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Thomas Burns

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About Thomas Burns

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    Los Angeles, CA

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    http://www.thomasburns.net
  1. My experience has been that image quality with the Canon zoom deteriorates markedly when shooting at aperatures wider than f/4. I won't use the lens for this reason. Best, Thomas Burns Novice DP Los Angeles -- www.thomasburns.net
  2. American Cinematographer Manual, 8th ed. Hardcover. $40 plus shipping (from Los Angeles) I bought this book new several years ago and read it once. It's in fantastic shape. If interested, contact Thomas at (323) 387-2125
  3. Scottie, A flickering effect on commercial flourescent fixtures can be achieved by using a variac dimmer. Start with the unit at line voltage and slowly begin dimming down until you find the "sweet spot" where it begins to flicker. Good luck! Best, Thomas Burns Electrician/Novice DP Los Angeles
  4. Adam, The big question here is what the weather will be like, as a sunny day at the beach could require substantially more light than the overcast alternative. I would feel uncomfortable competing with a sunny beach on video with anything less than a 6K PAR, and even that could be dicey. You might try some grip lighting (a 12 x 12 bounce), though this option has its own set of variables (wind, changing sun, intermittant cloudcover, etc.). All of the day exteriors I've worked on at beaches have involved multiple 18Ks, but I understand that this approach may not be an option. A 2500 HMI will not be sufficient. You will do well to make sure whatever head you choose is a PAR and not a fresnel. Lots of putt-putt generators won't support a 4K, so be sure you inquire (and test!) at the rental house first. Beach shoots can be . . . challenging. Good luck, and let us know how it goes. Thomas Burns Electrician/Novice DP Los Angeles
  5. I bellieve the new generation of Barger Baglites have better rear ventilation, though they still run pretty hot. I agree that it's not a good idea to point them straight down. Barger also makes a "3K" baglite that runs off one 20amp circuit. It's worth mentioning that although the different models are generally referred to as "3K" and "6K", the globes are actually 650w FCM's. All in all a very good lamp if you need a large, soft source. Might also be worth mentioning in light of your previous post regarding sodium vapors that you're only gelling options with the Barger baglites is to gel the front of the Chimera. Hope this helps. Thomas Burns Electrician/Novice DP Los Angeles
  6. Jonathan, What you are trying to shoot? Are you photographing an empty warehouse? Are actors involved? Are these one-off shots, or are you trying to build a scene (master, coverage, etc.)? The answers to these questions are the single most important factors influencing your lighting decisions. If you have control over the native sodium vapor units you could turn them off and start from scratch with your tungsten heads, but why fight it? If you need "great looking wide shots", as you say, then you'll need the light to cover most of the warehouse, which is what the sodium vapors are doing for you already. With the little information I have, I recommend gelling your tungsten units to match the sodium and then white balancing as needed. The blue looking fixtures you mention are most likely mercury halide lamps. If there's only a few of these, I would try and find a way to prevent them from contaminating your set (i.e., turn them off, or flag them off if they're not too high). Or perhaps they provide an interesting addition. What you should aim for here is a level of control over the lighting. There have been lots of posts on this site regarding which gel cocktails will balance tungsten to sodium vapor--a search will give you lots of options. 1/8th CTO on a tungsten head is not a good match for sodium vapor. Unless you're dealing with daylight through windows or skylights, or a preponderance of mercury halide lamps, I don't think an HMI is what you need. It's true that HMIs are much more efficient than tungsten lights when it comes to footcandles per watt, but after you correct them back to your warmer color temp it's almost a wash anyway. The presence of windows or skylights presents an entirely different scenario, as you would then consider moving over to a daylight lighting platform. 110v lights come in all shapes and sizes. Most 10Ks run on 110v power, but that doesn't mean you can use them on the factory's house power. The name of the game here is amperage, and without a generator you're most likely stuck using 20 amp edison circuits. Generally speaking, a 2K is about all you can put on a circuit and feel safe. In a pinch you could run a 2K and a very small unit (a 2K draws 16.6 amps), but I don't recommend it. This is a great lighting exercise, and it won't be the last time you encounter this kind of set-up. Enjoy it, and let us know how it turns out. Thomas Burns Electrician/Novice DP Los Angles, CA
  7. If you're on location, a wall spreader would work well here. Cut the wood to fit the room and mount baby plates and gobo heads where you need to rig. For power you can either run head feeders down one side together to the ballasts (for easy access) or house the ballasts up top with the heads (if it's just a few heads you could cube tap off one stinger run). If you need a lot of power up top, consider running a stick of 100A or 60a to a lunch box rigged to the spreader. Thomas Burns Novice DP Los Angeles
  8. Scott, I've always heard that using location tubes (e.g., cool whites, warm whites, etc.) in kino fixtures causes an additional green spike do to the high frequency at which the kino ballasts run. Can you confirm this? It would be nice to have this issue settled once and for all by an expert. Thomas Burns Novice DP Los Angeles
  9. I had a telecine colorist complain to me once about how some DP's will ride the iris to maintain exposure on faces as the sun goes in and out of clouds. He said that it's better to let the exposure go--that way he has a better chance "fixing it in post". I'm not sure I really understand why that is. Any ideas? Thomas Burns Novice DP Los Angeles
  10. Looks good. How many stops over is her face? Thomas Burns Novice DP Los Angeles
  11. Hi all, I'm wondering if there are any organizations out there that offer group health insurance plans geared toward folks in the film business (I'm in Los Angeles, CA). I know the unions offer great coverage plans, but I'm still trying to get my days. Any thoughts? Thomas B. electrician/novice DP Los Angeles, CA
  12. What was the motivation for the vertical black stripes on the edges of frame in the black and white footage at the beginning? What caused it? I like it--seemed to spice the frame up a bit. I agree that the first half of the reel is much more engaging and dynamic than the end. I thought the final footage was the weakest (though it still looked great). Also, what song is that? Thomas Burns Novice DP Los Angeles, CA
  13. Looks great! What did you do to the color pallette on the shot of the woman sitting in the driver's seat of a parked car toward the beginning of the reel? I love the colors. Thomas Burns Novice DP Los Angeles, CA
  14. Hi gang, I'm going to be shooting a sit-down interview on location and the director has asked for a black background. We're shooting in a hotel events room with 10' ceilings. I plan to kill the house lights, use my own tungsten package, and fly in an 8x8 solid on a frame for a background. Has anyone had experience shooting black backgrounds? Will 8x8 give me enough background to shoot comfortably (dip and dodge with the subject's movements)? We're shooting on the new JVC HD100 camera. Any thoughts? Thomas Burns Novice DP Los Angeles, CA
  15. Hi All, I'm about to shoot a series of sit-down interviews with the JVC HD-100 and the producers have asked for a greenscreen background. This is my first time using this camera and I wanted to know if anyone has shot greenscreen with it and whether there's anything funky I should expect. My understanding is that this camera has a 4:2:0 sampling rate--does this effect greenscreen shooting at all (I usually shoot on 4:2:2 rigs)? Best, Thomas Burns Novice DP
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