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Thread: Please clarify a basic lighting question for me!

  1. #1

    Default Please clarify a basic lighting question for me!

    Hello everyone,

    I'm fairly new to the video production game, and so far with regard to lighting, I've been using a set of three Redhead lights (all 800W) with dimmers. This seems to be absolutely ideal for using in a variety of situations as a 3-point system (key, fill and back lights), where I can use the dimmers to lessen the brightness of the lights according to the scene and the kind of effect I want to create.

    Now, I'm looking to upgrade my lighting kit, and all the lights out there seem to NOT have dimmers. Am I missing something? My lights are VERY bright unless I dim them, so how to people get by without dimmers? How do they control the brightness of their lights? Do they even need to - do I not really need dimmers?! I am aware you can get lighting kits that have lights of different wattage (e.g. 1 x 150W, 1 x 300W, 1 x 650W etc.), but this is still very restrictive as far as I can see in terms of altering the look of the lighting - so am I doing it wrong...?

    If someone can shed some light on the situation (pun intended...), that would be awesome.



  2. #2


    Box lights have diffusers, sometimes an inner one also. My box lights have 5 bulbs all with separate on/off switches. That all gives a fair bit of control.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Unfortunately it's difficult to dim fluorescents. It can't be done by simply reducing the current, it involves complicated electronics. This can introduce flickering and colour change.

    What you can do is get filter gel and either use ND (Neutral density) or diffusion to reduce the light from the units.

  4. #4


    That's interesting Paul. So can you tell me if having 5 bulbs with independent on/off switching is the same effect as dimming, (for at least 5 stages of dimming0 but without the problems of a half flickering dimmed bulb?

    I can see some really good advantages of redheads, they seem readily available for a fair price, but as you say, the scrims are not available on the cheaper imported models, and this is what made them special in the first place?

  5. #5


    Just move the lights back a bit, is that too simple.

    I would say the 5 separate switchable bulbs is better than using a dimmer with that sort of light.

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