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Old February 24th, 2004, 07:03 PM   #1
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Nishio Air Balloon Light

Awhile back in a thread, I mentioned that I'd seen a bright light being used by a road construction crew here in Japan that looked like a glowing, floating chinese lantern. It was amazingly bright and the light had a nice quality to it.

Last night, they were doing some construction near my apartment and it turns out they were using one of those lights, so I strolled over to check it out.

They're called Air Balloon Lights by Nishio and are designed specifically for construction crews. But in a closer inspection, they're simply a fold up stand, a foldable chinese lantern, some type of element inside, and a generator. The light output is 2500 Watts.

I've written to them to check their sales and rental rates-- one of their flood banks costs $12,000... so it isn't going to be too cheap I imagine, but I'm curious to see how much they are.

Anyway... what do you old pros think? Seems like something like this would be ideal for film crews due to its portability and output.
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Old February 24th, 2004, 07:11 PM   #2
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You mean like this one?

They do make good nighttime background fill, but they're usually beyond the budget of small (<$50,000) projects.
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Old February 24th, 2004, 07:34 PM   #3
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Yep...exactly like that, Robert. I'm just guessing, though, that since these are made for road construction, they might be priced way below that intended for film production...either rental or purchase.

I'll let you guys know what prices I'm quoted.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 01:18 AM   #4
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They used one in Donnie Darko to light one of the night scenes towards the end when they are going to Grandma Deaths house.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 09:54 AM   #5
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Lighting Balloons

This seems to be a big business providing these types of light sources. I first experienced the use of these back in 1999 when working on Remember The Titans. Phillipe Rousselot was the DP and is known for his extensive use of lantern and balloon lighting. The kind that were used on this film were true helium 10-15 ft diameter balloons with light sources suspended within. They provided an incredibly wide and soft flood just as the moon would. However, they are very expensive to rent.


www.lightsup.net

www.airstar-light.com/uk/eclairer/sm1/index.php3

http://www.airstar-light.com/uk/ecla...=1&id_metier=4
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Old February 25th, 2004, 09:54 PM   #6
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So what we need are large helium filled balloons with smaller halogen bulbs in them, right? Shouldn't be too hard to rig the hardware. Any reason why they have to have helium? How small could they be made and still function as a broad source do you think?
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Old February 25th, 2004, 09:55 PM   #7
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They are also versatile enough to be used for interior lighting where rigging would not be an option, such as in historical sites, large civic buildings, and museums.

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Old February 25th, 2004, 10:03 PM   #8
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So has anyone ever compared the expensive ones made for film to the less expensive ones made for construction?

P.S. Still waiting on a price quote from the dealer.
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Old February 26th, 2004, 12:17 AM   #9
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Do you know they're different?
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Old February 26th, 2004, 12:47 AM   #10
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If you look at the Nishio home page, they don't mention any use other than road construction. But I got a close look at the light the other night, and I think it is probably the same or nearly the same as the filmmaking lights of similar construction.

Here, just because of the culture, it's more likely they'd use only lights that are intended for film production for filmmaking. In fact, I fully expect a salesperson at Nishio to tell me "they're not intended for that" if I try to rent or buy one...so I'd better wear a hard hat when I go in.

(Mike, your signature cracked me up.)
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