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LIGHTING BALLOONS


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#1 Matt Pacini

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:24 PM

I'm (hopefully) going to be shooting next winter, almost all night exteriors in the snow.

I'm thinking of lighting a large area that I'm shooting with a lighting balloon.
I've never used one, and would like some advice.
Any info would help - pro's & cons.
Any other tips about shooting in the snow at night would help...

(I'm shooting 16mm).

thanks!
MP

Edited by Matt Pacini, 28 December 2007 - 06:28 PM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:49 PM

You have to decide whether to use HMI, tungsten, or the few balloons that have both inside (I like those, you can get a half-blue color at night without gels.) You have decide on round, cylindrical, or cube-shaped. You have to think about whether you need to skirt part of the balloon, because the light goes in all directions.

The main problem outdoors is wind -- it either has to be fairly calm that evening, or you have to rig the balloon to something high to stop it from drifting down into the shot. Some people rig a balloon to the bottom of a condor crane bucket, which seems a bit of a waste of mobility, plus you have to worry about lighting up the crane arm, but the problem of the balloon drifting around and suddenly plunging towards the ground in a mild wind is a real problem.

There are power cables and tag lines hanging from the balloon to think about in terms of hiding them from camera. Luckily they are black so tend to disappear at night.

They can get punctured in the woods by pointy branches.
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#3 robert duke

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:48 PM

Look up Airstar, They are nice people. I have used their balloons. You normally get an operator from the company with the balloon.
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#4 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:20 PM

I have worked with Airstar balloons some before. My old gaffer used to tech for them, so he knew a lot about them.

All of what everyone said is true. They have always been the type of light that are very specialized, and for me, I just knew when it was the right tool.

They are pretty expensive as well, but pretty fast to drag around all night, so my question to you is what are some of your concerns about them?

They do seem like a good choice for a snow covered landscape though.
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#5 timHealy

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:38 AM

If you are interested: In addition to HMI's and Tungsten, Peter Girolami at Sourcemaker made a number of mercury and sodium vapor balloons for Philippe Rousselot and John Velez for The Brave One.

Best

Tim
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#6 Brian Glassman

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:19 PM

I'm (hopefully) going to be shooting next winter, almost all night exteriors in the snow.

I'm thinking of lighting a large area that I'm shooting with a lighting balloon.
I've never used one, and would like some advice.
Any info would help - pro's & cons.
Any other tips about shooting in the snow at night would help...

(I'm shooting 16mm).

thanks!
MP


Just saw your posting - I hope I'm not too late in responding. The Hybrid light (both tungsten & HMI) that Mr. Mullen has suggested would be a good way to go, however, I would recommend following up with Airstar directly (818) 753.0066 and asking for me (Brian Glassman) so I can provide the necessary information you require.

Thank you for the Airstar positive references.
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#7 Brian Glassman

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:43 PM

I'm (hopefully) going to be shooting next winter, almost all night exteriors in the snow.

I'm thinking of lighting a large area that I'm shooting with a lighting balloon.
I've never used one, and would like some advice.
Any info would help - pro's & cons.
Any other tips about shooting in the snow at night would help...

(I'm shooting 16mm).

thanks!
MP



Just saw your posting - I hope I'm not too late in responding. Mr. Mullen's advice on the Hybrid light (both HMI & Tungsten) would work nicely.

I would recommend following up with Airstar directly (818) 753.0066 and asking for me (Brian Glassman) so I can provide any info you may require in determining the best light that would work for you and your production.

Thank you to all for the Airstar positive references.
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#8 Joseph Zizzo

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 01:55 PM

the only thing i would add is, if you don't rig it to any kind of condor crane, the wind can become a political issue, as well as a technical one. as kevin said, they are kind of expensive, so sometimes you have to fight for them a little. it then becomes embarassing if it's too windy to use them!

i say this from experience, it just happened to me last night... fortunately i am working with an understanding producer, and a director i have worked with for a long time, so it was no problem. but just a word to the wise, don't fight to hard for a baloon light without first checking the weather forecast!

joe
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Metropolis Post

CineLab

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Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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