>Kino Flo’s In A Different Ballast
Published : 31st August 2006
I was wandering if any one had results when using Kino Flo bulbs in household ballasts. I have read from article that it works and another article that it does not work correctly?
I am shooting a extremely low budget project (aren't we all) in a 10' x 10' room. The producer cannot afford rental of entire Kino Flo units, mainly 2" units but then I read about adapting Kino bulbs in a GE or lights of America shop light(2" long). There would be a little money for the rental of bulbs so I am leaning in this direction of buying $12.00 ballasts and renting some bulbs, possibly borrowing some. I am using Kino Flo's to keep the heat down as it is a cooking show. This will be shot on DV at 30fps
As long as you use (readily available-several brands ) tri-phosphor tubes in either 5000K or 3200K, the colour will be fine. I've mixed the 3200k domestic Tri-phosphors with tungsten and it was fine.
Kinos are brighter and truer but these are a great alternative.
In real life different light sources don't match anyway. You can also get tri phosphors with an ES base.
class="style11">>I was wandering if any one had results when using Kino Flo bulbs in >household ballasts…There would be a little money for the rental of >bulbs so I am leaning in this direction of buying $12.00 ballasts and >renting some bulbs...
On location, I've routinely replaced the tubes in overhead fluorescent fixtures with Kino tubes w/out any problems. However, I've haven't shot any "off speed" frame rates when doing that - I'd be afraid of the potential for flicker at other frame rates.
Instead of renting Kino tubes and buying cheap fluorescent fixtures to put them in, I think it would be much easier and cheaper to use light your kitchen with Chinese lanterns.
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
Household inductive ballasts (as might be found in low cost "shop lights") definitely are not flicker free.
Eastman Kodak Company
I built my own "KinoFlos" that work fine...there are florescence fixtures that use an electronic circuit instead of ballasts…even Home Depot has them. I made two 4 lite units using the corrugated plastic that Kino uses, I found it on Canal Street in NYC. I use these fixtures with colour corrected bulbs ranging from 3K to 6K. I installed a post to mount it to a grip stand and so far, I have had no trouble at all. I'm shooting video but at all frame rates with no problem at all. the units cost me under $100 each and have even rented them out with great success.
I know the purists will resist, but I build a lot of my own equipment (saves money and I enjoy the challenge) and get great results.
Alan Lebow DP
ICG Local 600 IATSE
class="style11">>…I was wandering if any one had results when using Kino Flo bulbs in >household ballasts…
Shouldn't be a problem. Swapping out native tubes for Kino tubes is a pretty routine operation.
You may find the ballasts a bit more noisy. And they may not be safe for off speed camera's.
David Perrault, CSC
I replied before to this.. there are electronic ballasts at Home Depot that I use with no problems. I built two 4 lites with doors and all for under $100 each... you can contact me for details if you wish
Alan Lebow DP
ICG Local 600 IATSE
class="style11">>I built my own "KinoFlos" that work fine...there are florescence fixtures >that use an electronic circuit instead of ballasts...even Home Depot >has them.
Ever since I started a revolution with the young filmmakers by writing an article on using "Home Depot" style "Grafflights" for a magazine two years ago, I get at least two emails a week from folks who are successfully using homemade lights with all frame rates of film and video. I even shot an entire series for A&E using homemade lights just to prove you could.
You can buy electronic ballast that make perfectly acceptable square wave fluoro tubes glow just as good as expensive lights. Kino sells the most colour accurate tubes but not because no one else could not, just that no one has bothers to manufacture them. Kino has a vendor in China make theirs, but others can make the same thing too if someone wanted to make an entity that sold them. I already looked into it and had perfectly accurate one-offs sent to me from two plants in China. Perhaps I'll take it on if I can find the time.
In fact the next piece of accessory I am offering the DV "indie" crowd is what I call a Half-Pipe which is a PVC body cut in half filled with a colour accurate fluorescent fixture with polished reflector. You can throw it off a building and all you'd need to do is replace the broken fluoro tube.
You'll hear all sorts of myths from folks who assume lots of things, but I can tell you from experience that you don't have to spend $700 to have a good fluorescent fixture that works at safe frame rates.
class="style11">>I built my own "KinoFlos" that work fine…there are florescence fixtures >that use an electronic circuit instead of ballasts… even Home Depot >has them
I did a film a while back where I had to supplement my own lighting with some Flo’s so I gave myself a budget of $200 and made a trip to home depot. I got the right bulbs with electronic ballasts and they mixed really well with the halogen sources. No problemo for 24p narrative. In this case much cheaper than renting.