View Full Version : Bought some lights indoor lighting for my T2i...Did I get the right kind?

08-13-2010, 12:55 AM
Ok, before I spend hundred on a 3 point lighting kit I decided to get some clamp lights and some bulbs to play around with lighting. Someone mentioned not to balance to tungsen, because it creates a lot of image noise and that it's best to use daylight balanced lighting.

So, along with the metal clamp lights I bought some Daylight 6500K Energy smart lamps for them. I bought 3 clamp lights in all, 4 lamps and one dimmer. I also bought tracing paper to soften the light if I need to. These lamps don't get very hot.

So, I was wondering if this is a better type of light for dramatic indoor lighting and if these are better for less image noise like I read?


David G. Smith
08-13-2010, 05:02 AM
Well, the 6500K lights are going to be a little bluer than day light, which is 5000K, and, when buying CFL lights you also want to look for the highest CRI # you can. This is Color Rendering Index is a number given to discharge sources (Fluorescents) to rate their color rending characteristics. Top of the scale is 100, which would be the color rendering equivalent of pure white light. Bulbs rated above 90 are usually acceptable for film and video work. Bulbs rated below that may have undesirable color aberrations, usually in the green spectrum. They may be more expensive, but you may want to look for bulbs that are called "Full Spectrum" bulbs, or similar names. If you have a high CRI in the bulbs you have you should be fine. You can check and see if there is any color problems by shooting some footage under the light and looking at it. Set your camera to day light and shoot a white card and something with standard colors (a color test chart would be great, but anything you have that you can compare to will work, I use a small American flag from time to time as a color reference) and see how it looks. I would also shoot some portraiture under the lights to see if there is any issue with skin tone rendering.

Those clamp lights are very handy, and I have quite a few of them. They are not the most professional lights, or the easiest to control, but they are good to start learning with. When shooting a scene inside, you may want to establish an approach where you replace the bulbs in the existing fixtures with higher output CFLs (remember that a 23 watt CFL has the equivalent light output of a 100 watt incandescent bulb), then use the clamp lights to give you some fill and to add "Umph" to your portraiture. Try diffusing the clamp lights or bouncing them off of a white card, or a white wall or ceiling. Play around with them. Remember, you don't need to flood the scene with light. You want to bring up the light level to capture properly on your camera, while still maintaining the look and feel of the natural room. After a while, you will get some idea of what you want in additional lights.

BTW, CFL lights, except for some very few specially made ones, do not work with dimmers. They have electronic ballasts in the base of the bulb and need to be used with straight line voltage. Don't use them in dimming fixtures either (3 way lamps).

08-13-2010, 06:50 AM
What he said...

08-13-2010, 07:24 AM
To add to David, those clf's can cause flicker at certain shutter speeds so be careful and watch out for that. Those lights do not usually need softning as they are naturally soft (I guess it depends on how much softer u want to go), but they do need to be controlled. So that maybe a challenge. Get some flags and makeshift barndoors to control them.

Also dramatic lighting usually is hard lighting...but then that I guess depends on ur defintion of dramatic. Maybe u speak of lighting for drama...which on this case softer is better. If u speak of "dramatic" as in a lighting scheme that is jarring or more memorable. Then harder is usually better.

I 2nd Davids appraoch of follow source lighting method. Replace the existing lights and then accompany those lights (by lighting from that direction) with additional lighting (usually higher wattage). This way the lighting is justified and the audience knows why a light is coming from that side as oppssed to some random light hitting the subject.

All this said though...it all comes down to taste and story. There is no set formula.