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I Need Some Lighting Help Answered

I've hit a little speed bump. I need a bright, preferably diffused, soft white light for high speed videography. It cannot be florescent or a CFL (see why below). I can't seem to find any lights that fit these standards that aren't florescent, but I know they exist. Can you help me find a suitable light?


DC xenon arc lamps put out an astronomical amount of light - but are very expensive. We used them projecting movies - not to be confused with halide bulbs. They run in the 10,000 watt range, and will set you back thousands just for the bulb. Halogen stand lights like you have are ideal - bright white light.

you can get a 35-50 watt xenon HID kit from ebay for less than $40 new from the US. thats not expensive!

50 watts < 10,000 watts. $40 < 'thousands' likewise.

Agreed. They can be had, but with all the extra parts required, and the goofy colour temperature I'd still recommend halogen for more full-spectrum white.

I'm not sure how steady the light is from xenon, being dc I presume it has no flicker, but can't be sure. It might khz pulsed DC.

now that i think of THAT, i now remember reading this:
"Ballast Specifications:
* Power consumption: 35watts
* Voltage: 85V +/- 17V * Input Voltage: 9V-16V
* Working current (Steady state): 3.5 A nom
* Ignition voltage: 24kV Peak Max, 18kV Peak Min
* Lamp Frequency: 450 Hz"

if you search in Ebay 100W HID -"led", and the "sort by"is "price + shipping lowest first" you will find a bunch of fake HID bulb replacements. (simply halogens with a bluish coated glass) giving the color temp. of 5000K (pure white)


9 years ago

Do HID (metal halide) lamps have the same flicker problem? Between the *ahem* indoor farmers *ahem* and the projector builders there are plenty of places to get 400W halide lamps and ballasts online, ebay is a good starting point. I have one of those from an abandoned projector project, once it's warmed up it is mind-bendingly bright but as it's a discharge light might have the same problem your fluorescents have.

I had the same idea as NachoMahma below, using phase-shifted fluorescents, but it sounds quite involved and would probably be more complex than just getting a bunch of tungsten work lights.

halides and sodiums have more severe flicker than fluorescents there is no flicker (its in the khz range) if modern high frequency ballast is used halides also have problem of long restrike time. sodiums are better if you dont want to wait long time (more than an hour in some cases)

halides and sodiums have more severe flicker than fluorescents

.. of course they do. I'm sure I knew that, just having a brain freeze. I don't think the one I was using has a modern high frequency ballast, based on its weight (about 2 kilograms) and the deeply satisfying "WHOMMM" noise it makes when you turn it on.

Splintercell: if you are doing close-up stuff, would high power LEDs (Luxeon et al) with a clean DC source like a bench power supply or computer PSU do? You can get multiple watt white LEDs fairly cheaply, and 10W of LED is probably equivalent to 100W of incandescent. A quick search of ebay reveals plenty of various white LEDs for $1-$2 per watt.

Probably the cheapest way to be flicker-free is to go tungsten. Craft shops sell "daylight" bulbs (their glass is slightly blue to look at) - use one of those, in a DIY diffuser / reflector and it could be OK. If it's not bright enough, use more, from different angles to eliminate shadows.

True, tungsten is a good light source to use when no other is available. It was the type of light I used when I began high speed videography. You need a lot of it, though, to get clear footage. I'll try to pick up a "daylight" bulb and see how well it works. Thanks!

Procrastination strikes again! I will try to pick up a daylight bulb when I go out to get some batteries for the LED flashlight on my leatherman (non-instructables :( ).

I'm guessing you want to do this cheap and not get the pro stuff. You might try the aisles of Home Depot or a lighting store to find those "daylight" or full spectrum lightbulbs, I think the Halogena brand was "whiter". They might be sized as regular bulbs to use in a normal lamp or you might need to rig up those reflector can flood lights or spotlight. You should be able to set up some sort of reflector/diffuser like a white umbrella or sheet as a reflector to bounce off the light. I think you will find something that should work.

. In another topic, someone mentioned using a capacitor to put two fluorescents out of phase so that the flickers cancels each other out. Don't know if it will work, but it sounds good. Alternate 6-12 lamps (half on each "phase") and put behind frosted glass?

This is supposedly why they put 3 bulbs in many office fixtures, they are set to cancel one another out and reduce headaches....

One of the facilities guys once told me that they install fake air conditioning vents just to make people happy if they complain that they are too hot or too cold. They do that to reduce headaches.

I had found though that, when we had 2 shifts for my job at work (quite a few years ago), the one fellow liked to turn off the one set of lights as they presented some glare on the terminal screens; but that always gave me a headache. I could suffer with the glare better then the flicker I guess :-)

And don't use one of those tungsten/super halogen worklamps inside the workplace or home. They get super hot and can be a fire hazard if knocked over or is near flammable stuff like curtains.