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Old February 28th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #1
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Work Light Modifications

Hey folks,

I'm producing a short film this April. I'm a student so I have little to no equipment available, and I read this article about modifying halogen work lights to be slightly more suitable for film: Build a Light Kit with a Trip to Home Depot by Martian Welk

I just have a few questions about this:
1. Where do I find hinges that won't flop the barndoors right back down over the bulb?
2. I'm really confused about the stand they used in the article. Does anyone have suggestions for cheaper alternatives to lighting stands?
3. If I get a few good tungsten lights to use along with the work lights, do I need to use any color correction on either? I think they are both 3200K, so I should be good, yes?
4. I'll be shooting with a suspended ceiling. Short of scissor clamps, are there any good (cheap) ways to attach lights to the ceiling?

Thanks so much!
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Old February 28th, 2010, 03:14 PM   #2
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I am a cheapskate and cannot understand the cost of pro lights, which after all are just lights. So I tend largely to use modified worklights. But extensively modified, with a head battery of individually switched mini fluoros so you don't need the dimmer which you can't use on these anyway. Brighter and lower power use than the QH. The main problem with the worklights is they generally are too low down. This is easy to fix by replacing the top extension pole with a similar piece of tubing but longer. You can get 7-8 ft off the ground without becoming too unstable. You usually don't need barn door with the fluoros. But sometimes they are handy. To make them adjustable, use little wooden wedges with slots cut at various angles to hold adjacent flaps. Or bash the hinges a few times with a hammer. Told you I was a cheapskate.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:16 PM   #3
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Ok. Are there any hinges that I could use that are not bang-with-a-hammer types? I'd rather not, if it comes right down to it.

Also, if I have worklights that are not on tripod stands- just the little ones- how could I raise them up?

Thanks!
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:53 AM   #4
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Hey who would have written such stuff :-)
that was Soooo long ago, before people started using florescent for video lighting.

i still have the whole kit, and the artical needs pictures badly, let me see if i can rudely grab some pictures just to show Manufactures out there how to make a REAL light :-)
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 10:58 AM   #5
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i think he must have edited that, because i have never written anything that well spell checked with that good of grammer before in my life :-)

Here are some quick pics, 5megs Zipped up, just download them and you can view them on your computer. there are 4 of these tall paint pole lights, 4 shorter normal ones, 2 that SPOT more from a longer distance, and 2-4 floor versions of the simlar thing. from the one controller i can DIM any single one or all of them together, IF the RF through the X-10 module is not filtered by something, like Surge protectors and such. But really it would be a rare day that they are used dimmed. (there is never enough light).
There is spare 500w bulbs and 300w changeovers, and 150W changeovers, but it is rare (again) that i downsize the light.

http://home.comcast.net/~tvv0/P1060464.zip
oh and Never touch a quartz halogen bulb with your fingers, the human skin oils or something makes them die fast after that.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 12:40 PM   #6
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If it helps - professional lighting have the same issues with barndoors. They are always friction designs - with the pin just a little larger than the flap folded around it. Wobbly barndoors are just how most end up after a while. Too stiff when new, too loose when old!

Rainer's hammer idea is actually what I've been doing since the 70's - it works for a while. If you want a real bodge, then strong bulldog clips help - I suspect these might have a different name in the States - used to clip papers together, two pressed sides that have a piece of spring steel providing the pressure to keep them closed. You just clip them to the doors near the hinge so the clamping part fouls the other barn door, stopping them drooping. Bulldog clips are also great for attaching CT filter to the flaps.

The oil in your fingers gets on the glass. The halogen cycle requires high envelope temperatures, so your skin oil darkens. Dark things get hotter, so they get darker still, and eventually the temperature rises inside the envelope which shortens life span. If you do touch the glass putting them in, then one of those hand wipes that have alcohol in work quite well, and then evaporates quickly. A lamp that has failed for this reason often has two dark fingerprint size stains burnt into the glass!
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Old March 4th, 2010, 08:14 AM   #7
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We've had a template for a long time on our site for making barndoors for worklights:

FREE! CL-BD4 Barndoor Template - Cool Lights USA

And the video that shows how to put them on:

http://www.coollights.biz/wordpress/archives/21

If you use our spring and wing nut trick on at least one hinge of each side, you can tighten as necessary to make the barndoors as tight as you need if its loosened up over time.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #8
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Richard - I rather like this idea. The simple idea, yet good application is also a neat way of repairing some of the kit I've already got that's a little worn. Thanks.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:53 PM   #9
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Paul,

Just use the compression spring / wing nut trick on at least one side of a barndoor and that will fix the "drooping" effect. Its a classic technique thats been used on quite a bit of stage and studio lighting over the years.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #10
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Not too common on UK kit - you'd see it a little on some cheaper/budget kit - but most popular barn doors over here are more likely to use rolled over tabs on the barn doors themselves with a central pin - and these get wobbly very quickly. The type you're describing often pops up on video only designs - but our theatre ones are rather different designs.
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