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    #11
    Senior Member Liam Hall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Coughlin View Post
    I'm not finding an 8 x 8 Lastolite option. What makes them better than the other four brands I'd mentioned?
    They do 2x2m and 3x3m (6.5 ft and 9.8ft) versions. Not better but aimed more at photographers or small unit crew, so maybe more appropriate for you if you've not got much help. They are light, frames are easy to put together and the diffusion or reflectors snap-on so are really quick to use and fit easily in the boot (trunk) of your motor.

    They also do a 1x1m and 2x1m - I have both of those which I mainly use for neg fill or bounce.
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    #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPapert View Post
    Eric, because this leans into safety issues, I will get on the soapbox here and say that you are expressing dangerous sentiments. Just because you haven't had any issues yet doesn't mean you may never. Rob Norton makes excellent and accurate points above. Large frames are dangerous objects. My key grip is able to read the wind in ways that constantly surprise me, recognizing patterns of sudden gusts and taking appropriate precautions, from tying down to sandbag carts to placing bodies on the stands to babysit them. One more than one occasion he has told me we can't put up a given size rag so we have to downsize, or even that it is too gusty to use a frame at all (one of those times it was completely still when he told me that but five minutes later the wind kicked in).

    Is it possible to learn all of this yourself? Yes. Like many things in this business, the basics are easy enough but the nuances take years of experience to master. To be honest, asking whether or not you need combo stands says a lot. That's not an insult on your knowledge base, guess what, I barely know anything about this stuff myself, because I never worked as a grip and I leave it to the professionals. And yes I've done plenty of tiny crew jobs over the years but I don't use gear of that scope without one.

    I've seen many frames go down over the years, even under the guidance of a skilled key grip. Weather is unpredictable.

    Lastly, just a general point of clarification because the distinction between grip and electric is often blurred on message boards but not on set. This discussion is firmly in the province of grip department. A gaffer wouldn't have anything to do with rags and frames, unless you had someone working both jobs on a small shoot. Also because the term "gaffers and grips" is oft bandied around which is a little apples and oranges: in the US, there is one gaffer and one key grip on a job. The crew working for them are, respectively, electricians and grips.
    Good point Charles and I should have been more clear. I was speaking about the Australian film set where gaffers perform several of the tasks a key grip would handle in the US. Why do there have to be two systems!?


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    #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Coughlin View Post
    How many pounds of shot/sand bags would be recommended for an 8 x 8 at 11 feet? Obviously it depends on wind conditions, but when showing up to set with sand bags, how many should be owned or rented without knowing wind conditions?

    An 8 x 8 is more complex and has more safety issues, but I'm still a bit skeptical that it's as complicated as you make it out to be. I've setup a 12 x 12 outdoors by myself before with no issues. Yeah, if you're moving around set to several locations in windy conditions with a 12 x 12, it'll take more skill and manpower, but that's not really the situation that I'm dealing with. I feel like if the person in charge (me) has sufficient knowledge (which I'm currently learning more of) to set up the stands, frame, etc., then I can simply instruct a PA to do the same while maintaining proper safety on set. I often feel gaffers are best used for narrative style filmmaking where they may give artistic input that is helpful and the lighting schemes are much more complex than the often very simple corporate video lighting setups (that I typically deal with).
    You can't just add sandbags. Sometimes even 200lbs on each stand won't be enough.

    Safety aside and back to the bending, by spreading the anchors across various points using ropes rather than adding hundreds of pounds of bags to each stand, the stands are less prone to getting bent.

    You can't simply give instructions to a PA on set when neither of you have experience beyond reading about it and doing internet research.

    Just because you set up a 12x12 outdoors by yourself doesn't mean you should have. There's a time and a place to cut corners on the small production level but this is a safety issue and about as black and white as it gets.


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    #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob norton View Post
    Good point Charles and I should have been more clear. I was speaking about the Australian film set where gaffers perform several of the tasks a key grip would handle in the US. Why do there have to be two systems!?
    Yep, there are definitely different terms and job assignments in different countries--I should have been more clear in that I was directing that purely to those in the States where I see the terms tossed around quite a lot especially in articles about film sets like "gaffers running around adjusting lights" - people seem to enjoy the term "gaffer" so I guess they want them to be more of them!
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    #15
    Senior Member Eric Coughlin's Avatar
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    Erik Naso did a blog post awhile back on the Wescott Scrim Jim. In the article he says, "A big plus for me with these two products is how light and portable they are. I dont have to have a grip truck and crew to use them." Was he taking big safety risks?

    He used C-stands with one sand bag, the overhead looking at a height of about 8.5 feet. In the photo, I'm really not seeing anything that dangerous. Worst case it falls over and hits someone, which would likely be about as painful as a small drone hitting someone. I've yet to hear of drone hospitalizations or deaths, while people always go on and on about how dangerous they are. I've never heard of an 8 x 8 severely injuring someone, and I'm just not seeing how this 8 x 8 could be so dangerous, as it's just cloth with a lightweight metal bar. Broken windshield? Heck, the money saved from hiring a PA over a gaffer alone can cover the cost of a windshield in the unlikely event that were to happen, and that savings happens on every shoot you make that choice on, while a windshield (or something) breaking may be once every ten years at most (especially if you learned you lesson the hard way the first time and hired a gaffer from there on out). A 25 lb light now, say on a rickety stand or not secured in an overhead grid, now that's dangerous. But I just can't imagine a reasonably likely scenario where severe bodily harm could occur from an 8 x 8.

    https://eriknaso.com/westcott-scrim-...perfect-combo/



    I'm leaning toward going with the Matthews Hollywood Combo Triple Riser Stand (Silver, 14.8') Rob mentioned, as the relation of the collapsed height to the 14.8' height beats what Avengers offers, and I like the lower collapsed height for transport, while the 14.8' height could come in handy for mounting a light high. I guess that stand is not quite as solid as a couple of the Avengers offerings in that range, but I gather it's solid enough.

    I'm thinking the Avengers 8 x 8 frame, but it's still unclear to me if it's as portable as the Wescott and Digital Juice, and it does not appear to come with a bag which is a pain.
    Last edited by Eric Coughlin; 09-06-2020 at 10:50 PM.


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    #16
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    The film industry by nature involves a certain amount of risk, which we mitigate as much as we can. Car chases and stunts sometimes go wrong and people get hurt even when everything is done by the book. Interview shoots are much more benign...then again, tell that to the Clintons in '92.



    In the wind, large fabrics turn into a sail. Given a strong enough wind, even that little lightweight setup could bend metal. And that I have seen happen. If you still can't imagine why that would be dangerous, try picturing a baseball bat to the face.

    I'll give up on this (and delineating between a gaffer and grip) at this juncture. You do you. Just hoping others will take heed.
    Charles Papert
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    #17
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    Eric is a news shooter?

    WHat Ive noticed about my local BBC chaps is thier ability to operate when 'stuff should not work'.

    This overhead looks scary puny. Now that is not a problem for someone with experience (like Eric?) as they will know..

    -when to leave it in the van
    -have the social skills to round up a couple of people to hang on to it.

    Again, while charles may be after a consistent set for hours Eric will be getting the contrib for 10 mins.


    FYI I have a 2x1.5m lastolight permanately erected stored on my van roof. Its awesome but even at 2x1.5m a terrible wind hazard that has caused me embarrasement on occasion.

    I like my lastolight permanently build but feel with the velcro that regular dissasembly it would become a time wasting pain.

    For an 8.8 (which is on my list) Id go for a traditional 'cinema' design of 4 corners, two ears and 4 8ft 25mm/1in bars. I have space in my van for 8ft bars.

    I have the 'three extension' matthews combo stands that I think are superb and want more of. Id not use Cstands on an 8.8 outdoors.


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    #18
    Senior Member Liam Hall's Avatar
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    Sam, do you know a decent UK supplier for tube/corners etc?
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    #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liam Hall View Post
    Sam, do you know a decent UK supplier for tube/corners etc?
    No. Getting this stuff in the UK has eluded me - which is prbably good as my wallet is slightly less empty.

    Id get 1in square tube from an aluminium supplier (aluminium warehouse) but the actual rag and corners I have no good ideas.

    I think CVP can get it on a 28 day thing.

    I dont know your vehicle, but my van is exact clearance of 8ft in the rear meanin I would not need tubes that break down - a huge advantage on price and strength and setup time.

    Another reason for car based DPs to get van based gaffers (grips?)


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    #20
    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    Eric,

    The Westcott Scrim Jims, to me, are very flimsy. Fine for indoors but I personally wouldn't use one outdoors, the frames are comically small and underbuilt. There is a paradox in grip gear that
    basically equates to weight and heavy build = strength. If you go for anything lighter weight, you are compromising in strength and ruggedness to keep going for years and years.

    It's similar to C-stands. There are some Impact and other cheap photo C-stands on the market. They are considerably lighter and easier to move around sets than traditional C-stands, a lot of still photographers favor them
    in studio because still shooters aren't typically putting as big or has heavy things on them as video shooters are. Traditional steel base or heavy aluminum C-stands are much better built, but weigh a ton
    more. I've had some of the cheap, light Avenger and Impact stands. They are disposable, while my heavy, clunky Norms, Matthews and American C-stands have been working for me for two decades.

    You can't have it both ways. With grip gear, you get light and flimsy, versus heavy and rugged. A good compromise might be the heavier aluminum frames that break down into 4' lengths rather than 8'?
    Not as strong as the 8' but you can fit the 4' lengths into any car and they are still leagues heavier duty than the Scrim Jim.
    It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
    G.A.S. destroys lives. Stop buying gear that doesn't make you money.


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