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Matthew Parnell

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Everything posted by Matthew Parnell

  1. What grip lighting gear will you have? Achieving the looks of your reference material, especially on the budget you have, you will find your grip gear is going to be way more important than the lamps you have.
  2. As well as output level, you also have to take into account light quality when choosing a lamp. An 18k Frez has a much cleaner beam, and a much more even spread than the brutality that is the ‘M’ Series. Which makes it much more suitable as a hard light, especially in situations when you want clean shadow lines. It’s important to remember one of the core functions of location lighting is to create consistency. Sometimes you are shooting a 3-4 minute scene over several days. So to keep the look consistent, not only are you dealing with the changes of sun with the time of day, but you are also battling the variability of the weather over those days. This is where big units, big frames and machinery come in really handy. The DS lamps in terms of the world of LEDs are pretty old technology now, and being the first of their kind are a bit unrefined. I must admit I’ve been really underwhelmed by them and their system. I find the optics, and colour science to be perfectly usable, but problematic. In my experience they aren’t particularly user friendly, and their ergonomics when you start moving to the larger arrays is pretty poor (the DS3 Beam you are talking about is both heavy and rather awkward). Regardless, they do have a number of big advantages in having the ability to control them in terms of colour and dimming, but that does come at a cost, and to be honest the only time I would consider supplementing a HMI on location for a DS Array would be if I absolutely needed those features.
  3. The M90 is a great tool, particularly for small to mid size work, and the reason why is almost about everything else than the lamp itself. With half the draw of an 18k, a M90 requires substantially less power infrastructure, this is particularly true in countries that operate on 240v power. In Australia, we commonly run 50 Amp 3 phase distribution on set, so an M90 with a real world draw of about 43-44 amps means we can run one with our existing standard power distribution and minimal additional work. The size of an M90 is a big factor- you can set it up, move it, and wrap it much quicker, and with a smaller crew, and it takes up less room in the truck. All those pros, and in the real world, output wise it is only about 1/2 stop less than a 18k Frez.
  4. The Cinescreen is significantly more dense at 2 stops compared to what looks like maybe around the 1/2 stop mark. The cinescreen is also much more forgiving in terms of moire than layering enough flyscreen to achieve the same. The cinescreen is also really durable- allowing for lots of re-use. Cinescreen is one of my favorite products in situations where you don’t need the optical clarity.
  5. That’s a send it in for repair problem by the looks. The ballast is probably 15-20 odd years old, the head even older. great gear, but just time for some TLC.
  6. I worked on this one as a lamp op. It was broken down into bite size pieces and shot over a couple days, if you look really closely you can notice the change of sun angles between the elements. They stitched it back together mainly using physical wipes in frame- extra crosses, lamp posts, trees etc as cutting points.
  7. Older style meters use 3 sensors with Red, Green and Blue filters, then derive a reading from the balance of those. The newer style spectrometers like the C700 and C800 use a CMOS to measure the spectral distribution of the light, and then can derive not just colour temperature, but a whole league of other readings. The older style meters are awesome with lights with a continuous or near-continuous spectrum- tungsten, hmi, most fluros etc. But the combination of how the older style meters actually measure light, along with the discontinuous spectrum of LED fixtures means accuracy and consistency goes out the window. A Titan tube, a Skypanel, a Kino Freestyle, and a Vortex all have incredibly different approaches to colour science in order to produce white light, resulting in vastly different spectral distribution curves to achieve the same colour temperatures- which inevitably means inaccurate readings on a CM3 or 3100. Additionally Commercial and residential grade LEDs also have a tendency to have large gaps in their spectrum, which can see you have what appears to be great readings on your 3100, but in reality is deficient in output at certain wavelengths, so you will struggle to get nice skin tones, or accurate colours.
  8. Could I ask why you want an older meter? I can only envisage you wanting to just use them on traditional hmi/tungsten fixtures. To be put frankly, these older meters are next to useless on modern LED fixtures- particularly fixtures using multi-colour arrays like skypanels, etc.
  9. The old style two preset 48/96 channel boards are pretty irrelevant as LED fixtures become more and more complex, and use more and more channels. I own a handful of these desks, and they have all been gathering dust for the last few years. The preset desks, while they will work, just aren’t particularly suitable. Even on smaller jobs that may have previously been 36-48 channels you can now easily be needing 1-2 universes to control (1 universe = 512 channels) a set. I would consider checking out Luminair or even better Blackout- it’s a great lighting console app for iPads designed for film and tv. It’s a really good ‘small-mid scale’ solution.
  10. I’ve got one. They’re a nice little unit. Nice and versatile. Can be used as an AKS. As an expansion to an AKS for additional universes, as an extra transmitter in a larger network. The web app works well for configuration. Would love a bit more battery life, but nothing a battery bank can’t fix.
  11. I did a meter update last year and got a Sekonic L858 and C800. Im really enjoying both of them. You can’t ask for much more from an exposure meter than what the L858 delivers. The touch screen takes a little getting used to, especially coming from older meters, but once you do get used to it and set it up for how you want to work you struggle going back. The build quality is really nice, the only thing I don’t particularly like is sekonic’s horizontal position meter pouches.
  12. We’ve found it’s often more cost effective to purchase new header cables. The Veam connectors are notoriously expensive on their own, and need special tooling and an experience hand to get right. Strand 2.5 and 1.2 connectors are similar but have different keyways. This is by design because mismatching the ballast and head can be catastrophic to both.
  13. Kino Celebs and the Litemat Spectrums do natively. Skypanels and Vortex8’s allow you to do this via DMX by using the cross fade channel. Set the saturation to 100% and use the cross fade channel as your saturation.
  14. Strike the lamp and burn it for a good hour. Measure current draw and ensure that it isn’t excessive. Drawing excessive current can be a sign of other problems developing. Inspect lamp and lamp holder. Look for any pitting, burns or signs of arcing. Check the lamp seats properly into lamp holder. Inspect all plugs and sockets for damage, corrosion and burns. This is usually particularly telling on the feeder cable. Open up the ballast and check for corrosion, signs of water ingress and check general condition. Moisture and dust in any combination is a recipe for expensive repairs. Overall you are looking for signs of care and ongoing maintenance. Aging HMIs that are in a bad way can be particularly expensive to keep going.
  15. That’s an incredibly broad question. It really depends on what situation you are trying to replicate sunlight in, and what type of sunlight you are trying to replicate. I’ve used everything from LED panels to Dinettes and Dinos, to banks of several Arrimax heads to replicate sunlight.
  16. Blue and Green screens are pretty much all I use Kino for these days, and they are probably more of a viable option than they ever have been. There is a lot of 2nd hand Kino going dirt cheap around the place. If you are on a budget I can’t see the extra expense of LED being worth it just to light a blue screen.
  17. On a job where we are using A LOT of Vortexes(and a lot more Skypanels). The Vortex are a great piece of kit, they tick a lot of boxes, and fix a lot of gripes I have with the Skypanels. Personally I’d buy them any day over Skypanels. They are much more versatile and user friendly. With the diffuser (either the flat, or domed) they are roughly the same output as a Skypanel, maybe a 1/4 stop brighter. Without the diffuser they become a different beast, especially with multiple heads grouped together.
  18. The Snapgrids are great, but if you don’t specifically need the ‘snap’ element, there are plenty of manufacturers that do tie on eggcrates. Check out LightTools, The Rag Place, LA Rag House, Modern Studio etc. If you are looking to go really cheap some of the China based suppliers on AliExpress and eBay also make eggcrates.
  19. Either will work fine provided you have a master intensity control(im pretty sure the falcon eyes does). There is a couple apps that give you rough RGB values for different gels. RGB and Hue/Saturation values given on the GUI of a light are rarely calibrated to any kind of standardized colour space, so are fairly inaccurate and wildly differ between different models of lamps. You will just have to fine tune by eye. The x and y values are useful if you have a meter to read them, but there is often more than one way to vector a light with multiple emitters to a specific x-y coordinate(especially if there are wide band emitters like a white or amber). So it can still be quite tough to manually get an X-Y ‘match’ that renders accurately on less saturated colours.
  20. I understand the theory, and have had it work successfully many times before, but unfortunately I’ve also had image flutter at as low as 200fps using phase distribution both with Cyc strips and Spacelights. Even using phase spreading, the individual sources are still flickering and the light being projected does move around at those high frame rates as a result. Sometimes you do get away with it, sometimes you don’t. Having seen it go wrong, unless you can afford to test it, compromise to a lower frame rate on the fly, or have the manpower and equipment to re-light it, it’s a risk that I’d prefer not to take.
  21. HMI lamps have very little real consistency between them. Ive seen them vary from as high as 6300k brand new out of the box to 4800k at the end of their life with varying levels of green/magenta. Generally speaking you tend to be able to get away with all but the extreme ends of the scale.
  22. There isn’t really an easy formula like the inverse square rule for bounced or diffused light. There are simply too many variables going on between lamps, textiles, light angles etc. Once you have a bit of experience you can generally get a good idea of what’s going to work. If you are nervous about your lamp choice you can alway err on the side of going bigger, and wire the lamp back.
  23. 1ks, especially the double ended lamps in Cyc lights are pretty much guaranteed to flicker at 500fps. The general rule for lighting high speed with tungsten is to go 5k filaments and above. 5k skypans would be a great option if you can get your hands on them, or likewise 5k fresnels with some diff would be good. You could also go HMI with 1000hz ballasts. Arri X lights would be an ideal quick solution for the cyc. LED or Kino might be an option, but I can’t see you affordably getting the coverage and level you need.
  24. In reality most of this ad would have never been possible to achieve on the budget this one has if it was shot on film. People are quick to romanticize film, but the reality is film shoots and the look of film also relies on ‘film’ budgets in lighting and gripping to support it. Spend the same on a digital shoot and you can get a lot more bang for your buck.
  25. As Chris said, ‘Poly Silk’ is usually what is used. Gridcloth is also a pretty durable option, with options of 1/4, 1/2 and Full. You can also purchase Magic Cloth, or Halo Cloth, which is the beautiful heavy diffusion used on chimeras.
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