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Tom Yanowitz

Brightest film lights for regular wall sockets ?

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Hi everyone,
as I'm involved in low budget filmmaking, I'm interested in knowing what I can do lighting wise, when shooting in houses and just using the regular wall plugs, without the gaffer having to do any setup for bigger lights.
It's a topic where I feel quite rusty.

In the US, I believe your theoretical limit is 120v*15a = 1800W per circuit.
In France, we can in theory go up to 230*16 = 3680W.
1/ At the rental place, is this effectively the thresholds that divide lights that come with regular plugs and lights that don't (32A only) ?

2/ Does that mean that some lights (for example a 2.5k) come with a regular plug here but not in the US ?

3/ What are the brightest lights that you know of that can be plugged into regular home wall sockets ?
For some reason I have - for France - the 2.5kW HMI, but I don't know all the lights, and I especially don't know how far LEDs have come in the last five years.
Given their efficiency, I suppose a 2K (actual, not "equivalent") LED Fresnel would have an amazing output, if that even exists/could exist.

4/ 
Do you have a set safety "wiggle room" in mind, for example you would remove 20% of these theoretical max output and end up with 1500W in the US and 3000W in France ?

Sorry these questions are a bit all over.. Thanks a lot for reading.

Edited by Tom Yanowitz

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I’m currently read “Lighting for Digital Video and Television” 4th Edition.

Book states 15 amp Edison plug 110v you can use a 1200w light. 20amp Edison plug 120v you can use a 2k. Lights only, you can’t plug anything else in. 
 

Hope this Helps or leads to better answers

Good Luck

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2 hours ago, JD Hartman said:

20A circuit, 1.8K HMI

Have I missed something? That would draw 9A. OP is in France. The mains voltage is 230.

OP, you can run a 2K blonde and an 800W redhead (sorry, I'm old-fashioned) off the same domestic circuit with room to spare. You could even plug them into the same twin socket outlet (2800/230=12.2A) if you had to. There is a bit of voltage drop in a long cable but not much in the sort of cable runs you are likely to have indoors.

Edited by Mark Dunn

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The Arri M18 (an HMI) is one of the most powerful lights that can be plugged into a standard household outlet. Mole Richardson is producing some very powerful LED lights, including a 20K LED which can be powered through two standard 15 amp household circuits. I'd have to see more photometric data in order to compare it to other HMI or tungsten lights such as the M18. 

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(in the US) Practically speaking, it's a good idea to assume an older house have 15a circuits, so an M18 will be too much. Always check the breaker box to see what the amperage for the circuit is. (in the US)

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26 minutes ago, AJ Young said:

it's a good idea to assume an older house have 15a circuits, so an M18 will be too much.

Yes, I should have mentioned that in my post. Thanks for pointing it out. A lot of the house locations where I've worked have 20a circuits, but I'm sure there's lots that still have 15a circuits. Always good to check before plugging anything in. 

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2 hours ago, Mitchell Priebe said:

Yes, I should have mentioned that in my post. Thanks for pointing it out. A lot of the house locations where I've worked have 20a circuits, but I'm sure there's lots that still have 15a circuits. Always good to check before plugging anything in. 

All good!

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6 hours ago, AJ Young said:

(in the US) Practically speaking, it's a good idea to assume an older house have 15a circuits, so an M18 will be too much. Always check the breaker box to see what the amperage for the circuit is. (in the US)

Old house, a vague generality.  House build in the what? 60's, 80's, 0o's??

  Check the breaker box during the scout. New(er) kitchen will have 20A circuits, hopefully wired so the fridge and the microwave each have their own circuit so you can use the kitchen circuit(s) as well as the washing machine circuit.

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8 hours ago, Mark Dunn said:

 

Have I missed something? That would draw 9A. OP is in France. The mains voltage is 230.

OP, you can run a 2K blonde and an 800W redhead (sorry, I'm old-fashioned) off the same domestic circuit with room to spare. You could even plug them into the same twin socket outlet (2800/230=12.2A) if you had to. There is a bit of voltage drop in a long cable but not much in the sort of cable runs you are likely to have indoors.

 

The OP asked about US 120v as well. 🙂

 

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8 hours ago, Mitchell Priebe said:

The Arri M18 (an HMI) is one of the most powerful lights that can be plugged into a standard household outlet. Mole Richardson is producing some very powerful LED lights, including a 20K LED which can be powered through two standard 15 amp household circuits. I'd have to see more photometric data in order to compare it to other HMI or tungsten lights such as the M18. 

That thing is 100lbs though.

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Max might be Arri M18 in general, but in practice, on locations you can't guarantee breakers will support it. Joker 1600s draws 13 amps and can run off a 15 amp circuit, and is a better bet against unknown breakers. I went this route in an old church in Chicago. But Joker 800s are probably the best bet and can be paired from separate rooms if breakers trip. I once had a 1200w trip household 15a circuits. No doubt there was something wrong with the house wiring, but that's my point. Jokers are also conveniently in an all-in-one case, with a handle, and wheels.

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21 hours ago, Ed Conley said:

That thing is 100lbs though.

Yes, I was very surprised by the weight! The stands I see these on in pictures look like they are very heavy-duty. 

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