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Old May 17th, 2004, 11:58 PM   #1
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Anyone ever use a portable light tower?

I had the opportunity to participate in the production of Disney's "The Alamo" last year and was able to witness how they lighted their night scenes. What did they use?

Portable light towers like this one:

http://sales.midcountry.com/images/E...lt4/walt41.jpg

I was amazed at how small of a light setup they had. Dean Semler (DP) would put these towers on hills around the Alamo fort and light up the night. I think there were a total of 2.

I was wondering if this would be practical for night shooting with a DVX100 or similar MiniDV camera. They are quiet, portable, and have wheels so you can tow them around town.

Any comments?
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Old May 18th, 2004, 12:13 AM   #2
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Nick,
These are common sights around construction sites and sometimes in the parks here for special events. (There are various "brands".)

I don't know what they would cost to rent but I've no reason to think they couldn't be used on a DV production for an appropriate scene. They put out a bluish light, at least to my eye.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 12:27 AM   #3
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Well...yeah...they LOOK kind of like those units, but they are actually much more sophisticated (and much more expensive)! Musco lights have a controlled and regulated output for film; the heads are individually remote controllable for direction and intensity, etc. Here's an article about the very shoot you were on and how Semler used the Muscos.

However there's no reason you can't use the type of lights you linked to for DV shooting. It's sort of the equivalent of using a worklight rather than a lighting instrument made for film work; there are disadvantages and issues, but certainly cheaper.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 12:46 AM   #4
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From the linked article: "The larger Muscos emitted 5,600 Kelvin degrees of light"

Pet peeve: officially, the unit describing the absolute temperature scale is "kelvins." "Degrees Kelvin" is obsolete, and "Kelvin degrees of light" is just odd.

The general rule for SI units is that all unit names are lowercase when spelled out, but capitalized if named for a person in their abbreviations. Hence we have amperes (A), decibels (dB), curies (Ci), daltons (Da), farads (F), gausses (Gs), henrys (H), hertz (Hz), joules (J), newtons (N), pascals (Pa), siemens (S), teslas (T), watts (W), webers (Wb)...
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Old May 18th, 2004, 01:02 AM   #5
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You are absolutely correct, Robert.

Charles: Fancy shmantzy worklights! Recently I saw the crew on "Weatherman" using such a rig to shoot a night scene in a lakefront park here. Little did I realize that these weren't just plain work lights. They were work lights from....IOWA!

So how do you gel something like that? <g>
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Old May 18th, 2004, 04:27 AM   #6
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They where shooting Ocean's Twelve in here Amsterdam these last
couple of weeks and had some night shots.

For that they used some "blips" to light the houses:

Illuminated street
Reflections on the water
Daylight look of the "thing"

(notice in the last shot the second one is much futher back then
it is in the first shot. They moved the damn thing around for 3+
hours before shooting)
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Old May 18th, 2004, 10:01 AM   #7
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I watched a sandstorm appear out of nowhere and destroy 7 out of 12 of those balloon lights on a music video a few years back. At $35K each, it was an expensive storm.

They are great devices to get a nice overall soft ambient light level. They come with either tungsten or HMI (daylight) filaments.

The Muscos are more about punch, usually used as a backlight.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 10:22 AM   #8
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Much as I hate sequels, I'm really interested to see Ocean's 12. I had a great fun time with the first one. Just saw a teaser for it - figured they were nowhere near done yet...

Got any more pics Rob?
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Old May 18th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert : Well...yeah...they LOOK kind of like those units, but they are actually much more sophisticated (and much more expensive)! Musco lights have a controlled and regulated output for film; the heads are individually remote controllable for direction and intensity, etc. Here's an article about the very shoot you were on and how Semler used the Muscos.
-->>>

Charles, you are correct. Those are the lights they used. Cool find! Just curious...how much do those things go for?
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Old May 19th, 2004, 03:21 AM   #10
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Imran: I think these are my best pictures since the whole set
was so tightly shutdown you couldn't even see a camera. But
I have a couple of pictures from some other people. What kind
of pictures are you interested in?

They are moving to either Paris or Rome at the end of this week
(they are going to shoot in both places, just unsure which is
first), so someone else might have a chance to see them as well.

I heard that in Rome security is going to be very tight again as
well, though.
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