The Chimera System
Using Your Lightbank
Chimera Lightbanks transform a direct, hard light source into a directional, controllable soft light source. The quality of light blends well with natural light and gives form to the subject without spilling into unwanted areas of your subject.
Traditional wisdom places the Lightbank close to the subject — as close to the subject as shooting conditions allow. Move the Lightbank off the lens axis to create the most beautiful modeling on your subject. Install the Lightbank’s hook & loop-attached internal diffusion panel if you want a second layer of diffusion. It is suggested that you use either bare bulb lights or adjust lighting instruments to full flood. Use extra-wide lenses on Pars, and protective screens on open-faced lights when using in Lightbanks.
Selecting a Lightbank By Usage
Although the Lightbanks are quick and easy to use, the Chimera system is quite extensive, and it can be confusing when you’re trying to decide which Lightbank is best for your needs. Perhaps you’ll find this sequence helpful.
The vast range of film, video and broadcast lighting instruments requires that special attention be given to the compatibility of the lights, Speed Rings and Lightbanks that are selected to work together. To ensure proper compatibility, refer to the film/video Speed Ring tables.
There are two major differences in Lightbank models — depth and fitting size. When choosing depth, Video PRO and Quartz Banks are more shallow and designed for open-faced and broad-beamed instruments. Daylite Series Banks have a deeper profile to allow the narrower beam of the Fresnel light to fill the front screen of the Lightbank.
When choosing fitting size, Video PROs and Daylite Juniors fit dimensionally small light sources (those up to 1,000 watts), Quartz and Daylite Banks work well with large lights, and Daylite Seniors are designed to work with 12, 18 and 20 Ks.
About the Still Product line
All Lightbanks and Speed Rings for strobe are compatible with each other, and only require an occasional adjustment of pole length to achieve a perfect fit. (Note: Video PRO and Super PRO Banks are dimensionally identical and therefore interchangeable with each other’s Speed Rings. The difference is that the new Video PROs are designed to be used with hot lights in the 1,000 watt range, while the Super PRO and Pro II Lightbanks should be limited to 350 watt lights. Video PROs work well with both video and strobe lights.)
Selecting a Speed Ring
- Determine which specific Speed Ring fits your light.
- Film/Video Speed Ring Choices:
- Dedicated; Circular; Adjustable
- Still Photography Speed Ring Choices:
- Standard (Polycarbonate); Aluminum*; Quick Release*; OctaPlus*; On-Camera
- * can also be used with Video PRO Lightbanks
- Select a Lightbank model that is compatible with that ring.
- Select a size and shape that delivers the light quality you desire.
- Shapes/Size Overview
- David and Goliath (Mini/Maxi vs F2 Lightbanks)
“The size of the source — that’s the quality of light.”
Dean Collins, Photographer, Educator
Here’s an easy rule of thumb: in order to obtain a good wrap of light, the Lightbank should be at least as large as the subject.
It’s important to select an appropriate accessory for the front end of your Lightbank.
- For directional control, you can choose from barn doors, grids and LiteShapers.
- For color and output, choose color filtration and bobinette screens.
Fine-tuning the Lightbank Selection
- When choosing between deep and shallow depth Lightbanks, consider the beam width of your lights, as well as your shooting style.
- The lighter-weight grid cloth screens for Plus Lightbanks provide more transmission and a more specular quality of light.
- White and silver Lightbank interiors offer you a range between a light that’s softer or more specular.
- The soft silver interior of Video PRO Banks falls between the white and silver interiors of Super PRO Banks in specularity.
Chimera Lightbanks are very controlled, highly efficient diffusion sources. If the light source-to-subject distance (prior to attaching the Lightbank) is maintained, the output of the Lightbank mounted on a “bare bulb” or “bare tube” unreflectored source is approximately the same as just the light itself. With some lights it can be up to 1 f-stop more output. Using the Lightbank’s internal diffusion panel will reduce output by approximately 1/2 f-stop. Also, if the light-source-to-subject distance is maintained, your exposure will not be significantly changed by switching to a larger or smaller Lightbank.
(Also see Care And Usage in the Support Section)