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Coloring bulbs

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Rick Wise
Coloring bulbs
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:12:54 am

There's a pretty fascinating online post about DIY firelight, using multiple bulbs dipped into different Rosco Colorine colors. (http://nofilmschool.com/2012/07/shane-hurlbut-shows-mimic-fire-light-diy) But the stuff isn't made any more. Do any of you know of an alternative paint that can handle the heat of a household light bulb? Or, some other terrific DIY firelight gizmo?

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:00:13 pm

Use LED replacement bulbs and there is no heat problem; you could wrap standard gels around them or use washable car window markers or craft paints (like from a kid's stained glass window kit).

Or several strands of blinky xmas lights in a tangled wad; they become suitably random very quickly.

Hardware stores still sell a little screw-in module that makes any Edison socket blink, for like, a dollar or two. 4-5 of those plus the LED bulbs, and you're good to go.


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Todd Terry
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:30:36 pm

It's too bad that dye is no longer available, that stuff looks pretty cool.

I would think that exact precision on the colors is not that important, and most big-box hardware stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) sell colored bulbs (usually calling them "Party Bulbs") in yellow, orange, and red... I'd think that would be more than close enough.

I'm a huge LED fan, but in this instance I will part with Mark and not recommend LEDs, this is a tungsten job. Couple of reasons, if you just go with household Edison-socket bulbs, LED bulbs are going to be about 10x the price of tungsten... and you need a whole bunch of them. More importantly though is dimmability... only the more expensive household LEDs are dimmable... and they aren't dimmable 0-100%. Usually they will dim down to about 20%, and then go off. Then when dimming back up, you get nothing until about 30-40%, and then they are suddenly on and will ramp back up to 100% (trust me on this, I have tons of LEDs at home). I think in this instance plain ol' tungsten bulbs are called for.

And as Mark said, you can always gel 'em to tweak the colors more.

Fun project.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 3:31:13 pm

If you're not dimming, just randomly flashing, then the cheap LED bulbs will work and you can gel them or paint 'em with anything. "Dimming" could be achieved by altering the facing of the bulbs into/out of a reflector/absorber card(s).


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Rick Wise
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 6:03:25 pm

Thanks very much, all of you. I did get to a similar place: buy already colored bulbs. Found one supplier that seems to have a decent collection of the colors I'd like, including amber, yellow, red: https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/colored-light-bulbs/ I think one of the characteristics of believable firelight is a base, warm intensity that doesn't flicker. Then randomly flickering ambers, yellow, reds. To get enough umph I suspect I'd need 75 watt pars, which seem to be the strongest bulbs offered this way. I think the Medusa rig (https://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2012/07/building-medusa-the-perfect-diy...) is too complicated. I suspect one could screw around 7 porcelain bulb bases to a piece of 1/2" plywood. Add a couple of strips of 1x1" molding to the back side to provide some space, wire each base with a female edison plug on the end. On a separate board set up 4 household dimmers the Medusa proposes. Hook up 2 red bulbs to one dimmer, hook up the center/yellow bulb to a dimmer -- this one to provide the base level and won't flicker. Distribute the remaining bulbs across the 2 remaining dimmers. Once the base level is set, that dimmer remains locked in place. That leaves 3 sliders to ride up and down, which probably one person can do.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 6:08:55 pm

Glad you found them.... 1000bulbs is a good source, I've bought from them before (HMI globes and tungsten bulbs).

The Medusa device is pretty cool... but I agree that it is very overly-engineered and likely much more complicated than is necessary. A much simpler, more elegant, and easier-to-use solution is no doubt possible.

T2

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



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Jason Jenkins
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 7:05:16 pm

[Todd Terry] "A much simpler, more elegant, and easier-to-use solution is no doubt possible."

Yeah, like building a fire.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 7:14:58 pm

Or projecting video of a real fire onto a reflector....?

One of the reasons I got an LED PAR can and DMX controller was so I could replicate things like lightning flashes, neon hotel signs, cop lights, and campfires with it.


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Rick Wise
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 7:19:03 pm

Indeed, an actual fire can work in some settings. Not in others. Usually they are propane powered rigs.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 11, 2015 at 7:31:45 pm

Might consider some completely different light sources, such as monitors... sort of like when they shot the greenscreen footage for the movie "Gravity," big displays were used as lighting sources, the displays showing the images that would be seen by the talent, so that the lighting would be true in the end composition.

In an extremely poor-man's version of that, I once had the need for a shot of someone with some police lights flickering on them. I didn't actually have a real police bar (and does anyone else morn the loss of the squad car "bubble gum machine" lights with the real rotating blubs?... I do)... so I made a short video clip of police lights with the proper white/blue/red strobe pattern and ran the video in a big monitor, which was my light source (with its brightness cranked up to the max). This was on stage so it was relatively convenient... it would have been more troublesome on location.

I'm thinking the same method would work for firelight. It's not for every situation, they obviously have to be scenes that are dimly-lit enough that a monitor can actually provide illumination.

More than one way to skin a cat. Or light one.

T2

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



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Rick Wise
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jun 12, 2015 at 7:34:03 pm

I've been doing some research on the candle and fire lit scenes in the BBC mini-series, Wolf Hall. It turns out those night interiors were shot without any electrical units at all, just the light of candles and of fire places. The camera was an Arri Alexa Plus, and the lenses a set of Leica Summilux-C Primes. So the advanced vision of Kubrick in Barry Lyndon with his special lenses and triple-wick candles can now be achieved with far more crispness and detail. One suspects that new cameras, including the new Sony 7ll, will be less expensive alternatives to the Alexa. Getting the right glass, though, will be a challenge to any limited budget.

In the mean time, augmenting candle and fire light with some electrical help is probably worth the effort and costs a whole lot less. Unlike firelight, candle light does not flicker unless there is some draft of air in the room or the candles are outside. Lighting so that it appears the scene is lit solely by candles remains a skill. I've found China Lanterns can be a great help in that endeavor.

For some details on shooting Wolf Hall see this article: http://www.tvtechnology.com/multiformat/0112/wolf-hall-ancient-intrigue-mod...

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Bob Cole
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jul 9, 2015 at 7:59:33 pm

Do you think it's all about color, or more about control over the temporal qualities of firelight? I've used Magic Gadgets' Shadowmaker and a similar controller by American-something-or-other.

Bob C


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Rick Wise
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jul 9, 2015 at 8:17:32 pm

I think it's both.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Dennis Size
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jul 10, 2015 at 2:35:31 am

This product is the newer version of the technology we were using 30 years ago to simulate the effect of fire on people's faces:

http://www.gamonline.com/catalog/flickermaster/index.php

This is one of many solutions and there are certainly a dozen ways to "light the fire" but I've found using this device to control several mutliple colored light sources is the easiest.
DS



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Rick Wise
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jul 10, 2015 at 2:42:40 pm

B&H lists this Flickermaster as "no longer available." I cannot find any version of it on the internet.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Bob Cole
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jul 10, 2015 at 4:40:55 pm

Rick, you may also want to look at the Shadowmaker from Magic Gadgets - especially if you can find it as a rental, because it's rather expensive. But it's very cool - has programmable settings for various kinds of lighting effects. I suspect DS has used one, and I'm curious as to whether he liked it.

https://www.magicgadgets.com/product/shadowmaker/

BC


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Todd Terry
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jul 10, 2015 at 4:58:01 pm

Everything in our industry is so expensive because... well, because it can be, I guess. This might bear looking elsewhere... at the Halloween industry.

One of my little joys in life is rigging up a bunch of spooky stuff at the house to scare Trick-or-Treaters once a year. I call it the Frightober Spooktacular Scare-a-bration (I really should trademark that).

Anywho, for that I buy a lot of stuff from a company called FrightProps... they make props, motors, actuators, controllers, lighting... etc. Well made stuff that is actually quite cheap.

I know I've seen in the past they have things like flicker generators and lighting controllers that might do the trick... there might be something usable there. http://frightprops.com

T2

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



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Rick Wise
Re: Coloring bulbs
on Jul 10, 2015 at 5:47:47 pm

Thanks, Bob. Looks like $449 for the less expensive Shadowmaker.

Todd, yes, Halloween suppliers have some limited stuff. Frightprops has a $59 low-voltage flicker gen, http://www.frightprops.com/controllers-electronics/led-light-controllers/mi....

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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