When I photographed and video'd Erin for Zach Scott a little while ago the video designer asked if I wanted them to budget the rental of some Kino Flo florescent lights in order to do our motion shots. (Kino Flo's were the first company to commercialize nicely color balanced florescent lighting fixtures for the movie industry on a big scale and they are now the "Kleenex" of florescent lights for the film industry.) I told him that I'd be comfortable in that project to use the existing LED lights we had around the studio.
Coincidentally a reader sent me a link to some cool looking florescents lights on the web and the photographers at the Boston Museum of Fine Art showed off their set of Alzo florescent lights a few weeks ago when I was there touring the facilities. I guess I got a case come cumulative florescence on the brain because I decided to order one and check it out. Above and below is an three bank, six bulb florescent fixture from Fotodiox. I'm pretty sure it will match the performance of the ones from Alzo since they use the same bulbs....
My light arrived on Thurs. evening, just before I needed to leave for Sylvia Plachy's presentation. I just had time to stick in the tubes and turn the shebang on to make sure it worked. The light is very bright and much softer than my un-modified LEDs. One sheet of one stop RoscoLux will make the feel and look of the light just about perfect. In essence it becomes a fairly small softbox.
I'm sure the same company in China that makes the LED lights for Fotodiox (and about a dozen other resellers...) makes these fixtures. The florescent bulbs themselves are Osram tubes and are made in Italy.
I played with lots of photo lights that used compact florescent bulbs when I was writing my book on Lighting equipment but I never tested the bigger panel style lights like these and the Kinos. But the Kino Diva has always been touted as a beautiful portrait and fashion light source and that sounds right up my alley.
I'm booked on conventional assignments on Tues. and Weds. and I'm waiting for another light fixture from the same company (using the same bulbs) to arrive on Weds. pm and then I plan to do a series of color and black and white portraits with them. The second fixture uses only two bulbs and I intend to use it as a background light. One bigger main light pushed through some tasty diffusion and one smaller source to separate my portrait subject from a dark background.
Why am I curious about these when I already have LED lights? Curiosity. I've explored LEDs pretty thoroughly. This will give me a chance to compare and contrast. It should be interesting. Even more in the next round of videos.