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| p.1 #6 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives? |
Any fashion work you're looking at with hard shadows will almost never feature large HMIs lighting the subject. There are many practical reasons for this.
When it comes to soft sources they are more common, though still not often used on photo sets. Long story short, Fresnels and zoom reflectors for strobes are the way to go. Strobes are infinitely more practical and budget friendly, especially when working on location without power.
But here is the long story, if you care to read it...
There are two reasons big HMIs won't come into play as hard, on axis sources in fashion shoots. The big one is that a big HMI close to your subject, and no diffusion in play, will literally burn the model. I'm not joking. They will get a sunburn in minutes. It will also be blinding and painful, compared to a flash at the same intensity.
Even in mid day sun a 4k par HMI at 15 feet will blind & burn a person if pointed right at them with no diffusion. And a 4k is small. When you're talking 18ks and 24ks it's no joke.
The second big reason is they are much more complex to run and take care of than strobes. A strobe as powerful as an 18k can be run off a battery pack on location, and can be operated by a relatively unqualified assistant without any major safety issues.
In contrast, to run even one 18k, you need at least a second (or third in some cases) running concurrently to keep the generator in phase. This requires a sizable crew of well trained professionals who know how to safely operate lights which draw so much power. This includes a generator operator to make sure the loads are balanced, and juicers to lay cable and distribute power safely and efficiently. And the cable required to run big HMIs is heavy. Most people can only lift one or two 50ft "sticks" of 5 wire banded at once. And 5 wire 4/0 is worse.
I could go into further detail, but I think it's unnecessary. While one good assistant can quickly setup a few 2,400ws profotos by himself, it takes an army and a ton of gear to run big HMIs. I work with them every day, I would know.