There are several ways of rigging lights onto or under the basket of a condor depending on the light and application. The preferred means of rigging onto the basket is to use the condor bracket below.
There have been several developments in the use of aerial lifts recently that you should be aware of. The first is that the lift manufacturers are finally supporting their use in motion picture production. The upside to this development is that they now provide them painted black (see picture below) and they have endorsed the rigging of lights on their baskets, which is a good thing except that in doing so the manufacturers have set strict weight restrictions that vary depending on the height and reach of the basket and how far off the basket pivot point the light is rigged (see representative illustration below.)
When rigging lights with a condor bracket on the front rail of a condor basket (as pictured above), the endorsements are in fact so restrictive that electric trailers now carry shipping scales to weigh the equipment and only the smallest guys on a crew qualify for “condor duty.” Quite often the lifts have to be sent up unmanned, and the lights focused from the ground by panning and tilting the basket with the ground controls because there is not sufficient capacity in the basket for an operator. For this reason, Arri has incorporated their new MAX reflector technology into a new power class of HMI light: the M90.
(The light generated by the CAD designed Max Reflector of the new M90/60 is incredibly bright and sharp.)
Utilizing a new 9 kW HMI lamp, the unique MAX reflector of the M90 creates diverging parallel rays to produce a crisp light with even distribution through a wide spot/flood range. The result is a lens-less open face fixture with a quality of light close to that of a Fresnel. The elimination of spread lenses like those used on HMI Pars, makes the ARRI MAX reflector lamp heads comparable to par configurations of even a higher wattage. In fact, the M90 is brighter than some 18K Fresnels on the market, yet weighs 67lbs less. Weighing only 87lbs, verses the 154lbs of a their 18k Fresnel, two M90s can be rigged into a condor basket and operated by a technician where only one 18k Fresnel could before.
(The Active Line Filtration (ALF) of the new ARRI EB 6000/9000 ballast makes it an incredibly efficient and clean load.)
To power the new M90 head, ARRI has engineered a dual wattage ballast. The EB 6000/9000 will operate either the traditional 6kw SE globe in the M90 head, or the new 9kw SE globe, on supply voltages ranging from 195-250V. With Active Line Filtration (ARRI's system of Power Factor Correction) built in, the EB 6000/9000 ballast is incredibly efficient and generates virtually no harmonic noise - enabling it to reliably operate on portable gas generators like Honda's new Digital AVR 10kw EB10000 (pictured below.)
Not only does the MAX reflector of this head provide more output, but it is also incredibly versatile. When you don't need the punch of a 18kw Fresnel, you can swap the 9kw globe for a 6kw globe making more power available to run additional lights on an EB10000. For example, you save 27 Amps when you swap out a 9kw bulb for a 6kw bulb. The 27 Amps you save by burning the smaller 6kw globe will power quite a few more lights when you consider that both the ARRI L7 LED Fresnel and Kino Flo Parabeam 400 use approximately 2 Amps. In fact, such versatility now enables the operation on a portable generator, like Honda’s new EB10000, of just about all the lights needed to shoot a night exterior on a digital cinema camera. This combination of smaller, brighter, more efficient lights, with more sensitive digital cameras, and new more powerful portable generators makes it now possible to achieve remarkable results on a tight budget.
(Our modified Honda EB10000 with Voltage Select 84A Transformer/Distro and 14 Gallon Fuel Caddy.)
One of the biggest hurdles to obtaining good production values in low budget digital cinema productions is the high cost of the blimped studio generators required to power large HMIs. Not only are blimped generators expensive to rent, but they also come with hidden costs. Since rental trucks like those from Ryder or Penske are not equipped to tow, you quite often have to hire the rental house's grip truck to tow them. And, since most rental houses require that one of their employees drive their trucks (for insurance reasons), the production has to hire a driver at roughly $575/10hrs - which is probably more than anyone else on a typical indie crew is getting paid. All of this makes the use of an 18k Fresnel in a condor very expensive. Powering a M90 with a Honda EB10000 will not only save Sean a lot of money but also save him from having to run out 400ft of feeder cable over rough terrain.
Guy Holt, Gaffer, Lighting and Grip Equipment Rental & Sales in Boston