Fluorescent Lighting

When most people hear the words 'fluorescent lighting,' they immediately respond with 'you can't shoot under fluorescent lighting without the video having a green tint to it.' They will then proceed to tell you about how you can't use fluorescent lights because you will get buzzing and/or flickering from the lights.

Unfortunately, most people are only familiar with the fluorescent lights that they have in their home. And yes, if you shoot video under these lights, a green tint may show up on your video and you may hear some buzzing and see some flickering.

Through our research here at Studio 1, we were amazed to find out that the CBS studios in New York started using fluorescent lights back in the late 1940s. When NTSC color arrived around 1953, it was quickly discovered that fluorescent lights produced a green tint on the color picture. Fluorescent lighting then disappeared from the scene, as TV stations started to move toward color broadcasting.

Today, fluorescents are making a big comeback, primarily due to the advancement in fluorescent lighting technology. TV stations across the country are starting to switch over to fluorescent lights.

Approximately 25% of the incandescent light spectrum is visible light, the rest is heat. Fluorescents, on the other hand, produce approximately 95% light with 5% heat. Fluorescent lights don't rely on a hot filament to produce light. Instead, the light comes from glowing phosphor crystals that are inside the tube. Like a TV picture tube, there is very little heat generated from the glowing phosphor.

Most of the power you are using to light your studio is going into generating heat, not light. Incandescent lights produce more heat than light, therefore a 160W fluorescent light will produce the same amount of light as a 1600W incandescent light. Since fluorescent lights use less electricity to produce the same amount of light, you will see a big savings in your electric bill, as the electric meter won't start spinning at warp speed every time you turn on your lighting system.

Since fluorescents have no filaments, the light they produce is very soft. Fluorescent light seems to wrap around objects, thus reducing shadows to a minimum. This type of lighting helps cover up age lines and wrinkles on your talent. It's also a natural fill light.

As an added bonus to using fluorescents, you can turn them on while setting up your studio. That way, you can see how the set will look, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg to keep them turned on. In addition, you won't heat the room.

David Knarr is President of Studio 1, in Orlando, FL. Studio 1's website is: www.studio1productions.com.