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What size HMI pars for car exterior shoot?


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#1 John Early

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 04:49 PM

Am bidding a job to shoot an exterior of a car on location during noon sun. Want to have some fill/accent lights available. I am thinking of a package of (4) 4k Par HMIs. The camera/lighting will probably be 30-50 feet from the car.

Any suggestion on whether that is sufficient? Other suggestions?

Also, what size genie would I need to run those?

Thanks in advance,
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 05:37 AM

What kind of "accent" lighting are you trying to create in the noonday sun, from 30-50 feet away? Small specular highlights in a fender crease? Or large, flat white reflections in the glass and sheet metal? You have to be pretty specific about what you're trying to do lighting-wise. It's hard to recommend units without knowing exactly what you're trying to do.

At that level of brightness and distance, you'd probably want 18K's, not 4k's, to even show up. And if you're trying to create broad flat reflections by pushing those lights through frames of diffusion, you'll need something even brighter. But at that rate, you're probably better of reflecting sunlight rather than adding artificial light. Remember that with reflective subjects such as cars, it's all about the reflections, not the incident light. Car photography usually makes use of very large, smooth surfaces and clean edges for slick-looking reflections.

The math for figuring genny power is pretty straight-forward. Watts = volts x amps, so a 4000w unit needs about 40 amps (plus some headroom for startup, with HMI's). If your wattage exceeds what can run off 100 amps (like an 18K), then you need 220v power. You should consult a best boy electric for specific power and distro requirements for a given setup.
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