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chinaball question


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#1 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 12:26 PM

I will soon be purchasing some chinaballs for an upcomming 16mm short, and I've been told that 18 inches (diameter) for a chinaball is a good size. However, will it be able to support (or not get incinerated by) 250watt daylight/tungsten bulbs, 500watt bulbs? Either way, I wont plan on leaving them on for long periods of time, but I would like to know how much wattage these things can support without burning fast. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!
Elliot
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 02:18 AM

As long as the bulb is not touching the sides of the lantern, it can handle a 250w or 500w fine, especially the larger lanterns. The problem isn't the lantern, it's the SOCKET. You need to go to the hardware store and make your own porcelain socket / zip cord / plug because a plastic socket will start to melt with a high wattage bulb.
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#3 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 10:42 AM

Excellent advice from Mr. Mullen. I went to Lowes and got porcelain sockets that are good to 600w.
Also, and this may be obvious, when I hang the lights I always check to center the bulb so that it hangs
as far away as possible from all sides of the lantern's inner walls. I have three Chinese lanterns that I use
all the time and I believe that they're 24" whereas you mentioned 18". (I got them from Barbizon-about
thirty bucks.) If you have high ceilings or room on your set, you might consider the larger lanterns.
they certainly should enhance your margin of safety.

They can be fragile. I had a shoot in a parking lot in February and while i was a little concerned that the
light might sway, I figured that we could secure it and I wanted that beautiful light to model the actress's
face and to keep power demands down as we were running off an inverter. I asked the gaffer to mount
the light and a bit later when I asked him where it was he pointed to the ground. The wind (it was very
windy) had SHREDDED the lantern.
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#4 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 09:14 AM

With a 250 watt bulb, even those porcelain fixtures will heat up and when they're hot, you can easily smash them apart just by lying them on the ground too quickly. Let them cool a while before dismantling.

In case you want to try a 500 watt, you should definitely go up a size or two on the lantern, not because of heat but because at 500 watts, an 18" china lantern isn't very soft anymore.

Edited by Michael LaVoie, 28 May 2006 - 09:16 AM.

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#5 timHealy

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 10:15 AM

These guys make an excellent chinese lantern harp that keeps the bulb in place and also will keep the lantern from swaying in the wind. You can even rig a lantern upside down if you have it low on the ground.

http://www.jemlighting.com/pharp.html

I use them all the time. One thing that Michael mentioned, even if you have a 500 watt bulb in one, a piece of muslin laid over it softens it up some more but keep an eye out for any burning as they are hot.

Tim
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