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Craig Moss
basic safety and operation
on Sep 4, 2005 at 7:09:41 pm

mole richardson type 4821 molequartz tweenie solarspots in a kit with three lights and stands. also barn doors for each and screen kits. to be used initally indoors for dv-video. Basic questions and advice needed:

are regular grounded outlets ok to use? cord says to always use a screen for saftey. Is this true even if the barn doors are attached? The only purpose is to stop someone from touching the glass in front of the bulb, right? If so do the screens squeeze inbetween the barn door and the four litle holding brackets? Why is there a whole kit of screens - what are the different applications? Do you always use the matching gasket ring with the screens? Is there an owner's manual I can get for this kit?

The lights get very very hot. Is there any problem turning them on and off or do they require a cool down time in order not to blow out the bulbs? Or is it better to turn them off between shots?

They seem incredibly bright to me. What is the current thinking how to get a nice soft light on human subjects?

There is some reflective tarp like material in the light kit box. These are not just some fabric but an obvious commerical product. No obvious way of setting it up (like an umbrella stand which I know is old school).

Is this kit even a good choice? Initailly we will be in a room with no windows, overhead florescents, using a canon xl2.

I know this is 101 stuff, I've been involved in lots of productions but never did the lights myself. Well actually I have but more or less just fooled with whatever non-pro stuff was around until I got a look I liked. Don't expect to get good overnight but don't want to hurt anyone or the equipment.

I've tried searching on-line but can't find info about how to use this kit.

I've seen the new soft light kits at shows and they seem a lot friendlier to use to me but these things seem to built very solid and are very easy to set up. Plus they have that theatrical quality. I might have a budget as time goes on but this is what I have for now.

Any and all advice welcome.

OSX 10.3.8; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; FCP 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000; write professionally for a variety of media


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john sharaf
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 4, 2005 at 7:37:29 pm

Craig,

You'll learn to love your Mole kit over time due to it's functionality, compactness and versatility. Unfortuneately there is no instruction book per se, but let me try to help you out with the various queries you have.

Of course regaular grounded outlets are ok, in fact they are preferred, the ground connection protects you from possible shock in the case of a short in the light caused by damage or misuse. It is still possible to use the light in a two-pronged socket with a "three-to-two" ground plug adapter which you can procure at yo9ur local hardware store.

The safety screen is intended to protect against the unlikely occurance of a globe explodeing and showering shards of glass on your subject. Although this rarely happens, I have been present when it did, and without some barrier between the light and the subject it can be quite unsetteling! In addition to the safety screen, a scrim or other diffussion will also serve as protection.

The globes don't care if you turn them off and on between takes, and doing so, especially in hot environs is a good idea to keep the set cool.

A "naked" open faced quartz light, like these tweenies (and their cousins the mickey and mighty) by themselves do create a rather "gross" quality of light. The creative lighting technician usually modifies their output (especially for portraiture) by diffussing or even bouncing them into white cards or other types of reflectors. Diffussion can be as simple as attaching something like Lee 216 to the doors with wooden clothes pins, unfurling a roll of diffussion in front of the light or by using a Chimera or other light box. All these solutions turn the otherwise raw light created by an open face into a punchy soft source.

The Chimera option is particularlly elegent because it eliminates the use of additional stands and offers options of controlling the spill with grids and honeycombs. In addition in their "closed-up" modes the Chimera packs neatly inside the kit box. An "X-Small" or "Small" sized Video_pro would be appropriate (or even one of each for use as key and fill).

Unferling a roll of diffussion (like the 216 or even 1000H traceing paper) in front, by using a c-stand, creates an even larger source, which has its' advantages, but then requires even more c-stands, sandbags and large solid flags to control the spill. This method becomes more eq2uipment and labor intensive, as well as often requiring a larger "footprint" in the scene, so is usually reserved for production of commercials and such. One variation of this technique is known as the "book-light" effect, where you bounce the light into a reflector and then through the unferled diffussion. This creates a double-diffussed and very soft source, but ususlly requires a source twice as big (or more) like a 2k of 5k, but you could use two of your tweenies and see if you like the effect.

As you should now realize there are many methods to use and control your open faced lights, that's why they are so popular for folks who need a compact and inexpensive light kit.

Good luck!

JS


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Craig Moss
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 4, 2005 at 11:38:36 pm

Thanks so much John,

Between your response and a look through the B&H lighting catalog, I'm beginning to get it. I think what that fabric is in the mole case is a chimera, because there is one white square and one black circle hood with Velcro. I don't see a particular model specifically for the solarspots but I think that is what it is. What has me confused however is where exactly stuff goes. In the clips in front of the glass do you put first the screen then the scrims (if you are stopping down) and then the barn doors? And what are the diffusion frames and molering frames used for and where do they go?

Ok assuming all that--will one of these solarspots using a 650-watt bulb be enough to light one subject without needing to use a second fill light? I think there is only one chimera. Obviously experimentation will tell. However, I will not initially have a monitor, never mind a broadcast monitor, to judge, so I will need to use my eyes and the viewfinder. Do lighting designers use a monitor to judge or do they go by their light meters and their own eyes?

Craig

OSX 10.3.8; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; FCP 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000; write professionally for a variety of media


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john sharaf
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 5, 2005 at 12:50:24 am

Craig,

You're asking all the right questions, and seeking out the information on your own in catalogues, etc. so it's clear that you're on the right path to lighting success!

It sounds like you're missing the Chimeras' "speed-ring" which is used to attach the softbank to the light (in which case you do not use the barndoors). To visualize what I'm talking about check out the chimera.com website and find the proper speedring for you light, then order it up from B&H or whomever you use for lighting supplies.

One light it often enough, it depends on the quality of light and mood you're trying to create. If the Chimera-equipt light is from the front (near the camera) it's described as "flat" and most times no fill is needed. If I were to use another light in this scenario it would either be a backlight to create seperation or a light on the background to indicate where the subject is.

As the Chimera'd key light is moved more to the side, you'll notice that the off-side of the face is more in shaddow. This is often dramatic and more realistic, as if the light is coming from a window or other source to the side. The thing to watch for is to maybe keep the light in both the subjects' eyes, and for pleasing shaddows from the nose. Here the height of the light often comes into play. Some photographers make a point of creating a triangle of illumination on the check to the off-light side (aka Rembrant lighting), while others prefer to fill the shaddow with a bounce card or even another light in a card or off a wall or ceiling (note the color of the bounce object).

As far as monitoring the effect, without a monitor, you are limited to using your eye and the b&w viefinder (which is a good tool to judge the contrast and exposure), what you're really missing is a way to judge the color effect. This can be important when mixing daylight and tungsten (the color of your supplementary lighting). With time and experience you'll find that you mught want to add some blue color correction gel when mixing light in this manner (CTO 1/4, 1/2 or full), but you'll also find that doing so further limits (as does the Chimera) the amount of light emerging from your 650's.

That's why lights are offered in larger wattage and also in daylight color balance (HMI and 5600K tubes for Kino Flos).

I hope this helps. Now you've got to experiment with your new tools and find out what you like and what works for you. Remember that the rules are merely guidance, and "proper" lighting often required more tools and power than you might have at hand, so the challange is often to do the best you can with the resources you have!!!

JS


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Craig Moss
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 5, 2005 at 3:52:24 am

Ok, looked at the picture of the speed rings and yup that would have made sense to me. Chimera


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john sharaf
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 5, 2005 at 4:03:08 am

Craig,

The manufacturers make so many items (just look at the Mole or the Chimera catalog) that they cannot afford to write instructions for every unit (although Chimera often does provide some paperwork because assembling some of their units - especiallly the "pancake" and "lantern" units) can be mind boggeling! This is why they put so much effort into the catalogs and why they are such a great resource.

Otherwise they count on their dealers to provide the cursory explainations that neophites might require as part of the sales "pitch" to encourage you to buy one unit over another (cheaper) one! With this in mind beware of such pitches as the folks in the stores rarely have the requisite lighting experience to provide much help, other than at specialty lighting shops like Studio Depot or Barbizon.

JS



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Craig Moss
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 5, 2005 at 4:20:40 am

Thanks again! I'll go back to their sites and see if I can order their catalogs.

OSX 10.3.8; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; FCP 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000; write professionally for a variety of media


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Craig Moss
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 7, 2005 at 4:12:23 am

Hey thanks again for your help. After exploring the web site I knew more or less what the speed ring looked like. When I got back to the lab I found it under a bunch of disorganized wire. I also found the rods that slip in the Chimera. It was pretty easy from there to assemble. I used it to shoot some throw away scenes. I think I either had the wrong cloth that filters the light or had the stand too close because the faces of the talent seemed a little blown out. As I backed up the light stand things looked better. But I was judging only by the color viewfinder. I'll know better when I can get a good monitor. I also found some less transparent filter cloths so I assume these will filter the light more. I guess it depends on the wattage of the bulbs being used?




OSX 10.3.8; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; FCP 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000; write professionally for a variety of media


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Dennis Size
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 5, 2005 at 5:59:17 am

Contact CHIMERA and have them mail or fax you an instruction booklet. They include one when you buy a lightbank. Also get their latest catalogue. You'll find it invaluable.

DS




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Craig Moss
Re: basic safety and operation
on Sep 7, 2005 at 4:12:53 am

Thanks, will do.

OSX 10.3.8; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; FCP 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000; write professionally for a variety of media


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