"Time and Time Again" Production Blog

Chronicling the production of the stop-motion animated short, "Time and Time Again" by Mike Bates. All images, characters, weird machines, etc, Copyright 2003-2007.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Another cool find. Ten dollars at Orchard (Supply Hardware)! Comes with it's own 250 watt 110 volt halogen bulb (a 4 dollar value). Compare that to the bulbs that you use in a Mini-Mole which are 200 watt, 120 volt (FEV). (Mini-Moles are small professional lights, the kind most used in pro stop-mo shoots. Oh, and the ones I used at De Anza.) Pretty cool! I the main differences between the Mini-Mole and this work light is the reflector behind the lamp and the lack of a lens in front. That, and I'm not sure if it puts out the same amount of foot-candles (light measurement). It looks pretty bright though. Now I'm going to see if I can make little round reflector to set in there. (Right now it just reflects off of the retanglular box that it's in, which gives four little mini-shadows on each side of any given object's shadows.) Also, I'm going to hopefully try to find a nice lens to direct that halogen power where I want it.

Oh, so here's a footnote: I'm shooting black and white, which means I'm too not concerned about color. So I'm fine with the fact that the halagen bulbs in these worklights are probabaly not the right color temperature for film. But if you folks watching at home are shooting with a digital camera, that camera will probabaly let you tweak the white balance, even after you take the picture. So these worklights still may be a good, cheap way to light your projects!

About $10. you say? Sweet. 250 watts too!! Most of the work lamps I've seen are 500 watters which I have one but only use as night shop lamp. 500 watts would seem too intense/bright for digital still or digital video?? Are you going to scratch build all your lights or you already have other existing lights? How many lights (& wattage) in your average stop mo shoot set-up? Keep us posted on this and other aspects as you have obviously been doing in your blog here for some time!
Wow! That's great! 250W sounds perfect. Keep us posted on the success of your custom reflector. A few years ago I used a couple of 500W for a live action test- Basically just floodlights. They washed out all the midtones in my subjects, but for what I was doing, they worked out great. I used some Cinefoil to help direct the light, but man, those things got HOT. Do those lights come with that clamp built on, or is that custom?
Hey, thanks for the feedback, guys! To quote the great Dr. Jones, I'm making this up as I go. I may be borrowing some "real" lights in addition to the ones I may make. But I've been thinking lately that it would be great to have my own lights. And for the price, why not?

So here are some updates: I just got a small round metal funnel ($7) from Bed, Bath and Beyond and cut it up for the reflector, and I just ordered a Fresnel lens on the internet ($13). So once I get that, I'm going to play around with them to see what happens. Stay tuned!

Another note: I think these cheapie bulbs from the hardware store may have a longer life than the tungsten rated ones. Possibly as much as 1,500 life hours vs. 50!

Warning! If you're thinking of taking apart your halogen lights at home, be extra careful! There is a reason that most hardware stores don't sell raw Halogen fixtures. Not only do they use a lot of electricity and can get very hot, but there are many variables to getting them to work that one can probably screw up fairly easily.

So to answer your questions:

My shoots average about two Mini-Moles (200 watt, 120 volt lights) per setup. One for key and one for the backlight/kicker. I can usually get away with using a bounce card for the fill light. I use more lights if I have more set to light, or the if character moves somewhere far during the shot. There were about four Mini-Moles available altogether at the sound stage. The only time I used all of them was usually for special effects (flashing lights in BG) or lighting a giant set/object (i.e. the Time Machine). However, on the street set I used just one big 1k light from far away to simulate sunlight.

The clamp comes with it!

Also: Mr. T. R. Norton has recently been raving about store-bought halogens, too!
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