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I'm shooting a student film and need to create a lightning effect.

 

The Magic Gadgets Shadowmaker flicker box is advertised as having a lightning effects programmed into it.

 

Has anyone used this effect, and do you have video footage of it that you could post?

 

Any advise on this would be helpful. The budget is too small to get Lightning Strikes or anything like that, and we're shooting on the Red so I don't want the rolling shutter from Atomic 3000's. Looking into a shutter effect with metal shutters, but if the flicker box works, I'd prefer that method.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Magic Gadget works ok-ish on smaller units. Unfortunately there is a lot of filament lag with tungsten lamps, even using smaller units, meaning you won't get hard flashes. They will ramp on and off over a couple frames, and therefore the colour temperature also changes as the light comes up and down.

 

That being said, perhaps with a rolling shutter sensor, the magic gadget might give you something to play with in post, without having to clean up split frames.

 

Lighting shutters can also work. They can be a bit labour intensive, and need a little practice for the operator to get the right feel and timing. They do give a harder flash, without the colour temperature change.

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I shot a short piece two weeks ago where I wanted to play with outside light a bit and decided that I wanted to introduce lightning strikes at some stage.

The room was dark at night and as I did not have a budget I rented a M18 and the guys from the rental place (Cine Electric in Ireland) lent me a giant venetian shutter.

 

I have to say that it worked! What I felt is that I needed a bigger light than the M18 because if you want to fill a big space with the lightning, the M18 might not be enough.

 

Before going with the venetian shutter I tested the dimmer box but I did not like the feeling, lightning strikes are very fast and go from nothing to a big intensity of light in less than 1 second and when I was testing the dimmer boxes I felt that it wasn't quick enough for my taste.

 

I think I have some shoots from the piece on my computer if you want to take a look at them.

 

Have a good day.

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Mechanical shutters are great, you can also use them for flame effects and gunshot muzzle flash effects. Hard to find at smaller rental houses if you're not in a major production hub.

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Unfortunately the atomics don't seem to fit the bill much anymore(it's unfortunate as I own a couple) I have found the atomics to be really problematic in causing half frames with cameras with a rolling shutter. The blinder function is a little better, and in a few circumstances acceptable, but it's still problematic. Definitely worth testing before the shoot day.

 

Depending on your output and coverage needs using the flash function(or flashing using dmx) on most LED units is worth testing.

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I've used Atomic Strobes on the Alexa and found that you get into cycles where you can get a stretch where the flashes are full-frame and then fall out of sync and you get a half-frame.

 

I haven't had a problem with Lightning Strikes Paparazzi Strobes and rolling shutters.

 

I usually use metal shutters on a bright HMI, it's low-tech but it works.

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What would be the max area an Atomic could cover? In a month, I will be tackling a cyc 60' in diameter and was wondering what my options were if I couldn't go Lightning Strikes. We'll be using the C500.

Edited by Alex Rizzo

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It's just a box so it doesn't project a beam, the light spreads / spills quite a bit, the only issue may be fall-off in intensity if you back it way off.

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I like the metal venetian blind shutters on the HMI because it feels a bit more organic than a strobe, if the guy slapping the shutters open and close has a sensitivity for that sort of thing.

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I think you are right Mr. Mullen.

By playing with the venetian shutter I also learnt that you have to have the right amount of "lightnings".

Not too many (like in my video) but not too few, and it seems to me that it is very hard to know when there are a lot or not.

 

Have a good day!

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I always run into this issue when I need grips or electrics to randomly wave flags and whatnot for the effect of a flickering fireplace light or passing trees inside a car, etc. They often end up not being random enough and fall into a visible pattern. You have to describe to them the real-life reasons for the flickering - how fire shifts from one end to the other of the fireplace, the occasional spike in intensity, how near trees that a car passes by go faster than the more distant trees, how sometimes the thickness of the trees is heavy and other times it is light, etc.

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It is my thought that "Ligthing effects" should be a mandatory class in all the film schools in the world so all the cinematographers could talk about what you just said (and which makes a lot of sense) to their G&E crew in the terms that you used.

 

Have a good day!

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I'm shooting a student film and need to create a lightning effect.

 

The Magic Gadgets Shadowmaker flicker box is advertised as having a lightning effects programmed into it.

 

Has anyone used this effect, and do you have video footage of it that you could post?

 

Any advise on this would be helpful. The budget is too small to get Lightning Strikes or anything like that, and we're shooting on the Red so I don't want the rolling shutter from Atomic 3000's. Looking into a shutter effect with metal shutters, but if the flicker box works, I'd prefer that method.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Hi Paul,

 

Could you explain "I don't want the rolling shutter from Atomic 3000's."?

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