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Guy Holt

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Guy Holt last won the day on May 25

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About Guy Holt

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    Gaffer
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    Boston
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    Custom Honda generator systems for motion picture production including paralleling systems with 100A output.

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    http://www.screenlightandgrip.com

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  1. A battery charger of sufficient size will charge the battery from an AC source at the same rate that the lights deplete it. Put an amp probe on the positive lead of the battery to see what the headlights draw. Then go to a boat supply store to find a charger that will charge the batteries at the same rate. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight and Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston
  2. This is another example where forethought and planning can save your budget. The problem shooting daylight exteriors is that the sun moves throughout the day, so lights are needed to maintain continuity between shots filmed at different times of day. If you plan your shots properly, you don't need as big and HMI as you may think to maintain continuity. With proper planning you can get way with nothing more than a 4kw par and 1.2kw Par - which you can run on a modified Honda EU7000 generator with a Transformer/Distro that provides a single 60A/120V circuit. The approach that I find works best is to wait to shoot the establishing master shot until the sun is in a backlight position. Up to that point shoot the close coverage under a large silk (12x or 20x.) Shooting the close coverage under a silk offers a number of advantages. The silk takes the direction out of the sun and knocks down its' level by two and one half stops so now you can use a smaller HMI to create consistent modeling in all the close-ups. Shooting into talents' down side under a silk, I find that a 4K par through a diffusion frame is a sufficient key source for a good size shot. You need the diffusion because a bare par will be too harsh. When shooting close coverage under the silk, nets behind our talent will control the background from blowing out. The advantages to waiting to shoot the wide master until the sun has moved around to a back light position are many. One, the background is also back-lit so the discrepancy in exposure between the background and our talent under the silk is not that great and so you can open up to gain exposure of our talent in the foreground without burning out the background. Two, your background looks better because it is not flatly lit, but has some contrast. And three, with the sun in a backlight position, the shadows of the silk frame and stands are thrown forward, which enables you to frame wide without picking up the shadow of the hardware. Finally, since the silk takes the direction out of the sun and knocks down its' level by two and one half stops a 4k HMI par has enough output to create the look and feel of natural sunlight. For more detailed information on powering 4k HMIs on portable gas generators, I would suggest you read an article I wrote on the use of portable generators in motion picture production. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston
  3. The problem shooting daylight exteriors is that the sun moves throughout the day, so lights are needed to maintain continuity between shots filmed at different times of day. If you plan your shots properly, you don't need as big and HMI as you may think to maintain continuity. With proper planning you can get way with nothing more than a 4kw par and 1.2kw Par - which you can run on a modified Honda EU7000 generator with a Transformer/Distro that provides a single 60A/120V circuit. The approach that I find works best is to wait to shoot the establishing master shot until the sun is in a backlight position. Up to that point shoot the close coverage under a large silk (12x or 20x.) Shooting the close coverage under a silk offers a number of advantages. The silk takes the direction out of the sun and knocks down its' level by two and one half stops so now you can use a smaller HMI to create consistent modeling in all the close-ups. Shooting into talents' down side under a silk, I find that a 4K par through a diffusion frame is a sufficient key source for a good size shot. You need the diffusion because a bare par will be too harsh. When shooting close coverage under the silk, nets behind our talent will control the background from blowing out. The advantages to waiting to shoot the wide master until the sun has moved around to a back light position are many. One, the background is also back-lit so the discrepancy in exposure between the background and our talent under the silk is not that great and so you can open up to gain exposure of our talent in the foreground without burning out the background. Two, your background looks better because it is not flatly lit, but has some contrast. And three, with the sun in a backlight position, the shadows of the silk frame and stands are thrown forward, which enables you to frame wide without picking up the shadow of the hardware. Finally, since the silk takes the direction out of the sun and knocks down its' level by two and one half stops a 4k HMI par has enough output to create the look and feel of natural sunlight. For more detailed information on powering 4k HMIs on portable gas generators, I would suggest you read an article I wrote on the use of portable generators in motion picture production. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston
  4. Time to get back to the original purpose of this thread: to share the tricks of the trade that will add more to your film’s production values than all the big budget toys found on bloated Hollywood productions. Without a doubt night scenes are the hardest to light on a tight budget. You must first story board and block out the scene so that you know exactly what you need to light (there is no point spending money to lighting an area of the location that will never appear on the screen.) From there you can figure out an innovative approach to accomplish the look you are after. What tools who need and how you deploy them will follow. A good example is a scene I lit for a “low budget” feature called "Black Irish." It was a pivotal scene where the youngest son of an Boston Irish family crashes his derelict older brother's car setting off an unfortunate series of events. Our biggest challenge was to create the feel of a car hurdling down the road at high speed. The traditional approach of under-cranking the camera to increase the speed on screen was not an option because the scene was a pivotal one with extensive dialogue inside the car. And, without the budget for performance drivers, a Porsche Panamera chase car (like that pictured below), and the ability to light city block after city block, we had to settle for an old process trailer and a block of an industrial section of Boston. The problem we faced was that even after lighting the equivalent of three football fields, the process trailer couldn't obtain a speed of more than 30 mph before it was out of the light. So, we had to create the effect of speed through the lighting. I came up with a concept that was, if I say so myself, as beautiful in its practical simplicity as in its psychological complexity. To heighten the sense of speed of the process trailer shots we rigged 500w practical fixtures along a four hundred foot wall on one side of the road. We spaced the practical wall lights twice as close together as they would be normally. This way, as the car passed by, areas of light and dark would pass rapidly by in the background and exaggerate the speed at which the car was traveling. When it came time to shoot the static wide establishing shot of the car racing down the road, we dismantled every other wall practical in order to reinforce the effect. On an unconscious level the viewer's mind registers in the establishing shot the wider spacing of the wall lamps. So when in the close up process shots the pools of light in the background are racing past at twice the rate because there are, in fact, twice as many lights, the viewer's mind registers the car is traveling at twice the speed it is, in fact, traveling. In addition to the wall practicals, I simulated car dash board light on the actor's faces with a 12v 9" Kino Car kit. The play of the passing wall lights on the actor's faces were created by a revolving 650W Fresnel with diffusion on its doors rigged on the process trailer. To light the long stretch of road, I simulated the pools of light that would be created by street lights by rigging 6kw space lights under the baskets of 60' condors that were spaced about 200' apart over the road. In addition to the Space Light, each condor basket also carried a 4k HMI Par that filled the stretches of road between the pools of tungsten light with a cool moonlight. To continue the moonlight down the road there was yet another 4k HMI Par on a Mambo Combo Stand. Because this 4K was further down the road than was practical to run cable, it was powered by a Honda 5500W portable generator. A 12kw HMI Fresnel with 1/2 CTO through a 12x frame of Soft Frost served to pick up the deep background from the front on one end of Marginal Street while a 6kw HMI Par lit the other end. To supply power on both sides of the road for a 1000' stretch was no small task. I used three generator plants strategically placed so that our cable would never cross the road in a shot. In addition to the Honda 5500W portable generator that powered the 4kw HMI Par light for the deep background, I used a 800A plant to power the 4kw HMI Pars and 6kw Space Lights in the condors, the 12kw Fresnel, and the base camp trailers and work lights. The 6kw Par, 12 - 500W practicals, and an assortment of smaller HMI's used to light the post crash scene were powered by a 450A plant on the far end of the roadway. This example, demonstrates that once you have a concept you can come up with an innovative approach to accomplish it on a low budget. Of course “low budget” is a relative term. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston
  5. Time to resurrect this thread with a low budget trick of the trade on how to maximize production value in an environment that might not be inherently cinematic. That was the question Mike Kozlenko faced in shooting a spot for a chain of gyms. How I approach such situations is to identify the one element I can’t change and then tailor the look and style of the shot to it. For example, on this location the one thing you have no control over is the high contrast created by the sun streaming in the open roll-up doors. Typically they blow out and look awful. Since you can’t net those doors, the way to deal with them is to go for a stylized look. If you white balance your camera under a tungsten light with full CTO on it, the daylight coming through those doors will turn a deep blue. If you then light your talent with tungsten lights with full CTO, you get a very appealing look where the foreground is under white light, while the deep background is bathed in blue light. Guy Holt, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental and Sales in Boston
  6. How I approach such situations is to identify the one element I can’t change and then tailor the look and style of the shot to it. For example, on this location the one thing you have no control over is the high contrast created by the sun streaming in the open roll-up doors. Typically they blow out and look awful. Since you can’t net those doors, the way to deal with them is to go for a stylized look. If you white balance your camera under a tungsten light with full CTO on it, the daylight coming through those doors will turn a deep blue. If you then light your talent with tungsten lights with full CTO, you get a very appealing look where the foreground is under white light, while the deep background is bathed in blue. Guy Holt, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental and Sales in Boston
  7. Full rectification and smoothing capacitors to take the rise and fall out of the pulsed DC that comes out of the rectifier. Its doable on hourse power since the converter is on a single circuit line-to-neutral it doesn’t matter whether the power is single or 3-phase, . Guy Holt, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental and Sales in Boston
  8. Tungsten practical bulbs will flicker at high camera speeds. Their filaments are so small that a high-speed camera will actually see the rise and fall of the current running through the filament. The solution is to operate them on DC current. Any tungsten lamp can operate DC as well as AC. In the old days we would string ten 12V batteries in series to get 120V DC, but now you have the option of using an AC to DC power converter. A DP I know was looking for some way to power a chandelier flicker-free for a high-speed commercial shoot (pictured above), I built him a 120V AC to 120V DC power converter so that he could power the chandelier and other practicals flicker free at high speeds (2000fps.) The one I built for him could handle up to a 1000W tungsten load, but I have since scaled up the design to handle a Jr. with CXZ lamp. The larger converter (pictured above) will accept input AC voltages from 90-140V, and 190 – 250V and put out a constant 120V DC. It can operate at both 50 and 60 Hz. It also has a series LED display to indicate the total load put on it between multiple tungsten Fresnels and incandescent practicals. And, as you can see in the picture above, it is a lot smaller and lighter and more easily concealed on a set than ten 12V deep cycle marine batteries, wired in series, which has been the traditional approach to powering tungsten lights with DC on stages. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston
  9. Because of the constant improvement in HMI ballast technology you could have one of three types of HMI ballasts. How you power it on your Honda EU7000 depends on what type of ballast you have. For a Sunray 2.5 you have a magnetic or electronic ballast; and to complicate matters even more, you have a either a Power Factor Corrected electronic ballast and non-Power Factor Corrected electronic ballast. The early line of Lightmaker electronic ballasts were nick named by film electricians “Troublemaker” ballasts because they were not Power Factor Corrected and proved that PFC circuitry was absolutely necessary in large ballasts to reduce heat and returns on the neutral, and to increase ballast reliability. It is probably the case that you have a non-PFC 2.5/4kw ballast since most electronic ballasts of that size were non-power factor corrected. Part of the reason for the number of non-PFC ballasts in this country was that PFC circuitry does not offer a huge advantage when operating 2.5 HMIs on generators or tie-ins. A typical 2500W Power Factor Corrected electronic HMI ballast will draw 23 Amps at 120 Volts verses the 35 Amp draw of a non-PFC electronic ballast. Since, neither ballast will operate on a standard 20A wall outlet, PFC did not offer a huge advantage when operating 2.5 HMIs on generators or tie-ins. However, the added efficiency of a PFC 2500 ballast can make a huge difference when powering a lighting package off of a portable generator. For example, when you consider what LED fixtures draw, the 12 Amp difference between using a PFC 2500W electronic ballast and standard non-PFC 2500W electronic ballast, can mean the difference between running six additional LED fixtures on a portable generator or not – I think you would have to agree that is a major boost in production capability and pertinent to any one using a portable generator as their principle source of set power. You have several options when it comes to operating your 2.5kw HMI off of a Honda EU7000 generator depending on the type of ballast. Where electronic HMI ballasts are typically auto-sensing multi-volt ballasts (with an operating range of 90–125 & 180-250 Volts), you can plug it directly into the 240V 4 pin twist-lock receptacle on the generator and it will operate at 240 Volts. Where your 2.5 kw ballast is wired with a 120V 60Amp Bates Plug (Stage Pin) you will need a 120V 60A Female Bates to 240V 4pin twist-lock adapter to plug your 2.5kw ballast directly into the generator. To make the adapter wire ground to ground, the two hots of the male 4-pin twist-lock (X & Y) to the hot and neutral of the bates female, and drop the neutral of the male 4-pin twist-lock since it is not needed. If the electronic ballast is power factor corrected (draws 23 Amps) you can plug it into the 30A/120V twist-lock receptacle on the generator’s power panel. If the electronic ballast is not power factor corrected (draws 35 Amps) you will not be able to run it off of the 30A/120V twist-lock receptacle without tripping it’s fuse. The third possibility is that you have a magnetic ballast. Even though a 2.5kw magnetic ballast draws approximately 26 amps at 120V you will not be able to run it reliably on the 30A/120V twist-lock receptacle on the generator’s power panel. That is because even though the twist-lock receptacle is rated for 30 Amps, as Ed Conley points out, the Honda EU7000 generators are only capable of sustaining a peak load of 27.5 Amps per leg for a short period of time. Their continuous load capacity (more than 30 minutes) is 23 Amps per leg. And if there is any line loss from a long cable run the draw of a 2.5 magnetic ballast will climb to upward of 30 Amps. To make matters worse magnetic ballasts have a high front end striking load. That is, a magnetic ballast draws more current during the striking phase and then they “settle down” and require less power to maintain the HMI Arc. By contrast, an electronic ballast “ramps up”. That is, its’ current draw gradually builds until it “tops off.” For this reason, you must always leave “head room” on the generator for the high front-end striking load of magnetic ballasts. And to complicate matters even more, the lagging power factor caused by the inductive reactance of the magnetic ballast kicking harmonic currents back into the power stream causes spikes in the supply voltage that can cause erratic tripping of the breakers on the generator or ballast. In my experience the load of a 2.5kw magnetic ballast is too near the operating threshold of a EU7000 for it to operate reliably on the 30A/120V circuit. The only sure way to power a 120V 2.5kw (or even a 4kw) HMI magnetic ballast or non-PFC 120V electronic ballast on a portable gas generator is from its 240V circuit through a 240v-to-120v step-down transformer. A transformer will step down the 240V output of the generator to a single 120V circuit that is capable of accommodating the high front end striking load, and even the voltage spikes, of a 2.5kw magnetic ballast and the greater draw of a non-PFC electronic ballast. If you haven't already, I would suggest you read the article I wrote for our company newsletter on the use of portable generators in motion picture lighting. In it I cover some of the basic electrical engineering principles behind poor Power Factor, the harmonic distortion it can generate, and how it can adversely affect generators. These power generation issues have been vexing set electricians for years. Use this link for an informative newsletter article that explains the electrical engineering principles behind these issues and how to resolve them. This article is cited in the 4th Edition of Harry Box's "Set Lighting Technician's Handbook." Of the article Harry Box exclaims: “Great work!... this is the kind of thing I think very few technician's ever get to see, and as a result many people have absolutely no idea why things stop working.” “Following the prescriptions contained in this article enables the operation of bigger lights, or more smaller lights, on portable generators than has ever been possible before." The article is available for free online at http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/emailnewsletter_generators.html. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lightng & Grip Rental & Sales in Boston
  10. I have always found reflector boards and overheads to be useless under rapidly changing conditions. They work great in modeling your talent when the sun is out, but as soon as the sun goes behind a cloud they are useless, resulting in the shots of even a short scene not matching when you get into the editing room. I agree with Aapo that you definitely need a large HMI source. A 6k will work, but it will require a large generator and all the baggage that comes with it. A better choice would be the Arri M40. It has the output of a 6k Par but you can run it, along with other lights, on a 7500W modified Honda EU7000is/Transformer gen-set that provides a single 60Amps/120V circuit. Like all M-Series lamp heads, the M40 is equipped with MAX Reflector Technology, a unique and very bright open face reflector design that combines the advantages of a Fresnel and the output of a PAR in one fixture. Focusable by the turn of a knob (from 17-55 degrees), the MAX reflector produces a remarkably even light field and a crisp, clear shadow. The elimination of spread lenses, makes MAX reflector lamp heads comparable to par configurations of even a higher wattage. In fact, the M40 is brighter than some 6K PARs on the market. To power the M40, ARRI has engineered a dual wattage ballast that will operate on supply voltages ranging from 100-250V. With Active Line Filtration (ARRI's system of Power Factor Correction) built in, the M40 ballast is incredibly efficient and generates virtually no harmonic noise - enabling it to reliably operate on portable gas generators like our 7500W modified Honda EU6500. And drawing only 36A at 120V, the M40 leaves room (24A) on the 60A circuit of a 7500W modified Honda EU6500is/Transformer gen-set for other lights, even their M18. The approach that I find works best to maintain continuity in rapidly changing light is to shoot the establishing master shot when the sun is in a backlight position. Shooting into the downside of your talent, a M40 is large enough to create a sunny feel in a fairly large frame. Up to that point I shoot the close coverage under a full silk. Shooting the coverage under a silk offers a number of advantages. If the sun is coming in and out of clouds, the silk takes the directionality out of the sun and knocks down its’ level by two and half stops so that again a M40 is large enough to create a sunny feel in your close ups. A good example of this approach is a scene I lit for a low budget feature that took place around a campfire in a small clearing surrounded by woods. Surrounded on all sides by woods, we knew that we would lose direct sunlight in the clearing early in the day and would need lights. We also knew that the scene was going to take all day to shoot because of its’ extensive dialogue, so we figured out where the sun was going to be throughout the day and where it would look best for our establishing wide shot. Where it was a two shot, mostly over the shoulder of one character talking to the second character who was standing with his back to the campfire with the woods behind him, we decided to wait until the sun had moved into a near back light position to shoot the establishing shot. So we shot our close coverage first with nothing more than a 4k Par and 1.2k Par under a 20x light soft frost on top of which we threw leaves. The 4k was heavily diffused and positioned so that it gave the talent the most attractive modeling. The 1.2kw was positioned as a backlight where the sun would be when we would eventually shoot the wide - this way there was always an edge in every shot for continuity. When the time came to shoot the establishing shot, the shadow of the overhead frame and stands were thrown forward and did not interfere with the wider framing. Since we were still shooting under the Frost, we were wider open on the iris and so our exposure dug into the dark woods and brought out more detail. As an unexpected added bonus, the smoke from the campfire drifted into the woods, creating shafts of light where the sun broke through the tree canopy. What would have impossible to cut together without lights, turned into a beautifully lit scene, and was accomplished with nothing more than what could be powered on a modified Honda EU6500is generator. Guy Holt, Gaffer, Screenlight and Grip, Lighting rental and sales in Boston.
  11. Time to get back to the original purpose of this thread: to share the tricks of the trade that will add more to your film’s production values than all the big budget toys found on bloated Hollywood productions. If you can’t afford a generator, no one tool in your indie bag of tricks will improve the lighting of your film more than a live wire circuit tracer. One of the biggest hurdles to obtaining good production values in low budget digital cinema productions is the high cost of the blimped studio generators required to power large lighting packages. Not only are blimped generators expensive to rent, but they also come with hidden costs. Since rental trucks like those from Ryder or Penske are not equipped to tow, you quite often have to pay extra to have them delivered or hire the rental house's grip truck to tow them. And, since most rental houses require that one of their employees drive their trucks and operate the generator (for insurance reasons), the production has to hire a driver/genny op at roughly $575/10hrs - which is probably more than anyone else on a typical indie crew is getting paid. All of this makes lighting a movie very expensive. More likely than not you don’t need a generator. Most locations have plenty of power, you just need to know where to find it. The first step is to determine the maximum the location electrical service has to offer. To determine this look at the main breaker of the service head (main electrical panel.) Commercial wiring is almost always three phase, meaning it has three hot legs. If the breaker in the main service panel is 200A there are 600A available between the three hot legs. The second step is to figure out how much power the location is using, so that you know what is left over for your use. To determine this find somewhere safe to meter the current drawn on each leg with an Amp probe. Once you know what is available to you, use a live wire circuit tracer to figure out what outlets correspond to which circuits so that you can safely distribute your lighting load without overloading a circuit. Before we get into how to use a live wire circuit tracer, let’s first look at residential wiring. Residential wiring is almost always single phase, meaning it has just two hot legs. If the breaker in the main service panel is 100A there are 200A available between the two hot legs. Again, you need to figure out how much power the location is using, so that you know what is left over for your use. There may be some large loads, like air conditioners or electric ranges, that you can turn off at their breaker to make more power available to you. So that you don’t overload a circuit, the final step is to use a live wire circuit tracer to figure out what receptacles correspond to which circuits. I recommend the Scotchtrak Circuit Tracer. It will enable you to locate, trace and identify ‘‘hot’’ and neutral wires for feeder and branch circuit wiring, breakers, and outlets. Most circuit tracers require that you de-energize the distribution system. What I particularly like about the Scotchtrak Circuit Tracer is that it enables you to trace the circuits of an energized system. The tracer consists of a transmitter that draws a pulse current from the line that is returned on the neutral, and a detector that senses the unique electromagnetic field around the line created by the pulse current. Scotchtrak circuit tracers are easy to use. First, plug-in the transmitter to the circuit you want to trace. Then hold the detector to a breaker, cable, or outlet. If it is the same circuit, the detector will sense the unique electromagnetic field and emit both a visible and an audible signal. By tracing the magnetic field in this fashion you can locate the breaker, wires, and outlets that correspond to that circuit. As you can see by the wiring diagram for an apartment below, a circuit may supply power to outlets in more than one room. Now that you know what outlets correspond to which circuitw you can now safely distribute your lighting load over the house distribution system without overloading a circuit and tripping its’ breaker. Of course you may have to run cable a distance to find additional circuits so be sure to have plenty of stingers available. Use this link for more information on the Scotchtrak Circuit Tracer. To power larger fixtures, like 5k Tungsten or 4K HMI lights, you can use a step-down transformer to convert the power from 208V/240V receptacles to a single large 120V circuit. Most locations will 208V/240V circuits to power motors, machinery, compressors, pumps, electric ranges, electric dryers, and special receptacles installed for Window Air Conditioners. If you look at the breaker for any of these 208V240V receptacles, you will notice that they use two pole breakers - either 30A or 50A. Each pole of the breaker is in a sense an independent 30A or 50A 120V circuit. That is, if you measure the voltage from each pole of the breaker to ground it will be 120 volts, and if you measure the voltage between the two poles of the breaker you will notice that it is 208v or 240 volts (depending on whether the building provides three phase or single phase power respectively). If your location has a single phase service, the 120 volts of the two poles adds up to 240V because the 120V circuits are on opposing legs that are180 degrees out of phase with each other. In residential settings, this is how higher voltages are supplied to household appliances, like Dryers, Electric Ranges, Water Pumps, and Air Conditioners, that require more power than can be reasonably supplied by a single 120V circuit. If your location has a three phase service, the 120 volts of the two poles adds up to 208V because the three 120V circuits are on opposing legs of a three phase service and therefore 120 degrees out of phase with each other. 4k & 1.2ks HMI Pars powered from 30A/240V dryer outlet through step-down transformer/distro for Bose still shoot. A step down transformer, like the one we build for the Honda EU7000is Generator, can convert the 208V/240V supplied by these receptacles to 120 volts in a single circuit that is the sum of two of the phase legs of 30/50 amps each. Now that you have a larger 60A or 100A 120V circuit, you can operate larger lights, or more smaller lights, than you could otherwise. If you outfit the transformer with a bates receptacle you can use standard film style distro like 60 or 100A Bates Extensions to run power around your set - breaking out to 20A circuits wherever you want. By giving you access to more house power through common 208V/240V outlets a transformer can eliminate the need for dangerous tie-ins or expensive tow generators (use this link for details.) Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lightng & Grip Rental in Boston
  12. I would recommend the Scotchtrak Circuit Tracer. It will allow you to locate, trace and identify hot and neutral wires for feeder and branch circuit wiring, breakers, and outlets. Most circuit tracers require that you de-energize the distribution system. The Scotchtrak Circuit Tracer enables you to trace the circuits of an energized system. The tracer consists of a transmitter that draws a pulse current from the line that is returned on the neutral, and a detector that senses the unique electromagnetic field around the line created by the pulse current. Scotchtrak circuit tracers are easy to use. First, plug-in the transmitter to the circuit you want to trace. Then hold the detector to a breaker, cable, or outlet. If it is the same circuit, the detector will sense the unique electromagnetic field and emit both a visible and an audible signal. By tracing the magnetic field in this fashion you can locate the breaker, wires, and outlets that correspond to that circuit. With that knowledge you can now safely distribute your lighting load over the house distribution system without overloading a circuit and tripping its breaker. Use this link for more information on the Scotchtrak Circuit Tracer : http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/304263O/kits-de-rastreo-de-circuitos.PDF Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lightng & Grip Rental in Boston
  13. I find the above a little alarming that there has been no discussion thus far of ground fault protection in the rain. GFCIs are a must when working in rain in order to avoid someone taking a potentially lethal shock. When using large HMIs you will need to use film style GFCIs (Shock Blocks, Shock Stops, or Bender Lifeguards) that are specifically designed to accommodate the residual currents that HMIs shunt to ground that will cause standard GFCIs to nuisance trip. To prevent nuisance tripping film style GFCIs sense on an "Inverse Time Curve" and incorporate harmonic filters with a frequency response up to 120 hz. 3rd harmonics are attenuated by 50%, and by 500 Hz are down to 20%. Attenuated by the filter, the harmonics that HMI ballasts shunt to ground pose less of a problem. Our Shock Stop GFCI with either our 60, 84, or 100A Transformer/Distro is the only way to bring Honda EU6500s or EU7000s into OSHA compliance for use on work sites. For more detailed information on how to use film style GFCIs to provide tiered ground fault protection on wet locations, use this link for a series of articles I wrote for Protocol magazine. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lightng & Grip Rental in Boston
  14. HMIs had just been introduced, so it is possible that they were used on the original Halloween. But, given the hue and saturation of the blue moonlight, it is more likely that they gelled a large quartz fixture. Given the speed and dynamic range of cameras today you can get similar, if not better, production values on what can be run on a Honda EU6500 or EU7000 generator. With a small 240V-120V step-down transformer, you can run a 4k ARRIMAX, as well other lights, off our modified Honda EU7000 generator, which is usually sufficient to get feature production values. This combination of an ARRIMAX M40 and portable Honda generator has become the standard approach for indie movies because it eliminates the need for dangerous tie-ins or expensive tow generators. In fact, a milestone of sorts was recently set on the north shore of Boston. The feature film Abe and Phil’s Last Poker Game starring Martin Landau (Mission Impossible) and Paul Sorvino (Good Fellas) shot its’ principle photography with nothing more than a Honda EU6500is. No low budget indie, Abe and Phil's Last Poker Game was produced by Peter Pastorelli, Marshall Johnson, and Eddie Rubin. Peter Pastorelli’s credits include the Netflix film Beasts Of No Nation, which he produced alongside Johnson, and The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, which stared James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain. Johnson’s other credits include Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond The Pines with Ryan Gosling; Rubin’s credits include Love and Honor. Left: Honda EU6500is modified for 60A Output. Center 300ft cable run through the assisted living complex. Right: ARRIMAX M40 head creating sunny look on a rainy day. Abe and Phil’s Last Poker Game follows Dr. Abe Mandelbaum (Landau), who has just moved into a luxuriant assisted living facility with his ailing wife. After forming an unlikely friendship with a womanizing gambler (Sorvino), their relationship is tested when they each try to convince a mysterious nurse, played by Maria Dizzia (Orange Is The New Black), that he is her long-lost father. 60A HD Plug-n-Play Transformer/Distro powering ARRIMAX M40 and M18 on the set of Phil & Abe’s Last Poker Game. The principle location for the movie was a sprawling new assisted living facility in Newburyport Ma. At only 60% occupancy, the production was able to secure a whole wing of the facility, which was ideal except that the loading dock, where they could operate a generator, was on the other side of the complex. Paul Sorvino in a scene from Abe and Phil’s Last Poker Game. To compensate for the drop in voltage over the long cable run, the production used one of our 60A Transformer/Distros, which enables voltage to be stepped up in 5% increments. This feature enabled them to maintain full line level even after running out 300’ of cable between the Honda outside and set. To power additional lights off the generator, the production came out of the Transformer/Distro with a 60A Bates Siamese. They powered the M40 with one side of the Siamese. From the other side, they ran out 60A Bates extensions through out the wing, breaking out to 20A pockets to power smaller lights wherever they needed. Martin Landau and Paul Sorvino in a bar scene from the Abe and Phil’s Last Poker Game. This way they could run up to three 1.8kw Arri M80s, or a 4kw M40 when they needed a bigger source, without having to worry about tripping breakers. With ARRIMAX reflectors, these heads were plenty big enough to light scenes in the day room, dinning area, and lounge of the residence wing. ARRIMAX M40 powered by modified Honda EU6500 and 60A Transformer/Distro lights bar scene from Abe and Phil’s Last Poker Game. Using a small portable generator also enabled the production to save money by building out a rental box truck since they didn’t have to tow a large diesel plant. This also proved to be advantageous when the production went out on location in the streets of Newburyport. An old port city on the north shore of Boston, Newburyport is a warren of narrow streets through which it would have been difficult to tow a diesel generator. Abe and Phil’s Last Poker Game is, as far as we know, the first major film to take advantage of the combination of improved camera imaging, more efficient light sources, and Honda generators customized for motion picture production. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting rental and sales in Boston
  15. I would not recommend using the bonfire as your key light. If you expose the band members for the light you will get from the bonfire alone, because of its rapid fall off, the bonfire will be such a hot spot that your camera will be unable to render the contrast range of the scene. Like in the location still below, if you expose for the actors, the fire flames will be overexposed and blow out and lose all detail. And because firelight falls off rapidly, the background behind your talent will block up and lose detail. Like in the location still below, the actor’s bodies will look disembodied like they are floating in a black void. A bonfire scene creates contrast problems that you simply will not be able to address with the lighting package you have listed. What you are missing is the large HMI that will enable you to bring up the background, so that you can stop down to hold detail in the bonfire without losing detail in the shadows of your scene. For example, the location still below used a 6k Par to light the deep background, 1.8 Arrimaxs to key and rim the talent, and quartz to fill the shadows with warm light. Only this amount of light will enable you to stop down to the point that you will have detail in the flames as in the location still below. Campfire scene on the beach powered by a Honda EB10000 You can clearly see the subtle differences in color in this fire because the talent and background lights reduce the contrast range of the scene so that it fits in the dynamic range of the camera. Since large HMIs are necessary to hold detail in both the fire flames and the deep background, a large source (like an M18) is required to expose talent. Likewise the lights required to model talent with rim and fill light are larger as well. An assortment of LED panels simply won’t provide the necessary foot-candles for anything but very tight close ups under these circumstances. Getting the production values of the second location still above doesn’t have to be expensive now that you can parallel two Honda EU6500s or EU7000s for 120A output, which is more than enough to power a 4k ARRIMAX and several M18s. Use this link for more details on paralleling portable generators. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental and Sales in Boston.
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