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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

White Lightning Basketball Setup
Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 7:31 PM on 06.18.07
->> I just purchased 2 White Lightning 1600's for some basketball and volleyball work...I should state that this is my first foray into the strobe realm...

I have read many of the threads regarding strobes, but still have a few questions regarding the initial setup.

1) What is the best way to start off with the settings? Full Power?

2) Is there a good starting point for camera settings as a baseline? 1/250 ... f4 ... ISO 200

What I'm trying to do is get a starting point...I know there is alot of trial and error here depending on where you are. I will mostly be doing HS gyms and a few D3 gyms.

Thanks in advance for the help...the threads have been great...
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Jarrett Baker, Student/Intern
Gainesville | FL | | Posted: 8:08 PM on 06.18.07
->> Use as fast of a shutter speed as your camera sync will allow. For many digital cameras, that's 1/250. Depending on the gym, light placement, strobe power, etc., aperture will be anywhere from f/2.8 to f/8 or maybe even higher.

I shoot with AlienBee 800s, always at full power. Since the WL1600s are stronger lights, you may be able to shoot at 1/2 or 1/4 and get equivalent results. Either way, recycle times are pretty much negligable between full and 1/2 power - allow about a second or so.

I think the key is placement of the lights. Many times I can't get them as high as I would like, which leaves the stands fairly well-lit.
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Ron Manfredi, Photographer
Merrick | NY | | Posted: 8:12 PM on 06.18.07
->> Kent,
Where will you be placing the strobes? I find that for high schools I am able to use my Lumedynes at the 100 Watt-Second setting on 13' stands near the base line, aimed toward the center of the court, around the 3 point arc area. This seems to work for both basket ball and volleyball for me. I have been shooting at ISO 500, f/2.8-4 at 1/250 with a IDIIN. With the Lumedynes, as you increas the power, the flash duration lengthens, so I am a bit limited with my set-up, but it has been working ok for the past year. Numbers 5 and 6 on my member page were done this way.
I am sure you will get some more good info, but since we have put "no chimping day" behind us for another year, do some experimenting!

Ron
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Jason Watson, Photographer
Charlottesville | VA | USA | Posted: 8:13 PM on 06.18.07
->> I have 4 White Lightning x1600's set up at my local arena --one on each corner, mounted in the catwalk. They work fine for what I need -- 1/250, 400iso, f/5.6
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 8:13 PM on 06.18.07
->> The lower the power settings the faster the flash tube fires so you'll get less ghosting, and the faster the power packs will come back to full power.

Your shutter speed is determined by the ambient light levels in the gym in which you are working. The brighter it is, the higher your shutter speed should be.

Strobe placement is also important. This takes practice if you are working in multiple gyms. Each location will have its own problems to overcome.

Mostly have fun by experimenting.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 8:14 PM on 06.18.07
->> Jarrett...
What kinda ISO you getting with that setup...?
Would tend to agree that I might be able to go 1/2 or 1/4 power...

In terms of placement...I also got the 13foot stand for them in case I can't clamp them somewhere.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 8:17 PM on 06.18.07
->> Ron...
In most gyms I think I will be stuck with putting them on 13foot stands in the corners...and aiming them at the key...I know there are diff. schools of thought...some like to bounce and some like to fire right at the key....
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 8:19 PM on 06.18.07
->> Cool Jason...appreciate the settings....

Sounds like some experimenting is in order...:)
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 8:21 PM on 06.18.07
->> Walter...
Understood...Higher shutter speed...If I sync at 1/250...I can't go any higher than this...Right?
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Kevin Sperl, Photographer
Meredith | nh | USA | Posted: 8:48 PM on 06.18.07
->> Kent,
What I do is set an exposure that yields a dark frame without the lights on. Lowest ISO possible, shutter at highest sync, so all thats left is to mess with the aperture. I tend to like around f/4.0, so I basically dial the ISO down until I get a dark frame. Then I turn on the lights and adjust the power to get a good exposure.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 8:54 PM on 06.18.07
->> What do you usually finally get the ISO to? 200/400?
Great idea here...will give it a try....
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Curtis Clegg, Photographer
Belvidere | IL | USA | Posted: 9:04 PM on 06.18.07
->> Kent (and others), are you using the new White Lightniing / Alien Bees wireless remotes for your lights? The price seems right... about $120 for a two-light setup, or about 1/4 the cost of a PW system (one transmitter, two receiveres). The WL/AB remotes use pass-through AC power so no batteries to worry about on the receivers.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 9:07 PM on 06.18.07
->> Curtis...I ordered Pocket Wizards for this setup....
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Jarrett Baker, Student/Intern
Gainesville | FL | | Posted: 9:12 PM on 06.18.07
->> Walter's post reminds me how much I don't understand about watt seconds ... speaking of which, I never finished the electricity merit badge...

I aim for ISO 200, but sometimes I shoot at 400. As for mounting the lights, I superclamp/safety cable them to hand rails, rafters, conduits or the like whenever I can. I'll use a stand as a last resort. If you clamp the light to the rail or conduit, drop your power cord over the side so fans can't easily unplug them.

And yes, if your sync speed is 1/250, anything faster will result in banding at one edge of the frame. (Each 1/3 stop increase in shutter speed means a larger part of the frame will be black.)

When I was interning in St. Louis a few months ago, I lit 10-15 gyms. I never lit the same gym twice. I've got a long way to go before I could be a lighting tech, but experimenting and trying new things each time taught me a lot.

The best advice I can give you for HS gym lighting is to have a set/strike system that works for you. I learned from SS'er Mike Weimar a few years back to stowe my gear the same way every time.

I went to Target, but a large suitcase for $40 and an egg crate for $10. I had a piece of 1/4" wood lying around that was the perfect size. I put the wood in the bottom of the suitcase and stapled a layer of foam to it. Then I traced out four square holes for lights and two round holes for grids, sync cables and hoods. I cut two layers of foam from this pattern and placed them on top of the solid layer of foam. My lights fit perfectly. It's a lot cheaper than a manufactured light case, and works just as well for me.

The reason I say you should standarize your set/strike procedure is so that you don't loose anything and can enter and exit quickly.

Occasionally I'm late to a game, and I almost always have to leave at halftime, so speed is key. If I know I should have two lights, two power cords, two superclamps, etc., and can easily see they are there, I'm out the door in 10-15 minutes.
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Jarrett Baker, Student/Intern
Gainesville | FL | | Posted: 9:16 PM on 06.18.07
->> Curtis, I'd stick with Pocket Wizards for several reasons. One, they can be used to trigger lights or cameras. Two, if you move to a new paper that already has PW units, your functionality has doubled. Say you want to set up a glass remote, but personally don't have the extra Wizard. Use the paper's and the problem is solved.

I've never used the Paul C. Buff triggers, but I'm sure they work for their intended purpose.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 9:23 PM on 06.18.07
->> Agreed on the case Curtis...Pelican cases are a tad expensive...
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Samuel Lewis, Photographer
Miami | FL | USA | Posted: 10:33 PM on 06.18.07
->> Kent,

Answers to your questions:

1) What is the best way to start off with the settings? Full Power?

My understanding is that with the WL's, you want to shoot full power. As you drop the power, the effective flash duration gets longer. You should think of the effective flash duration as you would shutter speed. Thus, longer means a lower speed. Putting this into real terms, I believe the 1600 units you have start with an effective flash duration of 1/1600. If you drop the power (staying above 1/4 power; my guess is that at 1/4 power, they've bypassed some of the capacitors resulting in a shorter effective flash duration), you drop the effective flash duration below 1/1000. If you end up with an effective flash duration that is too long--with the speedo units, you can very easily end up with an effective duration of 1/200--you will see motion blur in the images.

If you're setting up in a typical arena, you'll want to mount the lights in the catwalk or highest floor possible, and then start with full-power settings.

2) Is there a good starting point for camera settings as a baseline? 1/250 ... f4 ... ISO 200

The camera should be set to its highest flash sync (1/250 or 1/500 if you're using the older CCD-based cameras). As for the rest of the settings, you should get your hands on a meter capable of taking flash readings (whether a dedicated flash meter or something simple like the Minolta Autometer). If you're lighting half the court with the two lights, I wouldn't be surprised if you end up with an exposure of something like f/4 at ISO 200, and it could even be higher depending upon the distance between the lights and the floor, and the type of reflector that you are using. A meter is essential, not only for trying to assess the exposure, but also for testing whether you've lighted the floor evenly.

Now a few suggestions...

Try not to overshoot the white lightnings. The units can only dissipate so much heat over a given period of time, and if you don't give the units the ability to cool down, you risk burning out components or worse. You don't want to fire the units more than necessary, and when you fire the units, you want to give them sufficient time to recharge before shooting them again.

You want the differential between the exposure with the strobes and the ambient exposure to be as large as possible in an effort to avoid ghosting.

You will likely find that shooting volleyball is MUCH harder than basketball. The motions in volleyball tend to be much more erratic, much less predictable, and more violent. The result is that you may find yourself getting motion blur, even with an effective flash duration of 1/1600 (particularly spiking shots).

With two lights, you're probably not going to be able to light more than half the court effectively; while that's not a problem with basketball--you could easily confine your shooting to one half of the court--it is something more of a problem with volleyball. If I were lighting half a volleyball court with one set of lights, I would probably position the lights somewhere up-court, perhaps as close to the net as the middle of the opposite court. At that point, you can still shoot the players at the net.

The net also presents something of an issue, but there's really nothing you can do about it. You'll likely find that the net throws a nasty shadow with only two lights, and there's really no way to avoid it without adjusting the lights in such a way that you end up side-lighting the players.

The other issue with volleyball is that the players often look up during play, and thus, may end up looking into the lights as the flash goes off. As a result, you may get complaints about the lights and the officials may even require you to stop using them altogether if there are enough complaints. Depending upon the distance to the court, you might consider getting wider reflectors, which don't concentrate the light the way that the standard reflectors would.

Hope this helps...
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 10:52 PM on 06.18.07
->> Samuel:
Excellent comments...I will look into getting a meter...I know a little abt. volleyball...the game that is...and would agree that it does present some challenges.

Would bouncing the light help in the volleyball situation...?
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James Lathrop, Photographer
rochester | ny | usa | Posted: 11:03 PM on 06.18.07
->> K KENT, HERES THE REAL DEAL ON THOSE WHITE LIGHTNINGS. DONT SET THEM UP ON ANY LIGHT STANDS. THE MAY GET RUN INTO AND BLOW YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY , NEVER MIND THE FACT THAT THEYRE SHOOTING OFF RIGHT IN THE KIDS FACES. IF YOURE USING THEM IN A GYM, USE THEM UP IN A CORNER FAR AWAY FROM THE KIDS OR IN A CATWALK SETTING. SET YOUR LIGHTS AT A 45 DEGREE ANGLE TO BOTH SIDES OF THE BASKET, OR ONE LIGHT AT EACH END OF THE BASKET IF YOU WANT TO SHOOT BOTH ENDS. I HAVE SIX OF THEM SET UP FOR BASKETBALL, SO I CAN SET THEM UP AT EACH END AND TWO IN THE MIDDLE FOR FULL COVERAGE. POCKET WIZARDS ARE DEFINITELY THE WAY TO GO ,BUT UNLESS YOUVE HARDWIRED THE UNITS TOGETHER, YOULL NEED A REMOTE TRANSCEIVER ON EACH INDIVIDUAL UNIT AND THE OTHER TRANSCEIVER ON YOUR CAMERA. THATS THREE POCKET WIZARDS AT 180 EACH .SHUTTER SPEED HAS TO BE 1/250 NO MATTER WHAT . SET YOUR STROBE ON HALF POWER , YOU DONT NEED MORE, AND SET YOUR ASA AT AROUND 320 OR 400, WITH DIGITAL YOU DONT NEED LESS, IT JUST DOESNT MAKE ANY DIFF TILL YOURE MAKING 4O INCH PRINTS. YOU CAN ALSO SHOOT MORE IMAGES QUICKER AS YOU DONT HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE STROBE CAPACITOR TO LOAD UP TO FULL POWER. TAKE A FEW SHOTS AND SET YOUR APERTURE APPROPRIATELY. THATS ALL THERE IS TO IT. USE THE 11 INCH REFLECTOR NOT THE ONE THAT COMES WITH THE UNITS.BETTER LIGHT SPREAD AND MORE COVERAGE. HOPE THAT HELPS. YOU CAN SEE SOME OF THE BASKETBALL SHOTS ON MY PAGE AND SEE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE. REMEMBER ALSO YOU MAY BLOW THE GUYS SHOT NEXT TO YOU BECAUSE OF THE STROBE. THEY DONT ALL APPRECIATE IT. hope that helps. james
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Andy Bronson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Roseburg | OR | USA | Posted: 12:38 AM on 06.19.07
->> Kent
Yeah, bouncing off the ceiling helps a lot in nearly all these situations depending on the height of the ceiling. And beware of the color of the ceiling.. we have one gym with an orange roof, so we can't use the AB/WL there. I shoot in 11 diffrent high schools bouncing off the ceiling for each place. Sometimes I cross court light and on others I use two on one end. When ya got two lights it does mean you're asking yourself what's more important that night. Action? benches? mid court? etc.. I don't worry about overusing the WL/AB at full power. Why? I just bought a new one ( I still have the other one and it's running fine) after nearly ten years of use and abuse.. If they didn't take full power use constantly I would not have bought an new one. All these suggestions are great. Just try out the different ways of using the srobes. And I think NOT using light stands is the ONLY way to go. Get some super clamps and mount the strobes high as you can.
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Jenny Cecil, Photographer
Pensacola | FL | USA | Posted: 2:01 AM on 06.19.07
->> Kent, a few tips. Get ahold of a D1X if you can. I honestly don't think it ever syncs out... I've used it with my WLs at shutter speed 800. Someday I will push it as far as it will go unless anyone else knows when it does sync out? Also, check out this link from fellow SS Thomas Witte

http://www.gophotography.net/tips/biglighting.html

One last thing, some recommend using clamps not light stands. Of all 22 high schools my paper covers, only one has a cat walk so clamps are pretty much out of the question. I use the stands, but don't open the feet all the way so they cover more ground and are less likely to tip over if they are hit. I always place them in the corner and drag a trash can in front of them or a chair, wet floor sign, basketball rack, random orange cone from the street whatever it takes. If that doesn't work weigh them down with sandbags. I just bought two cinder blocks the other day (for windy beach set ups) and trust me, the sandbags are much easier to use! I agree with the 45 degree angle and bounce them off the ceiling. Less than half power allows them to recycle faster. Goodluck!
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 6:53 AM on 06.19.07
->> Jenny....
I would def. agree with the stands concept...Of all the gyms I have seen here, you need stands....

Seems some like to fire them right at the court and others like to bounce....

and, some like full power and some go half power.
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Samuel Lewis, Photographer
Miami | FL | USA | Posted: 7:08 AM on 06.19.07
->> The answer to the bouncing question depends upon what the roof is like; if it is not suitable for bouncing (as where I shoot), then bouncing is really not an option. The other option is to bounce against the wall depending upon how far the wall is from the edge of the court, and depending upon if the color of the wall is suitable for bouncing. Given that you're only working with two heads, I'd try to avoid bouncing at all.

I agree with those suggestion that you avoid light stands. We did that originally with very heavy light stands in a gym where there was no other option, and even that caused problems with stability. If there's any way possible, you want to clamp the lights to a railing or the catwalk.

Get what information you can about the effective flash duration of the units you have, particularly as the power is reduced. I suspect you'll find that anything less than full power (unless you're cutting to 1/4 power, at which point I can't imagine that the lights are going to do you any good as there will not be a sufficient differential between the lights and ambient) is not going to be adequate for stopping action.

For volleyball, we found that using the wide reflectors was sufficient to avoid any further complaints about the lights (in an arena where the lights are mounted to the third-floor railing).
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Stephen Brashear, Photographer
Billings | MT | USA | Posted: 10:24 AM on 06.19.07
->> I have bounced WL/AB off of colored ceilings, including red ceilings. The red will suck up quite a bit of light it's still usable. If the ceiling is colored, set up a custom white balance and if you shoot raw you can tweak your white balance to compensate for the color cast. But as has been mentioned before make sure very little if any ambient light makes it into the exposure otherwise you may have some wacky colors in certain areas of the images. I think that read in a sportsshooter.com thread that the ambient exposure should be at least 4 stops below the flash exposure; that the digital sensor is more sensitive to ghosting than film is. Perhaps someone out there has some different information.

On a slightly different subject, when hanging lights you don't always need a catwalk. I've hung lights of mezzanine railings and practice hoops. Hanging them from the hoops may require a ladder (sometimes you can reach them when the bleachers are out). If you use ladder you may need the luxury of time. Getter their early and staying at least until half time or the end of the game and depending on the mercy of a the school administrator.

Also, whether you use light stands or super clamps, try to use safety cables.
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Jonathan Castner, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 10:29 AM on 06.19.07
->> I suggest that you get ahold of 4 Bogen Super Clamp's with strobe mounting studs on them. A lot of gyms have bleachers or railings that you can mount the strobes onto that is much safer than stands. Also buy a lot of extension power cords. I find that some gyms only have power in strange places and you will sometimes need at least 25 feet of extension past the 15 foot WL power cable. Also have lots of bright "Hey dummy watch yer stupid feet" gaff tape to keep all your cables tucked away. You should also have the "sports reflectors" to maximize your strobes output.

Oh and yes you want your WL's to be at full output like everyone else said.
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Mike Carlson, Photographer
Bayonet Point | FL | USA | Posted: 11:26 AM on 06.19.07
->> An additional thought, but one that takes a bit more time...I actually combine the bleachers and the stands in some of the gyms I use. Take my stands up and zip tie them to the handrailings. This, plus a bit of tape to stop rotation, allows me to extend the lights even higher than any other combination, save the catwalk. It also gets the lights away from curious spectators and minimizes as much as possible the light in BB players eyes. As for volleyball, used the same set up for many NCAA DII games without a complaint from either team.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 1:02 PM on 06.19.07
->> What adaptor are most of you using to attach the WL to the superclamp? Model number if avail....thx.
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Jonathan Castner, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 1:17 PM on 06.19.07
->> Kent there is a standard stud, #2908, that usually comes with the Super Clamp that is what you want.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 1:20 PM on 06.19.07
->> Thanks Jonathan....
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Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 2:35 PM on 06.19.07
->> The White Lightning remotes are a great way to adjust flash power without having to be at the light you want to adjust, and they do a terrific job of triggering the lights to fire. No problems there.

HOWEVER, the instruction manual for these remotes will tell you that you should expect the lights to sync at 1/2 the rated sync speed of your camera. Thus, 1/250 becomes 1/125 and 1/200 becomes 1/100. This is just fine for weddings and portraits, but not so good if you want to make use of your full sync speed.

One of the techs at White Lightning told me that there are shooters who use the White Lightning radio remotes (these connect via the telephone cable input) to adjust modeling lamp and flash power for each light but use a Pocket Wizard plugged into the sync input to do the actual triggering. $500 (cost of transmitter and four receivers)for the ability to adjust four lights without moving from your shooting location could be a major bonus in some situations.

These guys are tremendously helpful, and it impressed me that they acknowleged the limitations of the product that they produce and took the time to recommend a solution manufactured by someone else.
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Greg Ferguson, Photographer
Scottsdale | Az | USA | Posted: 5:13 PM on 06.19.07
->> "->> Agreed on the case Curtis...Pelican cases are a tad expensive..."

And worth the cost if your heads have to travel a lot. I carry six X1600 heads in mine with a bit of room to spare, and could probably double it with some different density foams. It's also water and dust proof and strong enough to stand on. My wife has used it or my Pelican camera case, for a shooting platform a couple times.

"I think that read in a sportsshooter.com thread that the ambient exposure should be at least 4 stops below the flash exposure; that the digital sensor is more sensitive to ghosting than film is."

3.5 to 4 minimum for CCD sensors. 4.5 to 5 for CMOS. CMOS has a bit more sensitivity/latitude than CCD so they're similar to transparency vs. print films. You can get away with less delta between ambient and strobe output if your subject isn't moving quickly or there are no light tones in the frame. If it's a light-toned subject moving quickly then you might need to pump up the light. That's why hands and shoe laces exhibit ghosting.

Also remember you can gain 1.5 stops of light using the sports reflectors instead of the standard wide-angle reflectors. That 1.5 stops can be the difference between being underpowered for a room or just right, or being able to shoot at 1/4 power and 1/6400 flash duration and .5 second recycle time, or 1/2 power with slower duration and longer recycle times.

Balcar makes facetted sports reflectors that fit WL reflector mounts. Those should add even more light output. It's a lot cheaper to add a better reflector than to buy a higher-powered head if you need an additional stop.

http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/BF20625/
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 8:13 PM on 06.19.07
->> Greg...
Looking hard at the Pelican cases...I think I might just get one...

After talking with the WL people...I got the 11 inch reflectors which they suggested...

So far, I have found that the WL people have been great to deal with.
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Patti Banks, Photographer
morris plains | nj | usa | Posted: 10:39 PM on 06.19.07
->> hey kent -
Just wanted to reiterate what two others said - safety cable your lights!! While your liability insurance may cover a loss, well, you know what I mean...
I use the Impact cases from B&H for my WH's and Alien Bees with good results.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 7:00 AM on 06.20.07
->> Hey Patti...
Gotcha on the safety cables....and I'll take a look at the Impacts on B&H.
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Matawan | NJ | United States | Posted: 7:25 AM on 06.20.07
->> Kent,
I use a pelican 1610. It holds 4 w/l heads and all my radios. It also works as a step up, a seat and a few other things. I opted to spend the extra money on the pelican because I ship my lights at times and I really do need to have them arrive ready to work. Bouncing vs straight in? It all depends on the building and the situation. My own personal preference is to bounce if the gym is small, if the ceiling is white and if there are not a lot of rafters up there. The light coverage is more even that way,especially if you only have two heads. The draw back is more chance of ghosting. Like everything else in live, you just have to weigh the tradeoff in each situation. Oh, the pelican 1610, it has its own wheels and at my age that is important too.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 9:10 AM on 06.20.07
->> Gene...
I see what you mean about analyzing each situation...and certainly see the advantage of a Pelican on wheels.
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Andrew Sullivan, Photo Editor, Photographer
Kissimmee | FL | USA | Posted: 11:37 AM on 06.20.07
->> All this discussion about flash duration actually made me do some research (scary thought!). With the 1600's, according to Paul C. Buff's site http://white-lightning.com/specs.html , the duration goes from 1/1600th at full power to 1/6400th at 1/4. Whether that is enough juice to light a gym is another question, but at least one debate can be laid to rest.

Also, one poster recommended allowing adequate time to dissipate heat between firings... the units do have an alarm, but in a gym you might not hear 'em. Good advice though.


Andrew Sullivan
www.picandrew.com
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Greg Ferguson, Photographer
Scottsdale | Az | USA | Posted: 4:29 PM on 06.20.07
->> With the fan-forced air cooling in the WL heads I don't worry too much about heat. The fans have variable speed based on the temp so as a head gets warmer the fan speeds up.

I use my heads outdoors at rodeo arenas. Once they're set up they stay outside, in the sun, during our summer days, until our evening performances. Anyone who's shot outdoors in Arizona summers at night knows the temp. can stay well over 100 past sundown, so my heads will be sucking in hot air after being very sun-baked. The fans wind up pretty high at first, but drop quickly when they cool the canisters back down to ambient temperatures.

If you're shooting as soon as the head has recycled you should be OK, but if you're really concerned about it, call the company and talk to their tech. support. It's better to get the definitive answer straight from them.
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Kent Manno, Photographer
Budd Lake | NJ | USA | Posted: 8:43 PM on 06.21.07
->> Thanks for all the info everyone....Kent
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Thom Kendall, Photographer, Assistant
Sunderland | MA | USA | Posted: 9:08 PM on 06.21.07
->> Kent,

To really squeeze out the maximum output from WL monoblocs, have the interiors of the 11" sports reflectors polished to a high bright surface, similar to the Speedotron 16" sports reflector. I had four of them polished by a company in my area that restores antique auto parts.

I haven't done any quantitative analysis, but I'm sure you would get at least another .5 stops out of them, maybe as much as a stop.

Thom
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Andy Jonelis, Photographer
White Plains | MD | USA | Posted: 9:50 AM on 02.04.08
->> I absolutly hate hard direct flash and almost never use it aimed AT (in the face of) the athletes unless I have no choice. None of the gym's I shoot have a cat walk system and are too high for me to mount strobes up near the ceiling. So I am restricted to using my WL 1600s atop a pair of 18' very heavy duty stands.

School #1 has a white ceiling with an approx hight of about 28'. I place my stand at about a 45 to the top of the key but aim the flashes at center court. I have found that this give me the most even side to side lighting. The strobes are set to just under 3/4 power. At ISO 800 I am able to shoot f/4.5-5.0 for near court shots and 3.2 for the far end. The stand and lights are secured in place using safety straps/cables and I use the schools safety matts in front of the stand for added protection.

School #2, the ceiling is white for the most part and about 50-60' high. No cat walk and no way to mount the lights on a game-by-game basis. But thee is a balcony behind the basket on one end with a white ceiling about 20' above the court. I place my lights on 6' stands and bounce the light off the ceiling onto the court. Net result is about the same as for school #1, but I ends up with a few minor hot spots at the near end.

The 3rd school I shoot at is an NCAA DIV-II school. Very old with OK lighting. But the school has a dark brown wood stained ceiling. However, one end of the court as a small section of white wall on both sides. I set my lights up high and to the sides abot even with the backboard and bounce the lights off the wall at the end of the court. Both units have 7" reflectors and are set to abou 2/3 power. Gives me even light with no noticable hot spots.

This should illustrate what others have said. Each location will probably require a different set-up. But you should try to look at the entire arena and come up with your best lighting solution. Just keep safety to the max and distration to the players to a min.
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Thread Title: White Lightning Basketball Setup
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