Jump to content


Photo

What to look for


  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Nick Norton

Nick Norton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 248 posts
  • Student
  • Chicago

Posted 11 March 2008 - 07:27 PM

I am in the process of renting a studio apartment, and wanted to make sure whatever place i decide to move into has the electrical capabilites for me to plug in lights and be able to shoot in the apartment.

What should i look for/ask about as far as the electrical makeup of the apartment?


Thanks-

Nicholas
  • 0

#2 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 11 March 2008 - 10:19 PM

Find the breaker box and look at how many circuits it has, and what size (amperage) they are. There should be a few 15A breakers, each of which is enough to handle 1500W. Keep in mind that one of the circuits will probably be dedicated to the ceiling fixtures in the whole apartment, so that's one less circuit you'll be able to use (unless you tap into it with a "pignose" adapter).

If it's a funky studio like an above-garage place, make sure that you have access to the breaker box and that it's not locked up inside someone else's space.

Older places may have ungrounded (two-prong) recepticles, which you can still use but may have to use a "ground lifter" on each light, and of course it's a safety risk if there's ever a short in the light (stray current can't flow back down a ground wire).

Even older places may still have a fusebox instead of circuit breakers. If you blow a fuse you have to replace the fuse. But I'm not even sure codes allow for "fused" apartments anymore.
  • 0

#3 Chris Pritzlaff

Chris Pritzlaff
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 March 2008 - 04:36 AM

I don't know how common this is, but a portion of the house I am renting must have been redone at some point because there is an additional 60 amp breaker that supplies another circuit box that has 6 of the 15 amp breakers in it. So while each breaker may allow up to 15 amps, the entire total power consumption cannot exceed 60amps.

Ignore this if this is confusing to you - again, I don't think it is all that common, but I thought it was odd for someone to have done this
  • 0

#4 Andrew Koch

Andrew Koch
  • Sustaining Members
  • 243 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Burbank, California

Posted 12 March 2008 - 06:21 AM

Its better if the apartment has 20Amp breakers instead of 15. Most modern apartments are now 20Amp, but not always. 15Amp breakers are problematic because they obviously limit you to smaller units. You can't use a 2K (16.6Amps actual, 20Amps paperload). 1200W HMI's can be problematic with 15A breakers as well because of the extra current drawn by the ballast which can exceed 15Amps. If you end up with the misfortune of two prong outlets, make sure you actually screw in your ground lifters. Simply plugging them in without doing so is unsafe. Whatever you do, don't remove the ground off of your units to make them plug into the two prong outlets. I know this seems like a really obvious thing, but I was on a student shoot once where one of the stingers had the ground pin clipped off and if I hadn't said something, they would have used it on their 1K.
  • 0

#5 Hal Smith

Hal Smith
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2280 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • OKC area

Posted 12 March 2008 - 08:44 AM

Rent an apartment with an electric range and/or provisions for washer and electric dryer. That'll guarantee an additional 80 or so amps of 240 volt AC that can be drained to run lights. Depending on your personal gaffer skills you may need to get some help building a distro box (or two) to tie into the apartment's electricity. And obviously you won't be able to use the dryer or range when you've got lights fired up.
  • 0


Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

CineLab

Glidecam

Opal

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio