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A Shot in the Dark: A Creative DIY Guide to Digital Video Lighting on (Almost) No Budget by Jay Holben

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Bulbs 101: The Science Behind Fluorescent Light

A fluorescent tube is made up of five primary parts:

  • Electrode

  • Mercury gas

  • Phosphor crystals

  • Glass envelope (bulb itself)

  • Metal terminals

The components of a fluorescent light.

Fluorescent light is derived from electrons that are emitted by an electrode at one end of the tube which collide with a free electron of an atom of mercury (a metal/conductor in gas form) inside the tube. This collision, which happens at high speed, produces ultraviolet radiation. The radiation, in turn, excites the phosphors coating the glass tube, which then emit light. Fluorescence is unlike incandescent light and doesn’t ...

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