Traveling with Lights
Posted 10 May 2008 - 07:22 PM
I'll be beginning production on my thesis film, a documentary project. Among the equipment I've checked out is an Arri kit with four lights: 2 x 650w, 2x 350w with scrims, barn doors and all that good stuff. For most of the shooting period, I'll be able to transport all the lights in a large, reinforced case. But for one trip, to Washington DC, I've opted to fly, and lugging around the entire case is not an option. It's not like I'll never every light anyways, but I like to have more than what I need, rather than be in need without what I have. Getting to my question. Can any of you recommend a way to transport just a couple of lights? Any particular brands of bags that work. Something reasonably compact, that I could sling over the shoulder, but that would give the lights a modicum of protection, like the Lowell kits?
Posted 10 May 2008 - 07:28 PM
Posted 10 May 2008 - 08:11 PM
The stands are usually what necessitate the bigger case, particularly the large gray hardshell that those ARRI kits come in. If you're also taking your golf clubs, you could squeeze a couple of stands in there. The rest of your accessories, like the speedring/Chimera, AC cables, dimmer, gels, C-47s, blackwrap, can go into that bag with the two lights.
Having said that, once you've cut the package down to essentially half the ARRI kit, it still takes up some amount of space. Is there some inherent reason for not taking the entire thing? What about a C-stand and sandbag to hang a backlight (one of the 300s on a dimmer) behind your interviewee? If most of your interviews are DAY EXT, you should have a C-Stand, bag and frame to silk off the direct sunlight (something like the Westcott Scrimjim kit). You almost always have to punch in some kind of light once you've silked them off, so an 800 or 1200w HMI Joker is needed. Bounce doesn't always do it as the background can potentially be screaming hot. You can take some of that down with a large net in a frame (again, with something like the portable ScrimJim kit) but you'll need two more C-stands for that plus more dirt to keep it all from blowing over in case it happens to be windy.
Having said all of that, have you checked the situation with locations and necessary permits? You can't put down so much as a tripod on the ground within DC without the proper permit.
Or, you could just forget all of the lights and grip stuff and just shoot on the fly. You could take everything you should have and do it right, or compromise on what you've got with you and get what you get.
Posted 10 May 2008 - 08:34 PM
But ultimately, it will be a rather down and dirty shoot, which is actually what I'm going for. One of the themes of my film is looking at how we access history. There are all these museums and places in DC which as supposed to be for "the people" and are paid for by such, yet our actual access to those places is very limited...at least for those who do not have the backing of General Motors, or the History channel. I'm interested in showing how far a student filmmaker can go.
Still, I do want to bring a few things, if I'm in a situation where it just can't be helped otherwise. Mainly the interviews, which would all be in controlled locations, like a professor's office.
Edited by Brian Rose, 10 May 2008 - 08:37 PM.
Posted 11 May 2008 - 06:22 PM
The only places I can think of where they definitely won't let you use a camera is the mint (they don't want people to record how money is made) and the spy museum (which is privately owned).
If for some reason you do get turned away from a museum, try another entrance or wait for that particular guard to get off his shift. Someone else might be more lenient. Good luck!
Posted 11 May 2008 - 11:44 PM
I think your theme of how much access to liberty and freedom one gets for their tax dollars is great! I smell a documentary there called something like ?Can I get a receipt with that??
When it comes to permits and such, I enjoyed knowing I pay the salary of the law enforcement genius that hassled me for trying to film the parade of countless individuals in the country illegally that was passing right behind him.
It?s a different thing all together, but I laughed when I heard the Hollywood sign is a registered trademark that has its own agent looking for a buck to use its image in films.
Be sure to bring some bail money if you're looking to push the envelope.
Posted 13 May 2008 - 03:01 PM
Posted 14 May 2008 - 08:05 PM
FedExing is expensive, but at least it's covered with insurance (if you pay for it). If you fly with any production gear in your luggage and the airlines lose it, you are SOL, they cover up to, what, $150.00 per bag? I think flying with production gear is just Russian Roulette, it's only a matter of time until they lose something and then you are hosed.
Posted 14 May 2008 - 08:26 PM
The MOMA in NYC will allow photography of paintings and works of art they own. Last time I was there they had a traveling exhibit up where they weren't allowing photography but photos of their stuff was okay (If you can call Picasso's "Girl Before a Mirror", etc. "stuff").
Most government-run museums definitely allow cameras (heck, you're allowed to paint at the national art gallery, they even have easels for people so I don't know why a camera would be a problem there).........
The Frau with "The Girl"