Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: ahbriggs on December 10, 2012, 10:56:08 PM

Title: Location Lighting
Post by: ahbriggs on December 10, 2012, 10:56:08 PM
Hi,

I'm looking to purchase a lightweight location system but I'm struggling to decide which is the most effective kit. I wish to pair the kit with a Elinchrom 69" Rotolux Octa  (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/612058-REG/Elinchrom_EL_26186_EL_26186_69_Rotalux.html) and Manfrotto Stacker Stands (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/636421-REG/Manfrotto_1005BAC_3_1005BAC_3_Alu_Ranker_Light.html). I'm willing to fork out a great deal but if it's not worth the investment then I'm willing to sacrifice quality over practicality. I'm currently looking at the AcuteB2 600 AirS (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/689602-REG/Profoto_901102_AcuteB2_600_AirS_R_Power.html) and Acute B Head (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/468517-REG/Profoto_900938_AcuteB_600_Watt_Second_Lamphead.html). I would like to get a second opinion before I make the purchase.

Thanks,

Ashley
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on December 11, 2012, 12:33:05 AM
Good modifier, good pack/head, good stand. However, the combination of modifier + stand plus the fact that you want to use it on location is NOT a good combination. (I'm assuming by location you mean outdoors)

The 69" Octa is a huge modifier, and any breeze is going to easily tip over the stand. I wouldn't go out with anything smaller than something like an Avenger A635B stand, and even then I'd want to use a lot of weight on the stand... more than the AcuteB2 600 pack weighs... and I wouldn't want to do it in breezy conditions. When I take out my 74" EL Octa outdoors (very similar to the 69" Octa), it's usually with a big steel stand like the A4039CS plus a Ranger pack hanging off the side of the stand, that's 40lbs of stand and counter weight. In moderately breezy conditions, I've even recruited an assistant to hold that stand/pack combo when using just a 53" Octa.

Second, and less important, is the size of the modifier vs the 600 watt seconds of the pack. It's not going to easily allow you to compete with bright sunlight conditions outdoors, it's just too large of a modifier for that. I'm not sure if you're sold on having a big, soft light source versus something a little more punchy. If you're open to other modifiers, consider the smaller Elinchrom 39" or 27.5" Rotalux Deep Octa modifiers. Both are excellent, more efficient/powerful, and because they are smaller they won't require nearly as much stand/counterweight.  The A635B with the AcuteB2 600 as a counterweight would make a nice location stand combo for either modifier, even in slightly breezy conditions.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: ahbriggs on December 11, 2012, 12:48:00 AM
I'll definitely reconsider the stand but I want the Octa simply for it's soft diffusion. What location kit would you recommend that would best accommodate the modifier?
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on December 11, 2012, 01:22:51 AM
Something like the Avenger A0040CS stand combined with an Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS pack would do nicely. You could also consider the Avenger A4039CS stand if you wanted a boom. Neither stand option is going to be lightweight though. The Ranger pack will give you 1100 watt seconds, and while it's a bit heavier than the Profoto pack it's still going to give you remote control over power settings, won't require a speedring adapter, and will offer roughly double the output.   

I've found that the Kata 3N1 30N backpack is a perfect fit for the Elinchrom Ranger + head/cord. Makes it a lot more portable.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: ahbriggs on December 11, 2012, 01:32:32 AM
I've been looking at the Elinchrom Ranger. I suppose it would be better if I phrased the question a little differently and used the desert island analogy. If you could have only one light and one modifier...
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on December 11, 2012, 01:41:55 AM
One light stand and one modifier?  I'd probably go with the Avenger A635B stand and a 39" Elinchrom Deep Octa. It would be a nice compromise between smaller and larger.

However owning most of the Elinchrom lineup, the kit that sees the most use seems to be the Elinchrom Quadra + the 27.5" Deep Octa, and the smaller A630B lightstand. When I need to go larger I typically jump up to the 53" Octa and a larger stand.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: ahbriggs on December 11, 2012, 01:47:21 AM
I meant flash head/strobe. I wouldn't mind hearing the reasoning behind your answer, I was set on the Ranger after a little more searching. I'm curious as to why you find yourself using the Quadra considering the Ranger is surely a lot more versatile.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Conner999 on December 11, 2012, 08:44:09 AM
I know Sheldon favours Eli, but I moved from Eli to Profoto a couple of years ago (full disclosure: have an Acute B600R kit for sale here). Owned various Eli monolights and the Quadra and build quality (or lack thereof) of the Quadra was the last straw (for me). Also grew to dislike the Eli locking system and teh fact always seemed to have to modify the swivel mounts to get them to hold with any bite.

Now run Acute packs, Compacts and D1s and LOVE them. Built like tanks, dead-nuts reliable, will hold ny modifier regardkess of weight/size, the locking collar is (almost) worth the price of admission in and of itself -- and  mods, etc are avail at any rental house on the planet. Only downside is the price, but I buy used 90% of the time anyway. Profoto can also be used with any Eli modifier (they are nicely designed) via the Eli adapter or the new Eli/Profoto speedring.

The Ranger is a nice unit, great rep, two heads, but will be heavy vs. an Acute B or Quadra.

For small HD stands I like the Matthews Maxi-Steel. For an outside large octa-like modifier, I prefer something like the SoftlighterII as if gets ruined, it's small $$$. If I can get by with a beauty dish, I'll use it as they're less likely to go flying if wind picks up.    

Best idea - find a store that stocks some various gear and get some hands on time. It's not small $$, so make sure your happy with percieved build quality, robustness of mounts, switchology, etc. These things are all personal taste.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Ellis Vener on December 11, 2012, 09:06:47 AM
If you want a big elinchrom diffused light , don't get the 69" Rotalux Octa, get the Indirect Lightbank Octa 190 cm (http://www.elinchrom.com/product/Indirect-Lightbank-Octa-190.html and http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/16822-REG/Elinchrom_EL_26158_Octa_Light_Bank_for.html) instead. It has unsurpasssed light quality and efficiency due to the difference in design.

 If you want a standard light at the rear pointing forward octagonal softbox  also look at the Chimera 5ft/7ft (it' convertable) OctaPlus  softbox  (http://www.chimeralighting.com/Products/Strobe-Lightbanks/OctaPlus-Lightbanks ) it produces a beautiful light quality and is arguably more rugged and suitable for location work.

Which ever light modifier in this size range you choose, whether you will be working indoors or out, you'll need a pretty heavy duty stand and if outdooors I recommend sandbags, guy wires and stakes, and an assistant . It isn't the weight of the modifier and the flashhead combination, it is the wind catching surface area - anywhere from 25 ( using the   5 foot Chimera OctaPlus)  to 36 square feet (the Elinchrom 190cm Indirect Octa).  A C-stand would be the bare minimum but a Avenger B6030CS High Short Base Wind-Up Stand  would be better. Also check to see if Kupo makes a similar very heavy duty light stand.  The Crank feature will make it far easier to adjust height once you have the head and softbox on top of the stand and the low base will make it easier to sandbag and more stable.

Re Quadra vs Ranger. The Quadra is a lovely battery powered 400 w-s light. The Ranger (and the Profoto 7B) are lovely 1200 watt-second battery powered lights. The difference in maximum output between the Vagabond and ranger is 1.5 stops more light. Unless you are planning to always work far from electrical outlets, I'd recommend you also look at a Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 and a Vagabond Mini Lithium but only if you don't mind being sneered at by lighting gear snobs. The Einstein  produces terrific quality light ( the modifier used will have a lot to do with this), and short flash duration  and when you are working indoors you'll also have a 250 watt modeling light as well as being left with a lot of cash in your wallet.  

For a big "desert Island" one light light kit my choice would be the Einstein with a Vagabond Mini Lithium,  the Elinchrom Indirect Lightbank Octa 190 cm, the Avenger B6030CS High Short Base Wind-Up Stand,  The Pocketwizard ControlTL remote system with the MC2 module for the Einstein ( this will let you tweak the light's output from your camera position using your camera';s TTL flash biasing controls and also integrate with Nikon and Canon systems "smart" TTL controlled hotshoe mount flashes.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Ken Bennett on December 11, 2012, 09:12:49 AM
I chose the Elinchrom Ranger Speed AS over the Profoto 600B when I purchased it about 18 months ago. I've been very pleased with the system: it has plenty of power, in fact I'm not sure I've ever needed full power output and I do a lot of outdoor syncrho-sun photography with it. The battery lasts long enough, and can be charged just about anywhere. I mostly use it with a 3x4-foot Chimera box, but occasionally with an 84-inch parabolic from Paul Buff, or one of his octaboxes that I hacked to take an Elinchrom ring. Flash duration is good and the color consistency is excellent.

I have the Pocket Wizard receiver for the Elinchrom which allows power control from the camera position when used with a Pocket Wizard TTL trigger and control unit. Very handy.

I'd agree on the light stand issue: outdoors I use a C-stand and at least 2 20-pound sand bags along with the 17-pound power pack. I still have someone hold the stand if it's breezy. Last thing I want is to have the whole thing come crashing down on the subject.

The larger Profoto 7b battery pack is also very good, though it costs substantially more. I've handled one, but never owned it.

Ellis, I own two of the Vagabond Mini Lithiums for my Dynalite Uni400JR monolights. They are terrific little batteries.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Ellis Vener on December 11, 2012, 10:23:23 AM
I chose the Elinchrom Ranger Speed AS over the Profoto 600B when I purchased it about 18 months ago. I've been very pleased with the system: it has plenty of power, in fact I'm not sure I've ever needed full power output and I do a lot of outdoor syncrho-sun photography with it.

One thing not discussed yet about having a 1,200 watt-second battery powered flash and not using it at full power: it recycles a lot faster than a lower w-s flash that is being at or near full power.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Scott Hargis on December 11, 2012, 10:49:36 AM
Another plug for the  Ranger AS. I agree that the Quadra is not up to snuff, but the Ranger is quite robust. I shoot arch/int and very often use these packs outside where finding electricity is impossible.

Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: TMARK on December 11, 2012, 11:04:01 AM
I know Sheldon favours Eli, but I moved from Eli to Profoto a couple of years ago (full disclosure: have an Acute B600R kit for sale here). Owned various Eli monolights and the Quadra and build quality (or lack thereof) of the Quadra was the last straw (for me). Also grew to dislike the Eli locking system and teh fact always seemed to have to modify the swivel mounts to get them to hold with any bite.

Now run Acute packs, Compacts and D1s and LOVE them. Built like tanks, dead-nuts reliable, will hold ny modifier regardkess of weight/size, the locking collar is (almost) worth the price of admission in and of itself -- and  mods, etc are avail at any rental house on the planet. Only downside is the price, but I buy used 90% of the time anyway. Profoto can also be used with any Eli modifier (they are nicely designed) via the Eli adapter or the new Eli/Profoto speedring.

The Ranger is a nice unit, great rep, two heads, but will be heavy vs. an Acute B or Quadra.

For small HD stands I like the Matthews Maxi-Steel. For an outside large octa-like modifier, I prefer something like the SoftlighterII as if gets ruined, it's small $$$. If I can get by with a beauty dish, I'll use it as they're less likely to go flying if wind picks up.    

Best idea - find a store that stocks some various gear and get some hands on time. It's not small $$, so make sure your happy with percieved build quality, robustness of mounts, switchology, etc. These things are all personal taste.

What Conner wrote, 100%.

I always had assitants hump sandbags and C-Stands, and then had them stand next to/on the stands to keep them down in the wind.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: MarkL on December 11, 2012, 12:17:25 PM
I have the Profoto Acute B2 600 and the stand you mention (Manfrotto 1005) as my location kit. Even with the free head offer the price made me cringe but it has been absolutely rock solid, everything is very well built and easy to use, I do wish I had remote power control with the Air system at this price. It is about the sweet spot for weight/power/recycle for me: 2 sec recycle at full power, 200 full power flashes per battery and I think pack + head weighs in at 5-6kg.  The stand is a good match since the head is about 1.8kg but if you want to use a modifier that big you may want to go up one because you will have to pile sandbags on it! I use a 22" beauty dish on location.

The ranger was too much weight for power and use of 2 heads which I didn't need. I also like profoto's reflectors.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Ellis Vener on December 11, 2012, 12:34:42 PM
Let me add another note about the Quadra vs. the Ranger and radio remotes.

 I haven't rented a Ranger recently but the Quadra has a built in Elinchrom Skyport transceiver where as with the Ranger it is an external option that connects via a port. With the Ranger you have the option of either using the Skyport system or the Pocketwizard ControlTL system (you need the PocketWizard ST4 Power Receiver http://www.amazon.com/PocketWizard-ST4-Power-Receiver-Elinchrom/dp/B003YFITCE). With either the Skyport or the ControlTL system being able to control output from camera is a real advantage.

Profoto has their AIR remote system which I am not enamored of - not a lot of range and I found it easy to accidentally change settings on the transmitter. In the USA Pocketwizard and Profoto are distributed by the same company, MACgroup USA. A year or so ago there was some talk of  integrating the Air and ControlTL system but I do not believe anything ever came of it.  If you use a recent Sekonic flash meter there are radio modules built in or available for the standard 32 channel Pocketwizard system

 
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: ahbriggs on December 11, 2012, 09:03:04 PM
I appreciate the advice! I'm still leaning towards the Ranger. I don't mind the weight but I'm not interested in two heads, I thought the system came with a few options? I'm unsure about the suggested alternatives for the modifier as it's hard to judge without seeing a result. If you have work where you've used any equipment mentioned in this thread then feel free to plug yourself. I wouldn't mind catching a glimpse at the gear in action.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: K.C. on December 11, 2012, 11:21:24 PM
Personally I like red delicious apples. They're not as tart as the Fuji's but they do tend to grow a full stop bigger. Then you have the Pink Lady, a hybrid typically grown in South America, and while rather delicious, is nothing like a delicious, red or golden. While the Pink Lady is both red and golden.

This thread started demonstrates how the choice of lighting gear comes down to personal taste. That taste develops from experience. You'll only get your answer by trying out different brands.

For all the discussion above nobody has mentioned the light quality of either brand. Elinchrom has a bare tube head, though it can be covered with a pyrex glass that's frosted or clear. Profoto head comes with a frosted pyrex glass cover, but can be shot without it or changed to a clear glass cover. These differences are likely to have far more impact on your shot than the weight of the pack or the mount on the head.

And you've never said, nor has anyone bothered to ask, what you're going to shoot. That part's fairly relevent.

Desert islands all have only one light source and they're all the same, except of course until you get next to the equator and then it's completely different light than at the poles. I know because I've shot in both places with both light sources. I know which one I'd choose, depending on what I was going to shoot and what quality of light I'd like to use.

Go shoot, you'll get your answer.


Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: ahbriggs on December 11, 2012, 11:36:21 PM
You speak wisdom! I am indeed interested in the light quality but it's definitely subjected to opinion. However, I started the thread to get an opinion and I wanted to know what others are using. I don't have access to rental equipment and I need to make a sound decision before purchasing a certain product. I'm interested in people and I shoot portraiture, I will almost always be on location outside a studio.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on December 11, 2012, 11:38:23 PM
Yes, personal tastes certainly are more important. :)

As far as samples, I'd be glad to spam you with the few that I have handy... just pulling from my archive of shots already on my photo host.

First... a size comparison of the Quadra and 27.5" Deep Octa with the full size Ranger and the 39" Deep Octa.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/_DX_5338.jpg)

27.5" Deep Octa and Quadra

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/_DX_1895-Edit.jpg)

Full size Ranger RX Speed AS and 74" EL Octa with Avenger A635B stand (no wind in the woods). Minimum power setting...

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/_DX_3472-Edit_zpsef369e52.jpg)

Quadra + 27.5" Deep Octa (close to full power)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/_MG_0723-Edit-1.jpg)

Full Size Ranger and 53" Octa (full power, flatter light) note that the modifier is both shading and lighting the subject.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/_DX_3981.jpg)

Full Size Ranger 53" Octa Key light, Quadra rim light

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/_32O3659-Edit.jpg)

Quadra and 39" Deep Octa
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/_32O3584-Edit.jpg)

Quadra and 39" Deep Octa (Brenizer stitch)
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/AshlynForest-1.jpg)

Ranger and 53" Octa
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/sheldonnalos/_32O8421.jpg)
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: ahbriggs on December 11, 2012, 11:57:04 PM
Your samples are fantastic, I'm definitely set on the Ranger. I like the Quadra but the difference in light is most notable not to mention output. I really like the combination too! I think I'm set but I don't know how I want to control the system. I shoot Canon and I've been told PocketWizard combined with the MiniTT1 and PowerST4 is ideal for when using the Ranger RX.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on December 12, 2012, 12:32:13 AM
Your samples are fantastic, I'm definitely set on the Ranger. I like the Quadra but the difference in light is most notable not to mention output. I really like the combination too! I think I'm set but I don't know how I want to control the system. I shoot Canon and I've been told PocketWizard combined with the MiniTT1 and PowerST4 is ideal for when using the Ranger RX.

Thanks!

I shoot Canon too, and tried out the PowerST4 when it first came out. I did not like it at all and after extensive correspondence with the technical people at Pocketwizard trying to get it sorted out I ultimately returned it. Primary problems were a slightly quirky interface, and secondly the triggering range was not good at all. My recommendation would be to stick with the Skyport system. Triggering has been reliable for me, range is good, and the remote power control works nicely.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: ahbriggs on December 12, 2012, 12:47:15 AM
I guess I can try the skyport as it comes with the system I'm looking at purchasing. What head or accessories do you use with your Ranger?
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on December 12, 2012, 01:37:34 AM
I use just a single A head with my Ranger, though the S head would work fine too if you aren't shooting action where you need fast flash duration. I also like the cable for attaching the Skyport receiver to the pack, rather than the plastic adapter. It stays attached more securely.

Other than that, just modifiers and occasionally I'll use the plastic deflectors that fit into the central hole on the head. I tried out the frosted dome for a while, and decided that it didn't make much difference inside of diffused softboxes. If you are shooting bare reflector it might be something to look more closely at, although you can't use the central umbrella/deflector hole at the same time as the frosted dome.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: K.C. on December 12, 2012, 01:49:58 AM
I shoot Canon too, and tried out the PowerST4 when it first came out. 

Using the current software the ST4 is trouble free and dependable. I'm getting a high sync speed I couldn't get any other way with the Ranger RX Speed AS and an S head. It won't work with an A head because the duration is too short.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: MrSmith on December 12, 2012, 06:11:04 AM
Slightly on topic what's the difference between the deep and shallow small octa's/rotolux's do you get a different quality of light or more efficiency from the deeper one?
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Ellis Vener on December 12, 2012, 09:51:22 AM
Here's one shot with the 190cm Indirect Lightbank Octa. The Indirect Lightbank Octa has also long been a favorite tool for photographers like Annie Leibovitz (who now seems to like the Phototek Softlighter II), Mark Seliger (http://www.managementartists.com/photography/mark-seliger), Timothy Greenfield Sanders (http://www.greenfield-sanders.com/).
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Ellis Vener on December 12, 2012, 09:52:40 AM
Slightly on topic what's the difference between the deep and shallow small octa's/rotolux's do you get a different quality of light or more efficiency from the deeper one?
There's a different quality of light; the light is a bit more collimated with the deeper one so if both are the same diameter and are the same distance from the subject the edges of the shadows (penumbra) swill be more crisply defined. Of course when you put a diffuser o nthe front of it it may not make much of a difference.

Which brings up another point: unless someone does a test with all of the light modifiers that have been discussed and the tests were shot in the same physical circumstances (primarily: distance to subject and in the same space) looking at different people's pictures isn't really going to tell you much about the differences between the different light modifiers, just how that photographer used that light modifier for that photo.

In the portrait I posted above the Elinchrom 190cm Indirect Octa was positioned about six feet from the couple and the center of it was about mid torso high on them. I had it positioned to camera left and the lighting instrument was a Profoto Acute/D4 head powered by a Profoto D4 pack. As I recall the pack was set to around 400~600 watt-seconds and the exposure was ƒ/16 @ ISO 100, shutter speed 1/125th. The camera was a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II. It was very late in the afternoon and I deliberately wanted to the background to go dark but not totally pitch black.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on December 12, 2012, 12:45:15 PM
Using the current software the ST4 is trouble free and dependable. I'm getting a high sync speed I couldn't get any other way with the Ranger RX Speed AS and an S head. It won't work with an A head because the duration is too short.

What kind of triggering distances are you getting? When I had mine I couldn't get more than 40 feet or so, not enough to shoot with a 200mm lens.

You can also do the same flash tail/hypersync trick by putting a skyport on top of a MiniTT1 and dialing in the trigger timing. No PowerST4 needed. I don't find that particularly useful though, it doesn't really get you any more power over the ambient, it's difficult to meter, and somewhat unpredictable. It's basically an alternative to an ND filter, unless you are trying to simultaneously freeze ambient light for action photography with a ambient/strobe mix.

Slightly on topic what's the difference between the deep and shallow small octa's/rotolux's do you get a different quality of light or more efficiency from the deeper one?

The Deep Octa's are more efficient and do a better job of controlling spill light, especially if you use just the internal diffuser and leave the front diffuser off. The deep octa will be a little more contrasty/punchy and give you a nice combination of soft yet specular light (diffused center, pebbled reflective perimeter).
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: K.C. on December 12, 2012, 07:21:20 PM
Sheldon I shoot sports with ST4s on the packs and a Mini on camera. I'm often 75' or more away from the pack and shooting with a 70-200 or 300. It's never failed. But then I'm pretty much line of sight and there's really nothing but athletes to get in the way. In another scenario it could produce completely different results.

And yes, there are a number of ways to get the job done but the last thing I'm interested in doing is stacking radios on top of a pack.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: K.C. on December 12, 2012, 07:28:42 PM
Slightly on topic what's the difference between the deep and shallow small octa's/rotolux's do you get a different quality of light or more efficiency from the deeper one?

The posts above answer you question very well. Added contrast, longer throw and less spread with any deep modifier.

Ellis' shot is a good example of light that could be achieved with many different modifiers. I have 60" Balcar Zebra umbrellas, alternating silver and white panels between the ribs, that give a nearly identical look to my large deep octa. One just has more spill than the other, both have a punchier contrast that result in slightly more specular/hotter highlights.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: K.C. on December 12, 2012, 07:33:50 PM
Here's a good modifier comparator. (http://www.hensel.eu/en/infos/compare-light-formers.html?no_cache=1)
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: MrSmith on December 13, 2012, 09:12:48 AM
Thanks for your posts chaps.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Ellis Vener on December 13, 2012, 03:48:07 PM
Ellis' shot is a good example of light that could be achieved with many different modifiers. Not quite , a large Chimera SuperPro or a 72" umbrella behind a 72x 72 inch or 96x96 inch scrim in front of it would come close but there wasn't room for that kind of rig or even enough room for just a simple large Chimera or umbrella, maybe a Plume Wafer 200 since they are shallower.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: K.C. on December 14, 2012, 11:35:19 PM
Ellis' shot is a good example of light that could be achieved with many different modifiers. Not quite , a large Chimera SuperPro or a 72" umbrella behind a 72x 72 inch or 96x96 inch scrim in front of it would come close but there wasn't room for that kind of rig or even enough room for just a simple large Chimera or umbrella, maybe a Plume Wafer 200 since they are shallower.

In other words, what I said was correct. Except for the physical limitations you faced in that particular location.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: UlfKrentz on December 15, 2012, 06:12:10 AM
IŽd like to second a heavy stand for outdoor use. Any sudden moment the wind is able to tip over what you thought would be a stable solution. Best to have a second person / assistant with you. Regarding strobe / light modifier, IŽd like to throw in the new broncolor Move pack, it actually is a kind of battery powered "Mini-Scoro", that one combined with a Para 88 is a great combo, too. IŽd suggest to work with the different brands to find out what best suits your needs, even far off a local rent facility you should be able to find a way to test things out. Also consider that buying into a strobe system is a decision that will often last much longer than any other purchase.

Cheers,

Ulf
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: calindustries on November 18, 2013, 06:29:08 PM
I know this is an old topic, but I just was able to really improve my Ranger System. I've been using Ranger AS with both an A head and a modified Profoto head for the past 3 or 4 years. I recently demoed the new Bron Move and loved loved loved it (more than the B4Air that I've also tried). I just can't justify the cost right now. I found these Lithium batteries online. The technician was very helpful when I called and I just replaced one of my lead gel batteries with this and got over 320 pops at full power right out of the box (vs about 200 with the original battery). It weights less than 4 pounds. So although I still want to move to the Bron unless Elinchrom updates the Ranger to be truly asymmetric and have a LED model lamp with NO TIME OUT, this at least solve the weight issue for now!

http://store.starkpower.com/12V-12Ah-StarkPower-UltraEnergy-Lithium-Ion-Battery-LiFePO-Energy-Storage-Battery_p_22.html

-c

Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on November 19, 2013, 02:17:21 AM
That's very interesting. Did you have to make any modifications to the wiring inside the battery drawer or was it simple to install? Have you noticed any effects on recycle times? What about charging, do you have to use a different charger for safety and to avoid damaging the battery?  I'd love to see a photo of how you installed it inside the tray and how well it fits.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Hulyss on November 19, 2013, 05:47:55 AM
There is other ways to maximize the portability of lightings on location. Having used and rented on long periods some systems (Profoto, Broncolor, Elinchrom...) I ended on location with a very different system who work very well. I found that Profoto was a tad expensive and heavy compared to what it do (if you are sponsored by them things start to be a lot cheaper ;) ). Broncolor is the best I've used so far but very expensive; I ended up buying only a para 88 because of the inner coating of the box. For Elinchrom, the octoboxes are very well made but I do not really like the flash system. At a time, carrying generators is very very boring (at best), especially when you work alone and need to be quick.

If you can try SB910 flashes do it ! I modified my Bronco and Elinchrom boxes to adapt SB910 flashes and the power output / °K stability is surprisingly good (and far more flexible than with generator...).

I use them with 100 cm Octa.

Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Sheldon N on November 27, 2013, 01:31:34 AM
Some more follow up on the lithium battery post from calindustries. He was kind enough to share some more details me and I've also installed the same battery in my Ranger. It's a huge improvement in both weight and battery capacity.

If you're looking for more specifics I have a detailed write up here:

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?p=16483038
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: KevinA on November 27, 2013, 07:35:35 AM
This might be of interest to those looking for location systems. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4FT8wGgDl4
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: stevesanacore on November 27, 2013, 07:46:49 AM

Just a few tips from a location photographer:

1 - In my experience Elinchrom units do not hold up to travel very well, ( I have four in a junk pile that are unrepairable). Profoto are the only strobes that have been reliable for me on location. The new Profoto B1 Air would be my choice if 500ws is enough power. The Profoto B4 Air is the best choice, but $$$$. I still have a 7B unit which has lasted forever on beaches, in rain, wind, sand etc. around the world for many years now.

2 - In the outdoors with umbrellas, your stand can never be too heavy! I use very HD steel combo stands when outdoors with sandbags, just to be safe. One less thing to worry about.



Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: gazwas on December 02, 2013, 06:48:56 PM
Profoto all the way.

Regardless of WS, recycle times, flash duration, the absolute beauty of the Profoto battery systems is how small the AcuteB and ProB heads are but still remain fantastically well built and rock solid holding modifiers. Their smaller size has compromised none of the full size heads strengths and the others (Eli, Bowens etc, etc) don't come close to size apart from the Bron Mobil heads but they look like they'll fall apart. Additionally the Profoto modifier attachment is the work of genius - never jam, stick, fail, fall off - amazing for such a stupidly simple rubber band!
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: KevinA on December 03, 2013, 02:41:04 AM
Here's a good modifier comparator. (http://www.hensel.eu/en/infos/compare-light-formers.html?no_cache=1)
That's good fun. So for portraiture you only need a white umbrella. Everything else is just show.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: bcooter on December 03, 2013, 04:28:23 AM
That's good fun. So for portraiture you only need a white umbrella. Everything else is just show.

For soft light, pretty much.  10 folding umbrellas of different sizes and opacity will fill up the space of one beauty dish (actually less) and do more.

And remember, you can make a big light small, but it's damn hard to make a small light big.

For flash, profoto for all the reasons stated.



IMO

BC
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Ken Bennett on December 03, 2013, 09:37:13 PM
That's good fun. So for portraiture you only need a white umbrella. Everything else is just show.

Yeah, pretty much. A nice mid-size white umbrella is cheap, easy and fast to set up, and provides a nice quality of soft, wrap around light. They are easy to break, too, and don't last long in even moderate use, but I can buy a crate of 'em for the price of my Elinchrom deep octa.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: TMARK on December 03, 2013, 09:45:35 PM
A small silver will get a hard light.  Not as hard as a zoom reflector or a magnum, but definitely a light with bite.

For soft light, pretty much.  10 folding umbrellas of different sizes and opacity will fill up the space of one beauty dish (actually less) and do more.

And remember, you can make a big light small, but it's damn hard to make a small light big.

For flash, profoto for all the reasons stated.



IMO

BC
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: bcooter on December 04, 2013, 02:09:22 AM
A small silver will get a hard light.  Not as hard as a zoom reflector or a magnum, but definitely a light with bite.


For direct light, to me nothing is prettier than a standard profoto reflector up high. 

With an 8x foamcore bounce you can make that light do almost anything and it always looks modern and unique to me.

For soft crossing light, I love two shoot through umbrellas, or two beauty dish, side by side one high and one lower going through a 12x vertical silk.

I don't do a lot of retail, but when we do and it's soft, this setup will allow me to make fast changes and hold the look.  You know when you go from a dark complexion model with a white top to a light complexion model with a dark top.  Just by adjusting the angle of the two dishes and dropping or raising the power 1/3 stop.

_________________

when I started I had the coolest lighting setup.  A shoot through umbrella with a hand stitched black enclosure on the back with a zipper.  Years later I noticed Annie used something like this.

What this allowed was a soft directional light without spill and nice fall off.  Beautiful for portrait and lifestyle and even head and shoulders beauty.

But everybody has a different way, though I do like umbrellas.

IMO

BC
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: TMARK on December 04, 2013, 10:11:52 AM
For environmental portraits on location, but inside, with a normal wide FOV, a zoom reflector set wide on a boom as a top light, Chimera shallow as a wide fill.  Maybe a Mola dish as a key, maybe not.  Beautiful light.

What I found is that the Mola 22, a grid, a few umbrellas, foam core/reflectors, and an Acute 1200 with three heads was all the lighting gear I needed for editorial portraits of people.  Not fashion, but portraits.  I usually used one head and the Mola, and shiny board.  Two D1 Air 500's could replace the Acutes, but I don't get the "Built Like a '78 MBZ 300 Diesel" vibe from the D1s like I get from teh Acutes, although the D1's are pretty nice.



For direct light, to me nothing is prettier than a standard profoto reflector up high. 

With an 8x foamcore bounce you can make that light do almost anything and it always looks modern and unique to me.

For soft crossing light, I love two shoot through umbrellas, or two beauty dish, side by side one high and one lower going through a 12x vertical silk.

I don't do a lot of retail, but when we do and it's soft, this setup will allow me to make fast changes and hold the look.  You know when you go from a dark complexion model with a white top to a light complexion model with a dark top.  Just by adjusting the angle of the two dishes and dropping or raising the power 1/3 stop.

_________________

when I started I had the coolest lighting setup.  A shoot through umbrella with a hand stitched black enclosure on the back with a zipper.  Years later I noticed Annie used something like this.

What this allowed was a soft directional light without spill and nice fall off.  Beautiful for portrait and lifestyle and even head and shoulders beauty.

But everybody has a different way, though I do like umbrellas.

IMO

BC
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: Lightsmith on December 04, 2013, 06:26:52 PM
The Quantum system is by far the most versatile. The battery packs are light and one pack can power two heads. There are plenty of fast to setup umbrellas and a great light box that opens like an umbrella so takes seconds to attach. The flash provides for multi-zone control with TTL at distances up to 1000 feet from the camera. There is also a hot shoe mounted device for Canon and Nikon cameras that has a dial with +/- EV in 1/3 stop changes by twisting the dial - nothing could be easier or faster.

I can fit two Quantum flash heads, two battery packs, cables, the FreeXwire transmitters and receivers, lightstands, and the special softboxes, into a single Pelican 1620 case. Everything goes to the location in one case so there is one trip from the car.

The Quantum flash heads also can be shot bare bulb with is a great light source both indoors and outside for people photography. My favorite though is the SP Studio Systems EZOctagonal Softbox that collapses like an umbrella and is a 19" diameter round softbox (round making for more natural catchlights) and sells for $40. It is faster to set up than an umbrella reflector.

The Quantum is also Nikon iTTL and Canon eTTL compatible so you can use it with a Canon or Nikon master unit to have a lot more light than would be possible from a Canon or Nikon flash. TTL has a more limited range of "only" 200 yards.
Title: Re: Location Lighting
Post by: gregohb on December 05, 2013, 06:13:19 AM
Those quantum's look really nice. But for the price of a Quantum you can buy 2-3 Paul Buff heads used, which give more power, and will take a fall off a light stand and still work.