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#1 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 12:16 PM

You all know that harsh Sun of summer in Rome was a problem during the filming of To Rome with Love so to battle it and create the desired lighting, Darius Khondji and his team used diffusion balloons from ALF Service in Milan. This is how that looked like in Piazza della Madonna dei Monti:

 

a68e37_e256f6bef783bea6c441ae91a29ee46d.

 

They remind me of inflatable air mattresses, that swimming pool/beach toy that, I see now, has a few other names in different varieties of English.

 

I was wondering has anything like this been used elsewhere and how fairly standard is it as a piece of equipment?


Edited by Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos, 16 June 2016 - 12:21 PM.

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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 12:23 PM

It's not something I've seen very often here in LA. It's more common to see large frames (20' x 20' and up) with diffusion. They are sometimes called 'flyswatters' because of their shape.


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#3 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 01:16 PM

Well, I do wonder if it was easier to put a frame, perhaps a bit angled, or a few frames right where Darius is standing all the way up to where the Sun is shining through the balloon above the gelateria's awning. So much trouble for a shot that lasted a few seconds in the film.

 

Here’s the same spot, only with the camera taking the picture standing opposite the one that made the pic above:

 

benjaminb-trwl-ballons-540px-cfa38-bfedc

 

It seems the balloon set-up changed as well.


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 01:36 PM

I've used them in Los Angeles before, the product is sometimes called a "grip cloud".
http://lightingballo...0x3-grip-cloud/

They have the same limitations as lighting balloons, which is that are sensitive to wind and they still have tag lines dropping down, sometimes across the shot.

I had to use them to soften the harsh sun of a backyard for an all-day exterior wedding scene with 100 extras, plus some 20'x20' silks on condors as flyswatters for the corners of the yard where the condor cranes could reach, being parked in the front yard street... And then one of the worst windstorms to hit Los Angeles in years came -- the grip cloud flew into a tree and got punctured, deflating, and the flyswatters had to be lowered. The whole scene had to be shot in this high wind that was so bad a grip couldn't even hold onto a 4'x4' bounce card, so essentially it was shot in available light and the sound had to be replaced in post. Horrible day.

Haven't used the grip clouds since but I'm sure another opportunity will present itself.
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#5 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 17 June 2016 - 01:58 AM

Oh, so it’s also known as a “grip cloud”! That helped me find this:

 

 

What a horrid day that must’ve been. At first I read that the grip got punctured! But it was the cloud… Thank God. Where was the PA or AD or whoever is it that was responsible for weather forecasts on the set?

 

So, having your last line in mind, you do link them and the way they modify light? Is there something that they bring to the picture that cannot be replaced with something else?


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#6 John David Miller

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 07:07 AM

Last time I used a diffusion balloon was in Hawaii. The wind got a hold of it and snapped the tabs on the balloon that the lines were tied to. As it sailed off out over the Pacific I felt compelled to call the FAA to warn local air traffic of the object.

Helium is pricey these days. The cost and the limitations of the balloon make it a very situational piece of equipment. Working somewhere you aren't allowed to rig for example. "Hey we want to diffuse the light spilling through the oculus of the Pantheon..."
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#7 Jonathan Tinsley

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 04:07 PM

Looking at the video above, it says you can use a green screen rag with the Grip Cloud. What would be the point of that versus just using a frame?


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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 01:06 PM

Most of the Helium stuff is generally when you cant use conventional (and much cheaper) equipment, due to either location constraints, or, in some cases, time (moving basically a balloon can be faster than driving a condor around a house for example). But it's specialty stuff, and with the price of helium, something you call on as needed. I haven't had much need for grip clouds personally; but things like your good balloon light can come into play when you have larger locations/areas/ and need to get something overhead w/o as much/any rigging.


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