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Thread: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

  1. #1

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    Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    I have a 3081 baby and will soon have two 407 spots. What I want to do is replace the in line switch with a dimmer so I will have more control.

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    If they're at 1000w or less, you can buy dimmers at Home depot. Doing this with change the lights color temp. It might be better to use metal scrims.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    Why not just plug the light into a dimmer? I bought a couple of new ones from someone on ebay, up to 1000 watts and they work great. I can also use them on any under 1000w light since they just plug in. There is a color temp shift, not a concern if you're shooting B&W, but even when shooting color it may not be a big deal, I find a warmer fill light on a face can be pleasing, so it's worth experimenting. Scrims/nets don't change the color as Peter points out; but a dimmer is very convenient.

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    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    I agree with Bruce. Don't hack the cord. Make or buy a dimmer that can be plugged into.

    If you have older lights, they may have asbestos shielding in them. I have one that did.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

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    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Conway View Post
    I have a 3081 baby and will soon have two 407 spots. What I want to do is replace the in line switch with a dimmer so I will have more control.
    As Peter said, using dimmers lowers the color temperature. This is clearly visible in color work, but is also visible in B&W (makes blues lighter and reds darker IIRC). So does a dimmer really give you more control? Hmmm....

    One and two stop metal scrims OTOH drop light output without changing the color temperature of the light. You can also use lower wattage bulbs in fresnels to drop the light output. And of course you can back the lights away from the subject (inverse square law). Another technique is to use C-47s to pin ND gels to the barn doors. All of these controls maintain the hard light characteristics of the fresnels, and their color temperature, and are the main controls used on film sets. If you are willing to soften the light you can push the light through a diffusion screen (1/4 stop silks through multiple stops of net, many different materials) and get any number of stops of reduction, but the more you reduce, the more you soften.

    With all those controls available I've never wanted or needed a dimmer. Just sayin'.

    Bruce Watson

  6. #6

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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    I found a great plug in dimmer with six foot cord that is perfect for my needs. But also, as Bruce suggested, I will make use of scrims and gels on the barn doors. Although most of the studio work I plan on doing will be black and white, some color will be done as well, and scrims will be very useful.

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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    Every tungsten unit on every studio show and movie production is on a dimmer. Yes it changes the color but not much in small dimming increments, you guys have mentioned this in John's previous threads. As I said in your other thread, the 1000w dimmers from home depot won't last, at least get 2kw models and DO NOT wire them into the fixture. Spend the money on better dimmers like the one's cinelease sells an don't worry about color temp in your b+w work. You should have scrims for all your lights anyway. You could also buy cuts of ND and slap that on the doors but it eventually will need to be replaced (heat) especially if the lights are set at full spot.

  8. #8

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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    Thanks Vinny. While I am on the dimmer topic, I am curious if I can use the dimmer with my fluorescent soft boxes?

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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    no likely. There are dimmable cfl's but I've never tried them. There are dimmers sold as cfl compatible but haven't used those either. If not, I'd get sheets of nd and put velcro on the corners to make switching them out faster.

  10. #10
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Dimmers on Mole Richardson 407 and 3081 Baby?

    My 1000w dimmers from HD have been working fine for 10 years, but I don't use them all that much. So, if this is something that you'll use a lot, and you know that you'll use dimmers, then by all means get pro stuff. If it's just something that you want to try, getting something like and HD dimmer might make sense. Personally, I prefer metal scrims, changing bulb wattage, or moving the light to change output.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

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