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Donald Mitchell
Spacelight Options
on Oct 14, 2009 at 3:13:24 pm

Cross posted this to the cimematography forum:

I own a small studio and I'm thinking about investing in a set of spacelights to have rigged on a permanent basis so clients can come in and have the infinity cove prelit.

I'm trying to choose between the 6KW models and the 2KW models, obviously would be cheaper to use the 2KWs, as I also want to wire them through dimmers.

Question is would I get enough power from the 2KW units? The L-shaped cove floor dimensions are 31.5 ft x 25ft x 15ft to the grid.

I was thinking around 9 lights to cover this area. What's the best solution?

Thanks for any help.


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Rick Wise
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 14, 2009 at 7:33:57 pm

Space lights are a terrific tool. However, they are not in themselves a full solution to a shadow-free stage. They are hotter directly underneath, unless you scrim the bottoms (a good idea in any case; I had one explode, and the hot glass came down directly; fortunately, no one was underneath. Now I always ask for a wire scrim to be put in place.) And even then, you get uneven illumination. To be truly shadow free, you need to fly a large diffusion below those lights. With 15' to the grid, that will be difficult with 6Ks. The 2K's are shorter and you might be able to pull off something.

On the other hand, I've shot lots of white limbo with just plain space lights. A ground key from the side creates a distinctive and stronger shadow and also fills in the multiple space-light shadows. Better a 10K from far back, than a smaller unit closer -- too much change in intensity as talent moves toward or away from the light. However, in your small stage, a 5K probably can do it, or possibly a studio Junior.

As to your question, would the 2K space lights be bright enough? I suspect they will, unless clients have "slow" cameras. Rent or buy just one. Put it up, take a light meter and measure output (or throw up a camera.) It's been a while since I've used them -- usually my gaffer goes for the 6Ks.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Rick Wise
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 15, 2009 at 12:36:19 am

Donald,

You posted the same question on the CML forum. May I suggest that in the future you start with one forum, wait a day, and if you don't get an answer to your question or the answer is incomplete, them post on another. For the benefit of others here who are interested in this topic, I'm printing below the very thorough reply you received on CML. The suggestion of fluorescents is a great one. I'd suggest flying a large silk below them to even out the top light. Fluorescents will save you both power and height, as you can even place the fluorescents between the grids with some clever rigging. As for dimmers, many fluorescents cannot be dimmed. I'm not so sure you need a dimmer at all. It would be cheaper to have on hand a large grip double to fly below the silk. (Better yet, a single and double.) You could also wire them so that you can cut off individual units as needed.

"15ft (5mtr) to the grid is not that high, a 2kw version will hang about 1/2
mtr below the grid so a 2kw version would give you 160lux in a 5 mtr circle.

"Bearing in mind you overlap these lights you could be getting 300 lux
overall.

"These are also much easier to get dimmers for a 2.5kw dimmer such as the ETC
smart bar could be up there mounted on the grid with the lights these will
power 4 lights.

"If you went 6kw your spacelight would now hang down 1mtr below the grid,
produce about double the light over the same area, but dimmers for each
light will require 3 phase supply, and VERY expensive dimmer packs.

"As a spacelight is only used to create the ambient light you will of course
need conventional lighting to the set/action. you don't say if its film or
TV but the 2kw would be fine for TV, by the way, why not go fluorescent and
save a fortune in power.

"Regards

"John Rossetti London"


Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Dennis Size
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 15, 2009 at 2:56:15 am

I would agree.
Get the 6kw (which you should also be able to lamp down to 3kw)....or just go with Kino-flo's. The other options are a few Chimera lanterns (my choice), or "balloon lights"

DS



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Donald Mitchell
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 15, 2009 at 4:08:14 pm

Thanks for all the help folks. I'm afraid I posted this just about everywhere I could find on the net! The response has been fantastic, some really experienced people helping little old me, quite humbling.

I had rejected Kinos because of cost, I need to bring this in as cheaply as possible. I'd like to work out the cost though, so in terms of lampheads, which Kinos would I use and how many?

I've looked at the Chimera balloon lights before, and wondered if they would work - again, what kind of lamp would I be best using with them and how many fixtures would I need?

I got an interesting response from Danny Toback of Digital Film Studios in LA, his cyc is bigger than mine and he's successfully lighting it for green screen and limbo using 7 x 2KW spacelights. Getting f4 at 200asa. Pics on his site:

http://www.digitalfilmstudios.com


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Dennis Size
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 16, 2009 at 2:47:43 am

You could also do it with a half dozen heavily diffused, 1000w, 18" scoops. At about $150 apiece (probably less on ebay) you'd be able to do it really inexpensively.
On the flip side, four 4'-0" x 4 lamp Kino-Flo's would be really sweet (and brainlessly easy).... but pricey.

DS



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Todd Terry
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 16, 2009 at 4:20:42 am

[Dennis Size] "...18" scoops. At about $150 apiece (probably less on ebay) you'd be able to do it really inexpensively."

Good idea, Dennis... and maybe even cheaper than that. The last time I was shooting promos in a television station just outside the stage door was a room full of perfectly usable-yet-discarded scoops (with globes!)... that they were willing to give away.

Scoops are out of favor in most television studios... yet there's almost always a packrat mentality and those guys rarely completely get rid of anything. Might be worth a call to see if a local station has any in the "junk pile."

It would be an easy way to light a limbo set for pennies... call it "temporary" while saving up the nickles for those sweet-but-pricey Kinos.



T2

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






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Foster Collins
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 21, 2009 at 6:57:07 pm

As a packrat LD at a PBS production facility, I've recently developed my own space lights using a variation on Dennis's suggestion. I had a seamstress fabricate 18" x 18" x 18" bags from grid cloth (or sail cloth available from Rose Brand) to clip directly to the frame of an 18" scoop. The frame holds 1/4" hardware cloth to avoid that occasional broken bulb. The bottom of the bag is full grid cloth, and the sides(one continuous piece) are 1/2 grid cloth (to avoid that hot spot under the unit.) The open top of the square bag easily clips to the 18" frame with paper clamps. The scoops, 1970's vintage Kliegls, had been in "storage" for longer than I'd like to admit, but now I'm glad I had 'em. Pointed straight down, the "bag lights" are not the prettiest things to look at, but they fill the stage with great soft light. They also make great "house lights" when the fluorescent overheads are't bright enough. These units use FHM double end quartz lamps, and never made good soft scoops, but they work great for these.
Foster Collins
Lighting Director
NET Television
netnebraska.org/television/


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Dennis Size
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 23, 2009 at 3:02:07 am

Great suggestion Foster. I've done a variation using foamcore sides.... which is more "directional".

How've you been by the way? It's been a long time since I saw you last.

DS



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Foster Collins
Re: Spacelight Options
on Oct 27, 2009 at 3:23:37 pm

Thanks, Dennis,
Things have been fine out here at our Little Studio on the Prairie. Too busy to get to any seminars for a long time. We'll have to get together and catch up sometime. Life is good.
Foster Collins
Lighting Director
NET Television
University of Nebraska / Lincoln


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