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Where does "looks like flash" come from? Anyone ever compared flash vs continuous?
Old 09-12-2017   #1
moodlover
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Where does "looks like flash" come from? Anyone ever compared flash vs continuous?

(this question is only about the visual look or appearance, not about power, convenience, features, temperature, etc)

Howdy. I live by the motto that light is light, and regardless of the source they all [generally] are guided by the same principals and laws of physics. However, I was speaking to a well known lighting expert in my city and he told me that continuous/hot lights actually look slightly different. "In portraits, hot light has a subtle nuance to it, a subtle glow or smoothness because the quality of light is different at the source". I found this hard to believe if the bulb whether continuous or flash is modified the same way, under the same power. Then I thought, the different in using flash vs continuous is the shutter speed! Flash tends to kill any type of ambience while continuous lights can allow for a slow shutter speed to soak up the ambience. Perhaps this is how some old school film photographers achieved a "glow" in their portraits.

So I ask, has anyone actually conducted a test on this topic? I wish I could, but don't have continuous lights at the moment. Why is it that flash "looks like flash" and continuous light doesn't "look like continuous". Is it because the key light on the face is usually too strong when people use strobes? Where does the "looks like flash" idea come from if light is light after all?

Why is it that the extremely powerful hot lights used in cinema don't look artificial, whether using hard light or soft light, they always look very well balanced.
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Old 09-12-2017   #2
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I've used both but continuous long ago. My quick answer is the way the light is, as you say obeying the laws of physic; continuous light have reflector cones around them or now days a new age diffusing system, and flash (electronic flash) has usually nothing. But if you get into the equipment that is available to you today (soft boxes, umbrellas, beauty lights, plastic shower screens) there are many ways to achieve the same lighting as continuous lights.

But for our type of photography the old flash bulb gave the best of all worlds.
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Old 09-12-2017   #3
Robert Lai
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The hot lights have reflectors of different sizes / shapes, as well as light modifiers such as diffusers and soft boxes. Most importantly, you can see and modify your lighting effect before you take the picture.

With electronic flash, you need to do a repeated series of tests to see if you're getting the effect that you want. With digital it's a bit of a time waster, with film you don't know what you're going to get.

Electronic flash usually has a relatively small reflector, and thus a concentrated beam. The hot lights have larger diameter reflectors, and thus a wider, more diffuse beam.

As stated above, flash bulbs give you the benefit of both. The power of hot lights, but without the heat buildup. Large reflectors, typically 5 to 7 inches in diameter. The short but intense burst duration that exceeds in terms of light flux most electronic flashes.
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Old 09-12-2017   #4
x-ray
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I'm an old school commercial photographer of 50 years. I apprenticed under a PPof A master photographer in the early 70's and became a PPof A master in 1985. For the first 12 or so years of my career I used hot lights mainly. I still use hot light for some work.

Any difference in the look of contineous vs strobe is in the control of the light and the modifiers. Fresnel spots are commonly used in hot highting where as there are little to no choices for fresnel spots in strobe with one exception that I'm aware of. I use Speedotron black line strobes and have 8" fresnel spots made by Strand Century and modified by Speedotron. DeSiste also has a 10" fresnel spot for Speedotron. The 8 & 10 can handle 4800 we in a single pop. There have been others modified for other brands but they aren't common. Most strobe lighting is soft light through a softbox or umbrella. Most hot light is directional like fresnel spots or PAR or flood lights. The light other than color temperature is the same but the difference is as mentioned above.

When I had my big (6000sqft) studio I used fresnel spots up to the 10,000 watt mighty Mole all the way down to 150watt LTM peppers. I still use and just bought more fresnel lighting but generally 150-300watt for very small products that I need extreme control on. I use snoots and bar doors and home made modifiers for additional control.

Again most strobes are used with soft boxes, umbrellas and grids which don't do the same thing as a spot.

Fresnel spots can be used with soft boxes that are specially designed to handle the e tremendous hear. Even firing 4800 ws focused in a soft box creates a huge amount of heat.

Again, same light head and modifier, tungsten will look exactly like strobe in the same head and modified. Matter of fact I occasionally use the modeling lights in my strobes as the light source to shoot by and turn the flash part off. I mostly do this with food when I want super shallow DOF. It's hard to reduce strobes down to a power level to shoot at 1.4 or 2.
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Old 09-12-2017   #5
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When I appeenticed we did a few executive portraits. We had several Photogenic #4 photo flood portrait lights. They consisted of a large (~3ft) diameter spun aluminum reflector that was rather shallow. The #4 bulb was mounted in the center on a shaft that would move the bulb in or out of the center of the reflector. Mounted over the front of the bulb was another small cup shaped aluminum reflector that kept direct light from the bulb from hitting the subject. In effect all light was directed into the large reflector and no direct light from the bulb reached the subject.

By moving the bulb in or out it changes the angle of the light making it harder or softer. These large reflectors had a shape that caused the center of the light beam to be stronger than at the edge. By adjusting the angle of the reflector relative to your subject you could "feather" the light for some gorgeous effects. It allowed you to put more light on the center of the face or more important features and keep the forehead or the side of the face from getting too hot. It hard to explain but easy to show.

About the closest thing to the Photogrnic light is the beauty dish but they lack the subtle control of those old photogenics. How I wish I had a pair modified for strobe.

I don't know why lighting changed so dramatically but it happened when soft boxes came into style. Like I said I learned with hot lights and still love the control I have with them.
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Old 09-12-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lai View Post
With electronic flash, you need to do a repeated series of tests to see if you're getting the effect that you want. With digital it's a bit of a time waster, with film you don't know what you're going to get.

Electronic flash usually has a relatively small reflector, and thus a concentrated beam. The hot lights have larger diameter reflectors, and thus a wider, more diffuse beam..
Studio strobes have modeling lights. In many studio units the modeling light can be controlled to be proportinate to the intensity of the flash. No need to shoot dozens of tests, you can visually see what you are getting.

As to reflector size, for my strobes I have 8" fresnels to 30" reflectors from soft beauty dishes to various shape and depth spun aluminum reflectors. Now throw in pencil lights and bare bulbs. Hot lights range from fresnels of varying sizes to reflectors in various shapes and sizes up to several feet in diameter. There are pans, scoops, PAR bulbs of various focus with fresnel lenses combined to bare bulbs. You name it and it's currently or has been made.

Now throw into the mix silks, scrims, gobos, flags, dots and cookies plus a dozen kinds of diffusers.
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Old 09-12-2017   #7
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Some really thorough answers here! My short answer is I feel I can spot a flash photo from ten paces any day, if it was taken without a diffuser or bounce flash. If there was some effort to diffuse the light, then it may look more natural. I think the color temperature can be a dead giveaway in some cases, as well.
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Old 09-12-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Some really thorough answers here! My short answer is I feel I can spot a flash photo from ten paces any day, if it was taken without a diffuser or bounce flash. If there was some effort to diffuse the light, then it may look more natural. I think the color temperature can be a dead giveaway in some cases, as well.
If the lighting was used correctly, it would be difficult for me to tell the difference unless flash duration was a factor. By correctly, I mean proper attention to color temperature and similar characteristics.

I don't have the flash (watt second/joules) capacity that x-ray has. I have a total of 4 small 800w/s Dynalite flash generators and 5 heads of different form factors (and some speed lights). The Dynalite units I own are compatible with all Lowel Omni Light accessories. Omni lights are a tungsten light. I no longer own any of them but, have all the grids, barn doors, scrims and half scrims that fit my Dynalite electronic flash heads. I also use a number of softbbox and umbrella sizes in my work. I've looked at a lot of lighting in photographs and would be hard pressed, with a modern photograph, to make a determination as to the source unless obvious (I can see a reflection of the unit in the photo).

My nonacademic training was as an assistant to a NatGeo photographer and two years as an assistant to Irving Penn's former studio manager. I did the latter to learn Penn's lighting.

http://lowel.tiffen.com/omni/index.html

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Old 09-12-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
When I appeenticed we did a few executive portraits. We had several Photogenic #4 photo flood portrait lights. They consisted of a large (~3ft) diameter spun aluminum reflector that was rather shallow. The #4 bulb was mounted in the center on a shaft that would move the bulb in or out of the center of the reflector. Mounted over the front of the bulb was another small cup shaped aluminum reflector that kept direct light from the bulb from hitting the subject. In effect all light was directed into the large reflector and no direct light from the bulb reached the subject.

By moving the bulb in or out it changes the angle of the light making it harder or softer. These large reflectors had a shape that caused the center of the light beam to be stronger than at the edge. By adjusting the angle of the reflector relative to your subject you could "feather" the light for some gorgeous effects. It allowed you to put more light on the center of the face or more important features and keep the forehead or the side of the face from getting too hot. It hard to explain but easy to show.

About the closest thing to the Photogrnic light is the beauty dish but they lack the subtle control of those old photogenics. How I wish I had a pair modified for strobe.

I don't know why lighting changed so dramatically but it happened when soft boxes came into style. Like I said I learned with hot lights and still love the control I have with them.
My understanding is it changed years ago when Penn's grid rig was used to duplicate the huge north window light in his studio. You can see this light used in the 60s, powered by a pair of 20k w/s Ascor Sunlight Series flash generators (8x10 stopped down). It was on call "north window light" and after seeing it in Vogue, everyone wanted it.

My former employer told me it was suspended from the studio ceiling with ropes and pulleys, and was so heavy that, it took two assistants controlling the ropes to direct it. Ascor flash heads were huge and the grid had 16 diffused heads. The cables alone were very heavy.
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Old 09-13-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moodlover View Post
(this question is only about the visual look or appearance, not about power, convenience, features, temperature, etc)

Howdy. I live by the motto that light is light, and regardless of the source they all [generally] are guided by the same principals and laws of physics. However, I was speaking to a well known lighting expert in my city and he told me that continuous/hot lights actually look slightly different. "In portraits, hot light has a subtle nuance to it, a subtle glow or smoothness because the quality of light is different at the source". I found this hard to believe if the bulb whether continuous or flash is modified the same way, under the same power. Then I thought, the different in using flash vs continuous is the shutter speed! Flash tends to kill any type of ambience while continuous lights can allow for a slow shutter speed to soak up the ambience. Perhaps this is how some old school film photographers achieved a "glow" in their portraits.

So I ask, has anyone actually conducted a test on this topic? I wish I could, but don't have continuous lights at the moment. Why is it that flash "looks like flash" and continuous light doesn't "look like continuous". Is it because the key light on the face is usually too strong when people use strobes? Where does the "looks like flash" idea come from if light is light after all?

Why is it that the extremely powerful hot lights used in cinema don't look artificial, whether using hard light or soft light, they always look very well balanced.
Here's your problem:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PKR View Post
If the lighting was used correctly, it would be difficult for me to tell the difference unless flash duration was a factor.
Three common ways in which flash is not used "correctly":
  1. You say that "Flash tends to kill any type of ambience while continuous lights can allow for a slow shutter speed to soak up the ambience."
    However, using flash "correctly" often requires a mixture of flash and natural light. This is most noticeable in flash photography where the subject is lit but the background is dark or even pitch black.
  2. Using the flash from the wrong position. In most flashlit pictures, the flash is close by, in front of the subject and at head height. No other light source, natural or artificial, is usually in this location!
  3. A naked flash is a point source, so you get black shadows with sharp edges rather than a diffuse roll off.

All this is obvious, yet how many photographers (as opposed to camera users!) do you see using an off-camera flash with a diffuser or exposing for the ambient light as well as their flash?

Some posters in this thread have described elaborate studio set-ups. However, if you make a point of learning about light and how to use equipment, you don't need much. You will need at least two flashguns and be able to use them off camera. And don't bother with fancy synced flashes - to use flash properly, use manual settings. All of those fancy Bowens (RIP!) studio strobes are essentially controlled by a dimmer knob! As most people are under the impression that using flash is an arcane art (it's not - it's mostly trial and error and learning from experience!), you can buy excellent old flashes very cheaply. I prefer Nikons, and have a bucketful...

I have my own studio now with studio strobes (and hot lights too), and all kinds of light modifiers. However, I still often do what I've always done: improvise. I use all kinds of thing to modify the light to get the look I want - greaseproof paper, cardboard, aluminium foil... I've blocked the light with a broom handle before, to break up an unflattering shadow! And I recall once wanting the light to be less "white" so I taped a food wrapper on my flash.

So, unless you're photographing something that only a strobe can capture, like a bullet through an apple, there is no essential difference in the look of flash photographs compared with other photographs.

Strobes are convenient. However, hot lights are my favourite, as you get exactly what you see, whereas there's more trial and error with flash (the built-in modelling lights can only give an approximation). But that's just me and my preference - most studio photographers I know prefer strobes. (Not to mention that my three hot lights together chuck out about 2000 watts - and, yes, I've burnt my fingers!) However, none of this has any affect on the look of the photos: strobe or hot light - the end result, the photo, will look the same.

The photograph below was taken in the storeroom of The Booth Museum of Natural History, which is too dark to take a handheld photo, so was lit by a couple of diffused flashguns, one near, one far, with bits of paper taped to them for diffusion! Personally, I think it has "ambience", and it definitely doesn't have the harsh, head-on "flashed" look!

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Old 09-13-2017   #11
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I suspect that these notions date back to skin colour rendition in black and white, and are now irrationally kept alive by the unusually shoddy quality of on camera flash illumination (on camera cannot compare with any proper lighting setup, the only fair comparison would be a camera-mounted flashlight).

As far as the spectrum is involved, flash essentially is daylight. In black and white photography, skin looks much lighter and blood vessels and skin discolourations are subdued in red-biased illumination (regardless whether tungsten lighting, or a orange filter mounted in front of a flash or a on-camera filter). Back in the era of ortho film that was even more obvious, so every photo school of that time spent much effort on hammering in the lesson that outdoor (and arc light) portraits created a blotchy, dark, masculine skin texture. And some of that reputation obviously has carried on.

Another issue where lights do indeed matter is metamerism. Metameric paints and pigments will look different in different light - but that is mostly irrelevant in black and white unless you mix light sources (it may matter if the same object is light at one and dark on another end while parallel objects indicate that the light intensity is constant). In colour, metamerism works against tungsten (and even more so against FL and LED) lighting, as our perceptual habits (and industry standards built upon them) use daylight as the reference for colours. If any, we perceive colours to be off in low colour temperatures. But metamerism is far more complex than the "blue filter - bad skin, orange filter - good skin" rule of thumb above. Colour rendition could be manipulated by filter in black and white photography, while metamerism issues generally call for changes to the film and are beyond the power of the photographer - so there never was much of an incentive to learn the latter if you were only a photographer and not a film engineer.

There also used to be differences in the colour representation of daylight and tungsten film - due to metamerism at the subject, tungsten film in tungsten light can never be as generally accurate (relative to a daylight reference) as daylight film in daylight. And as the most relevant market niche for tungsten film used to be indoor portrait, many tungsten films did not even try to be a good choice for product photography, and instead were tuned towards pleasing skin colour (at any rate as long as skin meant varying shades of pink).

FWIW, cinematography these days generally uses something very much like flash (HMI) - that it often looks better than photography is due to the effort they put into lights and lighting (often the majority of the staff and equipment on site).
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Old 09-13-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post

SNIP

FWIW, cinematography these days generally uses something very much like flash (HMI) - that it often looks better than photography is due to the effort they put into lights and lighting (often the majority of the staff and equipment on site).
The biggest problem with HMI is/was the flicker rate of the arc. The older magnetic ballast (sin wave 2x 60Hz) have been replaced with an electronic (square wave) unit in the latest lights. Most of these lights, I'm familiar with, are found as rental units. A friend owns a generator service for HMI lighting and has to deliver power at precisely 60Hz. Any deviation could miss sync with the camera shutter. When making stills on a film set, the photographer must be aware of the lighting used and select appropriate shutter speeds. And yes, often big lighting crews attending some, sometimes, very big lights.

I'm in agreement with your thinking that on camera flash may be the source of the poor lighting the thread author has in mind. Today with current digital cameras being used for news footage, LED lamps are mounted in a similar fashion to on camera flash. More poor, but convenient lighting.
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Old 09-13-2017   #13
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I'm going to post a series of images and would like to see if anyone can tell which are tungsten and which are strobe lit. Also tell me if you can which is digital and which is film. Some of these are pretty old.
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Old 09-13-2017   #14
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Another set of samples, tungsten or strobe, film or digital?
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Old 09-13-2017   #15
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OK now set 3.
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Old 09-13-2017   #16
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Set 4. Any idea?
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Old 09-13-2017   #17
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Set 5. any guesses?
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Old 09-13-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
I'm going to post a series of images and would like to see if anyone can tell which are tungsten and which are strobe lit. Also tell me if you can which is digital and which is film. Some of these are pretty old.
The shot with the glasses.. electronic flash. You know why too!.. the lemon. Salad, same reason.

Card players, tungsten .. a practical in frame.

The guy eating the burger.. electronic flash + umbrellas

Lady with bird, electronic flash + soft box. Razor, same.

Scanner with operator, electronic flash, digital, soft box on left of frame maybe same on fill too. But, now thinking film (looking at his hair) .. also, tricky shot because of monitor exposure, unless digital and stripped in. I can't tell. Scanner could be a second shot stripped in too. I've done these, all in the dark while monitor exposure is made, then fire the flash for everything else during the timed exposure. Do it several times to bracket with film. It's a little dance. Easier with digital. The scanner looks like it is lit over head, but mixing fluorescent light into this is even trickier, unless you bounced light off of the ceiling (what I would have done)?

Carhartt .. looks like film, shadow detail while holding highlights.

Bread, film, tungsten .. the butter, if real, has me hedging.

Surf and turf, film, tungsten

If I'm half right, I'm happy. Viewing on a 7" tablet.

For readers other than x-ray, None of this is based on the unmodified quality of the light.
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Old 09-13-2017   #19
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Flash tends to kill any type of ambience while continuous lights can allow for a slow shutter speed to soak up the ambience. Perhaps this is how some old school film photographers achieved a "glow" in their portraits.

As unpaid amateur I tend to use one external on camera TTL flash dialed to -1,-2 and balance it with ambient light by lowering shutter speed to something like 1/60, 1/50 and increasing ISO from 400 to 1600. And it actually does balance well enough for me with the ambient light on environmental portraits a.k.a. family pictures.

I remember at least two old school a.k.a. film photographers discontinuous how 1/15 shutter speeds gives different feel in the portraits and light.
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Old 09-13-2017   #20
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I'm not trying to corner anyone here, just see if you can see any difference in tungsten and strobe. Is there a difference in the quality of light?
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Old 09-13-2017   #21
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I'm not trying to corner anyone here, just see if you can see any difference in tungsten and strobe. Is there a difference in the quality of light?
I tried a similar thing here once. I didn't have many takers. People are afraid to be wrong. I try to figure out the lighting in photos all the time. It's fun.
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Old 09-13-2017   #22
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The biggest problem with HMI is/was the flicker rate of the arc. The older magnetic ballast (sin wave 2x 60Hz) have been replaced with an electronic (square wave) unit in the latest lights.
You must be way behind Germany there - a patent issue?. Arri and Kobold continuous (square wave electronic ballast) HMI has been pretty much the only available option here since the mid eighties.
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Old 09-13-2017   #23
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You must be way behind Germany there - a patent issue?. Arri and Kobold continuous (square wave electronic ballast) HMI has been pretty much the only available option here since the mid eighties.
I think the square wave stuff began being used in the mid 90s here. My favorite shop is an Arri dealer, but no really big stuff. I see a lot of huge LED arrays being used now. Much less heat and power savings. I only see HMI when on a film set. There is only one local big lighting rental here for the motion picture biz. Most is trucked in from a bigger city. My pal in the generator business has two big units at $250k each. A big investment.
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Old 09-13-2017   #24
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Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
...Is there a difference in the quality of light?
IMO, those two has quality of been naturally lighted. It feels like natural light.

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...2&d=1505304197

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...1&d=1505304409


The rest feels as not so natural with each light schema signing its own song.

Sorry for the wrong answer. I'm not studio guy.
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Old 09-13-2017   #25
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KoFe it's just an exercise to see if there's really any difference in tungsten and strobe. There's a pretty even mix of tungsten and strobe here as well as several film vs digital. Also one is shot with a D1x and some with a 1DsII and one with a 1Ds. Others are Nikon D800 of Df. Also one with a Hasselblad digital back.

PKR is pretty close but I have a feeling he's looking at specular highlights.
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Old 09-13-2017   #26
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It's about controlled light. It can be found most anywhere. It can be duplicated with a flash and proper placement.

On-camera flash looks like deer in highlights. It's not flattering. Light color can be changed during the process stage, however; I believe it's best to get it right when capturing the photograph.

Mixing different light temperatures has its own set of issues. For example, using a flash outdoors during daylight.

I always used off-camera flash with pocket wizards.

Light modifiers is another subject.

Window light is fine if it's high enough, controlled.

Outdoors time of day and direction should be considered in your lighting recipe.

Here is some info on lighting of the human face:

https://digital-photography-school.c...r-should-know/

Video by Monte:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qoLlA1wMYuI

Lighting is a very important ingredient with photography. It can elevate a photograph from snapshot to something creative.
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Old 09-13-2017   #27
PKR
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KoFe it's just an exercise to see if there's really any difference in tungsten and strobe. There's a pretty even mix of tungsten and strobe here as well as several film vs digital. Also one is shot with a D1x and some with a 1DsII and one with a 1Ds. Others are Nikon D800 of Df. Also one with a Hasselblad digital back.

PKR is pretty close but I have a feeling he's looking at specular highlights.
I'm looking at everything. Reflections, shadow sharpness and cut-off. It's fun. I really can't tell film from digital well with the file size and my little tab. Good digital looks much like film and vice a versa with good lighting. In the older sensors it was easy to see any fuzzy area being smoothed by the pixel site firmware. Everyone got better with the later cameras.

Nice stuff. I would have no trouble referring you!
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Old 09-13-2017   #28
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Ok It's time to give the particulars on the shots.

1st series, left to right -- #1- digital with Tungsten fresnel spots The slash of light on the plea was a 1K bounced off of a piece of white foam core. Two Pepper LTM fresnel spots were used for accents on the edges and shot through toughspun diffusion material. #2 is digital and I used three 150 watt fresnel mini spots with snoots and barn doors and reflected off of small white cards. #3 was using the 150 watt tungsten modeling lights in my Speedotron force 10's bounced off of white cards. The ambient light was tungsten so i wanted to balance the images. I used grids in the reflectors to keep the light from going everywhere. I wanted to retain a feeling of direction.

Second series #1- Digital with a single 14" soft box over head with white cards for fill. #2 was digital, Hasselblad digital back on Technikardan 23 with Micro Nikkor 120mm. I used tungsten fresnel mini spots each 150 watts. #3 - Canon 1DsII with 24 TS lens using strobes in umbrellas.

Third series - #1- Shot with 1DsII and 70-200 f2.8 L - I used the tungsten modeling lights from my Speedotron Force 10's to light plus candle light. I used grids on the reflectors and 24" silk diffusers. The diffusers were close to the food and the grids allowed me to give a directional but soft and very controllable light. I thin I had 5 light on the subject. #2 - This is an old shot from the late 70's. It's fresnel spots and white bounce cards. Some direct light and some bounce. It was shot on 8x10 Ektachrome tungsten E6 film with a 19" Goerz Red Dot Artar. I can't remember but it was probably shot about f64 and an exposure of two or three minutes with CC filters to correct the emulsion batch and reciprocity error. Also yes all the food including the butter is real. Shot #3- is 4x5 Ektachrome Tungsten using one #2 photoflood lamp in the suspended light plus a couple of 8' white reflectors.

Series 4 #1- I shot it with my Rollei SL66 and 50 Distagon on Provia. Basically there were three strobe lights. One main 6' Chimera to camera left, one smaller metallic lined chimera for edge light and one open head on the background. Shot #2 was with an old D1x Nikon. It was a small section of a huge set. I had about 50,000 ws of Speedotron light on it through bounce off the white ceiling, large soft boxes and direct heads with grids. Very complex lighting! #3- I shot Patricia with a mix of 500K balanced HMI and Speedotron strobe in umbrellas.

Last Series - #1 - I used strobe with a Speedotron beauty dish without grid for my main light to the left. I had a 11" reflector with a 40 degree grid for edge lighting and two heads with grids on the background. #2 - The MRI was tough because you couldn't take lights into th magnet room and the space where the control panel was located was horrible small. The magnet was lit with natural light through a skylight and the operator had one small Chimera soft box on his face and a 12" white translucent umbrella on his back. I was wedged in a corner. #3 - was shot with strobe and medium soft boxes using white card reflectors and black cards.

I hope this illustrates anything goes and you can't tell tungsten or continuous light from strobe. it all comes down to how it's handled.
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Old 09-13-2017   #29
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x-ray; On the MRI photo, were the monitor images shot separately or, was the image made in one exposure?

An old friend, a still life photographer, had a tungsten lamp soft box. It was an aluminum 4x4 with fans at the lamp end and vent holes on the sides to allow for air intake. He used electronic flash for many photos, but loved that tungsten soft box. It was pretty bright as I can't remember him having reciprocity problems with 8x10 Ektachrome. He had some major winery accounts, and used that light for all but pour shots. He had a wonderful studio with a wood shop in the back. He built many of his own props. He died on the golf course at 50, a serious smoker. His former assistants are some of the best table top guys working locally today.
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Old 09-13-2017   #30
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I think the phrase "looks like flash" when said casually, without reference to the kind of light modification folks such as x-ray do, means that it was taken with an on-camera flash or one in the shoe above the camera. I don't think it means that the observer has done extensive image analysis to determine the nature of the illumination.

By the way, x-ray, I really appreciate the examples and cheat-sheet you have provided here. Really good stuff!
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Old 09-13-2017   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKR View Post
x-ray; On the MRI photo, were the monitor images shot separately or, was the image made in one exposure?

An old friend, a still life photographer, had a tungsten lamp soft box. It was an aluminum 4x4 with fans at the lamp end and vent holes on the sides to allow for air intake. He used electronic flash for many photos, but loved that tungsten soft box. It was pretty bright as I can't remember him having reciprocity problems with 8x10 Ektachrome. He had some major winery accounts, and used that light for all but pour shots. He had a wonderful studio with a wood shop in the back. He built many of his own props. He died on the golf course at 50, a serious smoker. His former assistants are some of the best table top guys working locally today.
The MRI shot was one shot. It was luck that the screen and light on the magnet balanced in intensity. Luck is good though.

I was with an ad agency for 9 years and we had a 4x4 aluminum 4K light made by Colortran. It was built for Ascor and had two 3ft flash tubes in it plus the 4K of halogen light. You could use either source independently. Each flash tube could take 24,000ws. Really nice idea. This might have been a spinoff of the Ascor Sun system. You probably know Ascor became Speedotron.
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Old 09-13-2017   #32
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The MRI shot was one shot. It was luck that the screen and light on the magnet balanced in intensity. Luck is good though.

I was with an ad agency for 9 years and we had a 4x4 aluminum 4K light made by Colortran. It was built for Ascor and had two 3ft flash tubes in it plus the 4K of halogen light. You could use either source independently. Each flash tube could take 24,000ws. Really nice idea. This might have been a spinoff of the Ascor Sun system. You probably know Ascor became Speedotron.
No, I didn't know about the Ascor - Speedotron connection. I had one pal who had a Sun Light generator console. 4 capacitor drawers at 5k w/s each. He had a second generator that was a copy of the Sun Light. I repaired that one once for him as a favor. Those things are so dangerous, it's easy to make a mistake and get cooked. It took two people to remove each of the capacitor drawers. Thank god for modern electronics.

I used quartz light for a while, but doing location work with them was a big hassle. Too much wire to pack and ship. And on a hot day without air conditioning, they are not fun.

I did a similar shot for a high tech nuclear sensor group. When I finished the marketing women came in and said, we have 25 different monitor screens to photograph. I taught one of the engineers how to do the work and went on to the next one.
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Old 09-13-2017   #33
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PKR it might have been you that told the joke about the sun banks. It goes something like this, "why do Sun lights come with a broom stick? To pry the assistant off of them when it arcs".

I used to shoot NEM modules for EG&G ORTEC. They produced nuclear monitoring and sensing equipment with ultra low electronic noise. These devices led to the PET CT scanners and improvements in MRI's.
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Old 09-13-2017   #34
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PKR it might have been you that told the joke about the sun banks. It goes something like this, "why do Sun lights come with a broom stick? To pry the assistant off of them when it arcs".

I used to shoot NEM modules for EG&G ORTEC. They produced nuclear monitoring and sensing equipment with ultra low electronic noise. These devices led to the PET CT scanners and improvements in MRI's.
EG&G, is Doc Edgerton of MIT I think. Inventor of the electronic flash.

I wasn't the one who told you about the broom stick, but.. very true. What I may have told you is that my pal had one head with 4 tubes in it. He could deliver 20k w/s to a single head. His assistant told me if he had his hand in the shot while running a Polaroid, it would burn all the hair off of his arm from a couple of feet away.

Just the thing for photographing ice cream. My pal was a food photographer.

http://edgerton-digital-collections....gg-the-company

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Old 09-13-2017   #35
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And I thought 4800ws in a single tube was a lot. Speedotron has a 4 tube head that can take a total of 9600ws. I think I had a total output of something on the order of 50,000ws. I used all of them on some sets. My studio was in a large steel building and had 2-800 amp circuits in my place. When I fired everything on fast recycle the surge created a magnetic field around the metal conduit in the building and caused the skin of the building to rattle. The 4800's pull 40 amps on rapid cycle for 4 seconds. I don't think that includes the modeling lights either. 400-500 amps suddenly is a major power surge.
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Old 09-13-2017   #36
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And I thought 4800ws in a single tube was a lot. Speedotron has a 4 tube head that can take a total of 9600ws. I think I had a total output of something on the order of 50,000ws. I used all of them on some sets. My studio was in a large steel building and had 2-800 amp circuits in my place. When I fired everything on fast recycle the surge created a magnetic field around the metal conduit in the building and caused the skin of the building to rattle. The 4800's pull 40 amps on rapid cycle for 4 seconds. I don't think that includes the modeling lights either. 400-500 amps suddenly is a major power surge.
That's a lot of power for a stills Studio.

That big head had 4 3/4" cables feeding it. It was a b**ch to move around. Think about Penn's 16 head Ascor rig. 16 3/4" cables going up to the studio ceiling. I can't imagine the weight and the toil it took to move that thing around. But, it was inventive. Penn built all kinds of lighting gear. He isn't given credit for his creative engineering.
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Old 09-13-2017   #37
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The black line Speedos have 900v capacitors like several other systems. I imagine the voltage to the tubes in the sun system was much higher.

Most units are arc protected but it's still possible to get them to arc. I sold several old 2401 Speedotrons and the guy that bought them managed to arc one. Speedotron thought it occurred in an explosive atmosphere because the top of the pack speperated from the bottom and blew a hole the size of a quarter in the side. It bulged the sides and tore the screws out of the aluminum. One socket blew totally apart. The top half of the case hit the ceiling destroying the top and cracked a 2x4. The guy was lucky his head wasn't over it. Speedotron examined the pack and said there wasn't enough power in the pack to do that and determined it happened in an explosive atmosphere. After seeing this I'm a little more careful to keep my face out of the way when I switch them on. Also I've always been careful to never unplug a head when powered up or until fully discharged. It only takes one arc.

Imagine what a studio strobe could do to you. To start and stop a persons heart, Drs use around 50ws. We're talking 4800ws. Even a 400ws unit could be lethal or cause serious burns.
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Old 09-13-2017   #38
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The black line Speedos have 900v capacitors like several other systems. I imagine the voltage to the tubes in the sun system was much higher.

Most units are arc protected but it's still possible to get them to arc. I sold several old 2401 Speedotrons and the guy that bought them managed to arc one. Speedotron thought it occurred in an explosive atmosphere because the top of the pack speperated from the bottom and blew a hole the size of a quarter in the side. It bulged the sides and tore the screws out of the aluminum. One socket blew totally apart. The top half of the case hit the ceiling destroying the top and cracked a 2x4. The guy was lucky his head wasn't over it. Speedotron examined the pack and said there wasn't enough power in the pack to do that and determined it happened in an explosive atmosphere. After seeing this I'm a little more careful to keep my face out of the way when I switch them on. Also I've always been careful to never unplug a head when powered up or until fully discharged. It only takes one arc.

Imagine what a studio strobe could do to you. To start and stop a persons heart, Drs use around 50ws. We're talking 4800ws. Even a 400ws unit could be lethal or cause serious burns.

400 could kill you if it got across your chest. Always one hand only when switching. Discharge before adding or removing head plugs.

The Ascor Sunlight was 5000 VDC as I recall. But the big 40uf oil filled caps stored enough energy in joules to lift a Cadillac a few feet off the ground.

A guy I knew worked in Macy's studio. They had many 1200 & 2400 w/s Balcar units. Another, smaller, but dangerous unit. Someone was working with a motor drive and a flash generator exploded sending shrapnel in to the near by wall. A bunch of models had just walked between the generator and the wall. No one was hurt, but it had a big effect on Balcar sales locally.

Having worked on some speedotron gear, don't buy any Brown Line stuff. Stick with Black Line.
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Old 09-14-2017   #39
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A flash perched on camera top is easily spotted.

Studio Flash used with various modifiers are beautiful. One fav is 6 foot dia umbrella with white diffuser and Einstein flash all sold by Paul C Buff.

Years back I used Lowell DP lights bounced into heat resistant umbrellas. Subjects could sit there all day unlike a 12" reflector & bulb which is very uncomfortable. You need a tripod or lots of electricity.

Color can be slightly different with digital. All else being equal, very difficult to tell apart.
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Old 09-14-2017   #40
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Quote:
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(this question is only about the visual look or appearance, not about power, convenience, features, temperature, etc)
...
Those very things (except convenience and features) determine the "visual look".

Flash light is often strong and narrow. The look derives from using flash bulbs where light intensity and beam width was fixed. The shadows, in particular, are part of that look. Contemporary photographers try to use flash/strobes to create a natural look. This is difficult compared to the classic, high-power flash technique

It would be simple (if budget was not a restraint) to simulate the classic flash "visual look" with continuous light. But why bother? Just use a flash.
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