Monday, 19 September 2011

Wailing and gnashing of teeth

THE LAMP part 2

Remember my clamp-lamp from the previous post? Well, I found one online and bought it. It's basically a heat lamp with a metal dome reflector for use in vivariums. Well my lamp arrived quickly from an online reptile house and yesterday I bought some filament bulbs for it so I could give the lamp a test run before tonight's shooting of Sofia and her show. The important thing to note here, and which shows a lack of foresight on my part, is that tungsten filament bulbs are being phased out in favour of energy saving bulbs. We're already at a stage where you cannot buy bulbs of a high wattage in the store (I had to settle for 60W). Good news for the planet, bad news for the no-budget film-maker.

Well, instead of a clean sharp light with bold shadows as this youtube video had showed me, I was treated to some of the ugliest light I've ever seen. Harsh patchy concentric rings of light all bunched together, like the headlight of a 70's car. It was awful. Thus commenced the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I spent some time trying to fix it. My first thought was that it was the super shiny dome that was causing these reflective rings, so I tried to remove it, only to find the particular lamp I had bought had an irremovable dome. Quick thinking Dee rushed to the bedroom and brought out a white shirt. We stretched the fabric over the dome and it diffused the light quite well, but not well enough. This light certainly isn't the holy grail of budget lighting I was hoping, in fact, until I make some kind of modification, it is beyond useless.

I'm beginning to think I should perhaps spray-paint the inside of the reflective dome with a matte white finish so the light is still reflected but it loses the harsh ringed reflections from the dome. Come to think of it, my dome is a lot more glossy than the dome in the video. I'm talking reflector dome here, and not my head, although let's be honest, my dome does get glossy.

I pulled out my old worklight to compare it to the horrible unusable light the lamp was giving off, and the worklight, despite giving off the light and heat of a small nuclear explosion, gave a far more consistent light. Why did I ever doubt you, worklight?

It's hard to escape the feeling that sometimes travelling on this journey is basically lurching from one disappointment to the next. Maybe I shouldn't have let myself get so fucking excited about a lamp, like it was the answer to all my problems.

TONIGHT - BACALAO FILMING

Got a lot of stuff to take to work with me today, because I'm going straight from work to meet Sofia. On previous trips to work when I've had to come "equipped" I have injured my wrists carrying all this stuff across various trains and tubes, so today I have opted for the big dusty suitcase on wheels. Pulled it out from under the bed, vacuumed all the dust off it, and loaded up. I got my camera case, big tripod, worklight, worklight stand (the nuclear fucker will burn a hole in whatever it sits on otherwise), external microphone and leads. The camera case itself takes up 85% of the suitcase, the rest is wedged all around it. The tripod is massive, but it's wedged into a large outside pocket on the front of the case. Get in! Moving this around the streets of London is still a chore, but it's not the it complete bummer it has been previously. As I dragged the case along the uneven cobbled streets, the rattling of the wheels concerned me. I know that the camera is not meant to be subject to vibration, and I was having bad visions of the camera being shaken into tiny pieces inside it's foam casing. I'll keep you posted.

Ran out of time for breakfast this morning because I forgot the microphone and had to rush to find and pack it. Powered down through some mini cheddars and a fruit corner once I got to work. I'm feeling powerful. Let's see how long that lasts.

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