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Rick Gates

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About Rick Gates

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    Eugene, OR
  1. I've had trouble twice now, with V-mounts that don't quite fit snugly into light controllers, and when they move around they create a short that ruin the battery, and in this most recent case, the controller: https://www.tendrile.com/2020/8/5/pzwfzl077owncvntqsdlqo51k61vey This $150 battery is now toast. The mangled lead you see actually melted enough to pull the sleeve away from the controller with it. My question is "How have others dealt with this issue?" The best I can come up with is to gaffe-tape the hell out of it so it doesn't move around.
  2. I'm building a set for a 1940's era private eye office. It's for a film noir, which will be delivered in black and white. I've found a good, older door that I could use. But I couldn't find any period style windows in the local (Eugene), used building supplies stores. So I figured, what the heck. I could make my own window by building a simple wooden grid in a frame. Behind the window we'll stretch a silk and rear project a 1940s era cityscape. But my question for all of you is "Should I make it a real window with glass panes?" It would be much cheaper, faster and lighter to build it without glass. I know sometimes actors wear prop eyeglasses without lenses, right? Same idea?
  3. Greetings, I have a teleprompter from Listec. It's the type where a tray hangs in front to allow you to use your tablet to display the scrolling text. The Listec 15mm rods have 1/4x20 female sockets on one end, and the front tray screws into these. These specialized rods are several inches shorter than the rods I normally use on the base of my camera rig. So when I need to use the teleprompter, I have to break down my entire rig. What I'm searching for are either much longer rods that have a 1/4x20 female on one end, or something that screws together that provides the same thing. That way I could leave them on my rig all the time, and then just screw in the teleprompter tray whenever I want. Listec doesn't provide these rods, and I've looked through everything at B&H to no avail. Any ideas? Thanks, Rick
  4. Aha! That makes a lot of sense to me David. And of course, since the reflected eye light is at the upper end of the exposure, increasing contrast will really make the light pop against the pupil. To me, Tony Shalhoub feels more intense in the second shot. I'm also wondering if bringing up just the whites would do the trick without having to crush the shadows more. Off to Premiere (and possibly Resolve) to try this out. Thanks so much! This forum is the best.
  5. Wow David! That sets me back to square one. In the close ups I've shot so far, I can always see the shape of the light (a softbox or tube light or whatever) in the eye. I'm blown away that these all come from keys or fills. Here's a thought. I'm a very small producer and the largest light I have is an Aputure 300D II. Because I have such low powered lights I'm generally getting them in as close as I can to bring up exposure, which would allow the shape to show in the eye. Do you think it's likely that in Westworld the reason that we're not seeing the shape of the light in the eyes is because they are very powerful lights that are set way back from the talent? Thanks for any response. I'd love to get that same tiny point of light in the eyes but at an affordable price. Cheers!
  6. Though I know it's not to everybody's taste, I really like the small, hard eyelight used in Westworld. Particularly for the hosts (robots), I think it makes them feel colder. I'm working on a short production that will be shot entirely at night, and I'd like to do something similar. Usually, my key or fill serves as an eye light. However, in the following images, I'm not certain the key or fill is the source of the eye light. At least it doesn't look like it. Any idea what they're doing? Thanks as always for the collective wisdom.
  7. Thanks Phil, this will help a lot. I especially appreciate the safety concerns. Cheers!
  8. We are trying to light a barn in a remote location at night. Even at over 100 feet, the generator is too loud to allow us do noise-reduction on the dialogue. All our lights are LEDs. The main 3 lights we want to use are the Aputure 300D (300w), and 2 Aputure Lightstorms (120w each). We are thinking about trying to hook together a couple of deep-cycle batteries with an inverter. The numbers say that we should be able to power all 3 lights for a few hours. But I thought we should ask the pros before making the purchase. I hate ADR!!! Rick
  9. Here's the ceiling grid we put up: This was a low key piece, so we ended up not dropping lights further down from the grid because they didn't make much difference compared to the flex-light over the table.
  10. OK, I've come up with what I think will work for dropping lights into the alcove behind the talent for the seated mediums and closeups. (In the images below, please note that the goal post simply simulates the wall-spreaders/pipe-stretchers that I'll put up high in the alcove) I used 3 pieces of speedrail and 4 cheeseboros to create a U-shaped structure hanging down behind the talent. The bottom of the U can hold whatever lights I need. Again, all my lights are LEDs so I'm not talking about much weight. So what do you think of this approach? Safety? Efficiency?
  11. So I'm planning a shoot where I'll build a speedrail ceiling grid in a tight 7x10 alcove with 10 ft ceilings. I'm planning on two wall-spreaders/pipe-stretchers, for the 7 ft span, and then 4 cheeseboros to add a couple of 10 ft cross rails. This should allow me to light the wide shot the way I want. The talent is seated below. However, when we get to the mediums and the closeups, I'd like to drop a light down behind the talent and get a nice reverse key. I could probably boom in a light from outside the alcove, though it would be a hassle. But it occurred to me that if I could just drop a 4 ft piece of speedrail from the ceiling grid, and put a cardellini on the end of that, I could pretty much hang light anywhere I want in the alcove. (Note: All my lights are LEDs of less than 10 lbs.) My question is about how to attach the vertical 4 ft piece. My inclination is to use another cheeseboro to hang the 4-ft speedrail. But would that be safe? Or would it be better to do all the wide shots first, and then bring down the whole ceiling grid for the mediums and closeups?
  12. The rail I'm getting here in town is schedule 40 6061-T6 extruded aluminum. I measured the OD at 1.657. The info from on B&H from an "Avenger Expert", is that the clamp range 1.65" to 2.04". I don't have any experience with Big Bens. Are they usually designed to work with both 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 speedrail? Ed must be right about the optimal minimum diameter, and I'm at the bottom end of the range, so I guess it makes sense I'd run into this problem. At least I can easily wrap the pipe ends with silicon before clamping. Thanks!
  13. Hah. Kupollini. Good instincts JD. The speedrail was indeed turning. So I cut a couple of pieces of silicon mat, wrapped them around the ends of the speedrail and clamped down on that. Result? Absolutely no movement on the fixture. It stayed completely vertical throughout all jostling of the goal posts. As always, thanks for the help.
  14. OK, here's the latest developments. I decided to try the cardellini (actually, a knock off from Kupo, but seems solid). This time I cranked it down as hard as I could. It's a new clamp, and here's a couple pictures of the pads, and of it hanging straight before mounting the fixture. So I mounted the fixture and went back and forth raising and lowering the goal posts. When I finally got it back down to square one, here's what it looked like: So next I thought perhaps the problem was the couplers that I have in the junior receivers atop each stand. I actually used some pliers to crank them on tight, but noticed that there's still some gaps where they contact the speedrail. Anyway, either I need to get something like a real Big Ben for the top of the combo stands, or maybe I can cut up a silicon pad and use them under the clamps for a better fit. Either way, I think I'm going to take Ed Conley's advice and purchase a Baby Grid Clamp, which has the advantage of the baby pin hanging straight down from the center of the clamp.
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