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Augmenting overheads flouros w/ chinese lanterns?


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#1 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 11:14 PM

I have a shoot coming up in the fall and the location has a drop ceiling with around 12 4' flouro fixtures. Due to time, and money, my plan is to augment the existing overhead with chinese lanterns to create a soft overhead key. Now, I know rigging anything to a drop ceiling is really sort of dangerous, but my question is if 12 or so 24-30'' chinese lanterns spread out will be too much weight. I know that it really depends on the drop ceiling itself, and it's impossible to tell from the internet, but I would just like a general opinion. It's a 12' ceiling, and I was thinking of using GE 211 or 213's in the lanterns.
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#2 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:07 AM

12 chinese lanterns will be fine. A 36" lantern with guts, lamp, and cable doesn't even weigh in at a pound, so 12 spaced out lanterns across the drop ceiling should be no problem at all in terms of stress.
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#3 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:42 AM

Thanks for the reply. I guess the next question would be would 12 chinese lanterns with 250 watt globes hung from a 12' ceiling be enough to up my overhead key at all? I'll most likely be shooting with a 500 ASA on with the RED camera. I would like to shoot for a 2.8. Color temp and matching with the existing flo's is another problem, I'm hoping to borrow a color meter soon and get in there to check the temp, and hopefully a flicker meter too to see if the fixtures will even work. I might have to switch out the tubes for 3200k or gel the fixtures to match....

I guess I should break out the light meter and see what sort of stop I'm getting from one of the lanterns.

Thanks again
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#4 Ira Ratner

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 09:39 AM

Hey, you gotta be careful. Depending on who put that ceiling in, you have to watch what you're doing REGARDLESS of weight.

They're usually just hanging by wire, and if it was a do-it-yourself job, I wouldn't be so confident how the tracks were connected. Also, the extra weight of anything on there may pull the tracks down, bowing the whole ceiling.

I STRONGLY suggest you get up on a ladder and remove some ceiling panels to see what's going on up there. Then test with finger/hand pressure before attaching any lights.

I'm no film expert, but I've been around plenty of badly installed dropped ceilings in my day.
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#5 David Rakoczy

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 01:00 PM

Unless the Ceiling Flos are 3200k, you are not going to match.. or let me say.. it is not worth matching... turn them off and use your Lanterns instead. We turn off overhead Flos and use our Lighting all the time.
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#6 Andrew Koch

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 04:10 PM

If you are concerned about matching, you will need to do some tests. A color temp meter will not be much help because fluorescents technically don't have a color temperature. The green spike can fool the meter. I think David is right, just turn off the fluorescents and save yourself the headache.
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