Go Back   b-roll.net FORUM > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-01-2015, 10:50 PM
b-roll's Avatar
b-roll b-roll is offline
Founder
Kevin Johnson
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 1,663
b-roll will become famous soon enough
Default Hand-Crafted Battery Powered Light Kits

From: John P. Creel II

Like it or not we are moving away from using ENG and SNG trucks for live shots.* With that goes the generator necessary for running our lights.* At nighttime and in bad weather it creates a black hole behind the talent remedied only by AC on location.

There are many ways to solve that problem, from portable generators, ac inverters, to battery powered lights.* Generators can be heavy.* Their output vs. weight makes their value questionable.* They also require gasoline which I don’t like sloshing around in the back of my car in the event of a reared collision.

AC Invertors are great ideas, but anything more than 300-400 watts requires special heavy duty wiring directly from the battery.* Inverters also waste some of the desired energy in the conversion procession.* I also don’t like the idea that I might kill the very battery I need to crank the car and go home.* Inverters need their own battery and a heavy duty alternator to keep up with the load.

Battery powered lights are just now becoming possible with the advent of low wattage LED lamps with sufficient output to light the scene.* There are as many different lamps as there are battery options, but LED lamps are expensive.* In market 86 budgets are tight, so I endeavored to see what I could build.

My first find was a tungsten LED bulb that would fit inside a Frezzi Mini-Fill.* 35 watt tungsten bulbs were killing our camera batteries in the field.* II found this bulb, a JACKY LED MR16 6W Dimmable COB Led Bulbs, 55W Equivalent, Warm White 3000K, Recessed Lighting, LED Spotlight, 550lm at Amazon (by JACKYLED).

If fit inside the Frezzi housing, but not perfectly.* The light works great and has a full color spectrum, but only draws 6 watts versus the 35 watts of its tungsten counterpart.

I’m having a new front cap made to hold the Jacky bulb in the Frezzi light we’re testing. (In the meantime a little duct tape magic on the Frezzi cap is holding the bulb in place.)** Frezzi also makes a tungsten LED, but it’s a $118 versus my bulb at $8.00.* They include a modified front cap for holding their bulb in place.

Now it was time to find an outdoor housing that would hold the same bulb and could be modified to fit on a light stand.* I found a landscape light at Lowe’s Home Improvement store, a Portfolio 35W Low Voltage Floodlight, that uses the same bulb holders as the Frezzi lights.

They only need a rod in their base to clamp on to the light stand.* I inserted a 9” hollow rod into the stem of the lamp. It’s held in place with epoxy.* I ran a 20’ of 16 ga. of 2-wire extension cord thru the pipe into the head for dc power and I just* soldered the wires together. **I secured the cord by filling the rod with silicone.* I put cigarette lighter plugs on the other end fused for 5 amps.

(20’ is the maximum length a 16 ga. cord should carry 35 watts at 12 volts DC.)* I also added a couple of metal clips from an office supply store to the front caps for holding gels and diffusers.

The lights mount to any standard light stand with a 5/8 stud.* ”I used a Larson Reflectasol Studio Lighting Clamps #25433 from Ebay that would clamp a rod to a light stand.* I had 3 of these on hand, but* Avenger makes D250 Gag Gobo Grip Head (Silver) as does Matthews and several grip companies.

The front cap unscrews to replace the new LED bulbs in the fixture.* Since these light are not made to be moved I had to wrap the bulbs in some foam padding to hold the bulb securely in place.
To power these lights I needed a cheap but, reliable 12 volt battery.* I found a 15 amp hour battery with jumper cables attached at Sears.* I added a 2-way splitter to the battery pack and so I could run 2 lights almost 40’ apart.

I’m guessing I could handle 6 live shots, 10 mins of light, over an hour and a half time span.* Now I have a hair light and a main light to avoid the dreaded black hole.* If I used the LED light on the camera I could do some background lighting plus hair light for real separation.

If you want to use a 3rd light at the same time I’d suggest you buy a second battery.* (The $75 jump battery has a built in charger.* I put it on a timer to keep it from overcharging.* Now I can run my lights and jump my car off if necessary.)

I also wanted to try some LED lights from the Auto Parts store.* They were fairly inexpensive, but very blue in coloration.* They were also very harsh lights, but with a 45 watt equivalent light output drawing only 8 amps I thought it might be worth it.* I mounted a gel frame in front of the light with a full CTO/orange gel to get the color temperature somewhere close to 3200K.* The light has plenty of punch, but I’m worried about the camera’s ability to get good color with a skin tone.. To mount it on a light stand I used a 6” bolt screwed into the bumper mount.* My Larson brackets grab the bolts just like the steel tubing on landscaping lights.

In a perfect world where local broadcasters and new photographers had unlimited budgets I’d buy this as a battery powered kit from Lowel or Ikan, but that’s not the case.

Price and hardware wise I like the Lowel PRO Power Daylight LED, but in 2 light kit with their batteries included were talking $2100.* Their battery kit alone is $513.* They also make a weather resistant 17×15 LED panel light I’d consider for an additional $1500.

Now you’ve got 2 different lights to experiment with and tweak.* You should be able to avoid the “black hole” look on your live shots with Live-U and any other situation where AC isn’t readily available.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-06-2015, 03:48 PM
Necktie Boy's Avatar
Necktie Boy Necktie Boy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,665
Necktie Boy is on a distinguished road
Default

Kev,

Nice write up by John.

Is the new LED bulb longer? Which is causing the Freezi cap not to seal? May have to look into the LED Bulbs.

The Lowe house lights seem like a good solution. I would have used hot wax over silicon, but that is me. Cheaper and can be heated up to remove. Nice trick to hold the gels.

The power supply solution is very good, too. I have looked at those boxes, everything I work into Sam's. You really can't be the cost.

I hope he gives us a report down the road on how well the system is working.

Thanks
__________________
"Fire up a colortini, sit back, relax, and watch the pictures, now, as they fly through the air."
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-06-2015, 05:56 PM
Douglas Douglas is offline
PRO user
Doug Jensen
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,670
Douglas is on a distinguished road
Default

Maybe I'm missing something, but why build your own lights? The cost of professional, reliable, proven LED lighting, built for broadcast production, with industry-standard light stand mounts, is not very much at all in the big scheme of things. I can run my lights from the same batteries I use for my cameras, mixers, monitors, etc. In fact 99.9% of all my lighting has been powered by batteries for about 4 years now -- using only professional gear that will perform flawlessly and reliably day in and day out.

I could sew my own clothes, make my own furniture, and grow my own food but it is not cost effective to do so and the results wouldn't look very good. What am I missing here?
__________________
Vortex Media http://www.vortexmedia.com/
XDCAM Training DVDs, Field Guides, WarmCards, and other production tools
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-08-2015, 01:32 PM
Tv Shooter's Avatar
Tv Shooter Tv Shooter is offline
PRO user
Richard Campbell
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 1,055
Tv Shooter is on a distinguished road
Default

I have built a few lights, but they are for one off, specialty situations in which off the shelf lights wouldn't fit, or weren't the right look. Other than that, I have more lights than I can account for (and just bought some Zabolight panels, as well as some Dracast....damn Black Friday sales).

Most of the situations are short film, or music videos.....anything else I've used my arsenal of light.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-08-2015, 02:35 PM
Douglas Douglas is offline
PRO user
Doug Jensen
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,670
Douglas is on a distinguished road
Default

This thread has inspired me. I've spent the last two days building my own tripod out of PVC pipe. I'm putting old tennis balls on the bottom for cushioning just like an old lady's walker that I saw at the mall. In a few days I'll be finished on this project and I can get started on making a slider out of old roller skates and a step ladder.
__________________
Vortex Media http://www.vortexmedia.com/
XDCAM Training DVDs, Field Guides, WarmCards, and other production tools
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-08-2015, 03:53 PM
Tv Shooter's Avatar
Tv Shooter Tv Shooter is offline
PRO user
Richard Campbell
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 1,055
Tv Shooter is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
This thread has inspired me. I've spent the last two days building my own tripod out of PVC pipe. I'm putting old tennis balls on the bottom for cushioning just like an old lady's walker that I saw at the mall. In a few days I'll be finished on this project and I can get started on making a slider out of old roller skates and a step ladder.

Build that, and I bet someone on the internet would pay for it.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-08-2015, 07:16 PM
Run&Gun Run&Gun is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 3,169
Run&Gun is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

Some people fee like it's a badge of honor to build something instead of paying for it. As Richard said, there have been times where we've all had to rig something up or use some lights that weren't built specifically for TV/production applications to get us by in a pinch, but that's usually the exception, not the norm.

I think everyone understands tight budgets these days, but if a TV station can't afford to buy their photogs the proper tools to do their jobs properly, you may want to start looking around for a new job, because a proper basic light kit for each crew isn't that much, and if they "can't afford" that, your job may be the next thing they get rid of.
__________________
"Making video look good isn't a luxury, it's a must. That's our job, that's what we do for a living." Originally posted by Chicago Dog
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-08-2015, 07:49 PM
cameragod's Avatar
cameragod cameragod is offline
Member
Stephen Press
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 3,606
cameragod is on a distinguished road
Default

I like to build stuff for the hell of it. Sometimes you get an insight into a better way of doing things and I find it relaxing.
Also $50 in scrap can make a jolly good mini jib.
__________________
All artists are prepared to suffer for their work, but why are so few prepared to learn to draw? :BANKSY


"A Cameraman without a camera is just a man." Stephen Press
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-09-2015, 02:29 PM
The Thing on The Sticks's Avatar
The Thing on The Sticks The Thing on The Sticks is offline
PRO user
Geoff Tirrell
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,212
The Thing on The Sticks is on a distinguished road
Default

I will have to add myself to the list of people here who like to build stuff on occasion, In my case it is not about building my kit or saving money or anything like that. My personal hobby is woodworking and I have been known to knock up apple boxes and other similar type items from scrap.

I will also note that there have been a whole bunch of equipment company's over the years some doing very innovative things which started as camera/crew guys knocking stuff up in the garage. I myself think the bigger issue is the difference between things that are refined to the level of a finished good and things that are not. I have seen a lot of things posted on DIY sections of various forums where the overriding idea was clearly to go to the dollar store and build something that should be a 1000 finished item. But then again I have seen others that were built to address a specific problem/need or desire that could very easily be turned around and marketed as said finished item with no or very little refinement.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1996-2009 b-roll.net

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:32 AM.