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Old February 17th, 2005, 12:59 PM   #16
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Great article... a few quick adds if I may...

C-stands: if you're buying them new, try to get the "turtle base" stands; the center pole is removable from the legs; this is worth the couple-extra bucks for several reasons. One, they're easier to pack (especially if you're not using the mega $$ grip truck). Detatched & folded, the legs will fit in a case or extra-long dairy crate; the center post will go in your long stand-bag. (A pile of standard C-stands are a bitch to move IMHO).

Also, you can get a spud (a standard lighting stud with the matthews male attachment on top) which will pop right into the leg section; gives you a low-level stand with a light stud about 10" off the floow; kind of two-stands in one.

Also, check the big washer in the grip head; if your model has the fiber or rubber kind, get thee to a lighting dealer and get the aluminum discs NOW... they're CHEAP, they grip better, and they don't tear up... replace 'em in all your c's.

I prefer the Avenger stands to the Matthews, BTW... they seem a bit beefier and the grips are better.

When using a boom arm on a c-stand, ALWAYS position the lamp or weight so that (how do I express this??) gravity will TIGHTEN and not LOOSEN the grip. Next time you hook something up, check it out, you'll get it.

CHEAP "PRO" LIGHTS...
10 years ago, I bought some lights from L&E and they're still working great. At the time, their 6" slide-focus fresnels were about $65 new (minus lamp, switch and hook or stud). My dealer gave a killer discount over list. I also have their soft-light, which is about my most-used piece of gear. Sweet; their catalog is here:
http://www.le-us.com/
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Old February 17th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #17
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Michael,

Thanks for your input. You're right on about the turtle stands. Very handy.

Check out my Tech Tip on C-Stands to explain the gravity tightening trick for c-stands.

http://scottspears.net/filmmakpg3.html

A new inexpensive light company is www.rostronics.com

Scott
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Old February 17th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #18
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Hey, a video's worth a thousand words...

Enjoyed your site; I see you have some Bogen Superclamps on there. Those babies are the bomb; another item you just can't have enough of. I've hung some 8" fresnels from fire sprinkler pipes with 'em (but I do back 'em up with cable or chain... 15 lbs of hot stamped steel falling on a set could be a career-killer...)

Another cheapie: I had a steel distributor cut me several different lengths of 3/8 stainless pipe. You wouldn't want to hang lights from it, but for scrims, cards, or hanging gels in front of a hot light, they're way-cheap little booms, they don't rust, and will fit in more home-made rigs than conduit. If a shop specializes in stainless, chances are they'll have some scraps of pipe they'll let go of cheap.
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Old February 17th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #19
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Grip head washers

Hi Michael:

> Also, check the big washer in the grip head; if your model has
> the fiber or rubber kind, get thee to a lighting dealer and get
> the aluminum discs NOW... they're CHEAP, they grip better, and
> they don't tear up... replace 'em in all your c's.

Thanks for the tips. Do you have a source for those washers? I've checked the usual suspects (filmtools, studio depot, B&H et al) and couldn't find them. Perhaps I'm not looking for the correct name/description of them.

Thanks!
Ben
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Old February 17th, 2005, 03:51 PM   #20
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I got several from a camera store (in Dallas) that went under a few years back.

The "washers" are the same diameter of a c-stand knuckle, with a very small hole (just the right size for the center bolt). They were made specifically as a replacement as I recall, not something someone found "that fit".

You might try Competitive Cameras... they're local but they do mail order; they're the major guys in this market. (I'm not affiliated, etc., though I should get a bronze plaque on their wall memorializing the cash I've dropped there!)

DFW Area (214) 744-5511
Toll Free (800) 688-0211
Fax (214) 744-5599
E-Mail cocameras@aol.com
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Old February 17th, 2005, 04:13 PM   #21
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I second what Michael said about Avenger C+ stands. I've got several, and they're great. The removable base is a huge advantage for loading/transporting when it's a small vehicle. I keep a few loaded in some rifle cases (sort of a budget "C-vival kit"), the bases, arms, heads, and shafts all fit nicely in one easily-carriable case that is very space-efficient.
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Old April 8th, 2005, 09:06 PM   #22
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Thanks!

Steve,

I just have to say thank for such a good article. I printed it out and took it with me to the Home Depot. I was able to find a dual 500 watt open faced halogen light w/ 6 foot stand for a total of 1000 watts for $29!! I picked up a few of the other smaller guys for like 8 bucks for back lights and such. Then I went and got some PVC piping and ordered some translucent white panels from Calument which I will use the PVC for frames!! The panels at calument were only like $28!!

So, thanks a ton. I had my shopping cart at B&H filled with over $500 worth of stuff that I was able to fill with less than $130. Granted I'll have to rig up some stuff, but still, what a savings.

Thanks again steve. Oh, and great tip videos by the way.
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Old April 14th, 2005, 01:29 AM   #23
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GREAT stuff Steve!

We used several of your ideas for low cost lighting of our green screen. Thanks!
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Old April 30th, 2005, 07:51 PM   #24
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"Low Budget" power alternatives

It seems that gas generators wouldn't fit the "low budget" criteria, so, any recommendations on "Low Budget" alternative power solutions (car batteries, marine batteries, etc), for those situations where either the location has no power, or the individual home/location outlets don't provide adequate power?

Thanks in advance,

~Shawn
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Old September 26th, 2005, 11:22 PM   #25
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Awesome article! My lighting knowledge is very little so this is definitely a good start.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 12:47 PM   #26
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On the power issues, I keep a 12vdc power inverter in my trunk. Mine is a small one I actually bought to charge various bateries from. If you are not familiar with them, they normally plug into the cigar lighter and provide a few outlets for 120vac. Be VERY aware of the amperage of the gear you are going to plug into it.

You can find these things at most truckstops. Mine is a few hundred watts. I have a few shop lights that are multi lamp flourescent types that are about 5k temp. I can power one off the small inverter. Plenty of light for the interior shots of a car or truck at night.

You can find these up into the thousands of watts. I wouldn't plug too many into one vehicle. Get a few buddies and long extension cords. Have them each run one inverter and set of light off each vehicle (running) and you can get creative from there. Watch that amperage.

Sean McHenry
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Old December 16th, 2005, 08:49 AM   #27
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Thank You

I was looking for some tips but this is great! You covered every question I had for the spit and glue stuff! Great Work!
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Old December 16th, 2005, 10:59 AM   #28
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Brad,

I'm glad you found the article helpful. Get some lights and start playing around. It's the best way to learn.

Scott
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Old December 21st, 2005, 05:05 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean McHenry
On the power issues, I keep a 12vdc power inverter in my trunk. Mine is a small one I actually bought to charge various bateries from. If you are not familiar with them, they normally plug into the cigar lighter and provide a few outlets for 120vac. Be VERY aware of the amperage of the gear you are going to plug into it.

You can find these things at most truckstops. Mine is a few hundred watts. I have a few shop lights that are multi lamp flourescent types that are about 5k temp. I can power one off the small inverter. Plenty of light for the interior shots of a car or truck at night.

You can find these up into the thousands of watts. I wouldn't plug too many into one vehicle. Get a few buddies and long extension cords. Have them each run one inverter and set of light off each vehicle (running) and you can get creative from there. Watch that amperage.

Sean McHenry

Man, it's been a long time since I originally posted that question and indeed I've found my way to inverters, haven't bought one yet but am thinking along the lines of these:


http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...opnav=&browse=

Maximum continuous power: 1500 watts
5 minutes continuous power: 1750 watts
Peak surge capacity: 3000 watts
for $199

or...

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...opnav=&browse=

or...

There's actually a lot of options for powering lights off your car: http://www.invertersrus.com/
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Old August 24th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #30
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Thank you for all of your help, scott!
I Wanted to know if you, or someone here can help me with something... I found a China lantern at target for only 5 dollars... The problem is, its yellow. Now is this still going to be usable or does it have to be white?

Please help me out, as soon as you can (Its on clearance)!
~Gabriel~
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