Saturday, February 12, 2011

Modding a mic stand for swing-arm action -- Shelley, this one's for you!

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 Shelley really got me thinking about this the other day.

Well, I finally unpacked enough stuff in my new house that I can begin animating! I set up a shot (I want to get a little more practice in with Skulkin before I start in on the actual film itself) and discovered that even with my upgraded lighting grid, I just can't get lights to all the places I really want them. I had already built a pair of extensions I can clamp to the ceiling joists to clamp lights to, because I wanted some lights lower than my original grid would allow. But still I was too limited... I needed some way to attach a swing arm boom to them. I spent the evening cogitatin' on this problem, and slowly but surely ground out a solution using a couple of mic stands I already had on hand.




They're just cheap stands from Musician's Friend, similar to this one.






Mine aren't that tall though... I got some kind of shorties. I'm sure either will work just fine... a longer one might reach down lower than mine. 







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One problem I had to overcome - the tubing used for the mic stands is too small in diameter... the C-clamps I have won't close down small enough to get a grip on it. I solved that with two pieces of wood and a little electrician's tape (I haven't unpacked far enough to find my gaffer's tape, or I'd use that instead).

This kind of C-clamp can be bought from a music store or a lighting supplier who handles disco type lights. If you walk into a hardware store and ask for a C clamp, they won't have this kind.







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Here you see it all taped up. Now it can get a tight grip on the mic stand.






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I had to use 2 C-clamps... one to attach it to the ceiling joist and one to attach the lighting unit. Notice I removed the bolt from the clamp that will attach to the ceiling.






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Here's the whole assembly. Oh, I didn't get pics of this, but I had to cut off the bottom of the stand to remove the tripod legs. A hacksaw is essential equipment!






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Here's the ceiling attachment. Now you can see why I had to remove the bolt... though I suppose you could substitute a big wood screw and mount it permanently, or drill through the joist and use a coach bolt. I like the ability to move it wherever I want though.






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Another shot of the mount... plus the big knob that tightens the swing arm boom.






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It can swing from here too.






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The business end, bearing one of my modded Blackbird PAR 16's. Oh, I finally managed to find a US site that sells barndoors for them! Here it is: Stage Spot.





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I wanted to post this one to show how I attached the tracklight unit into the snout of a PAR 16. The older PAR units I bought from Musician's Friend were made a little differently, and you could just jam them together for a perfect pressure fit, but the newer models have thicker rivets inside that prevent that, so I just busted out the FastSteel epoxy putty and packed a ring of it inside. First I coated the end of the tracklight unit itself with dishwashing liquid as a release, and before the putty fully cured I gently rotated it to break the bond... now the putty will stay inside the PAR snout and I can remove the track light if I want.

4 comments:

Vincent Tétreault said...

Good idea and nicely done.
I need to build something like that for my next sequence and was thinking about something similar yesterday. I saw adjustable desk light support similar to your mic support, but it isn't strong enough to hold a light in place. I'll probably use a rigid home made wooden stand. Be sure the adjustable parts are very tight before starting a sequence, so the light doesn't moves while doing it. Thanks to share your creation. Very inspiring.

Shelley Noble said...

Oh. You. Living. DOLL!

What a brilliant solution (and I haven't even read the whole post yet!)

I LOVE THIS!

So printing out and copying!

Thank you thank you thank you!

Darkstrider said...

Vince, good point. Yeah, I'm pretty sure if I bump this, it will move, and I'd never get it back just where it was. I plan to only use these in remote areas where I don't have to pass through while animating... and I'll definitely be sure to tighten all the screws down before shooting.

Right now I have it behind the set for a backlight, which is probably what I'll mainly be using these for. Any lights close to where I'll be animating must be stronger.

Shelley, I forgot to mention (and I'll probably go back and add it) that you can get the funky-looking C-clamps in a music store... probably anyplace that ells mic stands will have them. Or disco lighting supply places. If you walk into a hardware store and ask for a C clamp they'll have the OTHER kind I used.

I suppose I could list the materials I used for this with links to where they can be bought.

Ben Whitehouse said...

All I can say at the moment is the lighting on the very first shot is bloomin AMAZING!