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Matthew Parnell

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Everything posted by Matthew Parnell

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. We order by the roll, and often have a couple of rolls of most ND gel in the truck, which is usually enough to do things on the fly. If it’s a substantial job window gelling job needing more than a roll or two we will order more beforehand in advance. if it’s going to be a location we keep returning to, we often will get sheets of acrylic/Perspex in the desired density custom cut to fit the window. it’s also worth noting that most ND gel also comes in 5’ wide rolls, which helps with getting coverage on windows.
  19. If I was to pay for an electrician to build this for me I would make sure that there was- -fuse protection to protect the electronics and user in case of a short circuit fault. -the chassis of the dimmer was earthed, again for the safety of the user. -the PCB was secured to the chassis in a more secure manner. -Given how small the enclosure is, I would probably request some vent holes be put into the chassis to help with convection cooling. -an on/off switch was installed- this helps you keep track of levels if you are just saving the lamp for a short period, or turning the lamp on to its set level on a cue.
  20. If it’s a case of you having v lock batteries around and wanting to make use of them, there are a handful of different dual v lock systems out there, which use two v locks and a boost/regulator chain to give a 24v output. A lot of those are good for 10 amps with decent v-locks.
  21. Personally I prefer linear. 50% is 1 stop down, 25% is 2 stops down, 12.5% is 3 stops down etc. Log curves allow for greater dimming resolution at the lower end of a lamps output. With a linear curve, the difference between 3% and 6% is 1 stop, and the difference between 50% and 100% is also 1 stop. Say your dimming resolution is 8 bit. For that one stop difference between 3 and 6 percent you only have about 7 steps of intensity in between, but between 50% and 100% you have 128 steps. The log dimming curve gives you more resolution to play with at the bottom end of your dimmer, and less resolution at the top end, where you really don’t need 0.4% incremental steps between 50% and 100%. Ultimately if you are running lamps in 16 bit mode, the argument for log control becomes moot because you have 655 or so increments between each percentage point.
  22. There are a couple options- It’s best to run them off high capacity Deep cycle batteries. Camping/UPS batteries work pretty well. A car battery could work at a pinch. There are a couple different options to do it- Use and inverter to give you mains AC voltage, and just run the power supply as usual - this is pretty inefficient however. Directly power them by matching the battery voltage with your lamps (ie 12v lamps in the dedo from a 12v battery or 24v lamps via 2x12v Batteries in series). In this configuration I’ve also previously used a DC motor controller to provide dimming.
  23. Normally when I run spacelights I chuck a dimmer curve in the console that limits them to somewhere between 85-90% (this depends on the dimmer itself, if the voltage of the stage is on the high side, I may go a little further). The 10-15% reduction doesn’t tend to affect the output much, but does increase lamp life a lot. Bringing the lamps on and off softly does also help. I find transporting with globes in the head, though often unavoidable, adds to the problem.
  24. In Australia for a handful of reasons we tend to go a bit overboard when wet weather hits. - Heads are covered with either Hogsmesh, or an umbrella. -Ballasts are elevated and ideally placed out of the weather, or covered with an umbrella, or hogsmesh. -Distribution boards are elevated and at least tarped. -Electrical connections are elevated. If not a weather proof type they are also covered/taped. The power on nearly every film set in Australia is RCD (GFCI) protected. Our power distribution equipment has RCDs or ELCBs built in as standard. Our safety code also stipulates the use of plug in type RCDs if in a building without RCD protection (this is getting rarer since safety switches became mandatory in all new builds and electrical upgrades). You can buy Hogsmesh from Barbizon and John Barry Sales in sydney. Most gaffers and rental houses generally will gladly send out some wet weather gear like Hogsmesh with the hire if you ask.
  25. Unless they are specifically designed to, like Quasar Tubes or some domestic LED replacement lamps, MOST LED units will not dim using traditional dimmers. Makes about as much sense electronically as putting a TV on a hand squeezer to control the brightness. There is so much electronics in between the power input and the LED emmiters themselves, in most cases a dimmer at best will cause the power supply unit to work rather hard before going into a fault mode, at worst do catestrophic damage to the heads.
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