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How To Build A Professional Trash Can Fire Light

  • April 4, 2019
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
How To Build A Professional Trash Can Fire Light

I thought I’d share my innovation and creation from Into the Badlands. It starts with a light that I don’t think a lot of you know exists. It’s an awesome light to have in your arsenal.

It’s called the Molette.

Molette light, pictured here without the cover
Molette light, pictured here without the cover.
Molette with the protective cover.
Molette with the protective cover.
This is a Molette light.
This is a Molette light.

 

CU of a Molette light.
CU of a Molette light.

You’re probably thinking what is that small rectangular box? This small rectangular box is a very impressive light. When you take off the sides and slide the light open, it reveals a 2k bulb. What this is cool for is creating very hard shadows. You can use it to project the light in one direction, or, you can take the reflector off to get 360° worth of light.

When you slide the sides off this light, it reveals a bare bulb.
When you slide the sides off this light, it reveals a bare bulb.

 

The bare Molette bulb.
The bare Molette bulb.

I’ve turned these things upside down and hung them in music videos. I actually turned this into a microphone where the guy was singing and the light was piercing out of this and it created these hard little circles when the protective shield was on there. You could do it just bare bulb, which creates a very very sharp source.

Example of Molette use on one of my music videos.
Example of Molette use on one of my music videos.

 

Another music video example.
Another music video example.

Now why would I need sharp sources and bright lights? What am I doing?

Into the Badlands was all about gas, torches, and fire. There’s no electricity. So, this creates my fire effect. It starts, once again, with a 30 gallon trash can.

This is the pro model of the trash can light. This is a Mole 2-light Fay in here. It has FCX globes in it, each one 650 Watts. This light projects at the lowest part of the fire, which is the fire’s hottest. Then we have the Molettes that are mounted to the top. They are actually 1k Molettes. You can decide to do 1k or 2k, depending on how bright your fire is. There are individuals. This whole fire effect is put onto a magic gadget, which has 3 circuits.

This is the pro model of the trash can light.
This is the pro model of the trash can light.

So we are going to have these two bottom 2-light MoleFay 650W FCX globes going on one channel of the magic gadget and each of the Molettes on individual channels. Now as I said before the fire is the hottest at the bottom and the flames wick off to the top. That’s why the Molettes are at the top and the real punchy FCS 2-light Fay is at the bottom. Now on the lid we have taken a  piece of ¾” plywood and mounted it to give it more rigidity in order to mount the Molettes.

In the bottom is a 2-light Mole Fay 650W FCX. The top lid contains the Molettes.
In the bottom is a 2-light MoleFay 650W FCX. The top lid contains the Molettes.

 

We put plywood on the lid in order to provide rigidity and mount the Molettes.
We put plywood on the lid in order to provide rigidity and mount the Molettes.
A closeup of the Molettes mounted onto the lid.
A closeup of the Molettes mounted onto the lid.

This baby, as you can see, is going to be a liquid inferno, being a metal trash can. You do a lot of things to kind of help you with that situation.

Once this thing has been on for about 20 minutes, it gets pretty hot. We designed it with a nice oven mitt pot holder on the top in conjunction with your oven mitt on the side so that it can be handled. Or, you can do this wonderful dowel that we thread through the trashcan handles that doesn’t get hot at all. You can move it with normal gloves and not oven mitts.

An oven mitt comes with our kit. This is crucial in being able to move this hot trashcan around once it’s been on for a while.
An oven mitt comes with our kit. This is crucial in being able to move this hot trashcan around once it’s been on for a while.
The dowel handles allow you to grab them without being too hot.
The dowel handles allow you to grab them without being too hot.

On the back side we have our hot water heater vent. We have our ¼ CTS, ½ CTS, and full CTS. The way we affix them is by magnetic tape. We cut pieces of it and the piece of gel fits around the sides and top and bottom of the cutout in our trashcan.

On the backside of the trashcan is where we affixed our gel holder.
On the backside of the trashcan is where we affixed our gel holder.

 

We hold the gel onto the trash can with magnetic tape.
We hold the gel onto the trash can with magnetic tape.

Now why a trash can? The trash can is designed so that all of these lights can work as one individual source. It allows you to move it and pan it as one source and be able to bottom it, be able to top it, and be able to put a left and right sider on it.

The trashcan provides a solid unit for your lights to be in. This allows you to shape it more concisely.
The trash can provides a solid unit for your lights to be in. This allows you to shape it more concisely.

Truly, when you get into these spaces, it’s all about light control. When I’d create this effect before this trash can light, I would do all these lights on different stands and little offsets. I’d move them around on these little baby stands. You’d move them around in a little cluster of 3 extension cords. Then you’d have to put a bottomer because immediately it hits the ground, you’d have to put siders in order to control it more, and you’d have to put a topper on it.

Now with a trash can, it contains the light beautifully. It kind of bounces around in there too, so you use the metal and the silver element to intensify your flame effect. With the magic gadget you’re able to set it to the perfect ratio of speed and undulation of wonderful fire.

We have this thing ready to fire up.

The trash can light on.
The trash can light on.

We’re not going to be flickering it right now because we will be doing that when we do our fire lighting effect video.

A lot of the times in Into the Badlands, I would be mixing gels. If I was going really warm for the fire, I would use full CTS. If I was lighting my night exteriors at say 5600K, then my fire effects only wanted to be ½ CTS because if they were full they would have been way too orange and the people would have been pumpkin heads.

Fire effect from Into the Badlands.
Fire effect from Into the Badlands.

 

Into the Badlands fire effect.
Into the Badlands fire effect.

 

Into the Badlands fire effect.
Into the Badlands fire effect.

 

Into the Badlands fire effect.
Into the Badlands fire effect.
Into the Badlands fire effect.
Into the Badlands fire effect.
When I would do my night exteriors at 5600K on Into the Badlands, I would not use full CTS because it would be way too strong.
When I would do my night exteriors at 5600K on Into the Badlands, I would not use full CTS because it would be way too strong.

It’s wonderful having a whole arsenal of all different gels in order to be able to react to environments and specific tones and different colors that you are using to help create this wonderful effect.

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

rosco cinegel

rosco cinegelrosco cinegelmole richardson molette

magic gadget flicker dimmer

  • Build
  • DIY
  • into the badlands
  • Musicbed
  • Rosco
  • Trashcan

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