Magazine article American Cinematographer

Lights, Apples & Oranges - Part II

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Lights, Apples & Oranges - Part II

Article excerpt

In the last issue of Update, we discussed how comparing conventional lights to strobes is the equivalent of the apples-to-oranges game. When you use conventional lighting, you need to compensate one stop of lighting every time the camera speed doubles. With strobe lights, NO compensation is necessary.

Each pulse of a Unilux strobe is 1/100,000th of a second long. That's true whether the control console is set to maximum power or minimum power. It's also true when one, two or more light heads are being run from the same console. And, most importantly, regardless of camera speed, the duration of the pulse is always the same. Remember, if strobes are the only source of light, all of the exposure is delivered to the frame of film in 1/100,000th of a second.

Now, let's discuss how these short pulses of light relate to the camera. The strobes are connected to the camera by a cable that transmits shutter pulse information and tells the strobes when the camera shutter is fully open.

When the camera is running at 24 fps with a 180 deeree shutter, the exposure time is 1/48th of a second long. The duration of the strobe pulse is much shorter than the exposure time offered by the camera shutter. …

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