Photography Topics
Video Topics
Beginner Mode
Show Pro Topics

πŸ’‘πŸŽ¬ Advanced Cine Lighting

Watch out for flicker, especially at high speeds. There’s a reason high speed cameras like the Phantoms have tungsten-balanced sensors. They’re used to working with flicker free light sources, inefficient as those may be.




What most productions don’t realize that common 240V wall receptacles, like the dryer outlet in this loft (or AC unit plug), can power HMIs as large as 4kw. Use a transformer to get 60A/120V (3 times the norm!).

Mole 20k now comes in LED for more than a Sony BVM. 3000 watt draw (28 amps), so you’d need two circuits for a standard household 15 amps per circuit. About a 9k HMI equivalent.

The cinematography really lets you customize your diffusion. Full, half and quarter grid, soft frost, hilite, bleached and unbleached muslin, black, poly and china silks, opal, the list is really extensive. There are definitely diminishing returns to memorizing all these at a certain point, unless you’re going to be working with a full-on film crew. If you want to know them to feel like a real film school graduate, remember half-grid is the most popular, as well as Β½ soft frost. Both of these are available in 6’x6′ and larger. Remember the size of the light source relative to the subject thing? Opal 216 is another extremely popular choice, but usually for covering smaller areas. 


Mole or Arri tungsten lights (generally the fresnels but can be open face) referenced as:

(Quartz halogen versions are all termed “Baby”+the name below)

1k = baby

2k = junior

2k open face = mighty mole

5k = Senior

10k = Tener

Redhead = type of open face fixture

“Zip” lights or “Softlites” are flat, bowl shaped lights which bounce their light off a built in white reflector 

to give a broad, soft source.

Fresnel = most popular type of lens for an average throw of collimated, β€œclean” light which can be used without diffusion and easily flagged. These can help simulate sunlight whose rays are very parallel since the light source is so far away. Studio shot green screen can be given away by non-parallel shadows.

PAR = (Parabolic Aluminum Reflector) is basically a car headlight. It’s a sealed beam (non-focusing) long throw light with a ‘dirty’ light pattern but lots of punch.

Open-face = worse than the above two for quality and shadow uniformity, but highest output as it’s just a bare globe with a reflector behind it.

Anything short of a 4k HMI Par will require that you put ND Gel on the windows for matching interior and exterior levels.




GLOVES – don’t forget them; lights get hot. Our lighting kit should have them.

The ‘traditional’ tools:

1k tungsten

HMI 1200 W

4.5 stops brighter than a 1k

Joker 800

5 stops brighter than a 1k

Sky Panel S60-C@ 8ft was very close to a 1k

300D is pretty close to a 1k

120D was about 1.6 stops under a flooded 1k

Mole Richardson Junior 200W 8” was about a 1K 

Mole Richardson Junior 400W 10” was about a 2k

Mole 20k now exists (NAB 2019)

Scroll to Top