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class="Paragraph" style="margin-bottom: 0">Kino’s On Inverters

Published : 11th February 2004

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I need to shoot some car interior shots and would like to use some Kino’s for fill.

Has anyone had a problem feeding the Kino ballasts from an ordinary inverter? Any flicker or other problems?

Thanks!

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614


class="Paragraph" >Has anyone had a problem feeding the Kino ballasts from an ordinary >inverter? Any flicker or other problems?

I've done it many, many times and it usually (but not always) works, depending on the type of inverter you use.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
http://www.cinematography.net



Jessica wrote :

>I've done it many, many times and it usually (but not always) works, >depending on the type of inverter you use.

Do you mean they either light up or they don't, or they may light up but might have a flicker?

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



>Do you mean they either light up or they don't, or they may light up but >might have a flicker?

Either they light up w/out flicker or they don't light up, depending on the inverter you use - sine wave works, square wave doesn't work, modified square wave a big maybe.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
http://www.cinematography.net



Wade,

I agree with Jessica's assessment 100%.

When I have used sine wave inverters, I have never had a problem with Kinos. They either turn on or they don't. It all depends on your battery. Deep cycle marine batteries are excellent for this application.

I usually carry several inverters on my truck. A few of the consumer 400w and 800w versions all the way to 2.5K.

Regards,

Andrew Gordon
Gaffer
Regina, Saskatchewan
Canada



Andrew Gordon writes :

>When I have used sine wave inverters, I have never had a problem with >Kino,s. They either turn on or they don't. It all depends on your battery.

I usually carry several inverters on my truck. A few of the consumer 400w and 800w versions all the way to 2.5K.

Micro-Kino's run on 12 volt DC so there is no need for an inverter. They are terrific for car work and lots of other things.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP



Brian Heller wrote :

>Micro-Kino’s run on 12 volt DC so there is no need for an inverter. They >are terrific for car work and lots of other things.

Thanks, wish I had some, but two problems with that: I don't have the Micros and more importantly, they don't have the output. I'm having to film dialog inside a van and an SUV in daytime with no portable power except inverters and no HMIs smaller than 1200w. Fortunately, both vehicles are driving through heavily wooded areas, so the backgrounds aren't as hot. I plan on putting ND on the windows that are in shot.

But thanks, everyone, for the clarification on which inverters work and how to know!

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



>I'm having to film dialog inside a van and an SUV in daytime with no >portable power except inverters and no HMIs smaller than 1200w....I >plan on putting ND on the windows that are in shot.

A 4 foot Kino quad gaffer taped to the inside roof of the car should bring up the interior light level just enough to keep the windows from blowing out. You may not even need to ND the windows.

And if you use 3 daylight balanced tubes with 1 tungsten balanced tube on one side of the Kino, the side with the tungsten balanced tube will look like that is the direction the light is coming from.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List



Brian writes:

>Micro-Kino’s run on 12 volt DC so there is no need for an inverter.

True enough. I have found that the Micro, 9" and 15" Kino’s often don't have enough output for daytime car work.

Jessica's solution is very good and does work. I have found that the inverters do offer a much wider variety of fixture choice, particularly when shooting interior car days.

Anybody ever used the 3.2K softsun fixtures for car work? I have always been curious about them but have never had the opportunity to use them.

They seem like an interesting option...

Regards,

Andrew Gordon
Gaffer
Regina, Saskatchewan
Canada



Jessica wrote:

>...And if you use 3 daylight balanced tubes with 1 tungsten balanced >tube on one side of the Kino, the side with the tungsten balanced tube >will look like that is the direction the light is coming from.

Thanks for the tip, but I'm curious about why the above works? If the camera is on the dash looking back between the front seats, the Kino’s are going to have to be mounted cross wise above the front seats to keep them out of shot. It would seem that substituting one tungsten tube would merely warm the color temp. a little.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614


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Andrew Gordon writes :

>I have found that the Micro, 9" and 15" Kino’s often don't have enough >output for daytime car work.

Certainly true, I did not mean to suggest otherwise.

Jessica's solution is very good and does work.

class="Paragraph" >I have found that the inverters do offer a much wider variety of fixture >choice, particularly when shooting interior car days.

That's for sure. I use inverters quite a bit. I recommend Xantrex Pro-Sine. They're not cheap, but they are very rugged and seem to be able to withstand abuse and overloading.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP



Brian Heller wrote :

>I recommend Xantrex Pro-Sine. They're not cheap

But if it was called the Pro-Cine, it would cost twice as much as it already does...

Jeff "niche market" Kreines



>It would seem that substituting one tungsten tube would merely warm >the color temp. a little.

If you mount the Kino's front to back, the warmer color temp on the one side creates the impression the sunlight is strongest on that side.

If all the tubes are daylight, then it looks like you're shooting when it's overcast outside.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List



Jessica wrote :

>If you mount the Kino’s front to back, the warmer color temp on the one >side creates the impression the sunlight is strongest on that side...

Good idea! If I can mount them front to back I'll try that.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



Similar situation but different problem :

Two people in front seat of car, daylight, windows DOWN, car pulls up into frame so no exterior mounting possible and any interior lighting needs to be hidden. My thought was to rig 4ft Kino’s, maybe one/two on int car roof forward as possible and several running across the dash area. I'd like to go smaller w/ maybe 2 foot but worried I might be into heavy sunlight and will need as much as possible. Also don't see any way to rig a pocket par or the like and be able to get spread/coverage/hidden. Maybe mix daylight tungsten on Kino’s.

Thoughts?

John Roche,
Gaffer



>Similar but different problem : Two people in front seat of car, daylight, >windows DOWN, car pulls up into frame so no exterior mounting >possible and any interior lighting needs to be hidden...

Why not HMIs through the windshield? Place them out of frame and the car drives into the lighting.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



>Two people in front seat of car, daylight, windows DOWN, car pulls up >into frame

Kino’s in the daylight do almost nothing. They're about as bright as a white card. You might as well bounce the sunlight off the Kino fixture itself.

You'd be better off designing the shot so you can put big bright sources out of frame that shine through the windshield. Even a 12X12 grifflon, provided it's getting at least some sun on it, would be way brighter than any Kino’s in the car.

Phil Badger
gaffer, LA
http://home.earthlink.net/~badger111/index.html



>Why not HMIs through the windshield? Place them out of frame and the >car drives into the lighting.

Well its now become more complicated as they want to cover it with 3 lipstick cameras inside and 2 video cameras outside -- one camera covers driver, the other passenger side. So I need a level inside for the whole drive up. I'm thinking pocket par in backseat into white card on roof to cover the rear lipstick camera. Do you think 3 or so 4ft Kino’s taped up together across dash would give me enough output?

Maybe add something up above also. Of course I may also need some ext HMI to cover when they actually roll up to a stop.

John Roche,
Gaffer



>Kino’s in the daylight do almost nothing. They're about as bright as a >white card. You might as well bounce the sunlight off the Kino fixture >itself.

*** However, at the end of the day it works very well-on a job not long ago, w/ 7218, it was almost too much since magic hour was approaching

John Babl



>Well its now become more complicated as they want to cover it with 3 >lipstick cameras inside and 2 video cameras outside

I don't know if this helps but I have done many car lipstick cameras usually in the setup of one in each forward corner and one wide angle in the dashboard and I can tell you that you will never get what you need for balance without HMIs on the hood. No fluorescent tube or tubes is going to give you the six stops you need to balance interiors.

That being said, I have found that in these set ups all one needs to do is expose for faces and let mother nature do the rest. Some of the background will blow out depending on where you are driving. In a cityscape it isn't a problem as buildings are in shadow. Of course if this is more than just a TV show, you'll have to think about better lighting options but in general these lipstick cameras simply don't have a problem when the occupants are being lit from outside light. You could watch the syndicated show Blind Date as an example as they use lipstick cameras all the time in driving scenes.

If that is not good enough and you can get away with it, perhaps you could try a joker mounted in the back (ceiling) pointed spot beam at a bowed silver bounce board placed below window line on dash or in pit under dash.

For power an inverter will do.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC
www.film-and-video.com



>No fluorescent tube or tubes is going to give you the six stops you need >to balance interiors.

A 4 ft. Kino quad will give you 500 F/C at two feet, and the distance from the roof interior of a car to the actors will normally be less than 2 feet. It's usually enough to bring up the interior level enough to keep the windows from blowing out.

>Do you think 3 or so 4ft Kino’s taped up together across dash would give >me enough output?

When I've done that, it created a creepy, lit from underneath look which was OK because it was for a slasher flick.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List



>A 4 ft. Kino quad will give you 500 F/C at two feet, and the distance from >the roof interior of a car to the actors will normally be less than 2 feet.

Sounds good on paper, but it never looked good to me.

>When I've done that, it created a creepy, lit from underneath look which >was OK because it was for a slasher flick.

And when I've done it from above, first it was nearly impossible to keep the lamps out of the wide angles of the lipstick cam, and the light looked as unnatural as your scenario.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer



>A 4 ft. Kino quad will give you 500 F/C at two feet, and the distance from >the roof interior of a car to the actors will normally be less than 2 feet.

Sounds good on paper, but it never looked good to me.

>When I've done that, it created a creepy, lit from underneath look which >was OK because it was for a slasher flick.

And when I've done it from above, first it was nearly impossible to keep the lamps out of the wide angles of the lipstick cam, and the light looked as unnatural as your scenario.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.



>It's worked for me on projects that didn't have the money or other >resources to light car interiors the "right" way.

When I here you speak, it wonder why you think that all of my projects are million dollar jobs. I have done three camera lipstick records with DV records for $1500.00. You will not find a lower budget with that much equipment for less than that.

As for "right way", what is 'right'? I could light a car with home depot tubes. Is that 'wrong'? Any number of ways of lighting a car from stick ups to HMI, none are right or wrong. I do question the ability to use your scenario with lipstick cameras as I have tried Kino transflo tubes and they are difficult at best.

As for your Kino scenario, I'd like to see the footage you shot with a four lamp bank and lipstick cameras. From what this person says it appears to me he needs to have a live shot in the camera continuing with an exterior.

How you can get a 51x14x4 inch fixture (no barn doors) in the interior of a car without it being seen from the exterior, let alone dealing with 4 inches of depth when you have lipstick cams is a challenge at best?

My point very simply is, in a daylight situation with lipstick cameras, you really don't need any additional light. Lipsticks have a way of making good pictures in daylight car interiors. I'm glad tubes work for you if you have ever tried it in the past, but they are a pain in the ass to keep out of a shot for me and don't offer enough to make them worth it. And when you CAN bury them above the visor, they leave a light fall off on the interior ceiling and usually a glow in the edge of the shot.

Best suggestion I can make is before the person in question sets up an elaborate rig, I suggest a simple test with a lipstick in the location in question. What he might find is that simpler is better.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.



Walter wrote :

>...As for "right way", what is 'right'? I could light a car with home depot >tubes. Is that 'wrong'? Any number of ways of lighting a car from stick >ups to HMI, none are right or wrong....

C'mon, Walter!

You just got through dissing Jessica's placement of the Kino’s on the dash because it didn't look right to you! Obviously, you think that is "wrong." From what she said, she wouldn't light it that way either if she had a choice, budget-wise. And any artificial source that is in shot with the lipstick cams is, of course, wrong.

Your suggestion of placing the cams to see what the shot will show is, of course, the first step.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



Jessica Gallant wrote :

>When I've done that, it created a creepy, lit from underneath look which >was OK because it was for a slasher flick.

This is the catch 22. I can't mount lights ext, so I'm stuck putting *something* in front to light driver/passenger. I am not going to be able to ND windows. Problem is this should be closer to beauty light, so maybe I can try and balance a few Kino’s up top on the roof with a few below by the dash.

Given all the constraints they've placed on me, I'm not sure I'm left w/ any options. Plus I don't want them to look "Lit", I just want to bring them up to exposure. If the windows are open I'll get some edge/side help. Hopefully, I can hold the ext, but I think they're willing to let them blow if need be.

John Roche,
Gaffer



>C'mon, Walter! You just got through dissing Jessica's placement of the >Kino’s on the dash because it didn't look right to you!

No, I said it wouldn't work because he needs to hide the fixtures because he is going to see the interior from an exterior camera. No way is wrong in lighting cars, but for the purpose of trying to hide a 51x14x4 inch black lighting instrument with light coming out of it for the purpose of what was descried is not a way that will work well, budget or not.

>From what she said, she wouldn't light it that way either if she had a >choice

I read it differently. Jessica said :

>"It's worked for me on projects that didn't have the money or other >resources to light car interiors the "right" way."

I simply say there is not right way, but in this case putting a 4 bank Kino in a car with lipsticks, making sure not to see the fixture from an exterior of the car as it pulls up, let alone from the lipsticks themselves is near impossible, not wrong, just not the practical way of lighting it. I've lit cars with HMI'S, fluorescents, Stick Ups, incandescent and bounce cards.

None are wrong, some are just impractical ways in certain circumstances.

John originally said :

>Two people in front seat of car, daylight, windows DOWN, car pulls up >into frame so no exterior mounting possible and any interior lighting >needs to be hidden.

I simply question how to mount and hide Kino fixtures in that case. Kino tubes alone easier, but not sure if tubes is what John meant. Anyway with direct sunlight, no fluorescent is going to make that much difference. In the back of a limo, yes, but against the sun, not so good. Of course with a higher exterior angle as the car pulls up you can hide anything.

I have done at least 100 lipstick camera setups in passenger vehicles in the nineties when I was doing 7 talk shows and soon after trying to work out the lighting for the first year, I realized that with these types of cameras natural was best and easiest. Even when I did set up fixtures, the ratio of variable light as the car moves is far greater than these cameras can handle. I say experiment 'without' at first, you might find what it took me a year to learn, less is more. If it's some sort of dramatic that needs absolutely controlled light, then a tube will help, but in sunlight, not much.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.



Get them to use a car with a sunroof and then line as much of the dash and even the actors' laps with white material. This will likely give you more illumination than Kino’s, but if you have room stick them in there as well since the white tubes will act as bounces as well. Just do everything you can to get light into that interior and leave the rest of it to the dynamic range of the cameras. Doesn't sound like they're giving you many other options.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



John Roche wrote :

>This is the catch 22. I can't mount lights ext, so I'm stuck putting >*something* in front to light driver/passenger.

Just want to add my 2 cents to this "discussion".

In the past, I've used 2 foot Kino' bulbs without fixtures mounted onto car interiors with Velcro taped directly onto the lamp. The Velcro will stick to most 'fuzzy' car interiors and keeps things very low profile. And with some creative blackwrapping and paper tape, many of the spill problems can solved.

We always shot film and I've found that in a sun-drenched car several well-placed Kino bulbs will do very little for all the effort. However, in the shade or mixed light scenarios they will lift the bottom of the exposure. This has always led me to believe that with careful timing and creative location finding, the cameras and car can be directed to face in a proper direction so as to help with the exposures and latitude involved. The position of the sun to the car when shooting is critical. I realize this sounds rather limiting but then again so do the constraints of the
multi camera setup.

I can't readily come up with a solution if you wish to run around wildly with little control over where and when the car travels. And although I do realize that many shows do require just that scenario then I can only imagine that the look can't be considered as important as the 'content'.

Hope this helps.

Best Regards,

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP



Get them to use a car with a sunroof and then line as much of the dash and even the actors' laps with white material.

I find sticky white plastic sheet is great to sick onto dash...

James Welland



John Roche wrote:

>Similar but different problem : Thoughts?

Maybe the car wants to be a convertible?

Steven Gladstone
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.



I've seen a Rosco material used on open windows.

A black netting.

Steven Gladstone
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.



Dear CML’ers,

>Get them to use a car with a sunroof and then line as much of the dash >and even the actors' laps with white material.

I shot in a low budget short film actors inside cars without any light, no money (Kino’s and generators) neither time for this. I put on actor's laps not white, but reflexive material (from 3 x 3 meters butterfly) and put on all roof's car foamcores. Was a cloud day, the windows are open, and it works enough.

Best regards,

Adriano S. Barbuto
DP
Sao Paulo / Brazil



Hi Adriano

The last year I had the this problem and dissolve the problem the same way. I opened the butterfly on the roof's car. My budget was a very small, and we haven't got HMI or generator. That solution was the best, very simple, but a great solution.

Thanks,

Wilson Boni
DP
São Paulo - Brasil



Jeff "niche market" Kreines writes :

>I recommend Xantrex Pro-Sine. They're not cheap But if it was called >the Pro-Cine, it would cost twice as much as it already does...

But if you buy a Xantrex at a marine supply house (i.e., West Marine) it might cost you *less* than elsewhere.

Check  www.westmarine.com

Dan "can't tell DV from 70mm but knows his inverters" Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA