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How to mixing (AlienBees with Flashes)

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by shanguli, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada
    I want to use AlienBees B800 Flash Unit, as main light, and Yongnuo 560 IV flashes as fill, hair and backlight.
    Question I have: How do I go about mixing AlienBees Flash Unit with the YN 560 flashes, so everything (main light, as well as fill, hair, backlight) goes off when I press the shutter on my GH3 ?
    Thank you!
     
  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Can you set the Yongnuos to slave mode?

    Barry
     
  3. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    You need one flash to go off, maybe sync cord from camera to AB, maybe a 560 IV on your hotshoe, and others set up in slave mode. Or you need a transceiver on camera, and receivers on the flash units. Or... a mixture of receivers and slave mode. Yongnuo has transceivers and receivers that many like and they are very inexpensive.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    radio trigger them all to the same transmitter.

    I prefer Radio Popper wireless triggers, but others have found the cheaper units satisfactory, like the Cactus 602s.
     
  5. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Those YN-560 IV's have built in transmitters. If you are all set up to use those, you just need to use them in manual mode (so you can control the power) and then the main monolight unit will have an optical slave that you can enable to fire when it sees the other ones going off.

    Those flashes are also compatible with the RF-603/602, so you could get another receiver for that system and plug it into the jack on the monolight and trigger all of them with the Yongnuo system.

    Question: Do you have any of this stuff already?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada
    I think by the main "monolight", you're meaning the AlienBees B800 Flash Unit. So, in this case, the YN 560IV flashes will be set as master and the light coming out of 560IV makes the AlienBee to fire off.

    I only have the YN 560IV flashes, not the AlienBees strobe. I don't have the RF-603/602 either (I think the YN560 IV as opposed to earlier YN flashes have built in RF-603/602 so to speak, that works transceiver?!?).
    So, I think what you're saying is that I should pop one of those RF-603/602 on the Alienbee and that way the strobe fires when the YN 560 IV flash goes off.

    Forgot to add, I also have the YN-560-TX transmitter unit which provides remote manual power control for the YN 560 IV flashes. The YN 560 IV flashes have
    built in transmitter that can remotly control up to 3 groups. So, these 560 IV flashes, do the job of the 560 TX controller to some extent (560 IV can remotely control 3 groups, whereas 560TX does 6 for instance...), but I usually have the 560 TX on the hotshoe, since it is more convenient and frees up a unit of flash that I can use off camera as hair, back, fill....

    Never knew I can set the manual YN560 IV flashes on master mode and set a strobe like Alienbee as a slave. Correct me if I am wrong, but if that is the case, then it appears as if I could use these YN560 IV flashes together with a different brand flash/strobe with the aid of RF-603/602.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  7. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada
    I have a couple of 560 IV and I think I can set one as master and the other on slave mode so to make one set the other off.
     
  8. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada
    Yeah heard good things about Radio Poppers. I got YN560-TX transmitter that works well with the YN 560 IV flashes which have a transmitter built in. So, maybe I can stay with the current combo, if I can somehow make a third party strobe go off with the Yongnuos.
    (http://flashhavoc.com/yongnuo-yn560-tx-now-available/)
     
  9. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    The ABs have 3.5mm sync jack, so as long as the receivers have a compatible cord, you are golden.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yes, the larger Alien Bees unit is a type of studio flash called a "monolight", meaning all-in-one. There are other flash units where the power and control packs are seperate from the flash heads, so that's where the name comes from.

    I have not used these particular flashes, but just looking at the specs it says it controls or can be controlled by those basic RF-603 transmitter units. Those can trigger just about any flash you can think of, yes. I'm not sure if the YN-560-TX can trigger the RF-603 or if it is the other way around. You'll have to read the documentation.

    Can I ask why you are wanting to mix the big studio strobe with the speedlight type flashes? You could just buy a couple more YN-560 and have everything match. If you need more power for the main light than one 560 can produce, you could put two (or more) firing into a single umbrella or whatever on a double flash bracket. I think it is easier when all your equipment is the same type, that's why I mention it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada
    Thanks vmuch. I agree....and have been actually thinking about this myself, before mentioning strobes like ABs, but I was thinking if I am shooting headshots and pressing the shutter continuously the YN560 IV flashes may keep fainting...So, recycle time is what that I had in mind.
    But at the same time, I was thinking that if I group 3 flashes using, an umbrella adapter, as you pointed out, and put them say on a 1/4 power each then my recycle time would be faster (but am not sure about the amt of light output at that power setting. Also don't know how fast the recycling would be!, before the flashes heat up).
    Now, I've heard that flash output is something in or around 60 Watts per sec (I guess that's only at the Full, 1/1 power?!!!) and ABs B800 strobe's has like 320 Ws.
    BUT, I don't know if the grouping flashes at lower power setting would help, when you'd want to fire fast.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  12. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada
    by the receiver I guess you're meaning the RF-603/602.... I'm not sure if they support the jack.
     
  13. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
  14. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    380
    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    Mixing the monolight (AB800) with flash designed to work on or near the camera is not a good idea except for something like a hair light. The AB units are too powerful to be used "raw", they need some kind of light modifier to control the "character" of light. I use 52" silver umbrellas with mine (left over from my studio days, I really prefer white.

    Flash units like the Yongnuo will be much more specular if used direct and while a white umbrella will "tame" them a bit you're really better off getting maybe an AB400 for "fill". If you're going to have an AB800 for your "main" light have it firing into a softbox, have something like another AB800 or AB400 firing into a large umbrella as "fill". Then you can use something like the Yonguo units for hair and background as long as you have the lighting skill to previsualize and set those.

    Here's what your lights should do:

    Fill light: Establishes your scene brightness, should be a "gentle wash" of light providing just barely enough exposure. Will look "flat". It should be non directional, should cast no shadows, and should be "non-evident".

    Main or "key" light: Coming in at 1 stop or 1 1/2 stops brighter than the fill, it establishes lighting direction and provides 3D depth to your subject.

    Hair or hair and shoulder light: Positioned from behind the subject and a bit high, this one provides two things. An accent on the hair (the lighter the better usually), and a bit of separation from the background on the shoulders.

    And finally the background light: I did this two ways. In my studio I used a boom mounted spot for the most positioning flexibility. But on location I used a short stand hidden by the subject and aimed it so it provided a bit of lighter "halo" around the shoulders and lower part of the subjects head.

    Once I had the ratio between main and fill set I tied strings on the light stands just below the monolight head, with a knot tied at just the right working distance for each. Setup took next to no time that way, just held the string out towards the subject to confirm working distance.

    Hope this helps. Info above is taken from a presentation by Frank Chriccio at a week long course "Contemporary Portrait Update" brought to us by the Texas Professional Photographers Association in the Spring of 1977. His program was on "calibrating" studio lights to Vericolor Professional film but it works like a charm today in the digital age.
     
  15. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    You have two main ways to trigger both an AlienBee B800 and YN-560IVs: "dumb" optical and radio.

    The YN-560IVs have built in "dumb" optical slaves. So, if you have a way to fire the B800, it can trigger all the YN-560IVs in S1 mode.

    You could also use a YN-560-TX on the camera as your transmitter (useful, because it will also let you remotely set the zoom, power, and groups on the YN-560IVs), and then find a compatible receiver radio unit to hook up to the B800 via it's 3.5mm sync port (i.e., a Yongnuo RF-602, RF-603, RF-603II, or RF-605 unit, with an appropriate 3.5mm cable--the RF-602 uses a 3-pin Olympus connector so I wouldn't recommend getting one, but the RF-603/605 units use a 2.5mm minijack, so you'd only need a 2.5mm<->3.5mm miniplug cable, which you should be able to pick up at any audio equipment store).
     
  16. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada
    Thank you. I already own a 560TX and it's great for what it does (controlling the power, zoom, grouping on 560 IV flashes...). The creative way of making B800 work with the flashes--through the use of RF-603/605 units & a 2.5mm minijack--is great tip.
    I don't own AB 800 or any other strobe. tkbslc in his last comment above suggested getting a few more YN-560 instead of getting the AB, to which I said I'd agree... This is what I said in his reply:
    "I've been actually thinking about this myself, before mentioning strobes like ABs, but I was thinking if I am shooting headshots and pressing the shutter continuously the YN560 IV flashes may keep fainting...So, recycle time is what that I had in mind.
    But at the same time, I was thinking that if I group 3 flashes using, an umbrella adapter, as you pointed out, and put them say on a 1/4 power each then my recycle time would be faster (but am not sure about the amt of light output at that power setting. Also don't know how fast the recycling would be!, before the flashes heat up).
    Now, I've heard that flash output is something in or around 60 Watts per sec (I guess that's only at the Full, 1/1 power?!!!) and ABs B800 strobe's has like 320 Ws.
    BUT, I don't know if the grouping flashes at lower power setting would help, when you'd want to fire fast."

    I am wondering what you're thinking about this. Could you please give me your insights.
    P.S. Reason why I am not keen on going with AB or strobes in general, although these are more powerful with fast recycle time, is that I'm thinking about carrying the gear if going from a location to location (say businesses) to do headshots/portrait....
     
  17. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    380
    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    This would be where a "rolling" case would earn it's keep. As one who used to make his living from portrait work, something like the Alien Bees (stupid funky name but I have them) are MADE FOR THE JOB. Units like the Yongnuo (and both types are strobes) are not. Those are made for on camera or on bracket "run 'n gun" work.

    Some have used the small strobes like those for stuff like headshots but that is a compromise that can only work well for someone with real lighting skills. I've done it but compared to using the right lighting gear it's a PITA.

    The AB's or other monolights generally have modelling lights that allow you to "see" your lighting. This is absolutely essential to achieving a quality look where depending on the small on camera type strobes is like working blind.
     
  18. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada
    I agree that relying solely on YN would be a great hassle and pain + the fact that ABs have modeling light which would help greatly in "pre-visualizing" and seeing where the light falls before clicking the shutter and firing off the strobe.
    One thing though, if I should go with something like the AB 800 for the main light, would it be a compromise if I keep Yongnuo flashes (through the aid of devices like RF-603/605 units & a 2.5mm minijack, as Inkista suggested )as say my fill, hair or back light. Or is it that I'd be much better off if I were to add a second AB strobe for the fill...
    If doing this mixing (AB 800 as Main light & YN 560s for fill/hair) would be ok, I'm wondering if I could even use a barebulb flash (like Godox 360) in lieu of the Yongnuo flashes, for my fill/hair...
     
  19. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    380
    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    "Pre-visualizing" is what you have to do when you don't have modeling lights, or for some other reason cannot really "see" what is happening with your subject.

    Using them for hair or backlight would be OK...If you have the lighting skill to be able to accurately "pre-visualize" their effect. But for the fill...No.

    In headshots (or head 'n shoulders portraits) the "character" of light from both the main and fill is EVERYTHING! Look to my post above where I explain what each light does, a small (designed for on camera use) flash cannot do what I listed for the fill light. Being small with a small reflector, the light is "hard" and specular. It cannot provide that "gentle wash" of light over the whole scene that does not cast hard edged shadows and appears "non directional".

    That gets even worse. Barebulb is an almost "pinpoint" light source, extremely contrasty, "hard"er and even more specular source of light. By "character" of light what I'm talking about is what the combination of light source (flashtube or bulb) and reflector makes it to be. A large (in relation to the subject) source is broader, softer, casts soft edged shadows (if any), and has a potentially nice "wraparound" quality.

    On the other hand a small (in relation to the subject) light source is contrasty, casts sharp edged sharply defined shadows, accentuates skin texture too much, and has little or no "wraparound". Tends to be more specular (makes shinier skin reflections and skin highlights), think the sun as a primary light source and what it does.

    In using a small flash as a hairlight you also need to rig something like black construction paper "barndoors" or a "snoot" to control the beam spread, keep it very narrow so it goes ONLY where you want it, and make it very "weak". Absolute control is extremely important.
     
  20. shanguli

    shanguli Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Sep 16, 2014
    canada

    I was about to get the RF-603/605 as you suggested, but one question occurred to me:

    I'll be using Panasonic GH3 mostly. I got the YN-560-TX . As you know it comes as Canon and Nikon version. I got the Canon Version of the YN-560-TX and it works fine with my GH3 in triggering the YN 560 IV flashes. But I am wondering do I have to worry about the compatibility issues of the RF-603/605 with my Panasonic GH3 in firing the Alien Bee 800 and Einstein , or is it that since I am having the YN-560-TX on the Hotshoe of the GH3 then I don't have to worry about RF-603/605 not making the AB800/Einstein flashes to fire....?