Posts Tagged ‘lighting

13
Apr
17

ProLights Lumipix Batten

Looking at lights like this makes me wonder if we will soon see the demise of the gel industry altogether. I must admit that I hope we don’t, having spent years learning about CTO, CTB and the ever-amusing oddball amber (162) and seedy pink (748) amongst the plethora of other coloured gels available. I guess we will all get used to dialing in a colour on the back of the lights rather than correcting them at the front with giant sweetie wrappers and no doubt it will be easier, cheaper, and more accurate this way. I can’t help feeling we are likely to lose something of the craft of lighting along the way.

 

Still, far be it for us to stand in the way of progress, so we are fully embracing the new LED technology and it’s minimal need for gel. A good example of this is the new Lumipix batten from ProLights. This is a 12 bank LED light batten with the ability to produce more than 16 million colours without having to use a single sheet of gel. And I thought there were only 7 colours, well that’s how the rainbow works isn’t it?

ProLights LUMIPIX16H LED Batten

Not only will the Lumipix display lots of pretty colours but it will allow you to do all sorts of combinations and effects with them. I feel that this has been designed with the stage in mind rather than the big (or small) screen. They would be perfect for concerts and that type of show with in-built microphones and adjustable sensitivity to allow for music mode where the lights will respond to music themselves. Also full Dmx control is available right down to the individual LED’s so you can change colours and make pretty patterns to your hearts content.

But before you tune out its not only rock bands that can use this, you image-makers may find them useful too. In our world we would think of them less as a disco light and more of an all-purpose flood or fill light.

ProLights LUMIPIX 12 x 3w RGB:FC LED Batten - A

Rather nicely they have a flicker-free operating frequency of 400HZ to allow for relatively high speed filming, and a LCD display user interface so you can play with the settings without having to put it through a complicated control desk.

IP33 protection and a maximum power consumption of 40W will keep the gaffers happy. You folks will also appreciate the minimal 3.2 kg weight and the robust aluminum body designed to disperse heat and also protect the lights.

Interestingly these battens are also capable of being “pixel mapped” This term describes how a bitmap or image can be displayed pixel by pixel on a series of lights thus creating a video screen of sorts. I presume this would be used for displaying simple moving patterns or images.

However, I can’t help thinking that this feature could be employed to make the ultimate big HD screen experience. As each unit has 12 x LED lights, I calculate that 158 ½ units side by side would do one line of a HD display and about 170 thousand units stacked up would complete it. What an impressive screen that would make, being 150metres wide, however, you may have to watch it from outer space. Anyway we don’t quite have enough of them for that and even with the minimal 40 w max power draw per unit it would still draw 6912000.00 watts in total that’s over 30 thousand amps.

As far as specifications go each unit has 12 tri colour High-efficiency CREE LEDs giving a LUX of 1360 @ 1m, the optics give a beam spread of 19 degrees. Several DMX selectable configurations are available (2,4,6,7,9,18 or36) for advanced or basic controlling. A tough aluminum body to aid with heat dispersal and a controllable fan for forced ventilation will prevent over-heating.

Each unit has twin brackets for hanging that can also be used for floor positioning.

A power output has also been built in to allow for up to 10 units to be joined together using the one 230-v supply (less distro required)

So all in all this is a very nicely thought through product with some great features and I will give it a 7 / 10 for my Brucie Coolness Rating, only slipping slightly because its too difficult to ride home with on my bike for parties.

 

Cheers all BB

 

04
Jul
16

Introducing Genevieve

Now it’s quite an unusual name Genevieve especially in the present day, I don’t think I have ever met one to be honest. I recall an old film about a car race back from Brighton and I happen to know Sainte Genevieve (Saint Geneviève de Loqueffret )is the patron saint of Paris. I didn’t know that she is said to have saved the city from Attila the Hun and an outbreak of ergot poisoning (very nasty) not to mention being appointed as the guardian of the “consecrated virgins of Paris” so the name has some interesting and amusing history but it is still very unusual.

So having said that, I would like to introduce you to the newest Genevieve in London, She hails from Belgium which is very nearly Paris in my book, so it will suffice as a introduction and she is most definitely without any doubt whatsoever UNUSUAL.

 

Now Genevieve is a big girl she is quite heavy, but tall with it and she is delightfully quiet so you can take her home to meet the folks and she won’t embarrass you, but none of that is what makes her unusual. She is unusual, because of her power and she has heaps of it, she puts a 1970’s female Soviet Block weightlifter to shame and without the steroids!

 

Ok, I’ve had my fun and before I put you off Genevive all together, I should point out that she is a truck, a 4 x 4 wheel drive truck and she carries with her a 100kva generator!

 

Yes, Genevieve is our shiny new Mitsubishi Canter generator truck and you won’t find another lady like her in London.

genevieve 1

So lets start with Geneviève’s body, as I said she is a Mitsubishi Canter truck so has constant four wheel drive, high ground clearance, locking hubs, heavy duty axles and off road tires in fact many councils use the Canter as a base for their snow ploughs so she is a tough go anywhere kind of girl. She weighs in at about 6.5 tones so she’s not exactly anorexic and requires a taco (no not as in like a burrito) as in a tachograph! But don’t let that put you off, we can always find a driver if required and a spark (electrician) for that matter.

 

One quick glance inside her shapely rear end reveals the mother of all generators producing 100 Kva at your demand for anything from charging your IPhone to bringing Frankenstein’s monster back to life. With more outlets than Costa Coffee you won’t be short of places to plug into whatever you are using in fact she has:

One each of 125 and 63 amp single phase outlets and a brace of 32 and 16 Amp ones too. If you are after 3 Phase then she is equipped with a power lock and a 125 amp socket. Ok so no USB port but you can plug your phone into the cigarette lighter like everyone else.

genevivepower.jpg

 

A modest amount of storage is available for kit at the very back but if you need 100Kva then I don’t think this will be enough room for everything you are running still it’s better than a poke in the eye!

genevieve load.jpg

But by far the most impressive thing about this lady is how quiet she is, I had Toby start her up for me yesterday and even with the rear service hatch wide open I swear she made less noise than a little Honda 2Kva generator and they are renowned for being quiet.

 

So if you like your women tall well built, adventurous, powerful and silent then Genevieve is the girl for you. Why not give us a call and arrange a date?

genevieve2

The only improvement I would make is a huge set of bull bars and a winch but I’ve spent too long down under so ignore me, she is a perfect 10 as Kevin Bloody Wilson would say (those easily offended should not look up Kevin or his music)

26
Apr
16

Something a little different again -Chroma-keying

Chroma-keying

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Chroma-Keying is the technical term for what most of us refer to as Green Screen shooting and for some of you that is probably the only thing I can teach you on the subject, however for the rest of the world here is my take on this popular and great fun technique.

Firstly the term “green screen” is confusing as the process of Chroma-keying can be done with various colours other than green, but more on this later.

So before I get too into it, let’s just have a quick think about what the process of Chroma-keying actually is and why we use it so often. The Chroma-keying process basically allows you as an image or filmmaker to remove a specific chosen colour in the image and replace it with another colour or background. Probably the most often seen use of this is the weather person and his or her map at the end of the news. Chroma-keying has allowed the weather forecast to be a far more immersive and polished presentation but I must admit to missing the likes of Michael Fish struggling with magnetic cloud and rain icons, obviously this keying technique is not limited to the daily precipitation forecast and is in fact used far more often than you might expect.

 

fish1

       BBC prior to chroma keying, lots has changed except the weather it seems

 

It may be obvious when you see a flying superhero at the movies that some trickery has taken place and this would often be done using chroma-keying but how often do we see a car scene with dialogue in a TV show? Well take it from me a very high percentage of those car scenes will have been shot against a green screen. This is down to the sound created by a moving car, even one on a trailer, this sound can interfere or drown out the actors lines causing the need for separately recording the dialogue and syncing it back to the film later with all the expense incurred. By filming in a stationary car in a nice quiet film studio and then chroma-keying in the background a lot of time and expense can be saved.

 

Right, I think we all know what chroma-keying is now so how do we do it? Well firstly get yourself a good digital operator as I wont be going through the computer side of things on this occasion. I’m going to concentrate on backgrounds and lighting for chroma-keying as that’s what we hire out. Having said that you can get the digital operator from us along with all the computer hardware and software required oh and the camera too….. needless to say.

 

To set up a Chroma-keying shot you first need to set up a background in whatever colour you are choosing to use, be it chroma green, chroma blue or something else. This can be as simple as hanging the appropriate colour background paper roll up or slopping some paint onto a cyc (someone else’s cyc preferably). But take care at this stage, ensure that the background has no nasty marks or scuffs, no wrinkles or creases and so on. Any imperfections in the background can have a negative effect on the keying process.

 

Background options are numerous ranging from that pot of paint to colorama paper rolls or fabrics, we carry various size fabrics from 6 x 6 ft up to 20 x 20 ft in chroma green and up to 12 x 12 ft in chroma blue. Appropriate goal post systems, frames and stands are here in abundance too so hanging the background is no problem at all.

 

One word of warning in regards to using a painted background and that is to be mindful of reflections, a painted surface is far more prone to this than a paper or fabric backdrop. In fact to make your life easier one of our fabric backdrops made from Rosco Digital Cloth is the ideal solution, it gives no bounce back and the perfect key when lit with green.

 

The next stage would be to light this background and the thing to look out for here is to light it evenly with no hot spots, shadows or fall off. You are looking to light the background about 1-2 stops less than your subject will be. Keep it soft and try not to blast the hell out of it as you may end up reflecting the background colour onto the rear of your subject causing fringing around the edges (not what you are after)

 

In practice the easiest way to get a consistent light across your green screen is to light it from both the left and right hand sides using matching lights, this way the lights will overlap each other creating a uniform brightness across the entire backdrop.

lightgreen

Again we have lots of options for lighting the background and many of you will have your own preferences but a couple of good options include Kino Flow lights with 2 x 4ft 4 bank units sufficient to light a 12 x 12 ft screen or for larger arrears our 8 x 4 light flo units are great. However if you want to really spoil yourself then try our very sexy new Cineo HS mk2 led panels (just back from some Wonder Woman chroma keying). All of these lights can all be provided in chroma green output specifically for green screens or in daylight or tungsten for lighting other colour backgrounds. If none of these tickle your fancy give us a call and we can work through your requirements with numerous other lighting options available.

 

kino

Kino 4ft 4 bank

kino2

Light flo 4 x 8

 

 

 

 

 

cineo hs2

Next light your subject, but just have a think at this point as you need to emulate the lighting required in the finished shot, so don’t do a 3 point daylight set up if the end result is someone driving a car at night and so on. Remember direction, quality, colour and power of light here and try to pre-visualize the finished shot.

 

Where possible and appropriate some kind of hair or rear light is great to separate your subject from the background. Positioning your subject at a distance to the background will help with this separation and also reduce the possibility of shadows on the background cast by the subject. If you have to have the subject close to the background you can try to light from a higher angle thus putting those shadows onto the floor and hopefully out of shot but this will only work if the end result calls for the light coming from that same high angle (getting the idea?)

 

As far as what lights to use for your subject its really down to the “look” you are after but whatever that is we have what you need to achieve it so just touch base and we can recommend some options.

 

This one may be obvious but I had better mention it, your subject needs to be a different colour to the background, so don’t shoot a Smurf against chroma blue or a bottle of Grolsch against chroma green ok.

 

smurf

Why not to shoot a Smurf against a Blue Screen?

Whilst shooting be mindful of reflections from the background in jewelry, watches and glasses etc these can spoil your day if you fail to notice them so take care.

Also consider shooting with a large aperture if possible as this will throw the background out of focus and that helps keep it a uniform colour and brightness whilst hiding any imperfections thus aiding with the keying process.

 

Now just before I go and let you all get on with some serious keying, I did mention using different colours to chroma green earlier and said I would expand on that. The go to colour for chroma keying is green but blue, yellow or red can be used instead, care must be taken with red and yellow as these can cause issues with skin tones. Chroma blue works extremely well but lots of people like to wear blue so this can cause you grief too. Back in the days of Mary Poppins and Ray Harryhausen, subjects were shot against WHITE but sodium vapor lights were used due to them having a narrow colour spectrum, this was part of a photochemical process and won an Academy Award back in 1965 so we aren’t doing anything new really are we, they used to call it yellow screen shooting.

marypoppins

Not bad keying for 1964 eh? I am particularly impressed with the shadow!! No wonder they won a Oscar!!!

 

The most convincing reason for using a “GREEN” green screen that I know of is to do with resolution, many cameras use a CMOS sensor topped with a bayer filter and this contains twice as many green sites as it does red or blue ones thus a 4k single chip camera recording at say 4:2:0 would record green at 2k and red and blue at 1k. So green is popular due to it capturing the highest resolution. Back in the film days blue was the go to colour for the same reason, as the blue layer in film stock had the finest grain. Remember with keying it’s the edge detail that makes or breaks the effect so the better resolution the better and more convincing the end result will be.

bayerpattern

 

Green screens also require less light than the blue ones to illuminate and this can be a bonus but on some occasions however the use of a blue screen may still be preferable, for example if the end result is a night time scene then any excess green will stand out against the blue hue that these scenes often have but any excess blue light will blend in nicely.

 

Ok, so I hope to see some amazing stuff from you all, why not let us know if you do anything fun or exciting as we are always on the look-out for something cool to blog about.

 

Cheers folks and happy shooting

 

BB

 

 

 

16
Feb
16

KOTW – Lightflo 8 x 4

KOTW             Lightflo 8 x 4

Flood-600x600.jpg

 

I’ve always liked tubes!

Not tubes as in “The Underground” I wouldn’t say I liked them, even if they are useful, I’m talking about tubes as in “Tubes of Smarties or Tubes of Jelly Tots”.

I’ve always been a frustrated inventor / model maker and for me a tube can end up having many uses. As a kid they made fantastic turrets or rockets and occasionally both at once, well why shouldn’t a castle blast off!

 

Unfortunately this “obsession” has followed me into adulthood and I still find a good tube hard to throw away, the trouble is that my other half has very similar likes so we have been known to suffer from tube induced disputes from time to time, it’s quite unreasonable  to want to store paint brushes in a perfectly good telescope if you ask me!

 

Now with my tubular penchant in mind todays KOTW is right up my street, I am going to pop some Mike Oldfield onto Sonos to get me into the mood.

 

HangingFlood-600x600a.jpg

Right so on with the kit in question. Today we are looking at the Lightflo 8×4 soft light.

 

So no prizes for guessing that’s it’s a softlight, that’s just too easy. What we have here is a Softlight flood containing eight fluorescent tubes. Can anyone guess how long the tubes are? Oh go on have a go!

 

Who said 4ft…….Wrong LOL they are 3.93701ft long or 1200mm. Yes I know that’s as near as damn it is to swearing but I’m in that kind of mood today.

HangingSpot-600x600.jpg

While I’m talking about the tubes (and this thing has more than the london underground)

They are all T5 Shatterproof ones, but please don’t take that as a challenge…………..

The Lightflo is split down the middle, effectively giving you two lights each with four tubes, cleverly the bottom half of the fixture can be pivoted allowing for some control of the spread of light.

Panel-600x600 copy.jpg

On the rear of the unit are controls to allow you to turn on and off and dim each set of four but the really clever bit is when you set this up using DMX to control it. The DMX will give you full control over each of the eight tubes turning them on and off and dimming individual tubes with ease.

 

This DMX control allows for some fun and games. Firstly by individually switching each tube you get eight stepped levels of illumination, but wait, how about putting different coloured tubes into the top and bottom bank for split colour illumination. Or even putting the tubes in alternately as this allows for control over the colour temperature of its output by tailoring the brightness level of each individual tube.

 

 

By installing blue or green tubes the Lightflo becomes the prefect light for Blue/green screen work and this is where it generally earns its keep.

Finally it is possible to install eight different coloured tubes for some serious disco fever!

The Lightflo is stackable too and can be used vertically as well as horizontally and is often grouped together to create a larger light source.

As far as output is concerned the Lightflo will kick out 30KLM for less than 500w of input power.

Now if you already know please don’t laugh at me, but I thought KLM was a Dutch airline Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (no wonder they use the acronym) but no it stands for Kilolumen so 30 KLM = 30,000 lumen. Bearing that in mind anyone fancy a guess at what KCD may stand for?

Ok so how about a BCR for the Lightflo, I think I’m going to give it a 7 / 10 as its an impressive unit, but I would like to see full control on the back not only via DMX. However having said that we hire out DMX stuff so perhaps bearing that in mind and why I am sat here I could up it a bit.

 

So as a Queenslander (banana bender) would say “she’s beaut* mate totally tubular dude” but to them EVERYTHING is tubular it’s because the sun has sent them all troppo* if you ask me.

Cheers everyone BB

Oh KCD = Kilocandela referring to candle power, may be of use if you play Scrabble.

lightflo dimensions.jpg

*Beaut. 1. Aussie abbreviation for something or someone who is beautiful.

*’Going Troppo‘ is an exclusively Australian slang term for ‘going crazy’.

08
Jan
16

KOTW- Maxi Brute

Sonos this morning has been a bit more Brucie friendly than normal!!

I’ve been enjoying some classic Simon and Garfunkel, a bit of Fleetwood Mac and even one of my favorite Acca Dacca tracks (to use the Australian name, AC DC to the rest of the world). Its reminded me of my misspent youth hurling bottles of pee around at Donington Monsters of Rock Festival and generally trying to destroy as many brain cells as possible by over indulging in rhythmic head shaking, beer drinking!!! lol, those were the days.

donnigton.jpg

Thinking back to those gigs, I was always impressed by the wall of Marshall speakers and the fantastic lighting shows. Back then I did the lighting for school plays and the like but we never had more than a handful of par cans to play with so it wasn’t really very exciting, but the big bands had the budget and the lights to impress. I didn’t know what the particular lights were called and if someone had told me to look at the maxi brutes I would have been searching for a large bottle of dodgy aftershave (Well it was one better than Hai Karate anyway, splash it all over Mr Cooper).

mr cooper.jpg

So this leads me to a Rock inspired kit of the week and just like good rock music, good lights stand the test of time and the Maxi Brutes can almost be considered as a classic.

rock out.jpg

Ok, so these Maxi Brute lights are actually slightly different to the stage lighting equivalent but essentially they are much the same being. An array of par fittings sporting 6,8,9,12 or 24 bulbs in the one unit.

maxi brute.jpg

 

A few companies make versions of this light and you may hear them referred to as Fey lights or a molepars and so on. They are all much the same.

We stock units from Filmgear.

So the Brutes all take bulbs much the same as Par cans and as such are easy to replace and swap over for different characteristics i.e. spot, flood and so on. The Maxi Brutes take PAR64 1000w bulbs and a smaller version called the Mini Brute also exists and takes smaller 650w bulbs.

 

Generally these lights are used for lighting large areas in film and television productions, or as a backlight or house light (at rock concerts if nothing else). They are valued due to the punch (power) and the throw (distance) that they output. This means that less units are required to light large areas. The bulbs are arranged into a grid and each column of that grid can be angled out to increase the spread of light or angled in to increase the power.

Individual bulbs can be switched on and off to vary the power (or talk to the aliens like in Close Encounters Contact Bank perhaps)

contact

The brutes have always been popular due to them being an economical piece of kit. Producing large amounts of light for small amounts of money, Well, when compared to HMI’s, MSR’s etc etc

maxi brute1.jpg

 

One small issue with using this sort of light array, is that it can produce multiple shadows but this can be controlled by using diffusion gel like Hampshire frost, this will unify the individual bulbs into one light but it will have a negative effect on the power and throw so it’s a bit of a trade off, be aware however that these units can reach temperatures of around 200 deg C so keep the gels at least 1.5 m away.

At some distances this multiple shadow can be a benefit by helping to soften otherwise hard shadows.

Some people like to mix the bulbs in the fitting i.e. have some narrow and some medium bulbs in the one unit at the same time, this can create different effects that may be useful.

 

I guess that the biggest thing to watch for when thinking about using one of these units is the power supply needed, now I’m not trying to teach anyone to suck eggs but a 24 light maxi brute has 24 x 1000w bulbs so its not going to run off a 13amp plug in your front room. Even the 6 light Mini Brute pulls over 16 amps so has a 32-amp lead. But don’t worry about any of that because we will go through it all with you when you hire one.

Now I do think these are cool lights, they look industrial and follow the adage that “the more the merrier” I even like the name “Brutes” and that of course reminds me of another favorite film of mine by Mel Brooks, Blazing Saddles and this scene right at the end ”you brute!!”

blazzing saddles.jpg

As far as the Brucie coolness rating goes, I think I will award one point per bulb so the 24 light version gets an outrageous 24/10 and so on.

Cheers Folks BB

Oh and have some links to save me from typing all the tech specs out, as I’m still slightly jaded from the New Year Eve’s indulgences!

Specifications on PDF via the lovely peeps at film gear – links below:

www.filmgear.net

Maxibrute 6

maxibrute 9

Maxibrute 12

Maxibrute 24

 

21
Dec
15

Day 9 of Brucie Bloggers Christmas Wish List

 

bells1

Second place (drum roll please) goes to the fantastic B2 250 Air kit from profoto.  Now this is right up my street being a flasher, as opposed to a continuous sort of a guy and if you are going to flash then really you need something to be proud of and this may not be the biggest in the world but its beautifully formed.

2          Profoto B2 250 Kit

 

Profoto B2 250 Kit

Right, I will start here by saying I have been a Broncolor boy at heart since working for their Australian importers for many years and I do love the Move system but…….. I was very very impressed with this system it really is portable with a capital P. It has loads of oomph and some very impressive recycling and duration times that would more than suffice for anything I am likely to want to shoot.

Now, if it only had a mains booster like the old Profoto battery packs had!!!!

 

profoto

 

Not to forget the runner up of the most revolting Christmas Jumper ever donned in our Christmas countdown … this is truly inspired……. Although I’m a little disappointed that we can’t see the blokes face, whether he looks mortified or proud??

o-ULTIMATE-CHRISTMAS-JUMPER-facebook

Well tomorrow is it the top of my list, I can feel the anticipation………. No really I can.

Cheers BB

17
Dec
15

Day 7 of Brucie Bloggers Christmas Wish List

 

karderio_christmas_pudding_clip_art_23109

Day seven, so today’s just didn’t quite make it to the top three.

Today’s is in fact one of the more reasonably priced gifts so far, but that doesn’t make it any less wanted and in fact this is one I would get more use out of than most and if all else fails I could always go hunt some giant marsupial rabbits or the odd giant flightless bird with it and I’m talking Cassowaries not Emus because they are more vicious and bigger.

 

4          Boomerang Flash Bracket

Boomerang Flash Bracket

 

boomerangbracket1

 

The diabolical jumper today is this little beauty I wonder if this is where the alien stomach scene originated??

 

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2nd runner up tomorrow

Cheers BB




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