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Eric Jaspers

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About Eric Jaspers

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  1. Another milestone of shorts was just set on the north shore of Boston. The feature film The Last Poker Game starring Martin Landau (Mission Impossible) and Paul Sorvino (Good Fellas) is wrapping its’ principle photography that was shot with nothing more than a Honda EU6500is. No low budget indie, The Last Poker Game is being 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. 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. 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. Given the light sensitivity of the Red that they were shooting on, the production was able to get away with nothing more than a modified Honda EU6500is. To compensate for the drop in voltage over the long cable run, the production used one of the HD Plug-n-Play Transformer/Distros that enable you to step up voltage in 5% increments. This feature enabled them to maintain full line level even after running out 300’ of cable between the generator and set. From the Transformer/Distro on set the crew then ran out 60A Bates extensions through out the wing, breaking out to 20A pockets wherever they needed. 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, everything else they could plug into the wall. Using a small portable generator also enabled the production to save money by building out rental box trucks to serve as their electric and grip trucks since the trucks didn’t have to tow a diesel tow plant. This 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. The Last Poker Game is, as far as I 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. Eric Jaspers
  2. David, I would imagine you have worked on a few shows that used warehouses as stages. Have anyone of the shows you worked on actually had a structural engineer do a load analysis to see if the roof can support the grid and lights. I ask because this last winter during the filming of the David O'Russell film in a warehouse they had a partial roof collapse under the load of the lights and grid. There are pros and cons to shooting in warehouses. I would be interested in hearing other peoples' experiences. What they liked about it and what they didn't like. What are the issues from a permitting standpoint and how productions deal with them? For instance, I have seen some warehouse build outs where there are not clear fire lanes but they seem to get away with it by hiring a fire watch. That one firemen is not going to be able to clear a way to an exit in the event of a fire. I would also be interested in hearing any anecdotes about your experiences or stories you have heard. Eric Jaspers
  3. Anyone had a chance to parallel the new Honda EU7000 yet. It is about time they offered paralleling capability in the larger models like they have in the smaller ones. If it works well, it should be a real game changer. Eric Jaspers
  4. I went to a youth orchestra recital last night. The musicians were lit with RGB LED lights like the Zylights. The combined light of the different color emitters was white until the violinists raised their instruments and then there was a blueish/purple highlight to the polished wood of their instruments. It reminded me why I would never use an RGB LEDs for lighting for video. Eric Jaspers
  5. One of the best resources I have seen online that explains the differences in HMIs and tricks for how to run them on small portable generators is an article by Guy Holt on the “Use of Portable Generators in Motion Picture Production." Because of the constant improvement in HMI technology since they first came out in the 80s there are many versions of HMIs available and if you are not careful you can get screwed trying to run them on portable generators. In ballast design you have a choice between magnetic and electronic ballasts; and to complicate matters even more, you have a choice between Power Factor Corrected electronic ballasts and non-Power Factor Corrected electronic ballasts. Guy’s article shorts out which you can use safely on portable generators and which you can’t. Eric Jaspers
  6. There is a free online workshop titled “Lighten Up: Doing More with Less without Compromise” coming up on Feb.16th on how to get the most out of existing house power so that you can operate bigger, or more small, lights than has ever been possible before. Log onto http://bit.ly/nptwkshps for details. Eric Jaspers
  7. Richard Cadena is offering some workshops online. He usually teaches through the education program of IATSE Los Angeles Electrician’s Local 728. This will be one of the first times one of his workshops will be streamed for the general public. For those of you not familiar with Richard, he is an ETCP Trainer and author of such Focal Press titles as Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician & Technician, and Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light. He is also the founder of the Academy of Production Technology and the technical editor of PLASA. The workshops are “Video Lighting Design” on Feb. 9th. Also “Lighten Up: Doing More with Less without Compromise” on Feb. 16th. More details are available at bit.ly/nptwkshps. Here's the flyer:
  8. Richard Cadena is offering some workshops online. He usually teaches through the education program of IATSE Los Angeles Electrician’s Local 728. This will be one of the first times one of his workshops will be streamed for the general public. For those of you not familiar with Richard, he is an ETCP Trainer and author of such Focal Press titles as Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician & Technician, and Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light. He is also the founder of the Academy of Production Technology and the technical editor of PLASA. The workshops are “Video Lighting Design” on Feb. 9th. Also “Lighten Up: Doing More with Less without Compromise” on Feb. 16th. More details are available at bit.ly/nptwkshps. Here's the flyer:
  9. I loved your post, but I am not certain it will be of much help for Megan. I looked up "Black Irish" on Imbd. Since it stars Brendan Gleeson ("Cold Mountain", "Gangs of New York") and Michael Angarano ("Lords of Dogtown", "Sea Biscuit"), I bet you had more of a budget than Megan has on her “low budget” feature. From what Megan posted on the student forum (quoted above) her budget is a lot lower than that of “Black Irish.” What suggestions would you have for a student low budget feature? Eric Jaspers
  10. One of the best resources I have seen that explains in detail how to run HMIs on portable generators is Guy’s own article on the “Use of Portable Generators in Motion Picture Production” available at http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/emailnewsletter_generators.html. As he says in the intro “given the increasing prevalence of harmonic currents and the problems they cause, an increasingly more important feature (in generators) today is the quality of the generated power waveform and how well it interacts with today's light sources. As production gets more electronically sophisticated, a thorough understanding of the demands placed on portable generators by (non-linear) production equipment is necessary in order to generate power that is clean and reliable.” A bit challenging, the article has everything you need to know about using portable generators, including Honda’s new 10kw Digital AVR EB10000. It is well worth reading in full. Eric Jaspers
  11. Because of the constant improvement in HMI technology since they first came out in the 80s there are many versions of HMIs available and if you are not careful you can get stuck. In head design you can choose not only between Fresnel or Par, but also the older double ended globes verses the newer single ended globes. In ballast design you have a choice between magnetic and electronic ballasts; and to complicate matters even more, you have a choice between Power Factor Corrected electronic ballasts and non-Power Factor Corrected electronic ballasts. One of the best resources I have seen that explains the differences in HMIs is and article by Guy Holt on the “Use of Portable Generators in Motion Picture Production” available at http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/emailnewsletter_generators.html. Eric Jaspers
  12. So is it better to run out 200ft of head cable rather than stinger? Eric Jaspers
  13. I don’t quite follow your logic. I understand how a voltage drop reduces the output of a lamp. That is clear when you dim a light on a variac. But I don’t see how that affects the performance of a generator. Eric Jaspers
  14. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) conducted very similar tests of LEDs as part of their “Solid State Lighting Project Technical Assessment.” For a good objective 3rd party analysis of AMPAS’ comparison of LED fixtures I would suggest the following article on LEDS. To summarize this article: when it comes to LED lights, you get what you pay for. The reason Litepanels are more expensive than say the Cool Lights or the Shantou Nanguang CN-600HS 1×1 panels is that they are a better made light. For instance the linear voltage regulator that Cool Lights uses in their heads to stabilize the LED current has several drawbacks in comparison to the approach that Litepanels uses which is a DC-to-DC switched-mode power supply (SMPS) in conjunction with a constant current regulator in the light head. The first drawback to the Cool Light’s approach is that considerable energy is wasted in the series resistors. Second, the linear voltage regulator that converts the supply voltage to the desired voltage for the LED strings maintains a constant output by wasting excess electrical energy by converting it to heat. As such, this approach is highly inefficient and not ideal for battery operation. The same function is performed more efficiently by using a DC-to-DC switched-mode power supply (SMPS) like the one Litepanels uses in conjunction with the constant current regulator they build into their light heads. Another big difference is in the color output of the LEDs used in the two heads. Litepanels uses much more stringent parameters in the binning process so the color output of their heads is more accurate and consistent between heads. But, even with more stringent binning the approach that both Litepanels, Cool Lights, and Shantou Nanguang take to generating white light with LEDs – Phosphor White Technology - has an inherent limitation: by their nature the spectral distribution of Phosphor White LEDs is less than optimum for motion picture lighting applications (use this link for details.) While they are less than perfect at reproducing parts of the color spectrum, the color rendering of Phosphor White LEDs may be adequate in certain situations. For a specific application, say where lights must be operated off of batteries, a LED fixture offers the unique advantage of greater power efficiency over conventional lights, which may out weigh its shortcomings in color rendering. However, a Phosphor White LED, as Michael point out, is clearly not the best choice in applications where color rendition is critical (food/product shots) or mixed with a uniform continuous light source, such as a studio lit with tungsten fixtures, where its color deficiencies will be quite noticeable and unacceptable in comparison (see this thread for more details..) - Eric Jaspers
  15. I would suggest that you also break up your light sources with cookies or tree branches. If you don't break it up like real moonlight filtering through trees it can look pretty fake. Eric Jaspers
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