Today we’re talking about 1500 watt sports fixtures and how to color correct these affordable lights the DIY way with gels. With the power of the Sekonic C-700 Color Meter and some gels, you can get these lights to have the color temperature you’d like.
Lithonia Metal Halide 1500 Watt Spot/Flood Lights:
These lights are used for sports events all around the world. When you watch ESPN, Fox News, or any other sport, you’re seeing these lights. However, you can repurpose these lights for your movies as well. They take about fifteen minutes to come up to temperature, but are an affordable DIY option called “Lithonia Metal Halide lights” that come in spot or flood.
The floodlights are wider and have more depth. They also pack the equivalent to an 1800 watt par, and we’re using a flood light to illuminate me.
In contrast to the flood fixture, the spotlight packs a wallop of a 4K par, and it is shallower.
Both of these lights pack a punch, and we get a reading of 16 3/10 with our current light meter settings:
- 800 ISO
- 180° Shutter
- 23.98 fps
- 8’ distance from the light
However, although these lights give off a lot of light, they dirty up the light a bit. Our cameras are all set to 5500 K, but I’m looking too warm. With a more inexpensive light, there will be some setbacks, but luckily with our Sekonic C-700 Color Meter and gels, we can color correct our light.
Sekonic C-700 Meter:
Let’s talk a bit about the Sekonic C-700 Meter. Minolta meters were great for film and tungsten or daylight lights, but now with LED technology and mixed sources, there is the need for a more sensitive color meter. That’s where the Sekonic C-700 meter comes in. This meter has a lot of functions, you can set it to film or digital, and you can set your target color temperature. You set the color temperature you’d like and take your color meter reading. This baby will tell you exactly what kind of gel you need on your light to reach your desired color temperature. It also has a CMOS sensor and can read color temperature readings from 1,600 K to 40,000 K. Here are some key features from Sekonic’s site:
With the use of gels and our Sekonic C-700 Color meter, we can get the color we want out of our sports fixtures.
How do gels work? They have dyes in them that block certain colors from passing through the gel. For example, if you have a purple party gel, it will only let purple colored light frequencies pass through the gel. These gels are made out of plastic bases. Polyesters and polycarbonates have the highest heat tolerance, and acetates and vinyls have the weakest tolerance to heat. Many Rosculux gels are made of both polyesters and polycarbonates, so they are incredibly heat resistant. Polyester is able to withstand melting up to 260° to 290℉. Polycarbonate gels won’t melt until they reach 300° to 325℉, so you’d really have to cook these babies before they start getting deformed.
Color Correcting the Sports Fixture Light:
Our light today coming from the flood sports fixture reads about 4282 K with my Sekonic C-700. Using the meter, I set my target temperature to 5500 K, and it says to reach this temperature, I need 1/3 CTB gel.
With the 1/3 CTB in front of our light, I get a reading of around 5400 K with my color meter. I look balanced and less warm than I did before.
Say I want to be tungsten balanced at 3200 K. I can use my Sekonic C-700 color meter and set my target temperature again. With the 1/3 CTB taken away from the light, the meter shows that in order to reach this 3200 K, I should use 1/2 CTO.
Once again, we’ve hit our target temperature with the suggested gel from the Sekonic C-700, and we’ve easily color corrected our DIY sports fixture light with the use of our color meter and gels. These lights are inexpensive and you can get them from Grainger or from Lightmart. With the help of some gels, you get an HMI that packs a punch.