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Adding gel to a china ball


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#1 Adam Goral

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 11:49 AM

I love china balls. Fast, lightweight, easy to mount, and beautiful soft light. I use 12" ones for hairlights and 30" ones for key all the time. Recently, I've been trying to add color to them, but have had a really tough time getting a gel inside them. FWIW, I don't use lantern locks because they are ridiculously expensive and, IMO, the sturdiness of the frame removes the advantage of the lightweight wire fixture.

Does anybody have a creative and efficient way to properly gel the inside of the china ball? I've been somewhat successful in making a bailing wire cage around the wire fixture to keep the gel off the globe, but it's never been very clean nor easy to change out the gel color.

I'd be very interesting in seeing what you've all come up with! Thanks!
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#2 Oliver Hadlow Martin

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:05 PM

I don't know how your china balls are constructed (oo err) but mine are just like a coat hanger in the middle and push from either end, they kinda pop in if you get me.




I've just a bit of gel cut to the right size and wrap it around the middle stem bit and secure it with a peg to one side of the vertical central column, takes literally seconds.


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#3 Adam Goral

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 10:18 PM

Yup, mine are the same type. Your method works fine for smaller wattage bulbs, 100w or less, but lately I've been using 200w globes with porcelain sockets and a gel wrapped around the stems melts after about 3 minutes. I find that the gel needs to be at least one inch away from the globe to not melt. Adding a bit of heat shield inside the gel helps too, but again, it's all really cumbersome. I'd hate to give up on this though! Someone must have encountered this issue in the past!
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#4 Kevin Horn

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:51 AM

Adam,

I use china balls on every shoot, both 12" and 24", and have also struggled with adding gel to my light. I typically add a duvatyn skirt to all of my china balls to mask off any unwanted light onto walls, other subjects. I found that if you have big enough sheets of gel, you can clamp them to the bottom of the skirt around the bottom of the china ball.
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#5 Oliver Hadlow Martin

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:45 AM

Yup, mine are the same type. Your method works fine for smaller wattage bulbs, 100w or less, but lately I've been using 200w globes with porcelain sockets and a gel wrapped around the stems melts after about 3 minutes. I find that the gel needs to be at least one inch away from the globe to not melt. Adding a bit of heat shield inside the gel helps too, but again, it's all really cumbersome. I'd hate to give up on this though! Someone must have encountered this issue in the past!




Could you use CFL in a single to four socket converter?





I've seen people do that before, that would remove the heat problem perhaps.

Edited by Olliehm, 22 August 2012 - 08:46 AM.

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#6 rsellars

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 01:56 PM

Adam, I'm afraid I don't have a clever solution for adding gel - it is a pain and doesn't work well. I avoid gels with china balls and approach the issue from another angle. If I want a warmer light source, then I typically use a large wattage household bulb (warmer than the 3200K photofloods). Or, I use a larger wattage bulb than needed and dim the light to the desired warm color temperature. If I want a cooler source, then I use a #1 or #2 blue photoflood (approx 4800K). If the source needs to be even cooler, then I also use a blue paper lantern. If I want party colors, I use different color paper lanterns. I realize that these options are not as precise as using gel, but they are much quicker and less likely to melt and smoke. If I need a precise color that I can't duplicate using one of these methods, then I usually choose another lighting unit. China balls are great solutions for many situations where omni-directional light is needed like over a dinner table. The light weight makes them easy to rig safely deep into a set. But they can also take extra time to skirt and control any unwanted spill light. There are often other quicker alternatives to using china balls that have a soft quality and are easier to gel, diffuse and control such as kinoflos. I can't afford to waste time with any time consuming rig that has a faster alternative.
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