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Thread: photographing light bulbs

  1. #1

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    photographing light bulbs

    Hi,

    I have a project photographing light bulbs, both in settings and in groups lined up. They have different color temperatures. I haven't heard yet what the temperatures of this batch of bulbs will be, I'm guessing in the range of 2800 to 3800. Here is a sample of what I'll be photographing: www.borealislighting.com.

    Can someone recommend a film to use. I'm not sure if T-64 is what I need for this. All of these will be indoors.

    thanks,
    chris

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: photographing light bulbs

    LED's are not necessarily the same color temp as incandescent or halogen, they can be daylight balanced or pretty much anything. A color temp meter would be very helpful. Plus you cannot take the word of manufacturers about the color temp of their products. You will very likely need both daylight and tunsgten film. Holding the color in the bulb itself will be an issue if the bulb itself is the main light source, in which case you will need substantial fill light of appropriate color temp. and do some significant pull processing in addition. You will want some of the lower contrast llower saturation films. If the client only wants files I would actually shoot color negatives.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 70:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  3. #3
    Dave Karp
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    Re: photographing light bulbs

    If you can shoot negatives, maybe Fuji NPS will work. It does a pretty good job with a wide variety of light sources. Never tried it with LEDs. I got out of the lighting business just as LEDs were starting to become commercially viable for some general lighting purposes.

  4. #4

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    Re: photographing light bulbs

    The problem with consumer led's is the color temp being consistent. I made a DIY light source for a 8x10 enlarger with cheap led's and the color isn't consistent from lamp to lamp. By the looks of the lamps you'll be using, they'll be enough in a group to provide a uniform color temp at a distance. You should find out the temp before picking up film. In my line of work, we have 3200k and 5600k led's. But they are very expensive lighting units designed for motion picture use.
    vinny

  5. #5

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    Re: photographing light bulbs

    I'm curious. are you doing a commercial shoot of their bulbs - or a personal project?

    On a quick look at their website, it looks like they have a variety of color temps available. If you can select one that matches the film you want to shoot with - maybe that's one way to start.

    You may end up filtering to bring these up to specs no matter what.

    1. Shoot a test.

    2. Process and evaluate color balance.
    3. Set up a test filter to bring it closer.
    4. Shoot another test

    Repeat 2, 3, 4 till happy

    Best,

    C

  6. #6

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    Re: photographing light bulbs

    Thanks for all the responses.
    This is more of a personal project for friends. I will learn more in the weeks ahead. I'll find out if they have a color temp meter. I will probably take Kirk's advice and use color negative film.

    Again thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise in this matter.

    chris

  7. #7

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    Re: photographing light bulbs

    use B&W film, soup it in PyroCat-HD and color the bulbs in PS. That's my advice.
    *************************
    Eric Rose
    www.ericrose.com


    I don't play the piano, I don't have a beard and I listen to AC/DC in the darkroom. I have no hope as a photographer.

  8. #8
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: photographing light bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Rose View Post
    use B&W film, soup it in PyroCat-HD and color the bulbs in PS. That's my advice.
    I was thinking of something similar, but I wouldn't use Pyrocat-HD. After having tried Windisch' Extreme Compensating Pyrocatechin developer for one of these extreme-range situations, that's what I would use. The original recipe, not the "updated for modern films" one.

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: photographing light bulbs

    Include a color chart in each shot of different type of light? Might help to balance the color when printing.

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