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Bradley Credit

How to achieve similar top light

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Hey everyone. For the first time so far in my career I’ve got the opportunity to DP something with some budget. It’s still a comparatively low budget music video but it does give me some room to be a bit more ambitious. I want to do a top light that can change color throughout the take (want to be able to cycle through colors on a wireless DMX board). The idea I have is similar to the picture below, and I’m thinking of doing a Skypanel S30 on a Menace Arm, but have also thought of a Litemat due to the Skypanel’s weight. The light would also have a grid and duvateen so that it’s a single shaft of light and doesn’t spill into the background (which would be completely dark). 
 

Am I on the right track to achieving this, or what are your suggestions as far as to how I can pull this look off?

F7EB589E-4CDB-4F0A-915A-37D278D3493A.jpeg

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Hi Bradley,  

A S30 is very lightweight so you will be fine in terms of weight. 
Before renting a dmx board I'd check with your gaffer if he / she has the remote control app for the Skypanel (Stellar) because you can program the Skypanel through it and might be worth playing with it! 

If you want a very hard light coming from the top you might want to take the Skypanel's diffusion off but that's something that you can do on the day! 😊 
 


Have a lovely day! 

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9 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

I hate to object, but Skypanels are not known for being lightweight.

P

No worries! 

I have done it with a tripod and a boom, now, I should have specified that the maximum length that you will get out of that configuration is 2 meters and a bit. 

Might be worth looking into renting a group of A-Lites or Atomcubes which can do more or less the same as the Skypanels, are super lightweight and (the Atomcube) magnetic! 🙂 

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10 hours ago, Bradley Credit said:

I’m thinking of doing a Skypanel S30 on a Menace Arm, but have also thought of a Litemat due to the Skypanel’s weight.

Menace arming a Skypanel is a bad idea. They're too heavy.

If you're dead set on a Skypanel, you could goal post them with two sets of speed rail for extra strength (I've done it before). We also added extra support on the ends of the goal post like an a-frame. However, it depends on how wide your frame is; a goal post can only go so far before it's too dangerous.

Do you have choice of location? If so, I'd look for a studio that has a grid. Then you can totally use a Skypanel overhead. 🙂

If you're not dead set on a Skypanel, maybe look into digital sputniks with a chimera and grid on them? They're quite punchy, have DMX, and are RGB. Plus they're a lot lighter!

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Stuck record mode.

Skypanels are extremely heavy, outrageously expensive, rely extensively on plastic parts, and suffer colour performance that was years out of date at launch.

They work, but given how picky people tend to be about LED colour quality, it's astounding they're as popular as they are. It can only be brand loyalty.

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On 6/22/2020 at 8:25 PM, AJ Young said:

Menace arming a Skypanel is a bad idea. They're too heavy.

If you're dead set on a Skypanel, you could goal post them with two sets of speed rail for extra strength (I've done it before). We also added extra support on the ends of the goal post like an a-frame. However, it depends on how wide your frame is; a goal post can only go so far before it's too dangerous.

Do you have choice of location? If so, I'd look for a studio that has a grid. Then you can totally use a Skypanel overhead. 🙂

If you're not dead set on a Skypanel, maybe look into digital sputniks with a chimera and grid on them? They're quite punchy, have DMX, and are RGB. Plus they're a lot lighter!

Thanks for this AJ! I do have choice of location to an extent but with the budget as tight as it is we’ve essentially locked in on the space that was in the treatment. I’m not deadset on the Skypanel, so I’ll definitely look into the sputniks. Would one still be powerful enough to punch through a layer of diffusion so the source is relatively soft?

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On 6/22/2020 at 6:19 PM, Miguel Angel said:

No worries! 

I have done it with a tripod and a boom, now, I should have specified that the maximum length that you will get out of that configuration is 2 meters and a bit. 

Might be worth looking into renting a group of A-Lites or Atomcubes which can do more or less the same as the Skypanels, are super lightweight and (the Atomcube) magnetic! 🙂 

Thanks for this! 2 meters might not be long enough as I do want a shot orbiting around the artist as he performs. I’ll look into those other 2 lights you suggested though.

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27 minutes ago, Bradley Credit said:

Thanks for this AJ! I do have choice of location to an extent but with the budget as tight as it is we’ve essentially locked in on the space that was in the treatment. I’m not deadset on the Skypanel, so I’ll definitely look into the sputniks. Would one still be powerful enough to punch through a layer of diffusion so the source is relatively soft?

Also, do you think a similarly desired effect could be achieved with a Kino Freestyle 31, or a Litepanel Gemini 2x1?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bradley Credit said:

Also, do you think a similarly desired effect could be achieved with a Kino Freestyle 31, or a Litepanel Gemini 2x1?

I'm not sure how much lighter those fixtures are?

how big do you need the source?  if something around 4x4 is desired and you don't need a ton of output I'd go light mat spectrum 4  or maybe a small array of astera tubes through 4x4 diffusion. Much lighter options. 

The Max menance arm which is what is in your reference picture is rated at 75lbs - so you could use a skypanel if that is what you are getting. I would guess the rigging would take time to be done safely though. 

A goal post could for sure carry an s30 though - not sure if you will get much frame clearance though as you would with a menace arm

Edited by Albion Hockney
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14 hours ago, Bradley Credit said:

Would one still be powerful enough to punch through a layer of diffusion so the source is relatively soft?

Definitely. They're modular, so you can connect three to six together. They start to look like small Maxi-brutes and are quite powerful.

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23 hours ago, Albion Hockney said:

I'm not sure how much lighter those fixtures are?

how big do you need the source?  if something around 4x4 is desired and you don't need a ton of output I'd go light mat spectrum 4  or maybe a small array of astera tubes through 4x4 diffusion. Much lighter options. 

The Max menance arm which is what is in your reference picture is rated at 75lbs - so you could use a skypanel if that is what you are getting. I would guess the rigging would take time to be done safely though. 

A goal post could for sure carry an s30 though - not sure if you will get much frame clearance though as you would with a menace arm

Big thanks for this! I’m looking to get a similarly sized source to the one pictured.

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Like Bradley said, Kino Freestyle might be perfect because the LED panel is removable from the housing. See picture below.

Another lightweight option might be a small array of Quasar RGB tubes. I had a gaffer once mount 4 on top two c-stand arms with gaff tape for an overhead. Quasars also have the benefit of fitting into old Kino 4ft housings (that grip houses convert themselves), which will make louvers and skirts easier to rig from.

kino freestyle.JPG

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