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China paper Ball vs Chimera ball

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Vince Becquiot
China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Oct 27, 2010 at 8:37:00 pm

Just looking to see if it is worth investing into the higher end Chimera China ball system. We do own a couple of 30" 600w lanterns.

While I can see the advantage of the reflector for intensity, what about the quality of the light? This is for long dollies when overhead light setups wouldn't be possible.

Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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Todd Terry
Re: China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Oct 27, 2010 at 9:05:55 pm

I've used both... and have to say that the quality of light is about the same.

The last time I used one, it was of the paper variety, with a 200w fluorescent lamp in it (a bigass tube that is 200 actual watts, not 200 equivalent watts).

I'd say on the upside, a China ball from Pier One Imports (where you can readily pick one up) is about $10-$15, depending on the size. The Chimera is obviously a lot more.

One consideration though, if you are doing dolly shots, are you moving the lighting instrument? That's what we did the last time we used one, it was suspended on a long boom attached to the dolly so it would follow and illuminate the talent. One issue I had was noise... we were at first fighting the crinkle crinkle crinkle sound of the paper lantern since it was moving along with us (even worse, since the boom mic was attached to the same strut holding the lantern). We had to come up with some on-the-spot ways to dampen it, which fortunately worked.... but that's one instance where we would have been better off with a real Chimera.

T2

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



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Vince Becquiot
Re: China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Oct 27, 2010 at 9:19:19 pm

Hi Todd,

No sound, will be done in post. Yes, it would be attached to the dolly. 200w was enough light?

It just seems that would get lost, and that's one of the advantage I could see in the Chimera? I guess noise would be a consideration for future use as well, that's a great point.

Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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Dan Brockett
Re: China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Oct 27, 2010 at 9:39:25 pm

I too have used both and I too have been pondering whether or not to invest in the Chimera. The big difference that may not be apparent to you is not the light source or quality of light, it is the control of the light. Every time I rig a China ball, I also end up rigging about 4-6 40" C-stand arms and about thirty linear feet of Duvetine to make a skirt for the ball so that the light only stays on the talent, not on the walls and surrounding area. The Chimera elegantly sidesteps this major issue with it's built-in skirts, which can be rolled down and Velcro fastened at whichever level is appropriate.

If you are doing shots where the natural fall off won't light your walls or other things you don't want to light, you can't beat the cost, weight and ease of purchase of a regular China Ball. I have two of them with the ceramic dual pin socket and 650 watt quartz bulb. They work well, but can be a PITA to rig.

I am saving for a large Chimera, I already own five other Chimeras so I might as well own a pancake lantern. Oh, yeah, we didn't talk about that. A 30" China Ball doesn't work very well for location work with 8' ceilings, does it? That is the other recommendation, I would suggest the Chimera Pancake lantern over the Chimera China Ball. The China Ball is great when in studio or where you have higher ceilings but for practical locations, the Pancake Lantern will save you and your gaffer a lot of headaches. Been there, done that. 30" China Balls are close to useless with low ceilings.

Dan Brockett

A Producer Who Is Also A DP? Yep, that's Me.

http://www.danbrockett.com


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Vince Becquiot
Re: China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Oct 27, 2010 at 9:45:26 pm

Thanks Guys,

The Chimera isn't really expensive, and I do love what we get out of our their medium boxes. I think I might go for the nicer stuff.

Cheers,

Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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Todd Terry
Re: China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:36:42 pm

Hey Vince...

I can't say if a 200w flo would be enough... I don't know what you are shooting or the format or your lens speed or any of those good things.

In the instance we used it, it was enough. I didn't put a meter to it, but I'm guessing the 200w flo was the tungsten equivalent of about 700-900w.

I was shooting with pretty fast lenses (Leitz-Panavision superspeed primes at f1.3), but also using a P+S Technik converter which eats up about a stop. I had enough light though...although not tons of extra.

I had asked for advice about this setup in an old COW post from earlier in the year and gave a "post mortem" report after the shoot was done. You can see a picture of one of the bare bulbs in that post at this link:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/47/858156

We have these 200w flos in both tungsten and daylight balanced flavors. That particular day we were using the tungsten balanced, to match our other instruments and the existing ceiling fixtures.

One of the issues of these jumbo flo lamps is that they do have a little fan in them, for cooling. I'd say it's only barely audible, but might be an issue on some shoots if the mic is extremely close to them in a very acoustically live room.

T2

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



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Vince Becquiot
Re: China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:39:55 pm

Thanks for all the info Todd. Just realized you were using a flo :-)

Thanks for the link as well, good stuff.

Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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Bob Cole
Re: China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Nov 15, 2010 at 12:46:45 am

[Dan Brockett] "the ceramic dual pin socket and 650 watt quartz bulb"

Dan, and Terry too: could you tell us more about the fixtures you use with the China Ball? And why you chose what you chose? I use a Chimera Triolet and mogul bulbs, which I like, but it's expensive and of course tungsten.

Bob C


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Todd Terry
Re: China paper Ball vs Chimera ball
on Nov 15, 2010 at 6:06:45 am

Hi Bob...

We use these gigantic 200 watt fluorescent tubes... you can see one of these (out of the China ball) in this follow up to a previous post that I referenced above... here's the link again...

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/47/858156

I chose to go with flos in the China balls because they are very bright, very cool, and have a good quality of light available in the temps that I needed.

These are mogul-based bulbs... but we just use an adapter to screw them in a regular socket. Note that flos are often listed in equivalent watts to tungsten, but these are actual 200 watt flo tubes, so they are quite bright. I haven't put a meter to them, but just my eyeball (and comparison to other instruments in use at the same time) they seem to have about the same output as a 650w tungsten instrument or so.

They're pretty big and heavy, we only use them in larger-sized China balls. They are available in both tungsten and daylight balance, we have (and have used) both. These are not photo-grade tubes, but just regular commercial tubes... still they seem to have a pretty high CRI and do not have a particularly nasty green spike. I personally have never needed to use any minus-green with them, although some people might prefer to. One thing to note, they do have a tiny fan in the base for cooling... it is nearly silent but not completely so. If you were using the instrument very close to a mic in a small acoustically-live room that might prove to be an issue, but it's never been a problem for us.

They are available (in a couple of different brands, I think), from vendors that sell commercial lighting products. I was not able to find them in local stores though, I bought the ones we have on line. They are about $75 apiece, if I recall.

Hope that helps...

T2

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



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