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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-16-2003, 08:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What size heads would you rec.
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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-18-2003, 09:15 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Just to keep folks apprised, I ordered a small set to text last Thursday with a scheduled delivery for Tuesday. As soon as I have a chance to put some time on them I'll post my opinions for what they are worth.

Thanks to everyone who replied.
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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-18-2003, 09:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
What size heads would you rec.

[/ QUOTE ]

What are you shooting and with what are you shooting, film, digital/both? But as a rule, if your doing commerical work, get the most horsepower you can muster and afford. You can always turn down the output but you can't turn them up past full power...g
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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-20-2003, 08:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Which units did you order? Im thinking of buying a couple. wondering if 400 would be strong enough or the 1600 to much.
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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-21-2003, 01:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Hi:
I ordered the two 400 Digi-Bee set and ugraded the stands to HD, both of which arrived in good shape yesterday. I'm getting them for location digital work. If I was going to use them for film, then I'd probably be looking at the 800's or 1600's. I may get a chance to play with them a bit today.

Initial impressions of the lights are pretty good. Compared to my broncolor travel setup (3 lights/stands/umbrellas/powerpoack), these weigh next to nothing. The extreme duty stands are actually a bit nicer than the Broncolors I have. Nothing fancy about them but they seem servicable. But shooting will tell.
Best
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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-21-2003, 02:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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If you dont mind, keep me posted on these. Thanx tommymc
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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-23-2003, 05:48 AM   #17 (permalink)
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All righty. Yesterday I finally had a chance to to play with the lights for about an hour. My testing wasn't overly scientific but here's what I did. I took some primary pantone color cards and mounted them on a stand I shot the cards using 1/4-full power in 1/4 power increments individually with each light head. I shot digitally having balanced the camera using mid afternoon light. The Bee lit says the tubes are 5600 kelvin. I ran a few test shots to get the exposure settings close to equiv for each power setting then did the shots for record. I then used photoshop to test each shot for consistant color. I shot three shots at each power setting. I used photoshop to test color between shots and power settings.

Between shots taken with no setting changes, I could not see any difference and the tools on PS couldn't either. This was true for both light heads. There were some minor differences in power setting shots which I mainly attribute to not being able to fractionally set aperature. If I had set up using a meter and grey card I think I probably could have gotten it right on, but I used what I had on hand.

I then ran a few shots using bare reflectors and the umbreallas just to get a feel for how even the lights were. No real issues there either. Lighting was nicely consistant across the cone of coverage with both the reflectors and umbrellas which is a nice change from one of my older Broncolors which does some funky things with its coverage. The newers ones don't have that problem.

I then set up the lights in a room just to see how big of an area I could reasonably cover. The lights did an adequate job on a 20 x 15' space and that's using the 400's.

Setup and take down took me about 10 minutes each. The extreme duty stands are very good and the heads and umbrealls are light enough that the lack of air cushion isn't really an issue. I'm probably going to add a light box, 800 ws head and boom in which case I probably will get an aircushioned stand, but otherwise, it's no issue.

In shooting in rooms with a fair bit of natural light I found the modeling lamps inadequate. The Bees use a 100w household light, which is good from the economy standpoint but makes it difficult to setup the lights in well lit conditions. I'm definately going to get a couple of the 150w tungsten bulbs Bee suggests as a replacement. I think though in a light controlled environment it wouldn't be as big a problem. If I could find some of those old daylight balanced 100 or 150's we used to use when shooting interiors in the old days to balance the lighting (you younger guys are probably going huh?...g) I'd probably grab them in a second for digital work because I hate looking at a yellow screen which is what you get under incadenscent bulbs when the camera is balanced for daylight. Anyone got any leads on those puppies?

I think these lights are perfectly servicable. Yes the on off switch has a chintzy feel to them but I've worked with enough switches to know that you don't need a hard click to equal quality in fact the Brons have that and you can end up moving the head turning them on. Power slider seems accurate enough for government work, so all in all a whole lot of bang for the bucks.

Hopefully I'm going to be doing some testing with a model next week, so I'll run some control shots and post them.

Best
RW

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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-24-2003, 10:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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If you found the 400's Ok, why are you going with the 800 with the softbox ?
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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-25-2003, 06:27 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Why an 800? Mainly because it gives a bit more lattitude on placement and would increase the verstiility when using film where I may not have the option of cranking up the speed. Also 90% of my studio work is with "things", not people and 90% of my people shooting is on location. There are a few exceptions like heavy earth moving equipment which are shot on site oh and airplanes...g But that's generally the way it works out. I do a fair bit of executive shoots for annual reports where I might walk into a board room and have to shoot the entire BOD sitting at some huge conference table. Having a bit of power helps a lot.
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Re: Alien Bee Opinions Wanted
Old 10-25-2003, 01:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The reason I asked is I'm thinking about buying the dig pack and do I really need to upgrade to the 800's or 1600's. thanx tommymc
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