Theater Lights

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by olleorama, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. olleorama

    olleorama Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Have a friend who is a light guy at a theater. The old kind, with actors on a stage, not a movie theater.. They apparently are getting rid of some old tungsten lights in favour. Are they good enough for a home studio? I will need to gel them to use them with daylight balanced film, right? Do I need to gel them for use with b&W?

    Are bulbs expensive and hard to get?
     
  2. Ian C

    Ian C Member

    Messages:
    722
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Tungsten theatre lights should be about 3200K and work fine for film photography.

    The bulbs could be pricey or not, depending on the type. For daylight balanced color film with 3200K lights you’d need an 80A filter on your LENS.

    These are the blue cooling filters needed for matching various tungsten light sources to 5500K daylight color film.

    http://www.hoyafilter.com/products/hoya/cf-02.html

    The X(1) green is used for portraits on panchromatic B&W film under tungsten light.

    http://www.hoyafilter.com/products/hoya/cf-09.html

    You should determine the color temperature of the lights before buying filters.
     
  3. olleorama

    olleorama Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hmm, I think I would prefer gelling the lights, so I can mix in daylight too.

    Cheapest way to check colour temp would be with a digital camera and a grey card I guess? Or are there more alternatives to digi cam and colour meter? The latter seems to be very expensive.
     
  4. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do you know the make of the light fixtures?

    "HPL" lamps for the fixtures used on the stage where I work cost approx. $15 to $20 each, depending on quantity. We buy them in case quantities so our price is naturally near the bottom of the scale.

    You can buy gel filters to color correct tungsten lights for daylight film: http://rosco.com/us/products/stillphoto.cfm

    I don't know... Can you still buy tungsten balanced film?

    The main problems you are going to have are heat and power consumption.
    Stage lights get REALLY hot! Hot enough to start a fire or burn skin if you aren't careful!
    Second, a 575 watt lamp will consume 4.79 amps of electricity. (Assuming 120 VAC.) You will need to make sure that you use 12 AWG extension cords, at minimum, and that your breakers and house wiring is up to the task or else you risk starting an electrical fire. Do not burn more than four lamps on a single 20 amp circuit. (Assuming 575 watt lamps.) If you use larger lamps than 575 watts, you will have to use fewer lamps per circuit.

    As long as you have a good place to put these fixtures where you can bolt them down securely so they don't fall over or come into contact with anything flammable and you are mindful of the electrical load these babies are going to put on your house wiring, go ahead and use them.

    Wanna' see something fun? Fire up three or four of these suckers then go outside and look at your electric meter. It will be spinning like a top! :wink:
     
  5. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

    Messages:
    1,300
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Ca
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A bunch of them work really well as a substitute furnace in winter too. :smile:
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

    Messages:
    2,933
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    Misissauaga
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm with Randy, on the points he raises. Theatrical luminaires are also frequently Big and Heavy. The newer lighting instruments, which use 575w lamps and dichrioc reflectors usually, are unlikely candidates to be tossed; they are relatively new. They superceded an older straight tungsten technology that used 1000W lamps, that were always expensive.

    The only theatrical luminare that I can see being useful in the average studio is a fresnel focusing area light.
    Strand made huge numbers of a quite nice small 6" glass lens version, called a Pattern/Patent 123. It took a 500W (or 750W if you don't want the bulb to live long) lamp, and it was suited for smaller throws.

    Take care with old theatrical luminaires; the older techology wiring insulation on the in some times 60 year old wire is very likely to crumble the first time it is flexed, and will need to be replaced. Burned sockets, where the spring steel material has been heated so many times to have lost thier spring is another common failing of old theatrical luminaires.

    If anyone is looking for 6" elipsoidal zooms, that were made in USA by Times Square Lighting in the early 80's built of modern capules 1000W sources, well I am involved in a theatrical community theatre group looking to sell up to I think 14 of them at $80CAN each, FOB Toronto.
     
  7. olleorama

    olleorama Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm in Europe so we have 240 V, that would effectively half the amp load, wouldn't it? Still a lot I guess. I will try and see. The only thing that deters me is the gelling and how close to daylight it will be, and the limitations in light modifiers. I guess a softbox is out of the question?
     
  8. olleorama

    olleorama Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wow! The strand 123 is a design master piece! I want one for my living room!
     
  9. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You are correct. Current and voltage work as a simple proportion: Volts * Amps = Watts.
    Doubling the voltage will halve the current.

    Regardless, keep an eye out to be sure that you are not overloading your circuits and use 12 AWG (3.3mm^2) wire or larger.

    You can get correction filters for tungsten to daylight conversion. Rosco Cinelux gels will do the job. Find them at the link I gave above.

    You can also buy "frost" gels to go in front of the lamp to soften the beam. Many makes of lights have adjustable "beam spread" and "focus" controls to alter the width of the beam and the softness/hardness of the light.

    As Mike says, try to get fresnel lights or "scoop" lights instead of spots or "Lekos." They'll be more like the kind of lights you are used to using in the studio. There's nothing wrong with having Lekos/spots if you can get them. You'll just have to move them farther away from the subject if you want even light.

    Lekos will, however, provide some really dramatic lighting effects if you are willing to experiment! :cool:
     
  10. olleorama

    olleorama Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just looked into this some more. Fresnels seems to be the way. But another thought. The 80A filter factor would render my ASA 100 films to be shot at EI 25! That's horribly slow! I can forget shooting models basically (since I'm mostly shooting MF and would want some DOF). I would be limited to very static postures, like in old movie pics. I guess gels on the light would have the same effect, by lowering the effective light intensity?
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,092
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would be very surprised if a gel on a light reduced the output by 25%. I would also be surprised if an 80A filter did the same thing. Are you sure about that?

    EDIT: I just checked. It is 2 stops. And I am suitably surprised!


    Steve.
     
  12. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Gels are basically "cut" filters. They do not "boost".
    They can only cut out parts of the light spectrum that you don't want to see.

    If you had a bowl of mixed red and green "M&M" candy and you took out all the green ones, you'd only have half as many M&Ms as you started with.

    The solution would be to start with a bigger bowl of M&Ms or else learn to like the green ones.
    That means you would need more and brighter lights to start with or else you'll have to use film that responds to tungsten's color spectrum the way you want it.

    This is one reason why stages, movie sets and TV studios have so many lights.
     
  13. olleorama

    olleorama Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Funny thing, rosco r3202 has a 1.5 stop reduction, and Lee 201 has 1 2/3. So I'm better of with gels than lens filters if I'm gonna go through with this.
     
  14. btaylor

    btaylor Subscriber

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Yes, you end up with the same light loss: you either have to pump up the amount of light to use the 80A filter, or pump up the amount of light to compensate for the light robbing qualities of the conversion gels. The ASA 25 conversion figure you get is the result either way.

    Have you thought about simply shooting tungsten balanced film? That would be the easiest solution as long as you are not mixing it with daylight. Another option: if you are indoors with a daylight light source you can gel the daylight (like a window) to 3200 tungsten and use the lamps unfiltered.
     
  15. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

    Messages:
    1,300
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Ca
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you want to be really creative, convert the old fresnel lamps to flash heads and include a 250 watt modelling lamp. Now you have the best of both worlds.
     
  16. olleorama

    olleorama Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can't find any tungsten films anymore. Only expired, and who knows what color casts that would give. I think I will abandon this idea. Strobes (which I use now) seems a lot more convinient. I would still like to have the "wysiwyg" thing you get with tungsten.

    I saw a few pics on flickr shot with profoto acute strobes with some fresnel thing on them, that looked really like what I was after. Thinking of buying this and do something like it.
     
  17. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,362
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's exactly what I did with an Altman elipsoidal zoom. It makes a wonderful hard-edge light.
     
  18. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They should work great if your home is wired to handle them. You will probably need stands too.

    To work around the low effective film speeds, move them closer to your subjects, and cycle them on and off as needed to save power and keep your subjects from baking/going blind.

    There is a reason they call them hot lamps, and a reason why they have been largely replaced by flash. They consume relatively large amounts of power to produce a relatively low amount of light, and are relatively large and heavy.

    When it comes to shooting people, my preference is to have at least 2,000W per head, if they are being bounced (a la M-R Softlites). 1,000W is OK for spots. My home hot lamps are Smith Victors with a 500W bulb in each housing. They are perfectly fine for stuff, but not that good for people. I usually get '8 to '30 at f/5.6 with them, using bounce umbrellas and Tri-X 320, at a pretty comfortable (but still hot, requiring cycling on and off) distance from the subject.

    Just remember to get the lamps close; do not be shy with them. This is another reason why longer-than-normal lenses and lens hoods are great (almost "must haves," IMHO) for studio shooting. They let you move the lights nice and close.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2011