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Old 02-14-2013, 08:27 PM
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Default soft boxes

Ok so I am looking to add a softbox to my kit for the front end of a tota light that I have had sitting around for the longest time. The problem is I am on the fence as to appropriate size. My initial thinking is that the xs is too small for a 700-1k tota which leaves me with either a medium or small box. So I thought I would throw this out to others, which one and why. Or better yet who is using a box on the front of a tota and what do you use.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:03 PM
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Sticks,

First congrats on wanting to up your game with better lighting. I think once you do it you will be glad you did, and kicking yourself for not doing it sooner.

If you are looking at Chimera brand, the its good to remember that they were originally made for still photographers. The small is actually pretty big, and plenty big enough for any single person interview. The medium is HUGE. I have two XS and 1 small that I use with a variety of lights, including tungnsten fresnels from 300w to 1000w, 400 w HMI,s and omnis. I just never bought the ring for my tota, but it would be a great light for a softbox.

The Small will give you a softer light, but the XS will be easier to work with in tighter spaces. Either will work well for most interviews. I highly recommend the Pro series as they have an additional removable baffle internal that can make the light a little more diffuse which can be helpful in some situations.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:34 PM
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Thats good to hear. I always have issues equating the labeled size on soft-boxes to their actual size so I really appreciate the feedback.

In my case it is largely about wanting to utilize a light that often sits in the side of my bag and I actually think is a great little light other than being non foc
usable. I will also be adding some led units to my kit this year but I am trying to bring the level of my light kit up another notch or two as my sound and grip kits are about where I want them for now. After that I drop a wad of cash on a new vehicle and camera and I will hopefully be good to go for some time to come.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:52 PM
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Before I started using Kino's for most of my lighting, I used Omni's in a Chimera for my key and hair. Almost all XS. The biggest I have is a small for my 800 HMI and it's BIG. Assembled it's probably as big as the flight case for the Bron Kobold. Like Joel said, don't be fooled by their size labeling system. And I also second the Video Pro+ line, they have three different front screens(1/4, 1/2 and full stop) plus the internal baffle(I believe it's a full stop). I also recommend some of the soft egg crate grids. They really help when you're trying to control the light from spilling everywhere you don't want it.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:45 AM
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Largest key light I used in studio was 12' X 12'. Routinely used 6' X 6' or 4' X 4' in smaller spaces. Often folded a 12' X 12' silk in half for a 12' X 6' key light with several 2ks filling it.

When Chimera boxes came out I bought a 3' X 4' that was my main interview key light for location interior work.

Bigger is often better, but of course it all depends on the look you are going for. I've also used fresnels hard, no diffusion, for certain types of looks and they worked great, for that show.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:32 AM
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For a 1K Tota, a Chimera "small" will give you a nice big light source. As others have noted, a small is actually a huge.

It works great for interviews, but is very hard to hide if you use it indoors, like for lighting a living room. In my kit, I have two chimera XSmalls, and one Small. All of them have the fabric grids, which are an absolute must. It's amazing how much light a soft box will spray around a room...and how much a grid will keep the light centered on the subject, and leave you lots of options for background light effects.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:39 PM
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which actually brings me to the other side of this question. Which fabric grid to or grids to get. If I recall there are a number of options some of which are more useful for our type of work than others.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:09 PM
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I picked up some off brand softboxes to use with my Totas. At the time, I went with 24 x 24. They have a baffle. I went with the Chimera rings since they come with a better mount. The ring is used to mount the light in it, then the right is mounted to stand.

The soft egg crate grids is really needed to aim the light. Without it, the light spills all over the place. A few flags would help spill.

40 degrees since the best angle to get. Don't know if Lowel's site still has it, but you could test different grids on the Rifa light. Neat little piece of software. 40 degrees did the best job.

To make sure that the off band boxes could handle the heat, I used a 1k bulb, and let the light run for an hour. No fire. Fabic was clean.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:37 AM
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The 40's seem to be the most useful grids. They seem to be the right balance between good control and still leaving you with a good soft light source. The tighter/smaller the grid, the more light you will lose.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:06 PM
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I started off with one XS. Now I have two Smalls, and the one XS. I like the 40 degree Lighttools grids too.

I want to start using LEDs though. I'm waiting to see what's announced at NAB. I'm hoping Litepanels will come out wit a bicolor without DMX control, and thus cheaper.
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