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Filming doc in the dezert


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#1 Lars.Erik

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 03:27 AM

Hey there. I have a small problem I'm trying to solve. I'll be shooting a doc in the dezert in January. It's all in Arizona.

Now I'm a bit concerned about the lights. We have decided not to go for a generator. To heavy to transport and too much noise and hazzle. We will have a campfire to place people around. I've built small Kino like cam lamps. I have tubes that are 3200K. Also have ones that are 5600K incase of strong overhead sun at daytime.

Now I was thinking at nighttime to either

a - use paraffin lamps

or

b - use 12v Kino tubes I'll build and placing them around. They'll be powered by a Anton Bauer batt belt, or something like that


I will do some testing on the lux cap of the paraffin lamps. We'll be shooting on SDX900 and DVX100a. Canon lenses, J11 and J17. (HD) Gaining a bit might be an option. But no more than 9db I hope.


Do any of you have a better idea to how to get some extra lights in? No HMI pocket Pars, wrong colour and too expensive. to rent I'm afraid.

I also thought a bit about trying out SureFire torches. Putting them in some kind of small diffusion box and placing them around. Have you tested these torches?

Thanks for any info on the subject.

Edited by Lars.Erik, 02 December 2005 - 03:28 AM.

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 06:08 PM

Well if you've got a campfire, you've got a good light source right there... Both the SDX and the DVX should get some kind of exposure off that, perhaps with some mild gain.

The Kinos aren't a bad idea, and shouldn't kill the batteries too quickly. Surefires are power hogs though; you'll spend more time changing batteries than shooting. And the bulbs get plenty hot if you let them run.

I would try to get every battery powered light you can as well as lanterns and use a combination of things to keep you going (don't put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak). Also keep in mind that given enough small practical lamps placed around, you can build up enough ambience to shoot by, and to use as hot spots in the background to help justify a slightly underexposed face. Don't be a slave to perfect "key" lighting on faces -- a soft, low ambience punctuated by practical hot spots in the frame can look natural and beautiful, especially in a documentary situation.

I'm assuming you'll have access to some kind of AC power periodically, to charge your camera batteries. Power inverters help here.

Don't waste your time with daylight kino's to balance with sunlight -- that's what you call "pissing in the wind." ;) Bounceboards and reflectors are far more effective and easier to deal with.
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#3 Frank DiBugnara

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 06:18 PM

There's another nice option here in Arizona. A local equipment house here custom built a 12K generator--it is very very quiet and fits in the back of a pick up truck ir IN a grip truck. Very nice option--has worked out well for me on a few jobs. Please email me directly if you would like more information.

frank@veritaspictures.com
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#4 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 12:22 AM

Would "Coleman" type outdoor camping lanterns be helpful for the nighttime shooting? They can be fairly bright. Or do they make too much noise? (They emit a low hiss sound.)

All the best,

- Peter DeCrescenzo
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#5 Dino Giammattei

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 06:32 AM

For a bigger light source, build, rent, or buy a butterfly frame. Use 216 or a bedsheet, what ever you got. The bigger the better. Then aim one or more vehicle headlights at the frame. Gel, flag, gobo to taste. Experiment by altering distance between lightsource and frame, and frame to subject. Great front fill for natural sunset background. . ....Remember to start the engines now and then to recharge the batteries. Use spaghetti mop to simulate flames for close-ups... dino
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#6 Phil Curry

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 10:08 AM

For the night shots where there is fire, you can use flame bars. They give a nice soft light that matches color and flicker of your fire. No electricity, just propane tanks. I shot much of a feature with these when on a ranch with locations to remote for a generator. They cost very little to put together yourself. There are a few tricks and precautions you will need to know.
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