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Jack Anderson

1930s Diffusion Filters

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No, those are just tungsten lamps with small frames of spun glass in front of them.  In what looks like tubes in the second one above, those are just multiple frames in a row in front of the light.

So these are just empty tubes of glass mounted in front of the lamp?

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Fluorescent lighting became generally available towards the end of WW2 I believe - presumably it would have been in labs in the late 30s.



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I don't know if the standard 24 fps constant-speed camera motors were consistent enough for shooting 60 hz fluorescents,

If they were AC powered off the wall, they would have been perfect for syncing with flourescents. Any error in the power from the utility company would have been tracked indentically by both camera and lights.




-- J.S.

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Fluorescent lighting became generally available towards the end of WW2 I believe - presumably it would have been in labs in the late 30s.





Marty Goodman in his History of Electric Lighting states, "In 1901, a now-forgotten inventor named Peter Cooper Hewitt invented an arc lamp that used mercury vapor. The vapor was enclosed in a glass bulb. This was the first enclosed arc-type lamp using metal vapor. In 1934, a high pressure variant of this was developed [by Edmund Germer], which could handle a lot more power in a smaller space...


...The low pressure mercury arc lamp of Peter Cooper Hewitt is the very direct parent of today's modern fluorescent lights. It was found that these low pressure [mercury] arc lamps would put out large amounts of ultra-violet light. Folks then figured that if they coated the inside of the light bulb with a fluorescent chemical (one that absorbed UV light and re-radiated that energy as visible light) they could make an efficient light source."


Edmund Germer (1901 - 1987) invented a high pressure vapor lamp, his development of the improved fluorescent lamp and the high-pressure mercury-vapor lamp allowed for more economical lighting with less heat. Edmund Germer was born in Berlin, Germany, and educated at the University of Berlin, earning a doctorate in lighting technology. Together with Friedrich Meyer and Hans Spanner, Edmund Germer patented an experimental fluorescent lamp in 1927.


Edmund Germer is credited by some historians as being the inventor of the first true fluorescent lamp. However, it can be argued that fluorescent lamps have a long history of development prior to Germer.


George Inman lead a group of General Electric scientists researching an improved and practical fluorescent lamp. Under pressure from many competing companies the team designed the first practical and viable fluorescent lamp (U.S. Patent No. 2,259,040) that was first sold in 1938. It should be noted that General Electric bought the patent rights to Edmund Germer's earlier patent.


According to The GE Fluorescent Lamp Pioneers, "On Oct 14, 1941 U.S. Patent No. 2,259,040 was issued to George E. Inman; the filing date was Apr 22, 1936. It has generally been regarded as the foundation patent. However, some companies were working on the lamp at the same time as GE and some individuals had already filed for patents. GE strengthened its position when it purchased a German patent that preceded Inman's. GE paid $180,000 for U.S. Patent No 2,182,732 that had been issued to Friedrich Meyer, Hans J. Spanner and Edmund Germer. While one might argue the real inventor of the fluorescent lamp, it is clear that GE was the first to introduce it."

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Guest fstop

Anyone know the first documented use of flourescent movie light in a movie (i.e for modeling and exposure and not as a practical)? Anyone know the first Kinoflo film?

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Gordon Willis asked that the huge Washington Post newsroom set for "All the President's Men" (1976) be lit with real fluorescents (a big wiring job since all the ballasts were moved off-stage), which he augmented with fluorescents on stands. But this is not a case of fluorescents mimicking some other light source.


Kubrick & Alcott used flos a lot in the hotel set for "The Shining".


It was (and still is) quite unusual for Eduardo Serra to have the soundstage exterior street set for "The Hairdresser's Husband" (1990) lit with flourescents.


The use of fluorescents as lighting units was a gradual evolution from using them as practicals on set -- for example, many shots in "Alien" and "Blade Runner" are lit with fluorescents because that's the practical source in the frame.


This is from the Kinoflo wesbite:


In 1987, while working on the film Barfly, DP Robby Mueller was shooting in a cramped interior with a wide lens. He didn?t have the space to rig conventional set lighting. Frieder Hochheim (his gaffer) and Gary Swink (his best boy) came up with an answer. They established a base light with incandescent practicals and HMIs through windows. For fill and accent lighting, they constructed high-frequency fluorescent lights. By using remote ballasts, the fixtures were maneuverable enough to be taped to walls, hidden behind drapes and mounted behind the bar. Kino Flos were born.

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