Monday, January 19, 2009

Molepar Love

I bought a couple of Molepars on Satan eBay. They arrived rusted and damaged. I should know better, the one camera angle that something isn't photographed from is the one angle that you really need to see. So, my OCD kicked in and I sanded them down and refurbished them. Fortunately, they were pretty cheap.

Molepars are one of those lights that I think everyone who owns any lights at all should have, especially low-budget filmmakers. They kick out one heck of a lot of light for a 1K (Par 64 globes) and are light, compact and incredibly flexible. Need to light up a building or trees at night? How about a fixture to give a decent-sized room your base exposure (by bouncing off the ceiling or a bounce)? They are great for any application where you just need a lot of light and want to plug into a household circuit (2 units per 20 amp circuit). The key to using them, as with any other fixture, is how you control the light. You can also use a variety of globes in them, from extra narrow to wide beam as well as daylight balanced dichroic.

They are also not expensive units. I have seen them new online for about $350/unit (without globes). And a rental will run about $14/day. They will also last a lifetime because they are made by Mole Richardson. The one unit I bought dates from the mid-1960's (number 493) and now looks/functions like new (and when I got it, it looked like it had been used as a rental for 40 years). The paint color is Mole Maroon and is available directly from Mole Richardson as an air dried spray paint. They also sell individual parts for all of their lamps at a reasonable cost.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


In the last three issues of HD Video Pro magazine, they've tracked the progress of Adam Cultraro, as he directed his first low-budget feature (Corrado). It's an interesting enough article that follows him from pre-pro through post. However, at the end of the last article he gives some pointed opinions about wannabe filmmakers that struck a chord with me (mostly because film people are almost universally unwilling to give frank opinions in writing): "On a broad scale, don't give too much credence to people's opinions, because in this business, very few people want to see you succeed. If you read filmmaking blogs and threads, you will see that most people trying to make indie films are self-defeaters....The kinds of people who succeed in filmmaking are people who don't stand in their own way."

Online, I definitely see a lot of that self-defeating behavior happening, especially with equipment obsession. The "perfect" camera does not exist and, even if it did, it won't make your film more engaging, intelligent or beautiful any more than the most expensive hammer is going to make a more beautiful or functional building. Or, buying another piece of software. Or.... I also run into people who have really good projects, and have completely thought them through, but when it comes to putting the rubber to the road find a million little reasons to keep slowing it down or be diverted from actually starting to film. As far as other people not wanting you to succeed, I guess in one way it's not really that different from any other competitive field. However, narrative filmmaking does seem to be a special combination of collaboration and vicious competitiveness.

I guess this post is really reflecting my own state of mind right now. It's been a little while since I've completed any personal projects. I have a couple of substantial projects right now in which I have a lot of time invested that, for various reasons (some good and some not), may or may not happen. I am itching to just make something. Ultimately, managing and maintaining your focus seems to be the greatest skill that a filmmaker can have.