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Archive 2012 · 5500K
  
 
ulfee
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 5500K


Hello,

I am attempting to put together lighting for a small basement home studio. I initially purchased a 3 small softbox set by ephoto though amazon with 5500K bulbs but was very disappointed in the light they produced. To me it looked too cold (bluish). This was several months ago.

Last month I accompanied a friend who was going to a photog to get pictures of the kids done for Christmas cards. This woman's setup was a large (appr 4ft) softbox producing this lovely soft glowing warm continuous light that was positioned in front and she had a single strobe pointed at the background. She shot with a D700. The pics came out great. In retrospect I should have just asked her for the make model of the box and head but I didn't want to take away from my friends photo experience.

So I decided that was what I needed for my studio and I hit the internet. After much research I thought that 2 Alien Bees B800 units with a 46" Softlighter and a 32x40 softbox would be perfect. And then I searched for Kelvin rating of the B800 bulb and it's also 5500K.

I am now worried that the light from the B800's will be cold just like it was with the ephoto set. What are my options? Is 5500K the standard for studio lights? How can I get that lovely warm light? Thanks in advance.

Andy



Nov 28, 2012 at 01:26 PM
onetrack
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 5500K


Your softboxes should be fine as long as they are all the same. It sounds like you need to learn about white balance.

Yes, most studio lights are near daylight in the 5600 K range.



Nov 28, 2012 at 02:00 PM
ulfee
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 5500K


Thank you for your reply.

I understand that I can change the warmth of the light by adjusting the WB either on camera or in PP. But this pro photog had the warm light coming right out of the softbox. And I was hoping to have a similar setup.



Nov 28, 2012 at 02:08 PM
PeterBerressem
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 5500K


Also, presumably the ephoto boxes were CFL bulbs, not flashes. Especially their low-cost samples have a very poor "colour rendering index" (CRI) which corrupts even the most carefully executed white balance.
The "lovely soft glowing warm continuous light" you noticed came from the dimmed down modeling light of the flashes in her 4ft box, I suppose.



Nov 28, 2012 at 02:11 PM
kenyee
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 5500K


softboxes also tend to warm the light up as well...especially as they age and the front diffuser turns yellowish...


Nov 28, 2012 at 07:13 PM
onetrack
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 5500K


ulfee wrote:
Thank you for your reply.

I understand that I can change the warmth of the light by adjusting the WB either on camera or in PP. But this pro photog had the warm light coming right out of the softbox. And I was hoping to have a similar setup.


Shoot RAW, and take a photo of a WhiBal card (or similar). Adjust in PP to neutral or warmer if you like.

If you want one light warmer than the others, use a gel.



Nov 29, 2012 at 01:43 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 5500K


Not sure @ B800, but my B400 has a color shift that goes warmer at reduced power ... assuming the B800 may likewise do the same. You might want to run some test shots to see how much warmer they are @ lowered power settings.

You can also adjust your camera's WB setting so that it intentionally does NOT match your lighting. In that regard, you can dial in your "creative warmth" (or cool) to your taste.

As mentioned by others ... the warm glow that you are "seeing" is likely either a gel (inside the box that you couldn't see), or the modeling light. BTW, if the modeling light was set to "track" the power of the strobe at a reduced setting, it may also be incurring an additional warmer color shift.

Without knowing if it was a gel, reduced power color shift or the modeling light ... it's hard to know how much of what you were "seeing" (warm color) while modeling, is what was contributing to the shot. Without knowing these, and not knowing what color temp the camera was set for, we really can't tell which attribute was the reason for the shots coming out to your liking, as these things all work in concert with each other.

But, that being said ... I'd have no concerns @ your lights being 5500K (or 5600, etc.) as this is pretty standard "daylight" balance. Your desire for a departure from "the norm" toward a warmer tone is a creative choice and there are multiple ways you can get there ... i.e. mismatched light/camera WB temp, gel, PP, gold reflectors, colored lens filters, etc. Which approach(es) you choose may vary from how others approach it.

Personally, I'd start by making some test shots with your camera at different WB temps (i.e. 4500K, 5000K, 5500K, 6000K, 6500K) and see how they "tone" your shots relative to your 5500K lighting. When you find one to your liking, then you'll know that you can set your camera to that temp when you want that effect.







Nov 29, 2012 at 02:14 PM
 

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novicesnapper
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 5500K


RustyBug is exactly right.
My CFL constant softboxes are 6500 kelvin. The way I handle them, vs flashes (approx 5000-5500 kelvin) is, I set the camera, T1i, to cloudy (aprox 6000 kelvin). This gets me closer to the softbox CFL kelvin=6500.
This gives me a color shift UP 500 kelvin.
If I wanted too, I could set the camera on the next setting, shade=7000 kelvin, which would give me color shift the opposite direction, DOWN 500, from camera 7000 to the softbox 6500 kelvin.
Now in post with raw images, I can shift the WB to get different color casts on the image, or balance it to whatever I want. Blue green yellow whatever.
Several ways to get warmer images is slightly underpower the softbox light (not a CFL) or use a warming filter on the lens. It's kind of a trial and error thing and is subjective to each persons opinion.
Here's a color chart that may give you an idea of which way the color will shift by kelvin.
http://www.mediacollege.com/lighting/colour/colour-temperature.html
Here's another even better
http://www.3drender.com/glossary/colortemp.htm



Nov 29, 2012 at 04:23 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 5500K


Was the SB you mentioned only for continous light or did she use it as a flash? If it was used as a flash no way can you see the color of light being made. The flash is too fast. The only light you would see would be continous from the modeling light that turns off during the flash. Again if no flash was used it could be a single modeling light that would not be very bright or a set of CFL which come in 3000,5000,5500 and 6500K colors. You can also get HDMI lights in some units and halogen but they are whiter light. Not sure about HDMI as I have never used any.I think that is the correct name.
You could mix a cfl's of 3000 and 5000K if the unit used 3-4 bulbs. Something like a Photoflex or westcott continous light unit holds 3-5. Final color is still set by the camera. For 5000K simply adjust the K temp in the custom WB feature until you see the color you feel is good for your style.



Jan 07, 2013 at 11:25 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 5500K


To make it less tedious on the subjects I set the lights by placing a white and black towel on a stand where the faces will be for exposure, not white balance. I set WB after ratio and exposure, which eliminates the variable of power changing color balance of the lights.

I use modifiers which result in the same net color temp, and if lighting a white background with softboxes on the subject will gel the background lighting with "straw" warming gel to match with the SB color temp. I initially bought the Buff metal grids to use as hairlight, but found them harsh and blue compared to the SB / Dish key and fill sources and now use a small SB with circle mask and fabric grid as hairlight so it matches color temp of key/fill. All the AB800 lights are generally in the middle of the power band so there are no huge WB differences between lights.

Here's my set-up routine:

I first adjust the fill until I see the folds in the black towel in the playback, then adjust the key light until the brightest parts of the white one are just under clipping. That sets lighting ratio to match scene range of any clothing to the camera sensor range.

Then I hang a gray card over the towels, fill the center metering circle with it and shoot a frame. I use that frame for setting Custom WB in the camera. Since I set Custom WB after establishing ratio / exposure in step one it takes into account any WB shift due to power.

Lights set I call the subjects in and put them where the target was. I have them hold another gray card I have with a Macbeth Color Checker on it as a reference to use when editing.

Heres's my editing routine.

Setting WB to "technically" neutral is just a consistent starting baseline. Perceptually faces look more appealing slightly warmer. But if they are wearing a black and white sweater I don't want that shifted yellow with a blue/yellow slider adjustment in ACR.

Instead I open the camera profile tab in ACR. That's where you can apply the same different styles as on the camera menu. When Adobe adds a camera to ACR it shoots the modes with a Macbeth target and duplicates the same shifts in the ACR style menu. That screen is also where you'd apply a custom camera profile if you make one.

The camera profile screen also has color sliders. What is different about those sliders from temp and tint on the main screen is they only affect colors, not the neutral. If you shoot a subject holding a Macbeth Color Checker and fiddle with styles and the sliders you'll see what I mean. The row of neutrals will not change as the colors change. So it's possible to tweek the skin a bit warmer but keep the sweater neutral white / black as captured with the gray card set neutral Custom WB baseline.

The first shot i open is the test with the subject holding the gray card / Color checker. I adjust the sliders on the camera profile screen. Having the gray card in the shot with the face as I adjust it gives my brain a consistent reference for neutrals than does not change as I move the sliders.

When I get the test shot skin tone adjusted to taste and verify the neutrals didn't shift I then copy / paste the adjustments into all the other RAW files without the target in Bridge (I use Bridge > CS5 > Photoshop). The entire process takes less than 5 min.

Often clothing color and background will affect the perception of the skin tone. A face with exactly the same WB will look different to the brain of the viewer on white and red backgrounds. Bright clothing can also skew perception. Aware of this, if the subject changes outfit I try to remember to start again with a test shot holding the reference card and adjust each outfit separately.

In general the more process control of exposure and color that is done up front to eliminate variables, the less correction is needed in post processing. Setting exposure with the white/black towels means ratio and exposure are optimal for seen by eye detail so the most I need to do in a studio lighting shot is a tweek of the midtones with brightness in ACR. At capture I use picture style "neutral" and adjust the skin tone to taste with the camera profile tab sliders.



Jan 08, 2013 at 12:11 AM
Skarkowtsky
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 5500K


In short, to answer your question. Very few inexpensive strobe systems are calibrated for, or have manual controls to achieve warm, by which I mean warmer than 5500k, light.

However, you can achieve that warm light by either dialing in a color temperature on your camera manually, whereas you can compensate for the temp your lights+modifiers are producing, and warm up the scene. 7000+ will start to cook the scene to your liking.

Another thing you can do is dial in the exact color temperature on your camera that your lights+modifiers are giving off. Be sure to match as close as possible the camera to the lighting system so that you have a balanced starting point for step 2.

Next, compensate by using gels on the lights. CTO, Bastard Amber, etc. 1/4 and 1/2 CTO will do fine, as you can layer them for your desired effect. Remember, less is more, and you can't subtract with a gel, so no need to buy full CTO, if you catch my drift. These will certainly warm up the scene, but you'll have to be mindful of warm tones in the actual subject matter, as too much of a warming gel on a warm tone in your frame will produce an unflattering saturation, and wonky colors. For instance, a red sweater will look really rich if you're using too much CTO on a warm scene.

I didn't read through all of the above responses, but are you sure you weren't just seeing the modeling lights during that shoot? They're generally 250w, Tungsten balanced light sources, and indeed are warmer than the actual strobe flash.



Jan 10, 2013 at 06:02 PM
cineski
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 5500K


The problem with Alien Bees is that they also shift in green magenta. For now, just worry about learning your strobes. White Balance is so easily set in post, unless you're mixing light with natural light this isn't something to worry about too much. Heck, even Einsteins have some slight shift. But what you were seeing is the continuous 3200K color temp modeling light.


Jan 11, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Skarkowtsky
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 5500K


cineski wrote:
But what you were seeing is the continuous 3200K color temp modeling light.


That's what I'm thinking, too.



Jan 11, 2013 at 12:25 AM





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