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Waterproofing and bracing lights for wind and rain.

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Hi Guys,


I'm DP on a shoot in Brighton, East Sussex, UK and although the forecast looks OK I want to be prepared for rain and wind. Would you be able to share you're methods for keeping a 1.2k HMI and ballast safe and dry when shooting outside in the rain beside the sea and the same for a 2k tungsten fresnel?


If you want to use a 6ft butterfly with gridcloth to diffuse the light (it's for a beach scene) aside from guy ropes is there anything else that can be done to avoid turning it into a big expensive kite?


Many thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.


All the best,



Edited by Haydn Michael John West
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The usual method that gaffers have told me is not to switch off the lights, the heat evaparates any rain. My experience is that this works.


You need to have IEC 60309 connectors, rather than domestic 13 AMP plugs, to ensure waterproof power connections.


Wind is a problem, more so if on a beach. All you can do is use lots of sandbags and guy ropes, the same needs to be done with the lights, because they can blow over as well in the wind.

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In New York we do a few things.


Spider boxes, stage boxes and lunch pails can all be put up on apple boxes or what we call swamp boxes to keep metal up and off the ground.


A piece of rubber matt over the whole thing usually keeps things dry. It's not great idea to use black garbage bags as they look like garbage bags and I have seen stage boxes crushed by a truck that rolls over it.


We use cam lock on our cable runs that are supposedly water proof so we don't usually cover those connections but I don't like them in ponding water if there is any or in the street where a truck can run them over.

The lights: If it's going to rain I'll look for a shelter for stage boxes and HMI ballasts along a building or under an awning or something. If no shelter is available I like to cover ballasts with rubber matte but is such a way the ballast can breath. If they over heat your lights will go out. Many guys will use what we call cellotex. It is a screen with some sort of clear fiberglass/plastic material on it. We use it to cover lighting heads or ballasts while it is raining. It must be put on is such a way that it covers enough of the barn doors where the lens is cover from above.


If it is really raining hard, you can use UV filter or Heat shield to cover the lens.


If you are shooting on the beach you may want to cover HMI connectors from sand or mud.

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Yeah that's it. I couldn't find a link when I searched. But here's the trick. If it is raining and the screen glass is on the light. any rain hitting it will burn away and evaporate. it works great. If you leave it on a light while it's not raining, the plastic coating and the water proofing burns away and you are left with a hole in the water protection where you need it the most. Having said that, it seems to still work to some degree as the remaining metal screen will be hot and evaporate a lite shower.

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