Getting my strobe gear to work with hotlights.

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Robert Kennedy, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    So, if...big if, I can get my dry-plate thing going, I am going to need to switch from strobes to hotlights (mostly because I NEED the long exposure time that strobes don't give you).

    Now, I already have a bunch invested in some modifiers. Umbrellas, and softboxes.

    The question is this -

    Can I get a cheap hotlight setup that will let me use the modifiers I already have?

    I bought all Alien Bees gear (cheap and great stuff), and the softboxes are made by Lightgear. Any way to get the speed rings and such to work with the photofloods?
     
  2. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Hot lights are appropriately named. Quartz bulbs need to burn at very high temps.
    While most can be used safely with umbrellas I would be extremely careful with soft boxes where there is little air circulation and heat can build up very quickly creating a fire, or at least melting hazard. Better to use diffusers suspended in out front of the lights with plenty of space between. Even then it is wise to check the heat on them frequently.
     
  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Depends on whether the sockets for the modeling lights can handle the photofloods. Any idea what the max wattage allowed for modeling lights in your gear is? If it can handle the power just swap the bulbs out for the session and leave a flap on the softbox open for heat dissipation. If you don't feel you want to risk the equipment I've found a light bulb socket type arrangement on Ebay thats pretty cheap that will hold an umbrella and mount to a lightstand.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=30080&item=3812150971
     
  4. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I wouldn't use the buff softboxes with hot lights, they aren't built for it. Chimera makes hotlight softboxes, but they arent cheap. Honestly though, if you are going for the classic look, you dont want soft boxes, you want large dish reflectors, etc.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    robert

    not sure about which hot lights you were thinking of --- pretty cheap
    look for "lowel light" kits. they are hot lights that take a
    flood light, instead of a tungston bulb.
    i've picked up more than a dozen of them in 4piece + 8 piece kits - they come in a suitcase and cost very little.

    btw - the lights look like this: http://www.lowel.com/lowellight/

    if you have a few dollars you could always look for a lowel rifa light
    they are a light / softbox in one ...

    http://www.lowel.com/rifa/

    here's one on ebay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=3860&item=3828319072&rd=1
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2004
  6. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    The cheapest tungsten light setup I know of consists of 500 W work lights (from a harware store) either used direct (ugh!) or bounced off white or silver surfaces (foamcore, silver painted foamcore, expanded polystyrene, white polytarp, whatever) or through diffuser frames (typically 4' x 4' plywood frames with diffusion material stapled to them) that are kept far enough away from the lights to prevent overheating. I'll second the motion not to use softboxes or umberellas intended for flash/strobe heads. A 500 W tungsten light gives off almost 500 W of heat.

    Could you use multiple flashes instead of hot lights?

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Robert,

    I'm surprised that the strobes that you now have won't work with what you are attempting. If indeed they are not powerful enough, try without the umbrellas/ softboxes and just use reflectors.

    If you can't get enough light out of the strobes, the size of the hot lights you will need will probably not be very usable in your home/studio due to the heat. In the old Hollywood portraits they used a lot of very hot and very large lights 500 and 1000 watt lights I believe.

    As has been said, you can't use strobe modifiers with hot lights.


    Michael MCBlane.
     
  8. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    I understand about the strobe not having enough power. I'm not sure exactly what you are photographing, but I assume you're going to be using longer exposures with the hot lights. If that's the case, what if you used the strobes and fired them more than once? I'm not sure what the formula is for exposure, but I worked with a photographer who used to do that when he photographed large displays for my company and it came out great. He used to turn all the lights off in the room and leave the shutter open while he fired off the strobe a few times. As long as there is no other light interfering with the scene, then I think you should be fine.
    Ara