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Frank DiPaola

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  1. Typical Edison (the common household outlet in the US) extension cords are made with twelve gauge wire. The cable can handle twenty amps but often times the connectors are only rated to fifteen. Although its not uncommon to see a 2k (16.7 Amps) on this type of connection it is something you may want to keep an extra eye on as I have seen the connectors smoke up in this situation. A good idea and one step closer to proper would be to buy an extension cord with a black jacket because nothing screams amateur louder than cable with an orange jacket, except for the possibility of gardening gloves. It also has the added benefit of being easier to hide. If you wanted to go all out you could buy some 12/3 SJO cable and Hubbell connectors and make your own. They would be more expensive but a lot easier to handle.
  2. For posterity's sake I'd like to add that you'd never call for a 5k HMI because one doesn't exist.
  3. I've had great luck powering smaller HMIs with electronic ballasts off of inverters but 800W sounds like it would be too big a draw for the average alternator. You may be able to squeak by on a bigger vehicle though, so it might be worth a shot. If you do use an inverter with a large draw like this make sure it's one that attaches to the battery, not the type that goes through the 12V outlet.
  4. Since you're going through a lampshade anyway you may want to consider using clear globes vs their "soft white" counterparts.
  5. Many beginning directors ask this question with "DP" replaced by "director." The answer I hear the most from the people I respect seems to be that its different for everyone and there are no set ways. It seems to work well enough for them, why not borrow the answer for us too? Some DPs rise up through the ranks, some shoot a short that wins awards, some just get lucky; there are as many reasons as there are cinematographers. If you feel you have something artistically to gain from interning/working at Panavision then why not go for it? If you're just looking for a nine to five it sounds like thats already possible for you in the electric department. Personally, I've found there's no substitute for being on set. Do you feel the need to commit to one particular option? Why not juice on the bigger budget sets to expose yourself to the tools and the trade while seeking out worthwhile lower budget projects to shoot?
  6. Cinerep's 350A towable is my go to generator for smaller shows and I haven't run into any problems so far. I suppose you could get by with their 165A (about 20kW) towable but for such a small difference in price it may not be worth taking the chance. I wouldn't imagine that a 165A would contain a 100A bates outlet, it seems like it would be an invitation to overamp a leg of the gennerator. However, I could very well be wrong because I don't remember the last time I worked with a generator of that size. Worst case scenario you could rent a snakebite, just make sure you're good on power. You may just want to call Cinerep and try to explain what you're doing. I've found them to be pretty helpful people and they should be able to answer any questions and point you in the right direction.
  7. I've found that Xenons are just interesting enough to justify all the trouble they bring. From my experience as well as the experience of some people I have talked to the type with ballasts on head are a little less finicky then those with separate ballasts. The particular model in the pictures Kevin posted is the Nexus II, which certainly had its quirks but was manageable. If you need the light to come strait down most places will rent you a special angled mirror that lets you accomplish this. To get an idea of what kind of punch they pack check out some photometrics here. A 2k is about as bright as the sun at full spot from 50 feet away, granted only for a 24" beam diameter. In regards to "Kevin's Package"... There's something either fantastic or absurd in using a light that takes four electricians to get up and and 36,000 watts to keep running as warm fill. If you ever hear "It's subtle but we like it." know that it's gaffer speak for "I'm sorry for making you get this light." ;)
  8. I would imagine that if you had a large enough frame overhead then you probably wouldn't have deep shadows to fill in the first place. In that case a 1200W HMI through some light diffusion might be a nice way to add a little something to the skin tones and make the characters pop.
  9. Photometrics can make for interesting academic practice and charts can be found on the internet or in the SLT's Handbook. I studied them quite a bit when first learning and still consult them every once in a while when dealing with a new unit. It?s a very handy tool and something I recommend anyone who is serious about lighting learn. Still, there is no substitute for experience because you're never going to consult a chart on set. In regards to renting units you?re probably not doing production any favors by trying to nail the unit on paper. A 1200W HMI (the most powerful light you can run off house power) rents for about $10 more than a 575W. Not much more to double your output is it? I?m not advocating grossly over estimating your needs but in general err in the side of too much rather than too little. If a light is too powerful you can always drop wire in it. If it?s too weak you?ll just wish you rented the bigger light.
  10. A lot depends on the type of room you're shooting in. Can you control the light levels of where the speaker will be or will you be competing with house lights or big windows? If you're unfamiliar with or concerned about Kinoflos why not use smaller HMIs? Joker Bugs are a very handy smaller wattage HMI and you can order them in a kit that comes with a small chimera that makes a great key light. One thing to keep in mind is that by not going with tungsten units is that you will invariably pay a little extra.
  11. Arri makes a line of "open faced" HMIs called X Lights. They have no lenses other than a safety glass and can accept silver or black reflectors. The black reflector will cost you a bit of output but will give you a harder shadow. Go with the biggest unit you can afford if you're competing with daylight.
  12. Well, if you really wanted to use this meter the easiest thing would be to draft a table that correspond your f-stops to lux at various film speeds and tape it to the back of it. What you have listed will work with some minor corrections for ASA 50. All that being said I think you?re much better off investing in a Sekonic 398. I doubt it would be any more expensive and I?m sure it would be infinitely easier.
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