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Using a generator on an exterior shoot

lighting gaffer

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#1 Scott Norris

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:36 PM

Hello!

I'm planning for a student short and have just discovered the church we are shooting at has no mains sockets. The plan is to hire a 2.7kwa generator & run the (potentially 4x350w & 1x600w for a total of 2000w) lights this way. 

  • Is there proper procedure for grounding the generator/how should I go about this?
  • Will using a 4-way extension cable for the lights be feasible or does this create any sort of danger?
  • The company we plan to hire from has recommended that the generator be 20m or so from the building to keep noise to a minimum. Does this sound about right?
  • Also, the estimated run time on the generator is 3hours, it runs on unleaded petrol. Is it possible to simply fill a petrol can up and have that ready to resupply or does the generator run the risk of overheating etc?

I appreciate that some of these questions may sound like common sense, but having never used a generator before I'd appreciate any advice you can give!

 

Thanks a ton,

Scott


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#2 timHealy

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:19 PM

I guess you haven't search for guy holts numerous posts about portable genies and his custom transformer for Honda EU 6500's?

 

I wouldn't worry about grounding a portable benny.

 

I would use one of the Honda EU series of gennies. They are very quite inverter generators. Probably the 6500 would work the best. You can keep them fairly close to your set but the further away the better for you sound dept. You can use common sense to put one around the corner of a house or something at your location that would block sound. Also helps to point the exhaust away from your set.

 

If the genny is taken care of, you should be able to run it all day. The EU gennies also have an eco mode. You can run it in that mode to save gas a little and it will automatically ramp up when the load is higher.

 

Best

 

Tim


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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 01:03 AM

The 6500 is a great genny. It's nice to have more power than you need.

Yes, you can keep the gas nearby and refill it. Turn it off when you do, of course. Most take 91 octane. runtime will depend on how much load you're pulling. No it shouldn't overheat, but try not to bundle it up too too much or block it in any way.

Keep exhaust away from set.

Most put puts don't have groundings-- bigger ones do-- and some municipalities require grounding, but I haven't grounded anything small in a long long time.

Mind your amps off of the circuits so you don't trip a breaker, and check on the gas level during the day.


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#4 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 04:16 AM

+1 to what Adrian and Tim have said. If you're just using tungsten fixtures for lighting you'll be fine, however if you bring in fixtures with electronic ballasts (HMI, Fluorescent, LED) you'll want to try and stick to power factor corrected units - otherwise they'll draw more power than expected, and you might overload the gennie.


Edited by Mark Kenfield, 18 March 2014 - 04:19 AM.

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#5 Scott Norris

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:08 AM

Thanks for the information - Guy Holt's stuff has been particularly useful. We will be using tungsten lights, so that shouldn't be an issue.

I am a little bit worried about overloading the circuit, I was never great at physics! From what I can gather online as long as I don't exceed 80% of the maximum amperage/wattage I should be fine? 

 

Thanks again for your help.


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#6 timHealy

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:30 AM

Most take 91 octane.

 

Technially correct but not "technically" correct.

 

In the US, you should use the highest octane you can get which is typically 93. The gas burns hotter and is better to keep your carburetors cleaner and your small generator operating better and longer. 

 

Using regular gas octane at 90 will work, but with the 10 percent ethanol in the gas, the ethanol can eventually gum up the carburetors leading to repair or replacement.

 

This rule apparently applies to all small engine devices such as generators, lawn mowers, snow and leaf blowers etc., etc.

 

I don't know if this applies to other parts of the world and what they add to their gasoline. mAybe someone there can chime in.

 

I was in Europe last week and it seemed like 100 octane gas is widely available. I'd like to get some of that in my VW GTI.

 

Best

 

Tim


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#7 timHealy

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:41 AM

I am a little bit worried about overloading the circuit, I was never great at physics! From what I can gather online as long as I don't exceed 80% of the maximum amperage/wattage I should be fine? 

 

You don't have to be great at physics. You just have to OK at math. Just read the manual on your genny and check what things are rated at. The Honda EU 6500 manual has a whole page about what outlets are hot and how many amps per outlet you can draw and what settings (120/240 volt modes). I'm assuming you are in Europe..? If that is true you want to find a EU (european union) manual for the Honda EU (not european union) 6500 if that is the genny you use. I will make an assumption that the EU version of the Honda EU 6500 may not have a 120/240 volt mode switch like a NA (North American) version. But maybe I'm wrong.

 

You can use a crappy construction genny if you are just using tungsten, but that will be louder in terms of sound. Cheaper in terms of money (usually) and I would check the voltage before you plugged anything in with an external volt meter.


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#8 aapo lettinen

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 06:47 PM

 

 

 

I was in Europe last week and it seemed like 100 octane gas is widely available. 

 

Best

 

Tim

In Finland gas is usually either 95 or 98 octane and usually a bit of ethanol added (5 or 10% depending on the gas type) 

Some cars don't even work well with the 95 oct and need to be run with the 98...   

 

I believe this has something to do with the EU regulations. I don't remember seeing any gas in Finland under 95 octane in like 15 or 20 years or so. 


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