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March 31, 2009

Heavy Set Construction, day 2

   More work on the set--it's going to be long week!  We just about finished hanging the flats for the living room scene.  Our fly system is kind of a pain.  The fly loft and battons are setup such that you can't completely fly out anything much over 8 feet.  There is, however, about 5 feet above the batton before the pulls on the grid.  So I knew I could get a 12 foot wall by hanging 8 foot flats from the batton, then mounting 4x8 foot sections along the top.  It's not a very good mounting system, but basiclly, the flats hug the batton on the bottom and then have a guide that wraps around the cables that fly the battons.  It doesn't look too pretty, but it's functional and safe. 
   The living room has an opening to a hallway.  To acomplish this, we used 2x 5 foot flats on hinges.  When the wall flys in, the hinged hallway sections are unlatched and opened to make the hall.  They are closed again before flying the wall out.  After putting the things together and counter weighting, we tried it out, and it works pretty good.  There is several hundrad pounds of counter weight on that batton now, but despite the weight, the walls flies with ease.  I need two sections on the top at both ends, and that wall is ready to be sceamed and painted.
   Aside from the living room wall, we (and I mean "not me" in this case) build the "car" (just a platform on wheels with a bench seat), and put the second door on the door frame.  We didn't really do much with the lab platform as I would prefer to wait until out master carpenter is present--I'd prefer to learn and I don't want to mess anything up.
   Oh, and I thought I should mention that I landed an "A" on that exam.  Group study = me achiving honer student :)

March 30, 2009

Heavy Set Construction, day 1

   Large scale set construction begins.  I've decided that this week I want all of the major set pieces completed.  Building material has arrived and our master carpenter really went to town.  In the back of the photo you can see the rough frame of the lab.  This is after one and a half hours of work--none of which I was able to be there for unfortunately (I had calculus). 
   In front of that is the door frame we built.  It still needs one door and some paint, but it is really cool.  In the first act, our two main characters are approaching a castle.  To give the illusion of the approach, this door slowly rolls forward, with the front light slowly getting brighter.  When the scene ends, the door splits in half and disappears into the wings.  It was a challenge and thus fun to build.

March 29, 2009

Study time

Xiphos

Xiphos

   Xiphos and I at Denny's doing a follow-up study group for our Intro to Stage Craft exam tomorrow.  We had about 100 3x5" note cards, each with a couple terms to memorize.  Despite the large quantities, we pretty much have them down and I think we'll do well on the exam.  Because of the nature of the class, terms are about all we can be tested on, since the rest of our grade depends on how we do with the design and building of the set.  I'm sure most people will gripe about the fact we're having an exam on the Monday after spring break.  But I wasted most of my free time, so doing this study did make at least some use of the time I had.

March 28, 2009

Fun With Bank Cards

Allison's Eyes

Allison's Eyes

   A few weeks back, I received in the mail a new bank card and a new pin number.  This seemed strange to me, since I didn't request a new one.  Then, a week latter, I got a second one, and around that time I got a letter from the bank that said some accounts had been compromised and they were sending everyone a new card to be on the safe side.  Since my card worked, I didn't pay any attention to this.  Then last week sometime, my original card stopped working.  So I went to the bank to see what my options were--I didn't want a new pin number nor was I sure which card to activate.  After getting that figured out, I'm left with one thought: what the heck happened so that they decided sending out new cards needed to be done?  Someone messed up somewhere.  Of course, corporations are private tyrannies, and they don't have to tell us much of anything.  But one thing is usually pretty true:  If a company admit something went wrong, it had to be bad enough they couldn't cover it up.  If what they did cost them money, it really had to be bad.  And what happen is always worse then they lead on.  So I should probably be concerned.

March 27, 2009

Grow lights

9,600 lumens

9,600 lumens

   This is picture shows the result of a fair bit of research.  What is it?  9,600 lumens of 6,500 K full-spectrum light.  There is so much light from the bulbs that it looks like dusk out the window--but it is, in fact, full daylight on a sunny day.  What the heck do I need all this light for?  About a month or two back, my desk area inherited a bamboo plant.  The window faces north and really doesn't get a lot of sunlight--especially since the blinds are usually closed.  It hadn't been looking well in sometime, so I thought I'd give it some assistance.  I bought a 23-watt (100-watt incandescent equivalent), placed it to shine on unhappy bamboo and let it run for about 18 hours a day.  That didn't seem to do much.  So rather then just guessing about plant light, I did a little reading to find out what people used for grow lights. 
   I knew plants needed a full-spectrum light source of some sort.  But how much light they wanted was something I wasn't sure about.  The obvious question was, how much sunlight would a plant get on a nice sunny day?  Wikipedia has the fast answer for that on the page for the unit lux--10,000 lux on a sunny day.  Light bulbs don't use lux, they use lumens.  One lumen is 1 lux over 1 squre meter.  So if you had a bulb that was 1,600 lumens and mannaged to focus all the light over 1 square meter, at any point in that square meter you would have 1,600 lux.  The light emitting part of light bulbs are omnidirectional, although their base of the bulb does block some light.  But for the most part, bulbs throw light in every direction, so some kind of reflector is needed if you want all the light to hit a specific area.  I used alumiumn foil.  Not perfect, but functional.
   Most compact florscent bulbs list their lumen output, and most of the full-spectrum bulbs list color temperture.  But the term "full-spectrum" is used rather lossly.  Pretty much all florscent bulbs emit light that coveres the entire visible spectrum.  What is meant by "full-spectrum" in this context is "full daylight spectrum".  Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a messure of how close a light sources comes to memicing sunlight.  The scale runs 0 to 100, with 100 being 100% or perfect.  My 5000 K photography bulbs have a CRI of 92.  I've seen bulbs advertized as high a 98 CRI.  But what CRI is needed for plant growth?  One would expect that the higher the CRI, the better it would be for plant growth.  But how badly does going from a CRI of 90 to 85 effect growth?
   The question seemed valid, but it is a little more complicated.  Plants are green, and they are green because of the compound chlorophyll.  Remember that if you see a color from a non-light producting object, it's because that color was reflected.  Chlorophyll does not absorbe much in the green wavelengths of light.  In fact, chlorophyll absorbe highest in the red and blue portions of the spectrum.  Chlorophyll is at the foundation of photosynthesis, and plants benefit most from these colors.  Some people have been experementing with LED grow lights for this reason.  These grow lights contain only red and blue LEDs in a ratio specific to what chlorophyll uses.  Florescent light can also have modified spectrums to produce light more favrable to plants.
   Knowing this, I decided to look and see what branded grow lights had for CRI and spectrum.  What I found is that the majority of companys didn't even list the CRI--just color temperature and lumens.  The one grow bulb I did find that listed CRI as 90, and most of the full-spectrum CFL have a CRI of 91.  That being the case, I knew CRI 90 is "close enough".
   So, I went ot be favorite home improvement store and bought everything I needed--bulbs, light fixtures, a cord, and a bord to mount it all to.  It took about 45 minute to assemble, but soon I had a heck of a lot of light.  The setup uses 6x 1,600 lumen 23-watt CFL bulbs for a total of 9,600 lumens at 138 watts.  This is focused on an area of about 3 sq. ft, or about 0.3 sq meters.  So the lux should be roughtly 32,000.  Of course, there are some losses due to reflectors and such, but that is over the 10,000 lux goal, so we'll see what happens.

1 comment has been made.

From wendy

janesville

March 27, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Let me know how that works out. Do you have a spiral-growing bamboo plant? They are so cool! :P I\'m currently trying to grow a couple plants, but only have sunlight to work with.

March 26, 2009

The Over Exposed Eye Shot

Becka

Becka "Bright Eyes"

   This picture uses a method I like to for being out eyes.  I have two 4' full-spectrum florescent bulbs that run 5000 K color temperature and have a color rendering index (CRI) of 92.  I'm not sure what the luman (light intensity) level is, but they are quite bright.  They work quite well for accuratly photographing  color--simply set the camera to white balance at 5000 K and the results are pretty much perfect.
   To place emphisis, I overexpose the picture 2 full F-stops.  At this angle, the light drowneds out everything except for eyes.  To place a little more emphisis, I use a soften filter on the face but leave the eyes alone.  Then I use a sharpen filter on the eyes. In this picture, the effect isn't as dramatic--Becka's irriuses are a much lighter blue (less saturation) then most.  The technique is still effective and I do like the results.

March 25, 2009

A Little D&D

   Time for a little roleplaying.  I've done a number of roleplaying campaigns, but I had never played Dungeons and Dragons.  So when Altered Reality decided to start a D&D campaign, I thought I'd give it a try,  Monday we rolled our characters and today we started playing.  I hope to continue the playing with the group, but with school and the play, I'm not sure when I'll have the time :(
   Jai and I went to Madison today to visit Tyson.  I brought the Red Dragon with, as it had stopped working a month or two back.  Tyson and I came to the conclusion the power supply and motherboard are both dead.  Not sure what happened--it may have been a wiring issue where it was plugged in.  But the original Red Dragon is dead.  Work on making a replacement system has started--I just need to find a power supply somewhere.