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How to Use a Kino Flo Basics: The Tegra 4Bank DMX

  • June 8, 2016
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
How to Use a Kino Flo Basics: The Tegra 4Bank DMX

Throughout my career, I’ve been a huge fan of fluorescent light technology. I have used it as a key light, or put it in the background for out of focus bokeh, or to go into hospitals and convenience stores.

Using a Kino Flo Tegra on set of “The Ticket”
Using a Kino Flo Tegra on set of “The Ticket”

With fluorescent lights, Kino Flo has always been the leader. These lights are easy to use and easy to control. They’re so lightweight that I use them for almost everything. You can hide these lights, and you can even tape them up to the walls. These babies can be used as a gag light or as a beautiful soft source. Today I’m going to focus on the Kino Flo Tegra, which is the upgraded version of the 4×4 Kino Flo.

The Tegra 4Bank DMX uses 3200K and 5500K True Match® lamps and uses 2.8A (120VAC) to give off as much light as a 1000W tungsten softlight at a third of the amount of power. These lights are also flicker free.

Sensitive Dimmability

The Tegra 4Bank DMX is great because there is a dimmer knob that allows you to dim your Tegra from 0-100%. There is also an option to be wireless with remote handheld dimming if you’d like. This is great for when you can’t get to your Tegra but need to change its intensity.

With other lights, you only have the option of shutting the different bulbs on or off to adjust your intensity, but now you still have that option as well as the option to dim them so that you can keep the softness of all four bulbs and that wide soft source.

Controls on the Kino Flo Tegra. Notice the dimmer and lamp switches.
Controls on the Kino Flo Tegra. Notice the dimmer and lamp switches.
Tegra 4Bank fixture pieces
Tegra 4Bank fixture pieces
Tegra 4Bank DMX at 100%
Tegra 4Bank DMX at 100%
Tegra 4Bank DMX dimmed down to about 50%
Tegra 4Bank DMX dimmed down to about 50%
Tegra 4Bank DMX dimmed all the way down
Tegra 4Bank DMX dimmed all the way down

With digital sensors, dimming control is really important because they are more sensitive to clip factor. When we were doing film, it was harder to have blown out exposure, but with digital sensors, this isn’t the case.

Small Footprint:

Another great thing about this light is that the 100-240VAC ballast is engineered inside of the head. There’s no head extension and ballast on the ground to get in your way, and this light is only 18.5 lbs.

Pointing out the ballast inside the head
Pointing out the ballast inside the head

Lighting Modifiers with These Lights

The standard 4 ft 4 bank had an egg crate that attached to modify the light. With these lights, there are light honeycomb louvers that are made from high-grade plastic. The honeycombs help you control your light so that it is more concentrated.

Notice that with the honeycomb here, you can see me.
Notice that with the honeycomb here, you can see me.

With just a slight shift in position, the honeycomb goes from allowing you to see me to blocking me out.

Notice that turning the honeycomb a bit blocks me.
Notice that turning the honeycomb a bit blocks me.

When velcroing the honeycomb onto the light, you get this same effect. The honeycomb controls where your light is directed and comes in a 60° or 90°. With the honeycomb, the light is more on Myles and isn’t flying as much into the background.

With the honeycomb, notice I’m not lit. Only Myles has light on him.
With the honeycomb, notice I’m not lit. Only Myles has light on him.
Without the honeycomb, notice how I’m lit. There is less light control.
Without the honeycomb, notice how I’m lit. There is less light control.

Now we’ll take this one step further. To soften the light, we slide on the flozier diffusion that is like silent grid cloth. When we take off the honeycomb and add in the flozier, the light is softened a significant amount.

Putting the flozier cloth over the light
Putting the flozier cloth over the light
The flozier cloth over the light
The flozier cloth over the light

Conclusion

These lights are great for digital sensors because they give you sensitive dimmability with a ballast that is engineered in the head of the light. Instead of having to turn a bulb off to lose ⅓ of a stop of light, you can dim all four bulbs at once so that you can keep your spread of light.

Kino Flo also has honeycombs, which are great for lighting control, and you can place diffusion right over the light, like the Kino Flo flozier cloth if you want to soften your light even more. You can use these babies as gags, key light, a nice soft source, making out of focus bokeh, and many other uses. They’re not heavy, so you can easily hide them, or even mount them to walls. With fluorescents, Kino Flo is the leader.

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

Product Links

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  • cameras
  • Canon
  • Compact fluorescent lamp
  • diffusion
  • Dimmer
  • Electrical ballast
  • Exposure
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescent lamp
  • fluorescent light
  • fluorescent lights
  • HP
  • Incandescent light bulb
  • Key light
  • kino flo
  • lighting
  • Lighting Modifiers
  • Matthews Studio Equipment
  • Musicbed
  • RED Digital Cinema Company
  • Tegra 4Bank DMX

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