Quality of light is of huge importance for anyone in the field of photography and cinematography. Color, output, throw and softness are all things you need to look at when purchasing lights. I got a set of the Flolight fluorescents and wanted to put them through some testing to see if it is a kit I could satisfy directors and clients with.
Before we get into it, please note that there a few variables with lighting tests. The biggest being the camera sensor. Different cameras read colors differently. The next is glass. I wanted to focus only on the light color and output so I made sure everything stayed constant as I changed bulbs and output. Lets go ahead and get into the setup.
I used my trusty Canon 7D and Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 for this. I was shooting at 1/50 shutter and 320 ISO. I adjusted my iris until my meter read +2. The color profile was a custom profile that I use often (no special reason for using this on the test other than it is my go to profile). For Canon DSLR users, here’s the profile:
The light was 6ft away from the white board and slightly to the left of the camera. The camera was 6ft away and zoomed in until the whiteboard filled the frame. 100% refers to the dimmer all the way up while 1% refers to the dimmer all the way down. A nice feature of these is that you can dim them all the way down without turning off. My iris went from a f/5 at 100% to an f/2.8 at 1%. However, there was a bit of a color shift as you will see below. Mixed bulbs (or surf and turf as I like to call it) means 2 of each color, laid out every other bank [Blue, orange, blue, orange]. These are the Flolight brand bulbs. There may be a difference with the Kino brand bulbs but I have not tested those yet.
Take a look at the results.
4 Bank with Mixed Bulbs at 100%
4 Bank with Mixed Bulbs at 1%
4 Bank with Daylight Bulbs at 100%
4 Bank with Daylight Bulbs at 1%
4 Bank with Tungsten Bulbs at 100%
4 Bank with Tungsten Bulbs at 1%
Thoughts After Whiteboard Test
After seeing these results I was actually not too impressed. The amount of green at 100% worried me a bit and the color shift was very noticeable when going from 1% to 100%. I will tell you after doing a test with skin tones, this worry went away. I’d like to hear your thoughts on what you see above. For me, it helped me see how different bulbs cast a green or magenta cast and how the color shifted as I dimmed and brightened the bulbs. It will help make decisions on set and choose the best set up for each situation.
Seeing as a whiteboard can only show you so much, I am also doing the same setup but instead of a whiteboard, I will be sitting down so you can see the effects on skin tones.