft with the duo shot, that indeed must be looking at the shadows, still I am put on the wrong foot with the high contrast. That high contrast is so easely mistaken with hard light. (Same happend with the head shot.)

    Which I could see you work one day, would probably beat most education.

    You guys sure gave a great tip in Road to Perdition, watched it yesterday night. The light is so simple, never over the top, yet it really gives the film a unique character. Even the colors are in harmony with the light, piece of art. Probably was quite a team doing the light, they must have worked on more movies... Not much open fresnels?:wink:

    Prauge! Booze, sex and dance. You probably left when pornography took over in that city, in that respect it is the LA of Europe, not very exciting all that soft light, no open fresnels for sure! Still a city very much alive, don't know about their beers though....
     
  18. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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  19. cscurrier

    cscurrier Member

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  20. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    It's something you never think off with the normal flash reflectors. These fresnels become more diverse with everything you read/see about them. How is the smell of melting foam?:wink:
     
  21. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    The smell of melting foam isn't the best for sensitive noses :D but we used to use polystyrene ages ago which released cyanide gas when melted/burnt!!!! Although legend has it that cyanide "smells" like almonds you will forgive me if I never try to sample THAT one!!!!

    When we had large areas of broad light that needed to be broken up I usually headed down to the local camping/army surplus shop near whatever studio we were shooting and buy a cheap "off-the-rack" camouflage net and stretch it on whatever frame would suit it's size and use that to get a more natural looking shadow too. Keeping in mind that a kookie look, if it remained sharp, would start to look obvious ...... as you move whatever light modifier towards the source and away from the set, the softer the shadow will look; subtlety being the operative word here although things like signs painted on windows, venetian blinds, window frames, "bad man" standing in the corner, creepy door opening slowly etc. etc. always look good with a hard shadow. Sometimes the shadows can tell the story – Hopper (the painter), Martin Lewis (etchings); also look up "chiaroscuro" in Wikipedia and check out the "Photography/Cinematography" section.

    One last thought is what we use on stage – the profile spot. One can add gobo's to them to create patterns of light and shade on a surface ... the lamps can also be de-focussed to take the edge off them (http://www.rosco.com/gobos/). Cheers! :tongue: Sam
     
  22. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    And I thought I knew a thing or two about light... Worlds are opening up, thanks guys! Edward Hopper sure made some inspiring works, can look at those pictures of paintings for hours trying to figure out ways to reproduce those atmospheres. Looking at his paintings it becomes obvious how important the interaction between light and color is (just like in Road to perdition) and it's almost always pretty hard light he uses. (with 'softer' colors.) Wouldn't a movie that is like a continuous Hopper painting be great? (Can't you force your director/camera team on a next project Sam:wink:)

    There isn't much I can tell you guys on light but I sure as hell learn a lot here on APUG! Will be watching some of those movies from the chiaroscuro wiki article the next evenings. And maybe visit some of the museums here in Amsterdam, no Hopper but plenty of great light examples.

    Cheers!
     
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  23. thedancefloor

    thedancefloor Member

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    Could we revisit the original question?

    I've been using Arri 650, 300s and Some Mole Midgets, and I love them. But would a larger fresnel lens like the ST2 look better (or more 'hollywood') somehow?

    From the Arri ST2 video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7cxSUMcJOs
    "a larger lens provides a much larger beam field, and that can be a big advantage on location or in the studio." - what does that really mean?

    Thanks!
    Dallas
     
  24. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    Dallas,

    The size of a fresnel lens is designed to be relative to the size of the filament inside the globe, inside the lamp housing. The Arri ST2 has a larger lens (compared to the 300's and 650's) because of the size of the 2K lamp inside. The housing and reflector have to be sufficiently larger to cope with the size of the globe and then the lens has to be larger to "fit" the size of the housing and to take advantage of the total output of the lamp and to be able to focus ALL of the light emanating from both the lamp and reflector.

    The quote from the vid means that, photometrically, the beam size, in full flood, thrown by this unit, has a greater diameter and hence more coverage than a smaller unit with a smaller lens and globe wattage. At full spot the beam will obviously have greater output as well, as compared to the smaller fixtures.

    In my humble experience "most" lamps of the same wattage will have the same sized lens with the exception of the "Baby" range of fixtures produced by Arri, Mole, Ianaro etc. etc. The "Baby's" were produced to allow for smaller units to be used on location rather than lugging around huge studio units of the same wattage. Photometrically the smaller lenses made for weaker outputs by comparison to their "adult" brethren of the same wattage range.

    As for your term "more 'hollywood'" I would need your definition or at least a visual reference to be able to make a definitive comment. Needless to say that Hollywood lighting has developed over the years as the technology of film making has progressed (film speed, lighting fixtures, aesthetic enhancements etc., etc.). Cinematographers have always strived to change the goal posts in lighting in an effort to develop a style uniquely there own. To paraphrase Sir Issac Newton, I believe, todays cinematographers are standing upon the shoulders of the giants who came before them.

    Forgive me from rambling on a bit but i do hope that I may have shed a bit of light on your subject...........for now,

    Cheers!
    Sam :cool:
     
  25. thedancefloor

    thedancefloor Member

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    Thanks Sam!
    So the size of the fresnel lens has more to do with the output than the quality? In the book 'hollywood portraits' by Christopher Nisperos and Roger Hicks he says that the old photogs would use a fresnel
    slightly defocused from full spot and then feathered off a bit. So they'd be using the penumbra, would a larger lens have a more useful penumbra?
     
  26. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    I got into fresnels, open faced lights and various scrims in the film area, shooting fashion and wanted to differentiate myself, started reading American Cinematographer (before this internet thing came along). (Funny how that worked out, I shoot a lot of video with those same lights…)

    I've found big differences in lens quality - I started with theatrical fresnels and I still buy up used units, some get modified into ballasted lights or flash heads, etc. Mainly the shape of the light (say, testing it on a flat wall) and with really poor lenses, there's some diffraction or something going on where you can get a color halo.

    I've seen guys take a 10 or 12" fresnel, mod it to get a more reasonable globe up into the center of the reflector (an old 4K Mole may have a globe that's 4" high, sticking, say, a 575 HPL in it means swapping out the lamp base and raising the new socket up higher). Put this very close to the model's face with a dimmer and it's a really lovely look - fresnels are much like any light in the distance-vs.-softness equation. A model with great skin, you can put 6" fresnel pretty close to with no fabrics at all.

    Fresnels are also about the most inefficient fixture made - you pay for that pretty look with some lumens, so when you need to project a shadow, get a hard beam, or do some bounce, an open faced light is often much better, or for harder light, Source Four pars (575 watt with different lenses) are just insanely efficient lights, and they and their knockoffs (Altman, MTB, etc) are all over the place used, often 50 bucks or so.

    Google Roger Deakins - Coen bros. regular cinematographer - he has a forum where he answers lighting questions, often from his phone on a movie set. Amazing guy, he has no secrets, just tons of ideas. On the Red User forum, David Mullen (another master, "house of sand & fog", etc) has hundred-page threads where he does the same thing. Amazing how many beautiful scenes have been lit with a bedsheet and an open-faced redhead. (Deakins in particular mentions sending grips into JCPenney stores for more sheets).

    You can do a lot with a sack of fabric - get some wide ripstop nylon, 3 yards or so pieces, and some black duvytene. Put up two stands, run a length of conduit between 'em, hang your fabrics - you can make a 10' x 10' "softbox" for big, soft light, or use the black fabric and just make a tall 1' strip of diffusion with black on either side, that can be a beautiful look as well. I tend to use the fresnels for hair light (I prefer "cheekbone" light, that rim of highlight that defines the side of a face vs. just the hair or shoulder). They really excel at that.

    These kind of flags are also beyond handy - in solids, diffusions, and black meshes:
    [​IMG]

    I used a black mesh flag in this shot, to tone down the white of the guy's shirt and the brightness of his hands, which was distracting (when we started we did some no-jacket shots and it was just too off kilter) - basically you're casting a shadow that's not 100% dense:

    [​IMG]
     

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