Set Lighting Technician's Handbook: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical Distribution / Edition 4

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Comprehensive. Detailed. Practical. Set Lighting Technician's Handbook is a friendly, hands-on manual covering the day-to-day practices, equipment, and tricks of the trade essential to anyone doing motion picture lighting, including the lamp operator, rigging crew, gaffer, best boy, or director of photography. This handbook offers a wealth of practical technical information, useful techniques, as well as aesthetic discussions. The Set Lighting Technician's Handbook focuses on what is important when working on-set: trouble-shooting, teamwork, set protocol, and safety. It describes tricks and techniques for operating a vast array of lighting equipment including LEDs, xenons, camera synchronous strobes, black lights, underwater units, lighting effects units, and many others. Since its first edition, this handy on-set reference continues to be widely adopted as a training and reference manual by union training programs as well as top university film production programs

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Harry Box's Set Lighting Technician's Handbook (Focal Press) is a gold mine of information about safety, lighting and studio procedures." - Ron Dexter, ASC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780240810751
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/18/2010
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 615
  • Sales rank: 122,836
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry C. Box has worked in television and motion picture production since 1989. Over the years he has done substantial work as a lighting technician, gaffer, camera operator, director of photography, and as an educator. His recent credits include network and cable television series, such as Heroes (NBC), Brothers and Sisters (ABC), and Everybody Hates Chris (CW). He has worked on major motion pictures, independent feature films, telefilms, documentaries, music videos, commercials, and industrials.

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Table of Contents


Companion Web site


Chapter 1 Set basics: Your first barbecue 1

Job descriptions of the lighting crew 1

Director of photography 1

Gaffer 2

Best boy electric 3

Electricians 3

Rigging crew 4

The fixtures guy 4

Generator operator 4

Grip department 5

The company 6

Production staff 6

The director's team 7

Camera department 8

Sound department 9

Locations 9

Transportation 10

Art department 10

The general public 11

Block, light, rehearse, tweak, shoot 12

The work world 13

Chapter 2 Preproduction planning: Lighting package, expendables, and personal tools 15

Preproduction planning 15

Scouting locations 16

Production meetings 16

Equipment package 17

The load-in 18

The production van 20

Expendable supplies 20

Gels and diffusion 23

Electrical expendables 23

Tools and personal gear 26

Tool belt 26

Meters 29

Other hand tools 29

Personal gear 30

Chapter 3 Light fixtures: The basic tungsten arsenal 31

Tungsten lamps 31

Fresnels 33

Fresnel beam 35

Fresnel accessories 38

20 and 24k tungsten Fresnels 40

The lamp and its installation 41

Soft lights 42

"Bag" lights 44

Open-face lights 44

Prime fixtures 45

Broads and nook lights 46

Light kits 46

PAR lights 47

PAR lamps 47

Par cans 50

Molepars, master lite, cine-queen 50

Par arrays 50

Axially mounted par fixtures 52

Ellipsoidal reflector spotlights 53

Lamp adjustment and installations 57

Ellipsoidal spotlight accessories 58

Dedolights 62

Beam projectors 63

Area lights and backing lights 64

Chicken coops and space lights 64

Scoop lights and Skypans 65

Cyc strips, ground rows, and borders 65

Small fixtures 67

Screw-base fixtures 67

MR 16 lamps and accessories 68

Stick-up kits 69

Chapter 4 Stands and rigging 71

Stands 71

Baby stands 71

Junior stands 75

Offsets, side arms, extensions, and right angles 76

Using stands 76

Crank-up and motorized stands 77

Grip stands 79

Booms 82

Stand maintenance 83

Rigging hardware 83

Baby and junior nail-on plates 83

Set wall mounts 84

Set wall bracket 84

Clamps 84

Grids and green beds 87

Other rigging hardware 88

Chapter 5 Lighting objectives and methods 91

Objectives 91

Visibility (or selective visibility) 91

Naturalism 92

Composition 92

Mood 93

Time constraints 94

The process of formulating a lighting strategy 94

Key light: Lighting the actor's face 96

The lighting triangle 102

Fill 102

Backlights, kickers, and hair lights 103

Lighting the acting positions 104

Back cross-keys 105

Lighting the space and the background 107

Ambience 107

Backdrops 107

Quantifying brightness and contrast 108

Exposure 108

Foot-candles 108

F-stops 108

Taking readings with an incident light meter 109

Contrast, latitude, and the total value 112

Spot meters 115

Light level 117

Chapter 6 Manipulating light: Tools, techniques, and the behavior of light 119

Color 119

White balance 119

Color-temperature meter 125

Color-correction gels 126

Theatrical gels for tints 129

Brightness 132

Methods of control 132

Falloff: Your friend, the inverse square law 133

Dimmers 134

Shape, pattern, and form 136

Making cuts and patterns 136

Soft light 139

Diffusion 142

Other ways of making soft light 143

Movement 146

Flicker effects: Television screen, flame, and fire 148

Other moving light effects 149

Chapter 7 Electrician's set protocol 151

Set protocol 151

Staging area 151

Lighting the set 151

Practicals 158

Photoflood bulbs and PH bulbs 159

Household bulbs 159

Candella base bulbs 159

Mushroom floods: R-40 and others 159

MR-16 159

Linestra tubes 159

Controlling practicals with dimmers 160

Wiring small fixtures 161

Stingers and cabling 162

Circuit balance and capacity 162

2k Plugging policy 163

Cables crossing the set 163

Cables crossing work areas 163

Appropriate length 164

Preventing "Kick-Outs" 164

Repatching 164

The gak package 165

Labeling stingers and power cords 165

Labeling dimmer settings 165

Coiling stingers and cable 166

Safety 167

Ladders 167

Parallels 167

Working aloft 167

Protecting floors 168

Sprinkler systems 168

Smoke, fire, and other bad smells 168

Aerial lifts (condors and scissor lifts) 169

The Wrap 169

Coiling feeder cable 170

Inventory 170

Chapter 8 Light fixtures: The HMI arsenal 171

Metal halide are lights: "HMI" 171

HMI fresnels 172

HMI pars 175

HMI "open-face" lights 179

Accessories 180

Small fixtures 180

Tungsten-balanced are-discharge lights 183

HMI operation 183

Setting up 183

Striking 185

On/off switches, safety loop, and UV protection 186

Allowable camera speeds with HMIs 187

Electronic (square-wave) ballasts 189

Installing an HMI lamp 197

Metal halide are lamps 202

Chapter 9 Fluorescent lights 205

Kino Flo lamps and ballasts 208

Kino FLo systems 209

Portable modular fixtures 209

Kino Flo fixtures with remote ballasts 214

Kino Flo self-contained light fixtures 218

DMX512 control and addressing 220

Lumapanels 223

Some additional notes about fluorescent lights 225

Effect of temperature 225

Calculating power needs 225

Chapter 10 LED lights 227

There's a new kid in town 227

Color rendering of LEDs and LED light fixtures 228

LED fixtures 234

Pads 234

Small panels 234

Larger panels 240

Ring lights 242

Color wash fixtures 242

LED technology 247

Chapter 11 Lighting control: Control networks, moving lights, advanced devices, and computer applications in lighting 251

DMX512 252

DMX512 addressing 253

DMX values and device personality 256

Controllers 261

Multiple DMX512 universes 265

Running DMX512 cable 265

Optical isolators and splitters 270

Loss of signal 271

Merger/combiner 273

Wireless DMX 274

Testing 276

DMX: Past, present, and future 278

Remote Device Management (RDM) 279

Ethernet networks 280

Advanced automated devices 282

Moving lights (automated luminaires) 282

Remote pan and tilt for conventional lights 291

Media servers and video projectors for lighting effects 293

Pixel-mapping systems 294

Light plots 296

Lighting with previsualization software 299

Chapter 12 Electricity 301

The fundamentals of electricity and electrical equations 301

Volts (electromotive force) 302

Amperes (current) 302

Watts (power) 302

The power equation 303

Resistance and Ohm's law 305

Parallel and series circuits 308

How not to use electrical equations 312

Components of a safe power circuit 313

Control devices and polarity 313

Overcurrent protection 315

The current-carrying capacity of cable 316

Types of feeder cable 318

Equipment grounding 319

Types of distribution circuits 321

Direct current 322

Alternating current 323

Alternating current: Single-phase three-wire system 324

Three-phase, four-wire systems 327

System grounding 332

Chapter 13 Distribution and dimming equipment 335

Components of a distribution system 335

Main disconnect and overcurrent protection for feeders 336

Cam-Lok connectors 338

Lugs and buss bars 342

Mole pin connectors 343

Distribution boxes 344

Stage pin (Bates) connectors 347

Receptacle boxes 350

19-pin "Socapex" connectors and cable 353

Adapters 356

Electronic dimmer systems 357

Electronic dimmer circuit designs 359

Forward-phase control dimmers---SCR 360

Reverse-phase control dimmers 361

Sinewave dimmers 362

Strand CD80 dimmer packs 364

ETC Sensor dimmer system 371

Chapter 14 Working with electrical power 375

Sizing distribution conductors 375

Sizing phase conductors 375

Sizing neutral conductors 376

Sizing equipment grounding conductors 376

Sizing grounding electrode and bonding conductors 376

Line loss 377

Causes of line loss 377

Allowable voltage drop 378

Mitigating line loss 379

Cable size and other line loss calculations 380

Simple line loss calculations 384

Power problems from electronic loads 385

Power factor 386

Harmonic currents and effects on the neutral wire 388

Measuring electricity 389

Meter categories 390

Voltage meters 390

Circuit testers 392

Measuring frequency (hertz rate) 392

Measuring amperage 393

Testing continuity and testing for shorts 393

Wattmeter or power meter 394

Electrical shocks and muscle freeze 394

Chapter 15 Electrical rigging 397

The role of the rigging gaffer 397

Planning the rig 398

Size and number of conductors 399

Placement of distribution 400

Rigging cable 401

Identifying cable, labeling circuits 402

Lacing cable 403

Ventilating and separating runs 404

Make first, break last 404

Traffic areas 404

Fire lanes 405

Fall protection 405

Root out bad contacts 405

Waterfalls and cable drops 405

Knots 407

Strength of rope 414

Rigging lights 417

Weight-loading chain motors truss and pipe 418

Testing 419

Rigging lights and cable in aerial lifts 421

Mounts 421

Cabling 422

Condor duty 424

Paperwork 425

Chapter 16 Power sources 427

Batteries and inverters 427

Battery chemistry and care 427

Inverter systems 431

120 V DC lead-acid battery packs 432

Generators 433

Putt-putts (portable Honda generators) 433

AVR generators 434

Honda EU inverter generators 436

Troubleshooting putt-putts 438

Full-size generators 438

Generator placement 445

Selecting a generator 445

480 V Systems 445

Utility power 447

Line drops from utility power 447

Tie-ins 447

Approach protection 448

Using available outlets 448

Chapter 17 Special circumstances and practices 449

Shooting on moving vehicles 449

Poor man's process and other techniques 450

Lighting in and around water 451

Working with electricity around water and damp environments 451

Underwater lighting 457

The old drop-a-bulb-in-the-pool method 457

Modern underwater fixtures 458

Lighting matte photography 461

Lighting the foreground 462

High-speed photography and camera-synchronous strobes 464

Chapter 18 Specialty lighting equipment 467

Big guns 467

SoftSun 467

Carbon are lights 469

Lighting balloons 470

Lightning effects 473

Lightning strikes! 473

Control units 474

Power requirements 475

Xenon lights 477

Follow spots 479

Preparing the follow spot 481

Operating the follow spot 483

Black lights 484

APPENDIX A Photometric calculations and tables 487

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