4 years ago1,000+ Views
Actress Marissa Skell (The Mentalist, General Hospital, Dexter, Criminal Minds) stands in front of a Kino-Flo - a balanced - high-frequency florescent light specifically designed to work on movie/TV sets. Light from standard florescent tubes - like the ones installed in most offices in commercial builds - is ugly. It lives in the 4,000 - 4,500K range - which is a greenish color. It flickers - and because it flickers - which happens at a rate our eyes don't typically notice - but a motion picture and video camera will see - it's just horrible - horrible stuff to work with. That is until the invention of the Kino-Flo. First - the bulbs are certified to be either daylight or tungsten balanced. So the ugly greenish hue problem is solved. Second, they use a high-frequency ballast and a low amount of direct current to eliminate flickering. The end result is some of the most beautiful soft light you could ask for. HMI and Tungsten lights are HARD SOURCES - they are intense and produce sharp shadows. You have to place a silk or a softbox on these lights to break their intensity. By doing so you also lower their output (and many a new grip has also learned - place a silk on a stand too close to one of these lights and you'll set it on fire). Kino-Flo lights produce a very soft light that wraps around subjects and softens shadows. It's great "beauty light" Kinos don't get hot and they can be really small, allowing you to place them in tight spaces for little accent lights. Look at the way the Kino puts a soft highlight around Marissa's face and hair. I love Kinos and use them in my still photo shoots on a regular basis.
No doubt. They are not cheap. For still photography there are plenty of affordable alternatives - they are built like Kinos, have barn doors, fit standard c-stand or light stand heads - and have daylight or tungsten balanced bulbs... they simply lack the high-frequency ballast. Which for a still photo doesn't matter. You're not going to get flicker in a still. I own a couple for product stuff. I use tungsten lights - 250-500-1000w models - depending - with removable soft boxes for portrait work.
I think that the only major problem with kino flo lighting is the expense attached to it. I'm not a portrait photographer or a product photographer, but I can understand the importance of the quality of light kino flo gives you in the studio. That being said it would just be nice if their were cheaper alternatives out there. @JonPatrickHyde By the way, I think you forgot to publish this card into photography!