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Old October 4th, 2004, 02:59 PM   #1
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China Ball

Does anyone know the brand name of China Balls that is widely used in Film Production?
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Old October 4th, 2004, 06:56 PM   #2
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Ernest:

There is no single brand of China ball that is common. I've seen everything from simple paper balls from Pier 1 Imports with high-wattage bulbs, to tough vinyl or gridcloth affairs with fitted skirts etc.

I personally use the Gyoury light system, which uses 2 to 4 very bright color corrected and dimmable fluourescent tubes (similar to the Kino Diva tubes) in a 1/4 gridcloth bag. The ball can be easily mounted on a standard painter's pole to be flown in the air. And the great thing is that the system can be converted to standard lighting fixtures like the Diva's pretty quickly.
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Old October 5th, 2004, 01:05 PM   #3
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yep, no specific brand or anything like that---

You can find "china ball" type lamps in all sorts of sizes and shapes.

On a show I just got done working on we used these shallow square china ball type lights and wrapped some BlackWrap around them to control where the light goes in a 1930's kitchen table scene that was supposed to be lit by a practical light that hung over the table. We mounted them from above on either side of the practical just out of frame.

I use Blackwrap in almost every situation we're using China Balls. Blackwrap is a roll of flexible matte black aluminum stuff--- sort of like thicker, black aluminum foil -- and you can mold it around them to control where the light goes. A must have (IMHO) for china ball lighting.

You can get them in tringular shapes and stuff like that too and they are pretty dang cheap so if you tear one up gaffe taping it to something or stepping on it you won't freak.

Charles, I'd see that gyoury setup in a magazine a while ago and it's pretty damn cool.
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Old October 5th, 2004, 02:38 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot guys. I saw a production in almost the same setting in a kitchen. The ball they were using had a really white glow to it. It almost look like it was a daylight HMI light. I thought using the paper ones wouldn't be as effective as a cloth/fabric shade. I also was wondering if the paper ones can catch fire. I will check out the Gyoury.
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Old October 5th, 2004, 04:26 PM   #5
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you have to be careful but you can throw a 200 watt bulb in a china ball---
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Old October 5th, 2004, 06:26 PM   #6
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I've lit a 24" china ball with a 500watt photo globe (3200k) with no problems. Just be sure to hang it dead center and replace any plastic sockets with porcelean.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:02 AM   #7
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The nice thing about cheap china balls is that you can stuff them into the upper corner of a room and not have to worry about it other then keeping the bulb centered and with blackwrap I can put on in place and block the light from any specific direction. You can also wrap gels around it and one time I drew thick stripes on one with a sharpie for an interesting effect.

I think a big pile of china ball type lights are a must for production.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 10:01 AM   #8
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Thanks. I went to Pier 1 but the largest China ball (in white) that they had was 14 inches. I am looking to purchase (2) 24 inch balls. I saw some on studio depot which looks like it fits the bill. The Ghyoury is too expensive for a China ball.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 10:21 AM   #9
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Well, since nobody's yet offered this suggestion, how about Chimera's lanterns and pancakes? Widely available, not cheap but not too costly, compact to schlep.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 10:53 AM   #10
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For those close to Manhattan, check out the lanterns at the Pearl River store.

Their "Crossing Bamboo Frame Lantern" may be had for $12.50 (24") and $29.50 (36"). Or get "Spherical Paper Lantern" in white for $13.50.

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Old October 11th, 2004, 04:10 PM   #11
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Thanks Michael I had tracked them down there as well. Very nice store btw. Next question, can I put a GE Reveal bulb instead of a photo globe in a paper lantern. I purchased the 22" and I got an porcelain socket and I have a 12 foot cord connected. Is the GE reveal too blue on the spectrum?
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Old October 11th, 2004, 05:48 PM   #12
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Reveal lamps, according to this message on Pop Photo, have a color temperature of 2870K.

(Verilux, another "full-spectrum" manufacturer, told me via email that their bulbs put out 2850K; there seems to be a 2800K trend here.)

Photofloods, according to this excellent discussion of color temperature, run at 3200. I can see a noticeable difference on my VX2100 between household bulbs (at 2500K) and Verilux (at 2850K), so I imagine that if you're lighting for 3200K, the 2870K Reveal might actually look a bit yellow or amber.

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Old October 29th, 2004, 09:01 PM   #13
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yes they can catch fire ... anytime you put in 200w and higher keep eye on em .... if hanging them high make sure you put extra wire/tape around top of china ball and electrical wire so the paper ball will NOT fall/slip down .... ( always keep fire ext on set)

if you are going to use a moving china ball ( on end of boom pole)
rig it with wire so the paper will not swing into the hot bulb !!!!
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Old October 31st, 2004, 06:31 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ken Tanaka : Well, since nobody's yet offered this suggestion, how about Chimera's lanterns and pancakes? Widely available, not cheap but not too costly, compact to schlep. -->>>

Hey Ken,

did you end up buying a Chimera pancake lantern?

If so, how do you like it ( I really like mine)?
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Old October 31st, 2004, 07:49 PM   #15
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No, I have not done so yet Jacques. I had it in a B&H cart for a while but it was out of stock. Ultimately, I moved it to my "wish list" for the time being. I just sprang for a set of monolight strobes (for still photography) but will likely revisit the Chimera pancake by year-end. I have seen one in use and it looked very useful.
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