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Evie

video lighting suggestins

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I need some advise on changing my lighting system. I'm using the sony TRV900 in a Gates housing. I currently use a paid of UK HID Light Cannon 100's for my lights, but I'm not happy with them. I'm looking at the NiteRider system, but can't tell what the difference is between the HID Pro 40 and the Pro 20. I've also seen the Green Force ID 100 Daylight 5000K wide beam light, but know nothing about it.

 

Any suggestions from anybody about which lights are best to use would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

Rob

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We use a pair of the HID pro 40s and love them. Mount the battery on your BC unless you have really strong wrists. They are great if a little heavy to shlep two batteries through airports.

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I need some advise on changing my lighting system. I'm using the sony TRV900 in a Gates housing. I currently use a paid of UK HID Light Cannon 100's for my lights, but I'm not happy with them. I'm looking at the NiteRider system, but can't tell what the difference is between  the HID Pro 40 and the Pro 20. I've also seen the Green Force ID 100 Daylight 5000K wide beam light, but know nothing about it.

 

Any suggestions from anybody about which lights are best to use would be greatly appreciated.

Rob

 

Pro 20 has two 10watt single hid lamps.

 

Pro 40 has two 10watt double hid lamps.

 

Take a look here:

 

http://www.niteriderdive.com/video.htm

 

You will hear a lot of opinions on which lights are best. Halogen, HID, florescent. IMHO, you can get good results with each type of lights. It's more a matter of convenience and cost.

 

I'm happy with my inexpensive halogen canister light. I only use my lights at night. I also use the Gates Diego and Sony 900. The combination of the red filter and manual white balance allows me to get good coloring on day dives without lights. Even down to 90 feet.

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I also currently use two UK HID light cannons for my Gates PD170 housing. I have looked around, and to me the Halcyon dual 50w HID light system seems to be the best current solution. They are pretty expensive, so I ordered my 18w regular HID dive light with the 13.5 Helios cannister, with e/o cords (carried on the waistband on the harness), to be able to use the battery with the video lights as well (when I in the future have purchased them). I have heard some people say that the dual 24W system sometimes is not producing enough light, and I find that the light cannons I use only serves their purpose somewhat for macro type/close up shooting.

 

Anders

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Hi Rob,

 

I'm using the Greenforce HID 100 ligths and I am very happy with them. I use either 2 or 4 depending on the conditions. I get 2.5 hours of burn time with the 4 lights constantly on when I use two F4 batteries. Each battery can support two light heads. The benefit of the Greenforce system is that the batteries are attached to you BC or tank, and the light heads to your camera. The light heads are neutral, so no extra strain on your arms. For video you need the 110 degree reflectors.

pcdiver_small.jpg

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Hi There,

I copied this from another site just to give an idea of what you should be looking for. If you wnat to contact the author directly his name is Pawel Achtel and is Australian. His web site is located at:

 

www.AliensOfTheSea.com/HDTV

 

The views expressed at certain times are not necessarily shared by others but will give an insight into lighting aspects etc.

 

Mark.

 

Amphibico 2 x Variable 35 Watt, 12 Volt Arc lamps & Arms, 1 x Ultra Pro Power Pack, 2 x Swit NP 14.4 Volts Batteries USD $5.3K

 

With my lights you get 6, not 2 NP1 batteries, 300W, instead of 70W, and the amount of light produced is going to be approximately 5 times more! Also, the Amphibicam HIDs have CRI about, what? 60%, maybe 65% at best? This means 40% of colours will be missing compared to my lights.

 

Then comes the technology. I use titanium, which will look as new after 50 years of use, where your HID toy will turn to dust after a few seazons.

 

Cost of running: Xenophot lamp costs $12. Have you checked the replacement cost of HID lamp?

 

Then, the charger. Amphibico charger is 2 x Sequential, which means you have to wait for the first battery to recharge before charging the second one. It costs and ADDITIONAL US $600. My charger is 4 x Simultanous! The charger itself is worth more than AUD $2000. In my package, it is included.

 

Then there is burn time. Most HIDs can not be hot restarted, which means that you have to run it continuously or wait until it cools down. Then when uou switch HID you have to wait until it warms up. Perhaps the fish will wait, but the runtime will be greatly compromised. What a waste! And, did you know that about 30% of power in HIDs is wasted in ballast? That's right, they are produce (at best) 50-60 lm/W and waste 30% of that on heat. Xenophot produces 43 lm/W, which means more light at less power!

 

The reason I posted here is because it is a bargain. Lights like this usualy rent at about $1k per day.

 

BTW, the heads are reated down to 2000m (6,000 ft) if you like to put them on a sub or ROV. They can take up to 1000W lamps (where most other brands would melt into an unrecognisable mess). The titanium heads are available at about AUD $2.5k - less than a 35W aluminium HID head from Amphibicam! Even with 300W lamp, my light head gives almost 10 times more light than 35W HID, and light that has 100% CRI (all the colours), not 60% of colours.

 

Also, HIDs have high colour temp. Unless you are shooting at night, you need low colour temp in your lights to COMPLEMENT the ambient light, which is missing reds. HIDs are pretty poor at this and have little low frequency spectrum.

 

Now, if HID gimmick still sounds like a good buy to you, go and waste your money. I personally think they are rubbish, unless you want to use HMIs with more than 20KW (that is 20,000W), like on the Titanic. FYI, they weren't using the same type of HID rubbish that derives from automotive lamps that is simply not suitable for film! But, Amphibicam (and others) won't addmit this to you. They will say HIDs are the best invention since sliced bread because they can justify sucking your hard earned money.

 

I only have 1 set and I can supply up to 5 titanium heads all up. That's it. I manufactured more than I need for myself to make it economical and I offer the excess for sale at a very low price.

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CamDiver

There are a few important reasons why HID is a more practical solution than tungsten. HID still has,by Pawel's own admission, higher lumens per watt (50-60 vs 43). That combined with less power drain means a 24W HID can run about 120 mins on a 4amp battery while giving while having about the same lumens as a 50W xenophot. So you are essentially carry much less battery bulk for roughly the same amount of light. Which includes dive weight.

It also depends on the subject you are shooting. Unless you are trying to light up overhangs and wide shots(like wrecks), all the power in having twin 200W lights will just overpower your subject where you'll need super ND filters to avoid blowing out the highlights. And with such big bright lights, the chances of the fish acting normally (instead they'll be just trying to get away from the light) is slim (we've all heard of the phrase cooking the subject!)

CRI is important but how important is it to mini-DV video, where the dynamic range is limited vs film. For HDCAM(which is what Pawel is shooting) or film it is imperative to have high CRI, but looking at the video analyser for mini-DV for a subject 30cm away, HID is good enough if you manually white balance the material. Sure the tungsten/halogen advantage of CRI gives slight richer color but you still have to color correct for the 3200°K of tungsten or the 5-6000°K of HID in camera or in post, so what's a little more tweaking?

The biggest advantage halogen/tungsten has over the HID/HMI lights is instant restrike/on and the ability to moderate power from 0-100%, which is great when the subject is close and you may blow the highlights unless you have 3 ft arms to back the lights off.

Costwise, a tungten xenophot bulb may cost US$5. But it lasts 20-50 hrs. A HID is rated at 1000hrs. So the difference is not as great as Pawel says.

Bottom line is HID has its advantages and limitations, just as tungsten does. That's why I have both and use both when I shoot.

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Nice response,

I think, especially in the MiniDV realm, that too much thought goes into the physics of lighting. One thing I have learned is that if a production company wants a specific subject and they can see it clearly, focussed and colorful, they will take it. It doesn't matter if thats been filmed using a dive lamp or a Hydroflex lighting bank. The results are the same, you've sold the image. If we all had deep pockets and could go for what we want then yeah I could understand the massive decisions that would effect our choices. For people starting out the onus on shooting or learning their hobby is not dictated by their lighting choice. It's dictated by their dive ability, their awareness of their environment, their impact on that environment and finally as to whether that can exit that environment without causing any negative impact. If after all that they can then come away with images of the amazing variety of underwater inhabitants then thats great.

 

This is a fascinating world. Getting it on film does require lighting. To start out I would suggest a standard Halogen system. Anyone heard of FaMi from Italy? www.fa-mi.com excellent lights and quite reasonably priced too.

 

Personally, I'm not into HID. Just a bit too blue. For me to effectively use them I WB on an off white slate! Whats the point of wasting Lumens?

 

Macro wise I use a 400w Watervisions Lighthead (Aqualight) with a home made battery system.

 

All my wide angle, above 60ft, is done with filters but being fortunate I have at my disposal a 1200w HMI lighting arrangement for deep water filming, fans, caves etc.

 

Hope this is informative.

Mark.

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A minor correction. A CRI of 60 implies that 40% of colors will render incorrectly. It doesn't mean they will be missing, though that's a possibility.

 

Some smaller HID's (LMI) have lumen/watt ratings way under 50-60, like less that 30. Even with a lumen/watt rating of 60 versus 40 for Xenophot you can't assume that the battery is 2/3 the size for the same burn time. First you have to consider warmup and restrike issues. Then you have to consider the dive weight of the ballast. It doesn't really matter the size of the battery. What matters is the size of the rig.

 

To this day there is no HID solution that puts out as many lumens for a given amount of burn time, travel weight and dive weight as xenophot. For large lights that's what it boils down to unless someone is carrying them for you. I can carry a 1000W on my back with Xenophot and get 30 minutes of burn, 40K lumens, instant restrike and 100 CRI. I can travel with it too and change batteries between dives. There is no HID solution that gives me 40K lumens that I can travel and dive with alone. Then there's the issue of 100 CRI versus 65 CRI and cheap bulbs versus costly ones. HID bulbs do not travel well! My rig is pure 24V and I have a selection of wattages from 50 to 500. Try that with HID. Then there's the safety of the 40KV AC that the ballast generates and the range of underwater subjects that are scared off by that. It's just not worth it unless you are a pro and have a specific need.

 

In my experience, blowing out subjects with big lights is not a problem during the daytime. It takes huge lights just to travel a few feet.

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Hi Todd,

 

Thanks for posting the video link - I hadn't seen those yet.

 

Cheers

James

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Hey James, Has sarah shown you the documentary treatment she is in about the flower gardens????

 

 

 

Todd Richard

www.synergy-productions.com

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Craig, thanks for the addendum on CRI. I didn't mean to give the impression that the colors were missing. Just that the range of colors in the 60+ CRI is good enough to give good pictures in the miniDV format.

You are absolutely right in that the size and displacement of the rig is what matters, and the size of the battery is part of the rig. Once you want over 8k lumens, obviously HID is not the choice.

A more modest system that gives 3-7k lumens, HID can be a better choice. My 24W HID (solarc) gives out 1850lumens per head and are 0.8lbs -ve,with option for 20 or 60° pattern (predive adjustment of course). Run off a 12v 9amp NiMh that weighs 6lbs(4lbs -ve) and you get about 80 mins of burn time. A similar halogen arrangement with 50W xenophot (1600lumens) would give you about 60mins burn time.

The longer burn time and slightly more light can be strong arguments for certain applications.

I usually color correct anyways so the CCT differences are moot to me. Halogen has a warmish yellow tone and HID has a blueish tone to it. Both have their places.

Btw, Craig, your battery rigs are legendary at the few places we've both been to. I've heard of your rigs from the Ombak Biru crew (Gary said he had to partially clear a room for you to charge the batteries) and SWV. All I heard was big and heavy. Which is great given how much lumens you can produce but not everybody needs, wants or can do that.

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I have a question from a bigginers point of view...

 

What are the main problems in using normal dive torches for underwater video?

 

Hotspots? or are there any oother points that should be considered?

 

For the hotspots, can't this problem be overcome by usig difusers or anyother equipment?

 

I really would appreciate all the help I can get, because I am thinking of getting housing for my Canon HV20?

 

(by the way - where can I see some examples of the videos that all the members are making^????? because there are galleries for photos but not for any videos)

 

Best regards,

 

Tiago

Portugal

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Patryn, the main problem with using regular dive torches is that the beam is too narrow. Using a diffuser won't give you the same broad, even pool of light that a properly designed reflector will.

 

Examples of work are in the Editing forum.

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yes, that is what I thought, but...

 

in this thread there are people using for exemple the UK Canon 100 HID dive torch for video and from the looks of it they are quite happy with it.

 

There must be some DIY projects for torch conversion to video light.... I'm not saying pro or even semi pro quality but just the casual turist - record your dive - kind of video.

 

Once again, any help would be most appreciated.

 

Best regards,

 

Tiago Borrego

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I am no expert on the subject but the info already posted is very helpful.

 

I use L&M HID lights but I don't recommend them. Battery life is not long enough and they cost a bomb. Also the beam isn't wide enough for my fathoms wide angle lens. I have seen a few people with the Greenforce lights and they look good to me.

 

Whatever sytem you go for, i would recommend mounting the battery pods on the bottom of your housing rather than on your BC or tank and add bouyancy tubes if required. Cables running from your body to the housing will get in the way and caught on things at least some of the time, better to keep your rig as compact as possible.

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Hi,

 

Underwater video lighting has until recently always been a problem...halogen lights are very wasteful of battery power and their color temperature is quite low. HID is a great alternative...daylight color temperature and excellent lumen per watt output.

 

The main problem with HIDs has been cost and size/weight for the more powerful units (i.e. 35w and 50w).

 

As new Australian manufacturer of underwater video equipment, I've attempted to correct some of these issues...or at least take a different approach to the design philosophy.

 

The 50watt and 35watt SEASTAR HID video lights that we make are self-contained, powerful and very lightweight (2.4 kilos per light) relative to other designs. They also offer a choice of daylight (6000 kelvin) and warm (4300 kelvin) bulbs, magnetic switching and a 100m depth rating. Best of all, they are very affordable.

 

Please have a look at our website www.hdvseatek.com and see what you think...

 

Cheers,

 

George

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As new Australian manufacturer of underwater video equipment, I've attempted to correct some of these issues...or at least take a different approach to the design philosophy.

 

The 50watt and 35watt SEASTAR HID video lights that we make are self-contained, powerful and very lightweight (2.4 kilos per light) relative to other designs.

 

George, why self contained?

With two of those an your camera the setup becomes top heavy. Even on a big housing like the Phenom it really doesn't help with the stability of the housing and it puts real strain on the wrists?

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George, why self contained?

With two of those an your camera the setup becomes top heavy. Even on a big housing like the Phenom it really doesn't help with the stability of the housing and it puts real strain on the wrists?

 

The SEASTAR HID's are almost neutrally buoyant in seawater...probably 0.25 kg negative. I've used them for many dives now with a Gates HC1 housing, under a great variety of conditions, and have never regarded the setup as being top heavy. If anything, they probably helped stabilize the housing a bit...noticeable when I'd take them off for free-diving.

 

Also, no cables means fewer potential leakage points...and it's sometimes useful to take off a light and hand it to a model underwater...especially with the "Instant...just add water...Dive Buddy" on day boats ( or a preoccupied Tech Diver) who might not want to carry a HID around for the full dive.

 

Only when on the surface I'd collapse the arms to bring the lights onto the top of the housing...the boat crew heaving the kit out of the water always prefer this anyway.

 

I agree that the heavier the housing the easier it is to stabilize...but there is always going to be a trade-off with any set-up. On a recent trip to the Red Sea, the housing, two cameras and two HID50's flew with me as overhead luggage ...same to Bali for several trips. I prefer to travel with the minimum weight gear that is technically possible and still shoot quality HDV video.

 

Cheers,

George

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I find I'm using lights less and less. Editing software like Final Cut Pro now has extremely powerful color correction tools, even when used with auto white balance. As soon as lights are turned on, natural animal behaviors stop. Shooting behaviors like cleaning, camouflage, and predation becomes far more difficult as soon as lights are turned on. Besides, they are only effective to a distance of 3 feet.

 

Currently I use lights only for macro, night dives, and dark overhead environments. Therefore they aren't a big issue with me. I'm happy with my hid's (warm, even light with a fairly wide beam). Considering that and the cost of upgrade, I'm not about to move to led's any time soon.

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The handling issue of having negative light heads should also be considered.

Having more weight on the top of the housing, if spread unevenly will cause the housing to rotate upside down. It's physics and handling is a very important aspect of getting good shots.

 

Eric

I agree that lights do cause much behavior to change or stop. They still can function as foreground illumination or fill light. As with color correction, it does take a bit of work to get the color right in post. I always suggest for those who are going to shoot with color correction in post, shoot with filter and daylight preset for shallow to medium depths or shoot without filter with daylight preset. It's easier to color correct constant color problems versus having AWB change color mid pan or something.

I've also used red filters on my lights at medium depths to illuminate subjects and MWB to that. It actually doesn't freak certain fish as much as they are usually blind to it. The filter also cuts a few stops off which helps as too much light will frighten anything.

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The handling issue of having negative light heads should also be considered.

Having more weight on the top of the housing, if spread unevenly will cause the housing to rotate upside down. It's physics and handling is a very important aspect of getting good shots.

 

Eric

I agree that lights do cause much behavior to change or stop. They still can function as foreground illumination or fill light. As with color correction, it does take a bit of work to get the color right in post. I always suggest for those who are going to shoot with color correction in post, shoot with filter and daylight preset for shallow to medium depths or shoot without filter with daylight preset. It's easier to color correct constant color problems versus having AWB change color mid pan or something.

I've also used red filters on my lights at medium depths to illuminate subjects and MWB to that. It actually doesn't freak certain fish as much as they are usually blind to it. The filter also cuts a few stops off which helps as too much light will frighten anything.

 

 

 

:excl:

Drew

Rather than use a red filter with your lights, would you think that a "redder," dimmable viodeo light would give more flexibility?

Art99

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Art

I used red filters ON my lights. My halogens are fully dimmable and the red filters help with the wildlife. I don't bother using red filters on my HMI or HIDs.

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