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Best Low-Budget tricks!

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Tom Nelson
Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 8, 2008 at 1:49:53 pm

Sure, there's no el-cheapo replacement for a good HMI, but I'm sure we've all got our collection of random lighting stuff made from less-obvious materials. It's time to share your secrets with everyone. Don't be shy - I'll start.

I make my 6x6 and 4x4 frames out of electrical conduit from Home Cheap-O. You can buy the conduit in 10-foot lengths, so you can get a 4x4 and a 6x6 out of four lengths. They've got 90-degree connectors there for a few bucks a piece, so you can attach the conduit together with them and all you need to dissasemble is a phillips screwdriver, which you have on your leatherman that's ALWAYS with you. The frame attaches to stands with Mafer (sp?) clamps.

Assuming that a hot light isn't going to be inches away from them, I fill them with budget diffusion materials bought by the yard, like rip-stop sail fabric and standard screen-door screen.

I work full-time for a company that can afford the real stuff, so I observe it and figure out how to re-create it for my personal use whilst not spending my entire paycheck.



Tom Nelson
Videographer/Editor
Essex Television Group


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Rick McKinney
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 8, 2008 at 7:01:11 pm

More thought starters on Tom's thread:

Screen door mesh can be mounted into a 4 X 4 frame for a net.

R1 insulation can be used for a quick shiny board (as long as it's not too windy). Punch a hole in it with the screw of a grip head aim it with the C-Stand and sand bag that baby down!

What are yours?



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Todd Terry
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 8, 2008 at 9:35:29 pm

I'll take Tom's frames idea one step farther.

We have made several frames out of conduit, I think they are just as good if not better than our "real" frames.

We don't tighten the screws though... one side of each connector is permanently screwed in and the other end is left loose. I have 1/4" elastic shock cord running through the tubing and connectors so the whole frame stays together tight, yet pulls apart and breaks down into one compact unit (shock cord is actually kinda pricey, but I bought a big 100' roll of it on eBay for about $8). For bigger frames (6x6+) we also cut the long pieces in half and they are joined by straight conduit connectors, so a full 6-by folds up into a single piece just over 3' long.

On two opposite sides we have welded two 5/8" posts to the frames so they can be mounted in grip heads just like you would usually do.

My other cheapo homemake tip is for holding 4x4 foamcore bounce cards. You can buy a Quaker clamp (duckbill clamp) from Matthews for about $65 or so... or you can take a pair of ViceGrips that you probably already have laying around and weld on a 5/8" post and two sheet-metal jaws... exactly the same thing, for about seven bucks.



T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Bob Cole
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 11, 2008 at 9:42:29 pm

Here is the Clint Eastwood "Unforgiven" trick. You will save tons of money because you won't need to buy, rent, or build ANYTHING.

3 steps:

Step 1. Become a world-famous movie star.
Step 2. Don't use any lights or scrims on your exteriors.
Step 3. Sit back and listen to how artistic that was.

I'm stuck on Step 1.

MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
Kona LHe
Sony HDV Z1
Sony HDV M25U
HD-Connect MI
Betacam UVW1800
DVCPro AJ-D650


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Jay Curtis
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 11, 2008 at 10:34:48 pm

I spent a week as staff vodeographer/editor for a church youth retreat -- a last-minute "work with whatcha got" scenario, shooting with a GL-2.

With no time to order (or budget) for an on-camera light, I got a $4 LED flashlight from the hardware store, gaffed it to the camera handle, then added some 216 and a 1/2 CTO. It worked great -- not enough punch for any full shots, but perfect for tight face shots or as a filler in worship services.

Keep the tips coming!
Jay


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 12, 2008 at 8:22:01 pm

Another light weight version of a frame...I bought some 3/4" pvc pipe. A lot lighter than conduit. No tools are required to assemble because the pipe fits snugly into the elbows. I attached shorter pieces of pipe to two sides using those adjustable pipe straps, (the ones with the slots you adjust by turning the screw). On my stands I attach grip poles and slide the frame's pipe down the pole. This allows me to quickly adjust the angle. This is good for up to a 5' x 5'.

I bought some grid cloth and put grommets along the sides and attached sash cord. I keep these stuffed in a hip pouch. I just pull 'em out, and tie them on the frame. Total assembly time for one person is less than 5 minutes.

A cheap-o flex fill ...one of those reflectors you leave on the dash of a car to keep the sun out while parked.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Bob Woodhead
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 15, 2008 at 6:21:38 pm

China balls... fantastic for tight quarters, or perhaps a boardroom table scenario, with talent all around. Basic large paper-based china ball (buy online for a few bucks). Take a few "Y" edison socket adapters, screw 'em together so you've got 4 or 6 sockets, then fill those with Home Cheapo flo bulbs. Hangs from an arm just dandy, throws tons of soft omni-direction light. I keep a couple in my large art portfolio (also a cheapo idea... it holds gels, foamcore, china balls (collapsed), cookies, etc).
When you're at Home Cheapo, also look for some plastic alligator-toothed clamps, about 3 time the width of C-47s, but same length... they've a hole at the end to thread a cord through... work great for stretching out any diffusion in a frame. Think they're called tarp clips.


"Constituo, ergo sum"

Bob Woodhead / Atlanta
http://www.CoolNewMedia.net
Quantel-Avid-FCP-3D-Crayola
Panasonic HPX500


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 15, 2008 at 6:44:42 pm

Hey Bob,
I've rigged china balls in the past but always found my method a bit cumbersomeHow do you attach the sockets to the china ball and the ball to the arm?
Thanks!
Mark

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Bob Cole
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 15, 2008 at 7:58:32 pm

[Bob Woodhead] "Home Cheapo flo bulbs"

what are these?

bob

MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
Kona LHe
Sony HDV Z1
Sony HDV M25U
HD-Connect MI
Betacam UVW1800
DVCPro AJ-D650


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Bob Woodhead
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 15, 2008 at 8:57:31 pm

"Home Cheapo flo bulbs" = @ Home Depot/Lowes/etc some of the florescent brands have Kelvin temp printed on 'em... I sure wouldn't call that gospel, but find it gets it close enough to what I'm looking for (either 56K or 32K).

As for mounting, I wired up a plain socket to a standard plug, using individual 12 gauge leads, bit of a gap between the leads. Pop open china ball, put metal spreader for china ball through power leads (that holds up the ball, which weighs nada), screw in flo's, hang lead opening over arm clamp, into Mafer on arm end, whatever. Cheesy? Yeah, but the whole affair only weighs a couple lbs.

"Constituo, ergo sum"

Bob Woodhead / Atlanta
http://www.CoolNewMedia.net
Quantel-Avid-FCP-3D-Crayola
Panasonic HPX500


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Matthew Romanis
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Aug 18, 2008 at 11:54:55 pm

Hey Tom,
I use the same idea as you for frames, but I also use an elastic length run through the centre of the conduit that is tied head to tail. It makes storage, set up and wrap very easy (and for when there is untrained help....idiot proof.)
Matthew.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Nov 13, 2008 at 3:55:56 pm

.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Best Low-Budget tricks!
on Nov 13, 2008 at 3:57:35 pm

I make an instant cukaloris on set by taking a sheet of black foil and stabbing it a bunch of times randomly with a pen, to make randomly-sized holes. Some of them I'll make even more ragged by tearing with my fingers. Then I throw that on an omni or tota with a Lowel gel holder, after the gel (if you put the foil on first it melsts the gel or use stand-offs like sections of coil spring clipped onto the frame). I found that if I make two of these at 45 degree angles, gel one blue and leave the other clear, I get a very convincing partly cloudy blue sky effect where they interact on the wall. Usually I just go with one of these and either gel it or not as required.

You can make a kind of China Ball with an empty plastic gallon milk jug and a candelabra lamp base with a compact fluro bulb. The handle is handy for holding it up or tying it to something.


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