View Full Version : flo vs softbox
03-26-2005, 09:06 PM
I've made myself some cheap fluorescent fixture and I 've been quite happy with them. I havent had the chance to play around with softboxes yet. My original thoughts were to get some hard light s and some flo's for the soft light and forget about softboxes. However is there a qualitative difference between these two sources? Would it be useful to have a softbox or two in my arsenal?
03-26-2005, 10:53 PM
The overall softness of a light is pretty much dictated by the size of the source. A fluo is a big long diffused soft source, but a single-tube fluorescent is no match for a 32x32 softbox, in terms of overall size, and therefore overall softness. Even if you were using a 4' 4-bank, sometimes you'd want to put a diffuser over the whole thing so you're presenting one large soft source rather than four long thin not-as-soft sources.
If you're happy with the softness you're getting from your fluos, there's not really any need to change anything. But if you want a softer light, you might want to look into a larger softbox type of thing. Or, if your fluos are a multibank fixture, like four 4-ft tubes, a simple sheet of diffusion can turn it into a continuous large source for even softer light.
Actually with fluos, one of the first accessories you'll want to get is some sort of eggcrate to make the light a little more directional, really helps to control spill light off the background etc.
03-27-2005, 12:12 AM
Can you post a picture of your flouro? I have been thinking about making something like that, too or maybe the Grafflite 8" fixture. Having used both Chimera and Kino, I still don't know if one is better than the other, just different.
That being said, here are a few stills done with a combination of both... Arri 1K with Medium Chimera hitting background and a 4' 4-Bank Kino as key light... there were quite a few other fixtures as well, but this video was from October and I don't remember what all I used. There was some CTO orange gel on several fixtures.
This was a small office and I will say that with four people in the room it got pretty hot pretty quick with the fresnals. The flouros can put out quite abit more light per the same wattage consumption. I do not know the exact figure, but to my eyes the 4' 4-Bank with 2900K lamps appeared about as bright as a 1K fresnal with Chimera and both layers of diffusion... Hope this helps, erm, kind of.. Sorry to be fragmented. Use what you like and can afford. I didn't own any of the gear for this shoot; I was a hired gun that's all.
03-27-2005, 04:30 AM
Thanks for your replies.
Well it'll be almost embarrassing for me to post the setup. All it is is a fixture that takes two 18 watt lights and a reflector at the back. I'm trying to get a suitable mount a the moment. The bulbs were full spectrum with a color temperature of 5000K.
I had a chance to play around with the kino flo and I must say the light quality is no different to my fixture and alot less bright. And fixture only cost me 70 aussie bucks as oppose to two grand for the kino.
Barry, I'm aware that size is the biggest factor on light softness. If you have a hard source and light a small object the light becomes soft right? and bringing a softsource far away makes it hard because its relative size to the subject decreases. What I plan to do is buy another two of these fixtures and gang them together to get a large source.
If the light quality isnt that different I would just save myself the money of getting softboxes and avoid the excessive heat production, power consumption and the bulkiness.
Do people here just use flo's or are there specific uses that softboxes have that a flo cant provide?
03-27-2005, 06:26 PM
Here are my trusty flouro-light online resources:
Using flouro's in tv/film production
High-CRI rated flouro tubes in various sizes/color temps
Place that sells a 2 bank flouro with reflector for $130.00 - Never used one, though.