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#1 Jose Navarro

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 06:43 AM

Greetings

I will be shooting next week a living room and bedroom scene and i want my key light coming from the window. To lit the scene i got arri 5000w 2 diva lites and 2 2ft kino flo. I´d like to put the 5000w as key light outside the windows and fill with kinos but im afraid the distance for 5000w could be too short (like 5m) and get my actors uncomfortable beacuse the intensity of the light. Also i´d like to show the walls cooler and the actors warmer mixing light temperature. Mostly of shot will be filming on the mornig but a couple will be at night


Please any sugestion will be a great help. Im kind of newbie. Im still studying.
Thanks for your answers.

Jose

I am shooting with a panasonic hvx 200.

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#2 David Desio

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 01:59 PM

Jose,
if you want your walls to be "cooler", I read that as you want your Key to be cooler and closer to daylight, then you will have to correct your key with some CTB, the fill with tungsten from the Flo's. Since you're shooting digital you can kinda light by eye to get a mix that is to your liking. How wide of a shot are we talking? Are you ever going to see the window? What direction does your window(s) face? I would use as much natural light as I could for the key since the window seems to be pretty large. If you are going to pound light and are worried about it overpowering the actors, just back it up a little, if that's not an option, don't have them play directly into the light where they are being blinded. Also you could move the furniture away from the window a bit. I wouldn't pound the room with light without some sort of diffusion in place anyway...

Sorry for the disjointed response, I'm in the middle of editing and needed abreak.

Dave
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#3 Jose Navarro

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 02:48 PM

Jose,
if you want your walls to be "cooler", I read that as you want your Key to be cooler and closer to daylight, then you will have to correct your key with some CTB, the fill with tungsten from the Flo's. Since you're shooting digital you can kinda light by eye to get a mix that is to your liking. How wide of a shot are we talking? Are you ever going to see the window? What direction does your window(s) face? I would use as much natural light as I could for the key since the window seems to be pretty large. If you are going to pound light and are worried about it overpowering the actors, just back it up a little, if that's not an option, don't have them play directly into the light where they are being blinded. Also you could move the furniture away from the window a bit. I wouldn't pound the room with light without some sort of diffusion in place anyway...

Sorry for the disjointed response, I'm in the middle of editing and needed abreak.

Dave



Thanks for your answer Dave.

You are right i should use the most natural light as possible and moving the furniture and actors in case i need to use 5000kw is a good idea. About the window. it will appear in a establishment shot and then probably as a background during the dialogue between the characters.

So if i use natural daylight or a 5000kw with CTB i need to set the camera balance in 3200k right?


Then I´d like to know if there is a formula to calculate the distance between a 5000kw and the actors in order to not overpowering them and get a 3:1 contrast ratio and then fill with kinos to get a 2:1 contrast ratio.

I have always decide where to put the lights when i get to the location but if i can do that calculation on paper before the shooting it could save me a lot of time.

Edited by Jose Navarro, 29 October 2009 - 02:49 PM.

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#4 David Desio

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 03:03 PM

Hey José,

You wouldn't by chance be shooting in FL would you? The plants out front look like florida landscaping.

Anyway, I hardly ever use the presets in the HVX unless I can't really control the lighting and am in a big time crunch. Usually I dial in the settings by hand so I have something that I really like and is closer to what I want in the end. To each his own though...

There is a formula for figuring out the falloff of a light. Its called the inverse square law: http://en.wikipedia....erse-square_law

How much time will you have at the location before the shoot? Probably only a quick walk-through and no pre-light day, right? The formula will give you a good jumping off point but you will really need to see it to be sure that it is what you want.

what's the mood of the scene? Maybe experiment with using a bounce for the fill rather than a Kino, unbleached muslin perhaps to catch the light from the key? That way you could save the flo's for accenting the room a bit. And never underestimate well placed practicals.
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#5 Jose Navarro

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 03:36 PM

Hey José,

You wouldn't by chance be shooting in FL would you? The plants out front look like florida landscaping.

Anyway, I hardly ever use the presets in the HVX unless I can't really control the lighting and am in a big time crunch. Usually I dial in the settings by hand so I have something that I really like and is closer to what I want in the end. To each his own though...

There is a formula for figuring out the falloff of a light. Its called the inverse square law: http://en.wikipedia....erse-square_law

How much time will you have at the location before the shoot? Probably only a quick walk-through and no pre-light day, right? The formula will give you a good jumping off point but you will really need to see it to be sure that it is what you want.

what's the mood of the scene? Maybe experiment with using a bounce for the fill rather than a Kino, unbleached muslin perhaps to catch the light from the key? That way you could save the flo's for accenting the room a bit. And never underestimate well placed practicals.



Dave
Florida is far far away. im shooting in Lima.
Thanks for the formula i´ll try to get the best of it. About the time on location before the shoot is just a quick wall-through probably one or two hours. Probably tomorrow or Saturday
About the mood of the bedroom scene i want to show a character that have sex "without love" and about the the living room the mood is "nostalgia".

The bounce light could be a good alternative i hope that day i have time to test all my options of lighting acording to your recomendations.

I´ll let you know about the visit to location.
Thanks
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#6 David Desio

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 03:45 PM

Dave
Florida is far far away. im shooting in Lima.
Thanks for the formula i´ll try to get the best of it. About the time on location before the shoot is just a quick wall-through probably one or two hours. Probably tomorrow or Saturday
About the mood of the bedroom scene i want to show a character that have sex "without love" and about the the living room the mood is "nostalgia".

The bounce light could be a good alternative i hope that day i have time to test all my options of lighting acording to your recomendations.

I´ll let you know about the visit to location.
Thanks



Good luck, you've already got a good understanding of the mood so just do what you think fits that tone. Also remember that the set designer and art department are your friends. Get with them and have a good plan of attack from all angles.
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#7 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 05:13 PM

So if i use natural daylight or a 5000kw with CTB i need to set the camera balance in 3200k right?


No, you set the colour temperature on camera to what you want to be 'white' light.
In your case, if I understand correctly - it is daylight - so the setting should be 5600K.

Then you mentioned you want to till with warm light - tungsten divas - how warm,depends on your taste, really. and story.
so, maybe mix tubes, or half/quater CTB on diva (or daylight tubes with half or 3/4 CTO, rather - so not to loose too much light).
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#8 Jose Navarro

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 10:21 PM

No, you set the colour temperature on camera to what you want to be 'white' light.
In your case, if I understand correctly - it is daylight - so the setting should be 5600K.

Then you mentioned you want to till with warm light - tungsten divas - how warm,depends on your taste, really. and story.
so, maybe mix tubes, or half/quater CTB on diva (or daylight tubes with half or 3/4 CTO, rather - so not to loose too much light).


Thanks Edgar.
The colour temperature on camera was big worry but now i think i got it. So if i want daylight and my light its coming from the sun my camera needs to be on 5600k to get white light. Consequently if i set 3200k sun light will be bluish for camera and tungten white?

I never thought about mixing tubes but i could be a really interesting option probably i´d choice to use daylight tubes with CTO to not loose light which is a big fear to me.

Finally if i shot this daylight scene in night can i fake sun light with 5000KW? There is a possibility that with mid and close-up shots without showing the window i can fake the sun light?
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#9 David Desio

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 09:05 AM

Thanks Edgar.
The colour temperature on camera was big worry but now i think i got it. So if i want daylight and my light its coming from the sun my camera needs to be on 5600k to get white light. Consequently if i set 3200k sun light will be bluish for camera and tungten white?

I never thought about mixing tubes but i could be a really interesting option probably i´d choice to use daylight tubes with CTO to not loose light which is a big fear to me.

Finally if i shot this daylight scene in night can i fake sun light with 5000KW? There is a possibility that with mid and close-up shots without showing the window i can fake the sun light?



Sure you can fake it. Just be careful to match the color temp to the wide shots. Are you going to use natural light only for the wides? It really depends on what color that you decide "sunlight" will be. You can use the 5600k preset or try making your own, if you don't like it, then you can always go to the preset. Remeber that when you are doing the white balance to remove colored gels from the lights you are using. You can also experiment by doing a "warm" balance by putting a 1/8 CTB over white card and balancing from that, or using "warm Cards". You can also do the reverse to cool it down by using "cool cards".

Anyway there are probably many different ways to get the look you want and we all have different methods.
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#10 Guy Holt

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:01 PM

I will be shooting ... a living room and bedroom scene and i want my key light coming from the window. To lit the scene i got arri 5000w 2 diva lites and 2 2ft kino flo. I´d like to put the 5000w as key light outside the windows and fill with kinos .... Please any sugestion will be a great help. Im kind of newbie.


Two diva lights and two 2ft kino flos won’t be enough to fill talent against the windows and get the kind of detail outside the windows seen in the first picture unless Jose gels the windows with a combination 85/ND gel. When shooting interiors with windows you have two basic problems: color temperature and contrast. Without either gelling the windows or substantially boosting the light levels inside, when you expose for your talent, your exterior will blow out. If you expose for the exterior to hold detail, your talent will be underexposed and become a near silhouette.

If there are not many windows you can cover the windows with a combination of 85/ND9 gel. The gel both converts the exterior daylight from 5500K to 3200K and knocks down the level outside by three stops, so that the Kino Flos with 3200K tubes will be effective as fill lights. But, where a roll of 85/ND9 gel will set you back $140.00, it will be expensive and time consuming to gel the windows if there are a lot of them and it will have the effect of warming up the 5k coming through the window.

Without gelling the windows to 3200K, using 3200K balanced lights doesn’t make a lot of sense. Balancing tungsten to 5500K is not very efficient because full color temperature blue correction gel (Full CTB) cuts the output of the light by 70% in converting it to 5500K. Jose’s 5000W 3200K light becomes a 1500W 5500K light when you put Full CTB on it. The output he would get after correction is not enough to key through the windows and not even enough to fill the wide shot with the windows uncorrected.

In my experience, if you can’t gel the windows you probably need at least a 4k HMI par to pick up the interior levels in wide shots. For example, my company, ScreenLight & Grip, lit a segment of a special two-hour program for British Television’s Channel 5 that presented the same problem that you are facing.

Posted Image
Host June Sarpong interviewing a marine archaeologists


The show told the story of the Whydah - a pirate ship that sank off Cape Cod nearly 300 years ago. In a unique TV experiment, marine archaeologists on Cape Cod dove to the wreck to salvage pirate booty live on air. In addition to the dive on the wreck, the program also included specially shot dramatic recreations of the story of the Whydah’s notorious pirate captain Black Sam Bellamy. To link between the modern-day adventures of the marine archaeologists and those of Black Sam Bellamy, co-presenter June Sarpong hosted marine archaeologists and pirate historians from a makeshift studio under a tent situated on a bluff overlooking the dive site.

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Host June Sarpong interviewing a marine archaeologists


Where they wanted the dive site to serve as a backdrop to the makeshift studio, the show's producers wanted the Salvage Ship to be seen clearly on the water in the shots of June and her guests. This requirement created a similar interior/exterior contrast problem to the one you are facing.

The task of balancing interior levels to exterior levels was further complicated by the fact that it was a clear sunny day. We rigged a couple of 4kw and 2.5kw HMI Pars into the frame of the tent in order to get them as close as possible to our subjects, but even then we didn’t have quite enough output to compete against the sun outside.

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A 4k HMI Par was rigged overhead as a key for each subject


The final ingredient for success was a double net strung across the open backside of the tent. The net further reduced the contrast by bringing the exterior levels down and in line with the pumped-up interior. The trick in situations like this is to strike a delicate balance between the interior and exterior light levels so that the net disappears to the camera without the exterior becoming overexposed and losing important detail – the Salvage Ship out on the water in this case.

Another advantage to netting the background is that it takes the hard edge off of HD. It creates the illusion of a shallower depth of field or the selective focus we associate with film.

Posted Image
A double net was stretched across the open side of the tent facing out onto the water.


Where it took a 4k Par on each of the talent, plus a double net across the back, you can see that you need a lot of light to balance interiors to exteriors. The problem with using 4k par HMIs is usually powering them. If you know how, you can plug them into wall outlets that are available on most locations – but, I should leave that to a latter post.

Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip , Boston
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#11 Guy Holt

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:31 PM

The problem with using 4k par HMIs is usually powering them. If you know how, you can plug them into wall outlets that are available on most locations – but, I should leave that to a latter post.


A lot of gaffers may rule out using a 4k HMI par as we did on the Bose still shoot pictured below because they think it requires either a tie-in or renting a generator - both of which can be an expensive proposition. They don’t realize that common 240V wall receptacles, like the dryer outlet in this loft, can power HMIs as large as 4kw. How it is done depends on whether the 4k has a magnetic or electronic ballast, and whether the electronic ballast has Power Factor Correction (PFC) or not (Arri calls it ALF for Active Line Filter.)

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Samples from still shoot for Bose where a 4k HMI par was used to fill talent against windows (Bob Packert Photography)


A multi-volt 4k electronic ballast with Power Factor Correction (PFC) will give you the most options. If you are not familiar with Power Factor Correction, a PFC circuit realigns voltage and current and induces a smoother power waveform at the distribution. As a result, the ballast uses power more efficiently with minimized return current and line noise. 4kw electronic ballasts with PFC (like the Power Gems (PG) 425CDP, the Power-to-Light (P2L) 425LVI, and Arri 2.5/4 EB w/ALF) typically have an operating range of 90–125 & 180-250 Volts. At 120V they will draw approximately 37 Amps. At 240V they will draw 18.5 Amps on each leg of a 240V single phase power supply.

These ballasts draw too much at 120V for a 20A wall outlet. But, fortunately there are a number of 240 volt outlets in a typical house, office, or industrial plant in this country that you can also use to power a 4k with PFC electronic ballast. The most common are air conditioner outlets, dryer outlets, range outlets, outlets for large copy machines in offices, and the outlets for motorized equipment in industrial plants. Many of these household and industrial 240V receptacles use a three wire system (no neutral) because they are designed to power single phase motors or heating elements that draw a perfectly balanced load and return no current because the single phase service legs are 180 degrees out of phase and cancel each other out. Where a 4kw HMI with PFC electronic ballast, operating at 240 Volts draws roughly 18.5 Amps on each leg of a single phase 240V circuit, its’ load is well within the capacity of these circuits. You will also be able to operate a non-PFC 4k electronic ballast off of most 240V receptacles like range plugs and dryer plugs because they draw 26 Amps per leg and these circuits are fused at minimally 30 Amps. Where most magnetic 4k ballasts operate at only 120V and draw 40 Amps this method is not an option with magnetic ballasts. Where 4kw ballasts are typically wired with a 120V 60Amp Bates Plug (Stage Pin), you will need a 120V Female Bates to 240V adapter. I keep an assortment of adapters because all these 240V receptacles use a different pin configuration.

Posted Image
4k & 1.2ks HMI Pars powered from 30A/240V dryer outlet through step-down transformer/distro for Bose still shoot.


The only way to power 120V 4kw HMI magnetic ballasts on wall receptacles is from 240V circuits through a 240v-to-120v step down transformer like the one my company, ScreenLight & Grip (SL&G), manufactures for the Honda EU6500is generators that we modify. Like it does with the enhanced 240V output of our Honda EU6500is Generator, a step down transformer can be used to convert the 240 volts supplied by these industrial and household 240V receptacles to 120 volts in a single circuit that is the sum of the two single phase legs of 30/50 amps each. In other words, out of a “30A/240v” or a “50A/240v” circuit our transformer makes a 60A/120v circuit that is capable of powering bigger 120V lights, like 4kw HMIs with magnetic ballasts (even Quartz 5ks, mini brutes (5850W) or Six Light Mole Par (6000W)).

There are benefits to be gained by powering even 4kw electronic ballasts (PFC or not) on 240V circuits through a 240v-to-120v step down transformer. For instance, you will be able to run additional large lights (like 1.2kws) on the same circuit if, rather than plugging the 4kw electronic ballast directly into the 240 receptacle (operating it at 240V) and monopolizing it, you plug it in through a transformer (operating it at 120 Volts), you will be left with 25 - 37 Amps to power additional lights on the same circuit. That’s a lot of additional power to waste by plugging the 4k directly into the 240V receptacle. And, since an electronic ballast “ramps up” gradually during the striking phase, you don’t have to leave head room as you would with a magnetic ballast. By operating the light through a transformer you can more fully utilize the capacity of the 240V circuit. For example, since the P2L 4/2.5 LVI ballast at 120V operates a 4k HMI luminary at 37 amps, you will still be able to power an additional 1.2kw HMIs (if operated by P2L 575/1200 ballast (11 Amps)), as well as a 800 Joker HMI (if operated by a P2L 800/1200 ballast (8 Amps)), off of the same circuit. That’s a lot of additional light to be gained by not plugging the 4k directly into the 240V receptacle.

A transformer will also greatly simplify your set electrics by automatically splitting the load of whatever you power through it. As long as you plug lights in through the transformer, you no longer have to carefully balance the load over the two 120V circuit/legs because the transformer does it for you automatically. If, like our 60a Full Power Transformer/Distro, the transformer is outfitted with a 60 Bates receptacle, you can use 60A GPC extension cables, 60-to-60 Splitters, and fused 60A GPC-to-Edison Breakouts (snack boxes) to run power around set - breaking out to 20A Edison outlets at convenient points (rather than one central point.) The best part about using a transformer with a 240V receptacle in this fashion is that no matter where in the distribution system you plug in, the transformer automatically balances the additional load, so that you don't have to. It is so simple that you don’t have to be an experienced electrician to distribute power on set. Use this link for more details about using step-down transformers to power larger lights on interior sets.

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A PFC 2.5 & 1.2 HMI Pars, PFC 800w Joker HMI, Kino Flo Flat Head 80, 2 ParaBeam 400s, and a ParaBeam 200 powered by a modified Honda EU6500is through a 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro


Everything I have said thus far is also true when it comes to operating HMIs off of portable gas generators with 240V outputs. Where before you could not operate more than a couple 1200W HMIs on portable generators because of their limited 120V power outlets, with a step-down tranformer you can operate bigger lights, or more small lights, on portable gas generaotors than has been possible before. And if the generator is one of our modified Honda EU6500is inverter generators, you will be able to run a continuous load of up to 7500W as long as your HMI and Kino ballasts are Power Factor Corrected. But, where I have covered this in another post in this forum I won’t go into more details here. For more details read my posts at http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?sh...honda+generator

Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip , Boston
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#12 Isabelle Landers

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:29 PM

Where it took a 4k Par on each of the talent, plus a double net across the back, you can see that you need a lot of light to balance interiors to exteriors.


A 4k to balance the windows will hold detail outside, but the problem I have is that the sun keeps moving. I do a lot of dramatic shorts with scenes that take all day to shoot and sometimes the shots don't cut together if they were filmed too far apart because the light was constantly changing inside. Any suggestions how I can maintain a consistent natural look throughout the day so that the footage will cut together without having to rent a tow generator to power bigger lights.

- Isabelle Landers, Gaffer, Nashua, NH
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#13 Guy Holt

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:16 AM

... how I can maintain a consistent natural look throughout the day so that the footage will cut together without having to rent a tow generator to power bigger lights.


In order to create consistent light for a long scene you usually have to do more than just fill the interior - you should also bring in your own sun source. If the sun is shining directly on the window you should silk it for two reasons. First, it will be hard to balance direct sunlight. Second, the sun moves. If it is a big scene that takes a while to shoot, as Isabelle found out, you will notice the movement of the sun when you edit it all together. The best approach is to silk the real sun so that you take any directionality out of it, and then bring in your own sun source for consistency.

If you are shooting on a low budget, your best bet is to use 4ks because you can operate them on common 240V wall outlets or our modified Honda EU6500is inverter generator. A set-up that would give you the most natural look would be to silk the sun, use a 4k Fresnel outside for a consistent sun feel, and then use a heavily diffused 4k Par inside to fill. Diffusing the 4K inside will take the “source-i-ness” out of it and using a 4k Fresnel outside will give you the crisp direct sunlight feel. To operate both 4ks without having to tie-in or rent an expensive diesel tow generator (with all its hidden costs), I would suggest you use a step-down transformer/distro on a 240v receptacle to power the inside 4k. To power the outside 4k, I would suggest a second step-down transformer/distro powered by one of our modified Honda EU6500is inverter generators.

When shooting interiors (like the one discussed here), you use one of the transformers on a 240V range or dryer receptacle to power a larger light inside; while using the other transformer to run a 4k Fresnel along with a 1200 Par on the Honda EU6500is outside. I have used this same combination of wall outlets, 60A step-down transformer distros, and Honda EU6500is generators to eliminate the need for tie-ins or a tow genny on many of the historical documentaries I have gaffed. For example, I have used this same package repeatedly at a historical mansion in Easton MA called the Ames Estate.

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(Scene from "Unsolved History" powered from 50A/240V range outlet through step-down transformer/distro at the Ames Estate)


A popular state fee free location, the Ames Estate, like many historical house/museums, does not permit tie-ins and the electrical wiring in the house is so antiquated that it is unusable. Fortunately, they have a 50A/240 volt circuit in the carriage house for a welder they use to repair the mowers they use at the park. Our standard mode of operation when shooting there is to run 250V extension cable from the welding receptacle to a 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro placed in the entry hall of the house. Using a 60A Siamese at the Transformer/Distro, we then run 60A 6/3 Bates extensions, down to the library, to the second floor, and back to the maid’s pantry. At the end of each run we put another 60A Siamese. A 60A snackbox on one side of the Siamese gives us 20A branch circuits. The other side we leave open for a large HMI or Tungsten Light. Now we can safely plug 1200 - 4000W HMIs (or even a 5k Quartz) into our own distribution anywhere in the house to balance the interior levels to the exterior. A good example of this approach is an American Experience program titled “The Most Dangerous Women in America” about Typhoid Mary that I lit for PBS. For part of her life Typhoid Mary was quarantined on an island in New York's East River.

Posted Image
(Typhoid Mary in quarantine on an island in New York's East River. Note the view out the window of the East River shoreline at the turn of the century.)


Because New York’s East River today looks nothing like it did when she was in quarantine, we used a 30' blowup of a picture of the East River at the turn of the century rigged outside the windows of a house in Arlington MA. As you can see by the production stills I have attached, the requirements of this production were very similar to the “Pirate Ship Live” production I described earlier. We had to strike a delicate balance between the interior and exterior levels. We wanted to overexpose the exterior by one stop so that it would look realistic and hide the fact that the exterior was a blow-up. As you can see in the production still of the exterior of the actual location used for the quarantine island, we rigged a solid over the porch windows and the blow-up to keep the sun off both. That way we could light the blow-up and interior so that it remained consistent even though the sun moved on and off the porch in the course of the day. To take the edge off the blow-up, we used a single scrim outside the window to help throw it out of focus.

Posted Image
(The actual exterior of Mary’s cottage was the backyard of a house in Arlington Ma with a 30’ blow up of a picture of New York’s East River shoreline at the turn of the century.)


To maintain continuity between shots, we brought a 4kw HMI Par in a window on one side of the room as a sun source and a 1200 par through a window on the other side as a northern light source. We powered both heads off a dryer plug in the laundry room of the house using one of our transformer/distros. The two 2.5k Par lights used outside to light the blow-up were powered by a Honda EU6500is through a second 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro. Since the Honda EU6500is could be placed right on the lawn, we were saved from running hundreds of feet of feeder back to a tow generator.

Posted Image
(A child dying of Typhoid Mary filmed in a bedroom of the Ames Estate)


We have been able to use this same basic package at numerous museums and historical houses throughout New England including Sturbridge Village. Fortunately for us, to make ends meet, many historical houses rent themselves out for events and weddings. For that reason, they usually have at least one updated service with 30 or 50 Amp 240 volt circuit for the warming ovens of caterers.

Posted Image
(The New York City Health Inspector filmed in the library of the Ames Estate)


Use this link - http://www.screenlig...ransformer.html - for more production stills of PBS and History Channel historical documentaries shot entirely, or in part, with our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distros and modified Honda EU6500is inverter generators at the Ames Estate.

Guy Holt, Gaffer, SreenLight & Grip, Boston
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