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I'm doing a job next weekend with Space Lites. Anyone have any experience with them? Pros, Cons, things to look for that may cause problems, things to avoid all together? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, -Matt

Matt Metras Gaffer/NY

Try this with your 6K Spacelights :

Disable one globe. Attach one of the remaining 5 to one power leg. Attach two and two of the remaining 4 to two other legs.

Now by combining legs you can opt for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5K's of light output for each spacelight. It takes some cable tracking ( and you do give up 1K to the gods of math) but it makes for quick tweaks.

Have fun, Ari Haberberg DoP, New York

Hi Matt, Do your self a favor and rig them on pulleys with cable rings. The cable rings will allow you to adjust the height while keeping the cable out of the way. Also very important is to use the piece that looks kinda of like a loose single scrim, it is designed to catch broken glass if a bulb pops. I would say 3 out of 5 times a bulb pops when using space lights or at least it seems like it. ( you can improve your odds if you clean each bulb well with alcohol first and then test each head before hanging)(bring plenty of spares) The only other point I can think of is that I recommend using 100 amp cable for each head and then splitting it at the head rather than 60 amp cable that I have seen people use. That's my 2 cents worth have fun. Dan C.

I find all these suggestions right on the money. Some DP's like them on dimmers, either in the split leg scenario or as just one larger dimmer. Don't forgot to order the skirts (black fabric which wraps the space light for spill control) if you think you might need them otherwise you'll have to burn up a lot of duva making your own.

oh yeah... and watch out for them sprinkler heads!


I might add to have some duvateen you can rip into small pieces and spring clamp directly to the spacelight. This way you can somewhat control the light at the source. Not as good as a flag farther away but I just used this to control the spacelight reflection on an actor's bald head. Also try to have the light hung on rope so you can at least have the flexibility to raise and lower it. And definitely have the electricians split the cable run so you can quickly save/add half the light.

Good luck, Randy Miller, DP, LA

Lots of good suggestions so far.

A couple of others:

If you are going several rows deep,you will be amazed at how fast the stop builds up on the cyc or back wall or whatever.

For evenness' sake, you may be better off hanging more fixtures and burning fewer bulbs than spreading them too far from each other. Producers hate that, but that's how it goes:-) The higher (and further from the cyc or set walls) they are, the fewer you need to get an even wash.

If you are lighting a cyc, make sure you extend past the end of the part you want to use by one light's worth or you will have fall-off.

I sometimes rig a "floater" by putting a 2k offset or trippleheader in a high roller with a spacelight hanging from it.- Roll it around to fix things.

Make sure when you rig them that rope ends do not dangle into them. The open-face bulbs can easily start fires. In sensitive situations (actor safety etc) you might even consider using aircraft cable safeties once the heights are set - if the rope catches on fire, there is nothing else to hold it up but the electrical cable.

I ALWAYS circuit them with an A and a B side, and I usually take one globe out of one side, so that I have a choice of 2k, 3k, or 5k. You can run them in groups of 3 on 100amp cable - each group of three uses 2 100amp cables, 1 100amp -100amp splitter, 2 100-60amp splitters, and some 60 amp cable

Hot patch them before they go in the air to test - they are a pain in the ass to deal with once they are 20 ft off the ground and wearing their silks

Cut ND circles for the bottoms and lay them on the silk if you need less but don't want to use the opaque bottoms.

Good old-fashioned safety pins can be useful for putting douvetyne partial skirts on them.

Mark H. Weingartner Lighting and VFX for Motion Pictures

I agree with the other advice, but I think it is helpfull to also add this. Every time I have worked with spacelights they come with a silk diffusion ring that hangs on the bottom of the skirt. This ring works well if you don't care about the light spreading out everywhere. On one job we wanted soft pools of light and when the rings were added the light filled in everywhere. However, when we filled the gel rings, also supplied, with 216 and put them in the light(these are designed to got dirrectly under the lamps) the diffusion effect was very little. We ended up hanging the gel frames with the 216 from the lamp housing with bailing wire and then we could drop it down inside the skirt until we got the look we wanted. This position was about half way down. I hope this helps and saves you some time.

Mike Gillis

Milwaukee Gaffer

I agree with all the other comments on spacelights, especially the one regarding safety cables. I have had one "smoke" on me when we tried to pull up the skirt to let more of the silked light through. The silk bunched up behind the skirt and got to close to a globe.

One other item I'd like to add is that I've used Socapex cable with 6 break ins and six break outs to control each globe individually. It tends to use up the availble individual circuits but it is a very precise method of controlling the intensity of the light.

I have also used various types of diffusion material (ususally lighter than silk) on the bottom of the light to give a gradation in the fall off from the center to the edge.

I like spacelights but they are a tad finiky....

Andrew Gordon

Gaffer Regina, SK Canada


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