Every light from a candle and your car’s headlights to the sun has a color temperature. A type of light that is used on sets all the time are fluorescent lights. These lights make it easy to change the color temperature of the light that is being emitted. In this video, author Robbie Carman and guest Kevin Bradley discuss how fluorescent lights work and demonstrate how to change their color temperature.
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- Now Kevin, obviously fluorescent instruments, like this Kino Flo behind us, are used on sets all the time. They're great lighting instruments, provide, you know, a lot of high output, relatively stable color that can be used in a lot of variety of situations and when it comes to changing the color of these, I actually want to bring up a point before you show us changing from a tungsten to a more daylight. One of the things you have to be aware of fluorescent lights all the time is that they do age, right? That the bulbs, over time, they do subtly change. Have you noticed that in your experience? - Well, fluorescent tubes contain gas.
- Right. - And like anything else that contains a gas, eventually the gas leaks out. - Yup. - And so, they're pretty well protected. They're in there for awhile. And you know these bulbs, if you take care of them, will last a couple of years. - Absolutely. - [Kevin] But, eventually they do start to change, and they alter their color temperature to not so nice. - Right so if you do notice, you know, a light that you got brand new a couple years ago that was at 56 hundred or whatever you have, you know, daylight colored bulbs in there, all of a sudden it's a little greenier, or a little, you know, yellower or whatever, it's sort of a cue to say, "Oh well maybe I need to go ahead and replace those bulbs".
The CRI, or the Color Rendering Index, of those lights might not be what it used to be. So that's tip number one. Now Kevin, let's power this guy on, and as I said, this is a Kino Flo and right now we have some tungsten, you can see it's rather yellow at least on the set. On the camera it's probably a little more blown out cause it is a pretty bright light. But you can see that I have a nice uniform color temperature of all this. And the thing about this is that this particular light doesn't allow me just to go a switch on the back of it to go from 32 hundred to 65 hundred. We'll talk about those later.
How would I go about, if I wanted to change this from this kinda color temperature that I have now to something a little more daylight? - So this is a four bulb unit. - Right. - And right now we're running four bulbs at 32 hundred Kelvin. So, specifically, these bulbs are formulated to be this color. - Right. - That's how fluorescent works. Different bulbs - Yeah Different recipes, if you will, for the bulbs. - Right. However, I can change the color to daylight by simply switching out the bulbs. - Okay so different manufacturers, different lighting bulb companies are gonna sell lights themselves, the actual bulbs themself that are rated at different color temperatures.
- Right, I mean these are not normal fluorescent tubes that you might get at a Home Depot. These are specially formulated and more expensive. And therefore, they put out very very accurate, very very nice, beautiful colors. - So besides color temperature, and the markings, and CRI, one of the things that you mentioned earlier that I was interested in is like, these are not off-the-shelf, Home Depot variety fluorescent tubes. And one of the things I think a lot of people are challenged with, when it comes to fluorescents, is flicker. Do these lights flicker or are they special in that regard? - So one of the special things about Kino Flo bulbs is that they're specially formulated to run hotter than normal fluorescent tubes.
They're drawing more power, which, in regular tubes, will actually create really funky colors, if you're able to do that with a real Home Depot bulb. - Yeah sure - So, and the other thing, is that these fixtures specifically have a ballast that is designed to run them flicker-free. - Yeah it's gonna kinda control the voltage going to the bulbs and stuff like that. - Correct - Now Kevin when it comes to these lights, what are some of the things that we're looking for in terms of the quality. I, for example, notice that down here on the markings, there's nothing that explicitly says this is 56 hundred K.
Instead I see something that says KF 55. - Well that's Kino Flo's own way of labeling their bulbs. They have two ways of labeling their bulbs. Number one, they go with color. So just like how we talked about earlier, the Kelvin scale, the higher the number goes, the more blue your number goes. Therefore, the color of this label is blue. - Oh I get it, as opposed to the red ones that are gonna be warmer on these lights. - Exactly. They also label them KF 55. So Kino Flo chose 55 hundred as their version of daylight.
But it is a very, very clean, very, very nice color, and it is very stable. - Yeah and again, depending on how much money you wanna spend, you're also gonna wanna look for bulbs that obviously have a high CRI value, that Color Rendering Index, that's gonna give you a truer light. Okay so I get it, so we have specific tungsten 32 hundred, then we have some 55 hundred, 56 Kelvin lights. And we can just swap these out? - Yeah, we can swap them out. - Before we change anything having to do with lights, electricity, good rule of thumb of course - Cut the power. - Cut the power, exactly, and even though these are fluorescent tubes, and this is not as hot as, you know, a traditional hot light they still get a little warm.
- And you know, my hands have been burned so many times it doesn't matter at this point. - (chuckles) No sense, no feeling - But the truth is, these get like a hot cup of coffee, so they can burn you. - So good rule of thumb is just to let them cool for a minute or two, just to get some of that energy out. - Let them cool, and ideally, if you gotta change 'em fast, wear gloves. - Okay - So in order to change it out of this particular fixture, this is a diva light, you just pop this one out. There's a four pin connector, - And then these brackets here at this end. - A metal bracket. - And just be careful. In my experience I know you were saying that you've done this as well, you can break these lights if you're prying them.
Just go slow, move these brackets, apply a little pressure, don't just yank 'em right out. Cause the last thing you want in the middle of a set is shards of, you know, fluorescent tubing everywhere. - It has happened on two of my shoots and it's a mess. - Yeah, okay, so we got that out. And obviously you can see the bracket that holds it on this end, and on this end there's four connectors and that button, so I'm guessing I'll take that tube and you take the new one. Just line those connectors up. - Take our Kino Flo KF 55 hundred Kelvin temperature bulb. And the first thing I do, is I will pop it in to this bracket here til it snaps.
And you know, they are quite durable, but they're still make out of glass, so you have to be careful. Once you hear that click, that audible pop, you know that it's in. - Okay, now if we turn this on, go ahead and turn it back on, obviously one of the problems that we're gonna have in this setup, is that now you can see pretty obviously we have a much cooler light, versus the rest of them. Now you may wanna do this, and we'll talk about this in just a moment when we talk about bi color and RGB controllable lights, but most of the time, if you're gonna make this switch, you might wanna switch out all of the tubes together.
- Right, and there's several ways to do this. You can go all daylight, all tungsten, or you can do something that they call on sets salt and peppering the lights. - Got it, got it, cool. So when we come back in just a moment, we're gonna talk about that approach of mixing lights together when we talk about bi colored lights.
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