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Larry Stone

Tungsten Light Still a Good Investment in 2020

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Hey,

I want to purchase a set Dedolights DLH4  along with some Lightstream Reflectors. I like the versatility of these lights, wanted to know from industry professionals if Tungsten lights are on the way out, in favor of Bi-Color LED lights? Silly question are Tungsten Bulbs on the way out?

Energy Department Prolong Lives of Incandescent Light Bulbs.   

If so do you think a replacement Bulb will take its place?

Larry

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I think the small (and the huge) focusable tungstens are still valuable if matching to a room lit with tungsten lightbulbs. However, if you are traveling with a small package that needs to work in both daylight and tungsten rooms, with limited power, a bi-color LED might make more sense.

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@David Mullen ASC 

Quote

However, if you are traveling with a small package that needs to work in both daylight and tungsten rooms, with limited power, a bi-color LED might make more sense.

This is a small one person crew, I'm only looking to light one person for Interviews or Short Narratives Shots. 

If a Daylight Conversion filter is used, I know I'll lose one stop of light. The Dedolights are just for Fill, Hair/Background and Kicker light. I should still have plenty of light to work with. I'm using bounce light, when dealing with rooms that have lots on natural light. Unless I'm confused, these are 120v lights, I shouldn't have issues with blowing fuses. Are my thoughts on how this works wrong?

Larry

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You should get a bi-color or a daylight LED, not a tungsten LED because converting tungsten to daylight loses too much light.

But if it really is just for an eyelight or hairlight, then a real tungsten one would be OK if it saves you money.

It's not that a 150w tungsten Dedo pulls much power, it just that your total power consumption of all your lights might be straining a location,  so you have to watch how it all adds up.

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11 hours ago, Larry Stone said:

@David Mullen ASC 

This is a small one person crew, I'm only looking to light one person for Interviews or Short Narratives Shots. 

If a Daylight Conversion filter is used, I know I'll lose one stop of light. The Dedolights are just for Fill, Hair/Background and Kicker light. I should still have plenty of light to work with. I'm using bounce light, when dealing with rooms that have lots on natural light. Unless I'm confused, these are 120v lights, I shouldn't have issues with blowing fuses. Are my thoughts on how this works wrong?

Larry

The DLH4 and DLHM4 Classic Tungsten Dedos are actually 24v lights (older models are 12v). They use a built-in transformer to step up to 120v or 220v, that’s part of why the lights are so efficient and the globes last so long. In practice, you can think of them like 120v AC devices since they will operate the same way with the transformer. But you can also power them off of 24v DC power sources if necessary.

By converting the Tungsten 3200K Dedos to Daylight 5600K with Full CTB gel, you will lose 2 stops, not 1 stop. That’s ok in a dark studio, but it won’t work so well in a sunlit room. You’d basically have to spot the lights all the way and blast them from close range to compete with ambient daylight. Bouncing them won’t work well at all in this situation, as you’ll lose even more light output. I think if you need daylight color, then the Bi-Color LED Dedos would be a better option. They have the same optics and can take the same optical accessories, so you won’t be losing any functionality.

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12 hours ago, Larry Stone said:

This is a small one person crew, I'm only looking to light one person for Interviews or Short Narratives Shots. 

As someone working similar shoots most of the time. Tungsten is a good investment given how cheap it is. You can always ditch them for a quick buck later on and upgrade to something fancier.

The heat is a complaint for some talent (usually when they're in coats or overweight) but 650s or 1Ks still pack a nice punch even through very saturated gels. It can be annoying to have lights you need to be careful with especially as a one man crew, but you quickly learn to adapt.

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Go for tungsten if you're in a blacked-out studio with only tungsten-colored fixtures. They require lots of air conditioning to remove the heat. If you're putting CTB on them to convert the color to daylight, then you're wasting loads of energy for a minuscule lux output and you'll find the exposure will suffer. In which case LED would be better.

Go for bi-color LED if in a location where daylight colors are being used.

I only use tungsten in enclosed studios because they're already wired for the required amperes and air conditioning, and allows the use of dozens of cheap fixtures.

Larry, Aperture must have something up your alley, no?

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Posted (edited)

Tungsten in general is still the king when it comes to color rendition - it's the only light source besides the sun and fire that gives perfect color. It's 100 CRI, TLCI, CQS, etc. 

With tungsten Dedolights, you have numerous benefits over regular tungsten lights.

Most Dedolights (including the DLH4) use low voltage bulbs that are more efficient than higher voltage bulbs because the filament itself is more compact and doesn't need as much electricity to keep it hot.

Because of that, whereas most tungsten units are about 15-20 lumens per watt, Dedolights get up to 35-40 lumens per watt.

Dedolights also use aspherical optics that capture all that light and condense it into an even beam. Standard fresnel lenses can be very inefficient, especially when spotted down.

Also, Dedolight does has dichroic daylight conversion filters for their tungsten lights, including the DLH4. So, while gelling the light will indeed cut two stops, the dichroic filter will only cut one stop.

The bulbs should also not be going away anytime soon. Halogen bulbs are typically still on the market because they are more efficient than non-halogen tungsten. These low voltage bulbs are about double the efficiency of high voltage halogen.

Since you were planning on using the Light stream reflectors, Dedolight does have the Parallel Beam Attachment that increases the amount of light when in full spot by 400% (since you use it in the flood position, which gives out the most quantity of light.)

Also, while most tungsten units are cheap on the secondary market, I find it telling that Dedolights still hold their value.

Edited by Joshua Cadmium
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I still use my DHL4s constantly, indeed I use tungsten all the time (whenever power permits really). 

Not for anything daylight based (I stick with HMIs and LEDs for that these days) but there's always plenty of occasions to bring them out. And it's SO nice to not have to worry about colour.

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14 hours ago, Mark Kenfield said:

I still use my DHL4s constantly, indeed I use tungsten all the time (whenever power permits really). 

Not for anything daylight based (I stick with HMIs and LEDs for that these days) but there's always plenty of occasions to bring them out. And it's SO nice to not have to worry about colour.

I love my DLHM4s as well, but I only use them on studio shoots and on narrative films, which I haven’t done much of in the last few years. My old 2K Mighty Mole blew up on my last studio shoot a year ago (the Shakespeare one), and I haven’t even bothered to go pick it up from the rental house yet because I haven't needed it. Haven’t used my Lowel Rifa 88 in years either.

I did break down and buy a Dedo 400D HMI last year, and I use that a lot more. Smaller than a Joleko 400. At some point, I would like to get the new Parallel Beam Intensifier for it, but will have to wait until work starts up again.

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Posted (edited)

Here's a fantastic example of using the Parallel Beam Attachments with DLH4s and the Lightstream Reflectors: 

In the example, he's only using 4x 150w Dedolights, so only 600w total. Pretty efficient.

Edited by Joshua Cadmium
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What I find is that inexperienced DP's, and often producers, feel the need to rent expensive LED fixtures.  This may be useful in large scale applications where adjusting the lamps would be more costly because of rigging, or specific computer control is required.  Mostly, on low budget featuers for television, this is not the case.  

On low budget features that I Gaff, I take a full tungsten cart, which the rental house is usually happy to give away, or near about. 

Most often I see the Skypannel or Litemat used in ways that a Leko, Dedo, or other similar source could be used, with a bounce, to produce the same effect and be much more controlled.  Most of the time, the Skypannel is requested with full large softbox, dimmed to 1% on Tungsten setting.  Then the crew is asked to dance it around.  There are existing tungsten fixtures which can do this job faster, cheaper, and better. 

While I can't say that an investment in tungsten lamps is "worth it" in a business sense for profit return, I feel there is a great need for many young filmmakers to learn which tools can save them money and time.   Something to be said about reinventing the wheel. 

You can invest in gear as you wish, but teaching people there is a better way, when blinded by shiny magic technology; that's difficult. 

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Update:

In large open room with plenty of daylight, my plan is to use and manipulate the natural light, by using reflectors to light the subject. Depending on the look, I might use a tungsten/daylight balanced dedolight as a hair/kicker light, bounced fill from a reflector under camera position, etc. 

Currently using a Tota light in 40x40 softbox as key light. In room(s), with closed curtains. By adding dedolights, I looking to go from a 1 light setup to 3 light setup. I also like the precision focusing of the dedolight for still life photography. They've been on my wish list for years, and the current sale makes them affordable. The HMI/LED versions are out of my price range. 

Thank You to everyone for replying. 

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On 8/2/2020 at 5:17 PM, Stephen Sanchez said:

Larry, Aperture must have something up your alley, no?

I created a post "Help with Photometric". The Answers in that post and my needs/wants ruled out Aputure Lights.

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On 8/3/2020 at 7:59 PM, Joshua Cadmium said:

Also, Dedolight does has dichroic daylight conversion filters for their tungsten lights, including the DLH4. So, while gelling the light will indeed cut two stops, the dichroic filter will only cut one stop.

Since you were planning on using the Light stream reflectors, Dedolight does have the Parallel Beam Attachment that increases the amount of light when in full spot by 400% (since you use it in the flood position, which gives out the most quantity of light.)

Also, while most tungsten units are cheap on the secondary market, I find it telling that Dedolights still hold their value.

@Joshua Cadmium Have you used the Dichroic Glass Filters? Reviews seem to be mixed.

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On 8/4/2020 at 12:57 AM, Mark Kenfield said:

I still use my DHL4s constantly, indeed I use tungsten all the time (whenever power permits really). 

Not for anything daylight based (I stick with HMIs and LEDs for that these days) but there's always plenty of occasions to bring them out. And it's SO nice to not have to worry about colour.

@Mark Kenfield before HMI and LED lights how did you handle the mix color of tungsten and daylight?

Off Topic I'm going to try your mobile umbrella book light contraption, with my tota lights! Tota output 750watts. Looks like you used westcott 7ft umbrella with a 2k. Any other tips to avoid melting, the umbrella? All safety tips are appreciated!!  

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7 hours ago, Jay Young said:

What I find is that inexperienced DP's, and often producers, feel the need to rent expensive LED fixtures.  This may be useful in large scale applications where adjusting the lamps would be more costly because of rigging, or specific computer control is required.  Mostly, on low budget featuers for television, this is not the case.  

On low budget features that I Gaff, I take a full tungsten cart, which the rental house is usually happy to give away, or near about. 

Most often I see the Skypannel or Litemat used in ways that a Leko, Dedo, or other similar source could be used, with a bounce, to produce the same effect and be much more controlled.  Most of the time, the Skypannel is requested with full large softbox, dimmed to 1% on Tungsten setting.  Then the crew is asked to dance it around.  There are existing tungsten fixtures which can do this job faster, cheaper, and better. 

While I can't say that an investment in tungsten lamps is "worth it" in a business sense for profit return, I feel there is a great need for many young filmmakers to learn which tools can save them money and time.   Something to be said about reinventing the wheel. 

You can invest in gear as you wish, but teaching people there is a better way, when blinded by shiny magic technology; that's difficult. 

Thank You 

 

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4 hours ago, Larry Stone said:

@Mark Kenfield before HMI and LED lights how did you handle the mix color of tungsten and daylight?

Off Topic I'm going to try your mobile umbrella book light contraption, with my tota lights! Tota output 750watts. Looks like you used westcott 7ft umbrella with a 2k. Any other tips to avoid melting, the umbrella? All safety tips are appreciated!!  

Well, I gather I wasn’t actually born yet when HMIs were first invented 👶🏻 and I’m pretty sure the same goes for Kino Flos. So it’s never been all that big of an issue for me 🤷‍♂️
 

Working with LEDs is no great change from working with Kinos. The differences are mainly just colour-shiftless dimming, battery operability and more recently, better colour rendering. And then the more customisable aspects like lighting effects, strip lighting etc.

 

Oooh “The Orb Light”! Good choice 👍 the main things you can do are remove any barndoors or detachable components that will radiate heat closer to the umbrellas than necessary. And keep as much of an air gap between the two umbrellas as you can (without the spill becoming a problem), it’s a booklight, so there will already be light going everywhere, so you usually have a fair bit of leeway on that point.

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On 8/6/2020 at 11:39 AM, Larry Stone said:

@Joshua Cadmium Have you used the Dichroic Glass Filters? Reviews seem to be mixed.

I have two of them that I picked up used, so I don't know exactly when they were made. They definitely came from different batches as the engraved font on the aluminum is different, but they were quite similar - about 7 mireds different between the two of them. They do seem to be on the green side by eye and as measured by my lower end Illuminati color meter (they were reading around +1/2 green). They are definitely correcting to daylight kelvin values, though.

However, I was not testing them with DLH4s - I was testing them out with Dedocools, which (at least on the one's I own) don't have room for a front filter - the front glass element sticks too far out. I found that I could jam the filter in at an angle and use a cable to keep it from falling out. 

Partially because of that, I realized that the filter is less green and appears neutral (+0 green) depending on the angle I have it at (while still correcting to daylight.) Dichroic filters work by passing part of the spectrum you want and reflecting less (or none) of what you don't want. They are impacted by the angle of the light as it travels through them, so that's why tilting the filter impacted the color I was getting.

So, YMMV on a DLH4, but I hope this might help a little.

Also, Dedocools are about as loud as a blowdryer, if anyone was thinking about checking them out. 🙂

Edited by Joshua Cadmium

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