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Old July 26th, 2012, 09:36 PM   #1
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LED DIY lighting question

Hey Guys:)

I have a few pro lights here and there but I'm going to be shooting a lot in a large room with a tall ceiling (12 feet) and old fashioned Spanish-style ceiling beams. A lot of the film takes place at night in a fairly dimly lit room at Christmas so for the long shots and several of the medium shots where the actors have to walk around and I don't have any place to hide C-stands to hold up my old Kino-Flos, I've been looking for very light, directional lights to mount to the celing beams, where they'll be out of sight.

I've been experimenting with the newest off the shelf directional LED flood lights that are dimmable, highly directional, and give off a nice spot light. They give off the equivilent of 90 watts (and use up 17 watts a piece). This is a really old building with bad wiring and no option for a generator so cool low wattage lighting is a must.

My idea is to mount them on the sloping sections of several of the ceiling beams where they'll be out of frame 90 percent of the time and they'll give off nice pools of light rather than evenly and overly lighting the entire room (the top half of the walls are blindingly white, the bottom half are paneled). The preliminary tests using amber gels are really pretty.

OK, so at long last my question is: since the LED lights are so big and wide they don't fit into most pot lights what would be the easiest, cheapest and best solution for mounting an articulatable (i.e. swiveling) lamp fixture to the Spanish style wood beams (with minimal impact on the wood)? I'm really excited by how I think this will work and I know the solution is probably dead obvious but I just can't think of it.

Any ideas?

Thanks ya'll!
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Old July 26th, 2012, 11:41 PM   #2
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Re: LED DIY lighting question

You might be able to modify a ratchet bar clamp for the purpose. You can find them in most hardware stores. How wide are the beams?
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Old July 26th, 2012, 11:52 PM   #3
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Re: LED DIY lighting question

Thanks:). The beams are about ten inches wide and four inches deep.
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Old July 27th, 2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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Re: LED DIY lighting question

Hi Betsy

Also consider using LED lights with PowerLED's in them as opposed to the multiled panels..they are a lot smaller and easier to hide and also are more efficient. My on cam lights have a mere 4" x 3" panel area and push out an impressive 15W on a Sony battery and the output at 3' is 1080 lumens which is pretty good!!

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Old July 29th, 2012, 10:38 PM   #5
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Re: LED DIY lighting question

I think I might have solved it--at least as a proof of concept:)

Found a swivel lamp for really cheap, cut the metal around the end of it so it can take the wide end of the LED bulb, took off the base, then used the smallest nail with the biggest head I could find (that made a smaller hole than other nail holes that were already up on the beam but so small I never even noticed them) and nailed the arm directly to the beam. And since the arm is attached by a single nail there's a good amount of give between the arm and the beam so not only can I swivel the lamp its self up and down, I can also swivel the base its self clockwise or counterclockwise so the two articulations together give me pretty much a 360 degree swivel flexibility.

Note there are no makeshift barn doors yet or a little bit of pink gel to get the sickly ever so slight green tint out of the LED hue but with all those and with a dimmer, I think it'll work great and with low impact.

Oh, and obviously I just didn't have a tall enough ladder to place the lamp high enough. Once I have that I can place it half way up the beam and it will be invisible for 96 percent of any shots I can think of.

Oh and forgive the photo quality--just taken on your friendly every day iphone:)
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Old August 4th, 2012, 03:31 PM   #6
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Re: LED DIY lighting question

Sorry I didn't see this earlier.

Hopefully, your shoot is done without problems.

But just in case you're still in pro-pro - do yourself a favor and let your sound team run some tests if you're going to use these.

I don't know anything about these specific lights, but I've been in circumstances over the past few years where an inexpensive LED lamp like these has injected HORRIBLE line noise back into an AC power system.

First happened to me when I used an LED flood in an exterior security light on my studio and it took us more than an hour to track down the god awful sawtooth buzz that screwed up the entire studio power system. The issue was that the security light was on a timer, so the problem only showed up during night sessions!

Probably won't be an issue - but it's worth noting.

Good luck with your shoot.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #7
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Re: LED DIY lighting question

Thanks for the heads up:) Fortunately, maybe because it's the latest and greatest generation of LEDs we didn't have any problems during the sound test. Ironically the only thing we had to watch out for was a buzz that the wall sconces and chandelier would make at certain levels of dimness. I've got to say led lights have often looked a little sickly to me and thats why I was so surprised by how warm and clean the new bulb was.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 08:10 AM   #8
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Re: LED DIY lighting question

What temperature LED bulb(s) did you use?

I have a daylight equivalent spot (4900k/1100 lumens/15WLED/90W equivalent) and tungsten equivalent flood (2700k/800 lumens/14W LED/70W equivalent) bulbs that I am playing with in clamp fixtures plugged into dimmer boxes I made. All components from Home Depot. Bulbs are dimmable ecosmart brand.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 11:02 AM   #9
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Re: LED DIY lighting question

Proper LED fixtures are developing so fast - anything a year old is positively ancient and usually very much dimmer. It makes adding kit very, very difficult. It's made worse by very few manufacturers producing honest, accurate specs on beam angles and brightness! everything is equivalent to something else, equally unspecified! As soon as we get parity of light output, we can stop messing around. I have 14 20W tungsten downlighters in this room - and the used to be 50W ones. I bought 50W equivalent LEDs and they were glowworms - so I reduced to 20W and still the LEDs were horrible. However, the latest ones are comparable to the 20W tungsten, so we're getting there slowly.
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