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HID Lighting for Remote Locations


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#1 Jason Banker

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 04:10 AM

Hi,

I am in pre-production on my first low budget HD horror film. It will be shot mostly in remote locations (woods, cave) at night. I am hoping to put together a lighting package that will take into account my limitations, and help obtain a consistent lighting style for the film.

If I was to only to use lighting powered by car batteries with inverters, what kind of package would be the best I could get?

Recently I have been reading about HID lighting as a new option for low budget/household powered filmmaking. Can you recommend this type of lighting? What are the down falls of HID?

How does HID work with other types of light? Does it match HMI, or can it be gelled to work with tungsten?

An example of a HID Key light can be found here: http://cinemasupplie...et/babagt3.html
Would you recommend as a flexible keylight for the whole film? Could it run off a car battery?


Any advice would help,
Thanks
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#2 peter kantor

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 08:30 AM

I've seen ten 12Volt car batteries wired together in series to create a 120V source of D.C., which won't help you with these lights because they require A.C.

Running power from a car will drain your car batterry fast unless you keep the vehicle running constantly and even then, you will probably damage the wiring harness becuase it is not designed to handle that kind of current flow.

I think your best approach will be to rent/ or buy a small generator which are fairly inexpensive.
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#3 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 09:28 AM

It never works. In my experience, battery powered lighting is completely useless.

Get a small Honda E10i (1000W) or E20i (2000w) portable suitcase-genny's. They're light, small and virtually silent. It can be strapped to roof-racks for car shots, hidden behind trees, stuck on a dolly for moving lights, etc. Very useful and will save you a ton of grief compared to batteries and even inverters.
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#4 Jason Banker

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 11:54 PM

Does anyone have experience with HID lighting?

It was recommended on Tom Musto's website and I wanted to here some opinions.

Here is the link: http://www.tommustop.../tips/index.htm
(He metions it about half way down the page.)

"I recently had the opportunity to try out the "BARGER-BAGLITE." This is the perfect key light. And, it will go great with the ARRI soft kit, as the optimum combination. The "BARGER-BAGLITE GT-3" holds (3) 650 watt bulbs on a small 13"x13" square, flat face fixture that is 2" thick. It is very small and compact. The GE FCM 650W lamps, that can be obtained for the unit, put out more light than a conventional 650W bulb so you end up with about 2800 watts of light when all three lights are on. Each lamp has it's own switch and when the entire fixture is on, it only draws 15 amps.

The advantage of this light is that the bulbs throw a soft, gentle light and once the key is set (using one or two of the lamps in a soft box) and you need to move back for a larger shot, you can accommodate the light loss by clicking on another lamp. This will save time when need to switch out to a larger light . The fixture is very rugged and is made to accept a number of different size soft boxes, which is great when you need to be versatile with your lighting setups."


After reading that I am excited to buy one. (Right now I only have a Arri Tungsten 650w Frensel)

Do you think this is a good investment? Or should I get something else?
(what ever I get has to run off of a standard household outlet)

Thanks
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#5 Kristy Tully

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 04:30 PM

Hi Jason,

I wanted to clear up a little confusion, so you can get better answers. When you ask about HID lights, you mean, I assume, High Intensity Dischage lamps. They have become popular in car head lights, etc, which is why you may be wondering about running said lights off car batteries.
The baggerlite you've been reading about talks about using halogen bulbs, which also give off more light than standard tungsten bulbs. The confusion is easy to understand.
The bagger light is a great light. It can't be run off of a car battery. ( Just to pre-emp a bunch of people chiming in saying it is possible, let me say that maybe one bulb, with an inverter, but not without the issues previously mentioned). It's really just not an effiecent method to shoot an entire film. (Maybe a scene here or there). If you get to have a gaffer I'd get them involved quickly as they can give suggestions and let you know what is practical to consider.
The suggestions about the small honda gennys are good ones. ( You would need the 2,000w version to run this light).
I have seen a couple sites online and on ebay advertising construction based HID lighting kits with barn doors for "film use". I do not know anyone who has actually purchased or used one. Sorry.

If I were lighting a night horror film in remote locations I would first want to know what format I was using so I know how much light I would need. Or, what film stock and lenses I would be using for the same reason.
I, pesonally, would probably want to have a few heads, probably fresnels, like your 650w, that would be easier to cut. If I were shooting dv, I might use some 300w 150w heads. They will provide enough light and won't use up all the genny's power on just one source.
Of course I say this not knowing the format, the location sizes, the shots or the support you will have on set.
Good luck
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#6 Jason Banker

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 10:57 PM

Kristy,

Thanks for the clarification. I have been reading about DIY HID lighting and running lights off of car batteries as possible options for shooting in remote locations (ie. in a cave, on top of a rocky cliff).

When I read the description of the Barger Baglite I did assume that it was HID for some reason. Anyway I have a few grand to buy the lighting that I am going to need for a very very low budget horror film. It will be shot on HD with the Panasonic HVX200 with possibly a Redrock M2 35mm adapter (which would raise the lighting requirement).

Renting a Honda E20i does sound like the way to go for the most part. Thanks Kantor for that suggestion.

Basically I want to buy 1 or 2 lights that make the most sense for a small crew and limited power options.

The reason I was interested in the Barger light was because it said that it was compact, flexible, and packs a good punch on low wattage. I am almost sold on this light but I wanted to know what the downside is?

Also from what I read, Kino Flo lights seem like a good alternative? How is the Diva compared to a 4x4 bank?
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#7 Kristy Tully

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 02:14 PM

I haven't used the Redrock M2 35mm adapter, but the P&S Tecknik pro35 eats up a few stops.
I think the bagger lite is a nice Key light, as it describes itself. I suggest finding a place to go play with it first. You'll get an idea of how versitile or compact it is for your purposes, and if the quality of light is right for your film. ( It gives off a nice soft light). Beautiful on faces, hard to cut.
One downside will be if you rent or buy the honda 2,000w genny, you will be using all of it's power for the one bagger light. But, you can always rent a bigger genny. Those in particular are just really amazing. They are, as previously stated almost silent, and very compact- very portable. The 3,000w version is too big to be carried by one in to the forest.

The Diva light in the most simpliest terms is more compact-shorter (than the 4X4), and has the ballast on the head.

My suggestion would be to think about what you want the fillm to look like and that should help you decide what kind of lights you need. (soft lights, fresnels, open faced, kinos) the power stuff will work itself out after.


Good Luck
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Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

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