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Essential electric and lighting equipment???


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#1 Guy Staley

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 10:50 PM

I am a gaffer/cinematographer starting to build a basic lighting/electrical kit for personal use. What would you consider essential equipment for small, narrative, location shoots if starting from scratch?

TIA for any input!

Edited by Guy Staley, 24 June 2012 - 10:51 PM.

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#2 Victor Bareno

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:07 PM

This thread also interests me (probably more grip-oriented myself) but heavy gauge stringers are a must, make sure they can handle your lights. A 10/3 50ft. is safe for upto around 2400w+, and a 12/3 of equal length around 1800w. Shorter stringers let you carry more juice - around 2800w is safe for a 12/3, 4000w+ for a 10/3 @ 25 feet.

Although I didn't consider it before, I do think of Duvetyne as part of 'essential lighting'. Very useful. As is Blackwrap
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:34 PM

C stands, at least 3.
Sand bags for em
A short arm
a short stand
basic gels, like 216 1/2 cto 1/2 ctb 1/2 +green ( i use all 1/2 for the most part as I can double up when need be)
Duev
Furnie pads (2)
Family of Apples
Cartillini clamps (such a life-saver!)
and then I'd go with some 1K Fresnels and something like an Arri Softank D4 Kit (650/300/2x150) and you're kinda good for most smaller shoots.

I also really like Par64 Cans and I use them a lot as they're cheap and have a nice throw.
I'd also grab a few extra knuckles and something like 2 road-rags type kits-- small and portable and every so useful.


I have a GFI quad box good for 1800W
25 and 50ft stingets. I try to 12/3 but Honestly some of them are 14/3.
Cube Taps
Ground Lifters
Zip cord (for wiring in your own lights if needed
Some ceramic sockets

assortment of practical bulbs
photo floods
Lantern-Locks

Blackwrap of course.

Clothes Pins (wooden)

I keep a few 15 and 20 A screw fuses on me, because I still see them sometimes here in Philadelphia, incase one blows.



my 2 cents.
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#4 Guy Staley

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 03:37 PM

C stands, at least 3.
Sand bags for em
A short arm
a short stand
basic gels, like 216 1/2 cto 1/2 ctb 1/2 +green ( i use all 1/2 for the most part as I can double up when need be)
Duev
Furnie pads (2)
Family of Apples
Cartillini clamps (such a life-saver!)
and then I'd go with some 1K Fresnels and something like an Arri Softank D4 Kit (650/300/2x150) and you're kinda good for most smaller shoots.

I also really like Par64 Cans and I use them a lot as they're cheap and have a nice throw.
I'd also grab a few extra knuckles and something like 2 road-rags type kits-- small and portable and every so useful.


I have a GFI quad box good for 1800W
25 and 50ft stingets. I try to 12/3 but Honestly some of them are 14/3.
Cube Taps
Ground Lifters
Zip cord (for wiring in your own lights if needed
Some ceramic sockets

assortment of practical bulbs
photo floods
Lantern-Locks

Blackwrap of course.

Clothes Pins (wooden)

I keep a few 15 and 20 A screw fuses on me, because I still see them sometimes here in Philadelphia, incase one blows.



my 2 cents.


Awesome, awesome info.

Right now, my fixtures consist of:

• Four Baby (1k) fresnels (with an additional couple of 500w globes to swap out when power restraints or proximity are an issue)
• Two 1k Redheads
• Two Mini-Mole (lamped with 250w globes) fresnels.
• Basic gels: check! (but need more)
• 25' and 50' 12/3 stingers: check!
• Cube taps and ground lifts: check!
• 20lbs Sand bags: check!
• Furniture pads: check!
• Clothes pins: check!
• 18"x24" nets and flags and a couple 24"x36" silks: One full, and one half. I realize this is more grip gear, but I'm pretty much a one-man band right now!

C-Stands and light stands will remain rental items for the time being, as good ones are bloody expensive, and they cost like $5 to rent. I do intend to purchase a few down the road.

Can anyone recommend some good but less expensive light stands? Once again, these are for Baby's, Mini's, and Redheads.

There are a few things on this list I'm not familiar with: Cartillini clamps, lantern locks, road-rags kits? And I can see a few obvious items I've overlooked and will get right on that!

Thanks again for the input!
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:24 PM

Carellini clamps are a lot like maffers, but much more userful (called Matthelinni if bought from Matthews)

http://www.bhphotovi...arch=yes&sts=ma

once you get them, you'll stick them everywhere.

Road Rags are a matthews (or Wescott) collapsible flag kit in either 18x24 or 24x36. I have both, for the money, the Wescott is much more worth it than the Matthews, though the Matthews does rig tighter to the frame. They're small and easy to pack which is why I like 'em

lanternlocks are essentially rigid China ball innerds :

http://thedopshop.co...hting-c-29.html

you can get 'em cheaper, or make 'em yourself though I'm not sure where.


as for C stands, I believe mine are Avenger. I normally get 'em used from BH photo which runs about $129 per stand, Not super cheap, but since I use them on every shoot (and sometimes at the BBQ and around the house) made sense to buy ;) Also out here, you always seem to need just one more stand than you rented... so it's Adrian to the Rescue!

I would also throw in a Dimmer, which I left out. I have 2, both rated for 1K, and also I have this nifty little one which is basically an E26 screw with an e26 screw and a small knob on the side to fim with. Great for putting in a practical, or in a chinaball, but i'd not trust it with any major wattage and honestly have No idea where it came from. It just appeared in my kit one day-- faeries i presume.
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#6 Guy Staley

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 05:26 PM

Carellini clamps are a lot like maffers, but much more userful (called Matthelinni if bought from Matthews)

http://www.bhphotovi...arch=yes&sts=ma

once you get them, you'll stick them everywhere.

Ooo. Those look uber useful. Great tip. Sort of replaces a whole host of other clamp types.

Road Rags are a matthews (or Wescott) collapsible flag kit in either 18x24 or 24x36.

I kinda thought maybe thats what you were talking about. I actually asked about the Westcott "Fast Flags" in another post, but didn't get any real info. I just bought a set of traditional flags, but I'll keep those in mind for my next purchase.

lanternlocks are essentially rigid China ball innerds :

http://thedopshop.co...hting-c-29.html

Okay, those are damn clever! I'll be getting a few of those asap!

as for C stands, I believe mine are Avenger. I normally get 'em used from BH photo which runs about $129 per stand, Not super cheap, but since I use them on every shoot (and sometimes at the BBQ and around the house) made sense to buy ;)

So, do you generally just use c-Stands to mount lights, or do you carry C-Stands and light stands? I normally rent Mattews double and triple riser light stands 'cause they're so damn burly, and the triples go really high. And they are so stable I'm never concerned about lights toppling over once I get a sandbag on there. I usually just use C-Stands for grip tasks (generally holding frames and flags), but seems like some gaffers use 'em for lights as well?

honestly have No idea where it came from. It just appeared in my kit one day-- faeries i presume.

LOL! I come from an audio background, and I used to have this mic cable bag that I took with me to every gig. And that bag just kept getting heavier and heavier every time I did a show. I have no idea where the extra cables would come from, but I think it was just people trying to be helpful. They would see a big bag full of mic cables and just assume that's where they all must belong. The heavier the bag got, the heavier the bag would get - if you get my meaning.

Thanks again for all the useful information. I'm gaffing/DOPing three short films between now and the end of August, so I'm trying to take the opportunity to gear up to minimize future rentals. In most cases, things will pay for themselves pretty quickly. I mean, $4.25 per day for sandbags at the local rental house. I can buy them for not much more. Same with flags, frames, overheads, etc. Even smaller, tungsten lights will pay for themselves pretty quickly.

Cheers!

-Guy

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#7 ian dart

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 08:31 PM

hi guy
i am a gaffer as well and have a large kit. but still looking for the cheap alternative i made my own china lantern holders.
i just used 1/4 threaded bar and some aluminium plate from the local hardware.
they are adjustable to the lanterns by moving the wing nuts up and down.
i use a c stand knuckle to mount them.
they have a ceramic edison screw mount fitting.
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#8 David G. Smith

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:24 PM

When ya'll say "Ground lifts" do you mean "Cheater plugs" or a three prong to two prong adapter? I keep a handful of them with me at all times, that is for sure.

Also have various electrical gizmos like socket to outlet adapters, outlet to socket socket adapters, medium base two head sockets and an inexpensive circuit tester. Also, lots of tape... of various types.
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#9 David G. Smith

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:40 PM

I also have to say that I am gaining an appreciation for the PAR 64 cans as well. For pure footcandle bang for the buck, they are hard to beat. I got 4 of the fixtures from these guys for $85.00, with free shipping. They still sell 4 of them for $89.00 or so. Even with adding a bulb and a TVMP adapter I am still in for about $55.00 a piece for the fixtures. I have tested the photometrics of my lights recently and the 1000 watt PAR 64 can, with a very narrow spot bulb gives 100 footcandles (f5.6(ish) at 500 ISO) at 50 feet. With a 1000 watt wide flood bulb, It still gives 30 footcandles (f2.8(ish) at 500 ISO) at 40 feet.
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:57 PM

Hey David;
when I say Ground lifts, yes, I mean those things which turn a 2 prong outlet into a 3 prong. What they're actually called, honestly, I havn't a clue; but I've always know them as ground lifts.

And yes, <3 my PARs. I also have a nice "altman star par," which was a bit more expensive and is a 575. I got it to see how it is, and aside from it being damned heavy, I like that I can change out the lens on that one -v- the whole bulb. not nearly as bright as a 64VNSP, of course, but not bad either... and has barn doors.

i also just snagged 2 source 4 leko like lights at a flea market for $31 for the pair with 500w bulbs. Once I get the TVMP adapters in, and throw something more useful than a 3' cord on 'em, I think I'll be having a good bit of fun with them.
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#11 David G. Smith

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 08:05 PM

Wow, I bet those will be handy lights to have. Reminds me to check Craigslist latter and see what I can find there.

I have seen lists of essential gear, like above, in other forums and such, and I have noted that everybody includes cube taps, but rarely mentions power strips. Would there be a reason for that? I work very low budget so I am usually stuck with location power, from the sockets. I first try to figure out the different circuits and run a feeder stinger from outlets on each circuit to a central place, if possible, then feed individual fixtures off of the power strips. I use 25 foot 12/3 stingers (I have 10 of them now)and the largest fixture I have is a 2K, but mostly work with 1K or less. Am I overlooking anything by using power strips? I use some pretty burly ones (I don't have them handy at the moment to check specs).

Now I have done bigger shoots and call in the appropriately skilled individuals to access and distribute power for us, but bread and butter stuff is thin staffed, ya know.

Edited by David G. Smith, 04 July 2012 - 08:08 PM.

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