The last thing I need on a shoot is to plug some lights in and blow the circuits in whatever location I am shooting in! I know some of the more expensive lights come with their own power thing (sorry I dont remember the name). Before I plug lights in especially if I am going to be needing several lights how do I know nothing crazy will happen? If it is a large shoot that would require a lot of high power lights should I just have them running off a generator? At work I can plug a 1000 watt light right into the wall and be done with it...everything is fine. But I know if I were to plug in a 2000 or higher watt light, I am sure something is going to give!
Thread: Lighting Power?.
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04-28-2004 08:59 PMwww.cmellc.biz Cre8tive Minds Entertainment, LLC
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04-29-2004 09:04 AM
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Well, it all depends on what kind of location you're shooting in. *If it's a house that was built in the 1950's, it's anybody's guess as to what the wiring is like inside.
Most modern houses have 15-amp or 20-amp circuits, and the newer the place, the more likely that it's 20-amp. *Watts = amps x volts, so a good rule of thumb is that household circuits can handle up to about 2,000 watts.
The trick is knowing what else is on a particular circuit. *There's no real way to know, and there's no way (that I know of) to tell how much draw a circuit is currently experiencing. *So yeah, it's basically plug-it-in, fire-it-up, and hope-a-circuit-breaker-doesn't-blow.
That's why fluorescents and HMI's are so in-demand. *A 575-watt HMI draws 575 watts of power but puts out about as much light as a 1500-watt tungsten unit. *Fluorescents are even more efficient, about 4x as much light per watt as tungsten, but fluorescents are inherently soft light, you can't get a strong hard light punch out of 'em like you can with HMI's or tungsten.
You could put one Mole 2K light on an entire household circuit, or you could put eight Kino-Flo Diva 400's (each putting out about 1,000 watts of light). *And the Mole will have you roasting and sweating in about five minutes, while the Diva's will be cool to the touch.
If you need a lot of lumens, go for the fluo, or get some HMI's. *A generator is another possible solution, but high-capacity generators are not cheap. *A 500-amp generator is usually over $400 per day, plus gas, plus a truck to tow it, etc. *Small portable generators that you can get in the back of a pickup usually deliver only about 2000 to 6000 watts, so one to three household circuits' worth.
05-02-2004 12:30 PM
In a house, bathrooms and kitchens are usually on seperate circuits from other houshold plugs. *A good plan is to find the circuit breaker before you do anything in a house, have the owners turn off their computers if possible, just in case, spread out your power (don't plug all of your lights in in one room), and don't put more than 15 amps (a 1k and a 500 watt, avoid using 2k's altogether) into one circuit. Sometimes I'm amazed at how a place is wired (plugs 3 rooms apart are on the same circuit) but you can pretty much count on anything in the same room, or same wall (opposite sides) being on the same circuit.