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Toby Orzano

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About Toby Orzano

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  • Occupation
    Electrician
  • Location
    Portland, OR
  1. I guess it depends on what type of work you do and what you project for the future but if you foresee sticking around for a while and want to allow room to grow, perhaps consult with the building management about getting an electrician to put a camlock drop in your studio. Then you could split off and run a few lunchboxes/woodheads wherever you want them. You'll have plenty of overhead as far as amperage and total security about how much is on each circuit, plus reliable breakers at your fingertips. That would also give you freedom to use large lights that draw more than 20A, if you ever need to. Honestly I have no idea how much that would cost. Switching to fluorescents would also be a decent-sized investment, but I think that would eventually limit you if you were doing bigger shoots. If you're doing well now and want room to expand in the current space, I think getting more power and proper distro is the way to go.
  2. Aha, I found one of the examples of lightning done with the LightningStrikes 70K unit. The lightning is at 1:15. The controller automatically generates undulation so you just have to hold the button for how ever long you want the lightning to last and it produces the variable flicker that you see. Nice for technicians, who don't have to stress about getting a gag right when they have no idea what it looks like on camera.
  3. A metal flag would sure be a heck of a lot cheaper and simpler than a Lightning Strike, not to mention also eliminating the cost and hassle of transporting the beastly ThunderVolt. Guy, have you gotten good results for simulating lightning using this technique? Any examples by chance? Is it possible to spin the flag fast enough that you don't see the edge wipe across frame as it opens up? I feel like you also need to vary the duration of each subsequent "strobe" for it to sell as realistic lightning.
  4. You've already got the knowledge, you've answered your own question. You need more light inside to balance to the outdoor light. You can try placing a bounceboard in front of you to return the light coming in the window as fill on your face. A white bounce will have a soft quality, but depending on how close you can get it, you might have the same problem with not enough light. A shiny, specular bounce will reflect more light, but it will be harsh on your face. I'm not familiar with the LS Pro studio lights but it sounds like you need a light fixture with more output, like a small HMI. Or you can put ND gel on the window to cut the light coming through the window and fill with your lights, but you have to be very careful applying it so it doesn't read on screen. You also might be able to get away with a double net placed outside the window to cut down the background, if it is out of focus. Have you tried exposing for your face and letting the window blow out with your current setup? Especially if the window is a little bit out of focus, a blown out window highlight might be a little more acceptable than an underexposed face, depending on how far it goes.
  5. You can't flick an HMI on and off. You have to keep the head burning and use mechanical shutters if you want to make the light look like it is flickering. I know these shutters exist but I have never used them so maybe someone else can provide more information. I have used these on a few projects with success: http://www.luminyscorp.com/lightning-strikes/ The output per wattage is not the same as HMI so you have to go much bigger than you think. I'd say you would need at least the 70kW for this setup, maybe on a Long John Silver stand or condor. You don't need 70kW continuous power—they have the Thundervolt battery pack which powers the LightningStrike head and trickle-charges from any 20A circuit. If you go crazy with tons of lightning you may have to wait a little while between takes for it to charge back up. You have a DMX remote on the ground (or in the basket) where you can control when it fires, the speed of undulation, and the intensity.
  6. You're right, one won't work for every situation. When you say "getting," do you mean buying or renting? Rags are super cheap to rent, so rent a few different selections if you can. I suppose how easily available and how many options you have will depend on where you are located. If you have to buy just one, the .5 stop difference between 1.25 and .75 isn't going to make or break the shoot. What time of day are you shooting? What kind of climate do you live in—can you expect a lot of harsh sun or is it often overcast? Are you going to be under partial shade or out in the open? Do you have reflectors or HMIs (and a way to power them outdoors)? If you're going to be under hard midday sun and you have tools to create some controlled light on the subjects, go with denser diffusion. Regardless, make sure you have adequate gear to safely fly a frame above talents' heads outdoors. Use combi stands with at least two sandbags per stand and be prepared to tie the frame off if there is any wind. One gust is all it takes.
  7. I like the Modern Studio hardware. Scroll down to 1" hardware and you will see a variety of corners and ears.
  8. Did this on location once, day for night where the windows would be in frame. Thick ND on the windows, I think at least three layers of .9. Then a 6K PAR for the lighthouse sweep. We started with a spot lens but it wasn't quite enough punch through all that ND so we ended up going sans lens. Unfortunately I can't find the footage online, but I recalled it looked pretty good. There was probably a better light for the job but it was part of a feature and the 6K was in our standard package and they wanted to avoid day-playing additional gear. In any case, we just panned across, then tilted down and panned back below the window to the starting point and panned across again, no spinning reflectors or anything. Since you have the luxury of being on a stage, maybe a 5K or 10K Molebeam projector, depending on what interior levels you are balancing to? I guess it will also depend on what you are seeing. Do you just see the beam swipe through, perhaps edging a subject; or do you actually see the wall where the beam hits and watch the spot swipe through, maybe even front-lighting a subject as it crosses? And how tight or wide are the shots? For the aforementioned feature, we did shoot in and around the actual lighthouse. I was surprised to learn that the actual fixture in the lighthouse was just a 150w (if I recall correctly, though it was definitely something low like that) incandescent bulb with a couple plastic fresnels spinning around it. Lighthouses are meant to be seen, not to actually illuminate anything around them, but alas audiences are still looking for that gag. The good thing is that you have some artistic license as to how you want your beam to look.
  9. One big objection is to the ground-level spreader. PITA to open and close, and it bones you if you were trying to put multiple of these close together, you can't nest the legs like normal combis and beefy babies. And with a 13 lb capacity you can't even mount an ARRI 1200 or M18, so a junior receiver is kind of pointless. Heck, as per the Mole website, a 1K baby weighs 13.75lbs. I really was kidding though, you use what you've got available. No offense intended.
  10. Personally I would tie the sandbag tightly to the stand, take the whole rig to a bridge and throw it off into the water, then get a real stand. :lol:
  11. I just got some of those Kino CFLs (5600K) and they have been great so far. Note, though, that they are physically longer than most normal CFLs and won't fit in many practical lamps that have the wire frame that holds a traditional shade. However, I think their use in practicals is pretty limited even when they do fit. You don't really use daylight sources in practicals very often, and the the only advantage to putting the tungsten ones in practicals is if you are really short on available power. Incandescents bulbs are going to match tungsten lights better, plus they have the advantage of being dimmable, which the CFLs aren't. Plus they are way cheaper. They are still the better option for practicals in my opinion. Maybe the CFLs will be the only option as higher wattage incandescent bulbs are phased out though... I used the 5600K CFLs in china balls on set today, and they were great for a little daylight fill.
  12. You've got a lot going against you on this one, and you might have to make some compromises that aren't satisfying personally, but I'm sure you'll still come out with a nice end product one way or another. The one thing that you have in your favor is that the audience can't see on screen what you had hoped to accomplish, and therefore won't miss it if it's not there. You might have to have a window that you just can't see out of. Maybe there can be a closeup of a character peeking out the curtains and a cutaway to city scape outside, then back to the close-up—traditional continuity cutting. Sound design can play a big part too. This of course if you can't come up with something that looks good in the window.
  13. There's not really any kind of special rig that needs to be created. I don't know if this was your impression, but just to clarify, the light instrument used to augment the practical is not hidden behind the practical from the camera's point of view. It will be out of frame behind the practical from the perspective of the subject, as close to the axis of the practical as possible without the practical itself blocking the light from hitting the subject. It is usually necessary to flag the light from your film light off of the shade of the practical, as the practical is meant to appear to be the source of light in the frame and to have light shining on your light source is pretty silly and gives the whole thing away. Sometimes you might want to dim your film light down a bit to warm up the color temperature to match the practical better. With newer cameras that are getting better at shooting at high ISO levels, it is becoming more possible to actually light a scene with practicals. You may need to replace bulbs with higher wattages (making sure the sockets are rated accordingly) and treat the practical shades with ND gel so that the light that spills out the top and bottom of the shade are within your exposure range.
  14. Sounds good Adrian, thanks! I was thinking of using them primarily in china balls as well. I wasn't big on kinos at first either…until LEDs reared their even uglier heads. …And back to the hotel topic, sorry all.
  15. I think Adrian's right on. Even if you don't have a red light source, having red elements in the production design being hit with tungsten or slightly-warmer light in a low key setting will still hit the subconscious of the viewer. The whole scheme makes me think of David Lynch films, especially red-glowing lamp shades and such. However, I'm wondering how the cost of a five-star hotel room compares to the cost of renting out a stage and building a set. I don't have much experience with five-star hotel rooms personally :D . Even renting a warehouse space that is not an "official film soundstage" would give you a lot more options, as long as there is usable power. Then maybe you could put your city image outside the windows and build some goalposts overhead for lighting. This just makes sense to me if you're not going to be able to see out the window in the real hotel anyways. I suppose in addition to the cost of the space there would be added costs for production design, but maybe it's worth raising a little more money if the final product can be that much better? I know easier said than done. Bu then you wouldn't have to destroy everyone's sleep schedules by shooting overnights for 12 days either! Side question for Adrian: I've been eyeing those Kino CFLs. How well does the color match the regular Kino tubes? Any issues with flicker? It states right on the product page that they are not flicker-free.
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