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Outdoor shooting - equipment advice

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  #1  
Old 08-29-2009, 02:50 PM
morpheus1870 morpheus1870 is offline
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Outdoor shooting - equipment advice

Having worked in studio's for some time I now want to move out on location. I want a three strobe setup and need some advice on protable units and powerpacks. I also want t use a beauty dish as I love the work of Clavin Hollywood and hope to emulate such lighting techniques and quality.

Any advice or guidance on specific power packs and equipment would be great.

Also what kind of lens would be a good purchase for my 5dmkII to get those wide shots like D.H. gets, I currently own a 24-105mm L, 50mm and a 10-22efs for the 40d.

thanks in advance
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:27 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Outdoor shooting - equipment advice

I have done some of that kind of outdoor photography. I always used a number of reflectors instead of lights. A bit harder to set up (maybe?) but was freed of the need for electricity.

I have a number of friends that do work similar to that you quoted. Most of them use one light and if needed reflectors for small amounts of fill. A good many of them have built their own power packs for such use. Some also seem to like the Paul Buff lineup as they have about the best customer service you could want. Outdoor use gives the lites a beating. Power packs are heavy and bulky, remember the advantage of wheels!
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:42 PM
morpheus1870 morpheus1870 is offline
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Re: Outdoor shooting - equipment advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
I have done some of that kind of outdoor photography. I always used a number of reflectors instead of lights. A bit harder to set up (maybe?) but was freed of the need for electricity.

I have a number of friends that do work similar to that you quoted. Most of them use one light and if needed reflectors for small amounts of fill. A good many of them have built their own power packs for such use. Some also seem to like the Paul Buff lineup as they have about the best customer service you could want. Outdoor use gives the lites a beating. Power packs are heavy and bulky, remember the advantage of wheels!
Hi Mike, thanks for the response, a question if you would; you mentioned your friends made their own power packs! That sounds too good to be true. I currently have an interfit 3 head kit and would love to be able to take 1 or 2 strobes with me outdoors attached to a power pack rather than running of the mains. This would save me so much money!

Do you have any more info on how I go about doing this?
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:46 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Outdoor shooting - equipment advice

The basic idea of a portable power pack is a battery feeding a power inverter (which converts the batteries DC voltage to 110V AC) and then onto your lights.

The biggest problem is finding a power inverter that provides the best sine wave AC you can get. The cheaper units put out a wave that is more in a square pattern than a sine wave pattern. Lots of lighting equipment will look at a square wave coming at them and roll over and die.

Most people do not realize that electronic equipment contains and runs on smoke, if you let the smoke out it will no longer work!

For a battery, pick a gel cell, deep recycle. Car batteries are much cheaper, but who wants to spill battery acid all over the place and the fumes are hazardous. Don't forget you need some kind of recharger to fill the battery back up.

Remember that you are dealing with potentially life threatening things here. I watched a guy short circuit a car battery with his wedding ring which went from skin temperature to red hot in less that a second or so. He lost that finger and the one on either side of it. The wiring downstream from the inverter has to be done correctly, you are dealing with 110V which has a way of finding ground especially if you are operating outside on possibly damp earth.

A lot of folks are mounting this stuff on some kind of hand truck. They usually have large wheels that will roll fairly easily. Also the hand truck will have a light stand attached to it. Placing light stands outside and expecting them to stand up in even a light breeze is inviting problems. Weight is usually part of the answer.

Lots of things to consider here. Safety for you and your customers is first and foremost. If you do not understand what I have talked about then my best advice is to buy not try to roll your own. Good luck and be careful please!
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:47 PM
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digitalcanvas73 digitalcanvas73 is offline
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Re: Outdoor shooting - equipment advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by morpheus1870 View Post
Having worked in studio's for some time I now want to move out on location. I want a three strobe setup and need some advice on protable units and powerpacks. I also want t use a beauty dish as I love the work of Clavin Hollywood and hope to emulate such lighting techniques and quality.

Any advice or guidance on specific power packs and equipment would be great.

Also what kind of lens would be a good purchase for my 5dmkII to get those wide shots like D.H. gets, I currently own a 24-105mm L, 50mm and a 10-22efs for the 40d.

thanks in advance
Allien Bee portable packs(Vagabond) are light, easy to carry and easy to operate. And they are inexpensive. You can choose your heads and other modifiers from their website.
However if you have the budget go for Pro-foto 7B portable power packs and heads. They are expensive but you will get your money's worth.
The Pro-foto ring-flash can be attached to the portable power packs and comes with a BEAUTY DISH. Look for it as an option too. If you are shooting models you will get AMAZING images.
My .02 cents.

ROY.
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2009, 03:31 PM
morpheus1870 morpheus1870 is offline
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Re: Outdoor shooting - equipment advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
The basic idea of a portable power pack is a battery feeding a power inverter (which converts the batteries DC voltage to 110V AC) and then onto your lights.

The biggest problem is finding a power inverter that provides the best sine wave AC you can get. The cheaper units put out a wave that is more in a square pattern than a sine wave pattern. Lots of lighting equipment will look at a square wave coming at them and roll over and die.

Most people do not realize that electronic equipment contains and runs on smoke, if you let the smoke out it will no longer work!

For a battery, pick a gel cell, deep recycle. Car batteries are much cheaper, but who wants to spill battery acid all over the place and the fumes are hazardous. Don't forget you need some kind of recharger to fill the battery back up.

Remember that you are dealing with potentially life threatening things here. I watched a guy short circuit a car battery with his wedding ring which went from skin temperature to red hot in less that a second or so. He lost that finger and the one on either side of it. The wiring downstream from the inverter has to be done correctly, you are dealing with 110V which has a way of finding ground especially if you are operating outside on possibly damp earth.

A lot of folks are mounting this stuff on some kind of hand truck. They usually have large wheels that will roll fairly easily. Also the hand truck will have a light stand attached to it. Placing light stands outside and expecting them to stand up in even a light breeze is inviting problems. Weight is usually part of the answer.

Lots of things to consider here. Safety for you and your customers is first and foremost. If you do not understand what I have talked about then my best advice is to buy not try to roll your own. Good luck and be careful please!

Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail and thanks for your concern regarding my safety. I think I will avoid going down the D.I.Y (destroy it yourself) route and opt for a purpose made power pack and strobe. I have looked at Elinchrom's range which is not cheap, neither is the Alien Bees when you consider shipping to the UK and import duty costs also. Lencarta Safari is a set which looks promising and maybe the route to go. Any sugestions would be great.

thanks again
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