a thread in rec.video.production
from April, 2001
Has anyone actually seen a bulb explode with pieces of glass flying
out of the instrument injuring talent? Or is this a myth?
--- thanks, oliver
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From: George Hupka (hupka at mg.sk.ca)
Yes, I have had lights go on me, both tungsten and HMI.
I had an HMI (a 575 in a Fresnel) blow up real good - it took hours to get
all of the glass shards out of the lamp. Safety glass protected everyone,
though, so no harm done.
In related story, I once had a 1000W Redhead turn into an arc light - the
bulb must have blown, but an arc formed inside the bulb. The grip asked
me when they started making daylight bulbs for Redheads.... I looked over
and sure enough, it was burning at the wrong colour temperature! I
unplugged the lamp, and the poor bulb had swollen to about three times its
regular size, so I'm certain it would have blown up had it continued to
hupka at mg.sk.ca
From: "David McCall" (david at techshop.net)
Many years ago I was lighting for a shoot at Columbia University,
in one of those beautiful oak lecture halls with stained glass windows.
At that time, perhaps still, New York used 50 and 20 amp 2 wire
paddles that got plugged into big stage boxes and then connected
using HC to a bull switch directly onto the mains. As a result the
first and smallest fuse you hit was 100A. I had a fixture fail,
way up high where I couldn't get to it, so the power cord burned
from one end to the other like a giant fuse. Fortunately no further
damage was caused, but it made a lot of smoke and smelled
really bad for quite a while.
From: "Steve Sakellarios" (goldthrd at bellsouth.net)
I once asked a long-time cameraman at a PBS station what was the most
unusual thing he ever saw in his years at the station. He told me that he
had shot an interview with the mayor, and that in the course of the shoot
one of the lights blew, the bulb went flying up in a high, flaming arc, and
landed right in the mayor's crotch...
From: "Michael Sanders" (michael at glowstars.demon.co.uk)
I was filming an interview with a prominent football player. Halfway
through the interview another crew came into the room (they'd stowed
their gear in there) and on his way out the sound recordist caught the back
light with a cable. The lamp then fell over and crashed straight on to
the footballers head. Luckily it was only a Satchler 300 and the guy
wasn't hurt but thinking about what could have happened still freaks me out!
From: "Robert Dutru" (rdutru at home.com)
Yes I have, once when I was shooting for abc in England I took out a
set of small lights I'd just bought -luckily complete with glass
safety covers -and did a shoot where I had a light sitting on the top
on a partitition beaming down on the bald head of our guest. 2 minutes
it went off like a bomb ! and white hot fragments of glass scatterred
the safety screen. Up till then I'd never used glass covers but after
that I did.
One other story you might be interested in. I was doing a
shoot for the Barbara Walters show with Maggie Thatcher at No 10
Downing Street, When we go there we found that they'd insisted the
lighting crew had large safety fireproof mats hired from Samuelsons
under and around the lighting stands.
Apparently once before a BBC crew had come in to film the
Prime Minister and one of their lights had exploded scattering molten
class and flaming fragments of it on a priceless chinese carpet given
to William Pitt (P minister in the 1800's) by the Empress of China
with the result that the carpet had to be shipped back to Tensing in
China to have it's burnt patches reweaved.
From: Joe (nospam at swbell.net)
I wouldn't argue that condition for one second. I wouldn't have been
able to concentrate on the shoot with that carpet exposed.
I supplied an extra camera on a multi-camera shoot in a plush hotel.
The shoot had a sizable budget and allowed the hiring of a local
hot-shot that had rented a Chapman dolly. The genius decided that
plywood or even dropcloths weren't need in the Presidential Suite the
hotel was including. Not only did the heavy dolly leave permanent
ruts in the carpet, it leaked hydraulic fluid all over the floor.
Hot-shot worked for free that day and the producer ate the carpet
From: "S Lord" (slorduk at blueyonder.co.uk)
I was filming a PTC inside a brand new £20,000 luxury caravan in the UK and
of course this needed lighting from inside. I rigged a 650 redhead and
besides the cramped and very warm caravan, the PTC was completed in about 20
mins. As I was de-rigging, I noticed that the redhead had started to melt
PVC ceiling!!! It was just starting to blister, so I started frantically
blowing on it and pressing it down with my hands. Luckily, no body ever
found out....... I don't think!
From: "David McCall" (david at techshop.net)
Speaking of melting. I got on an airplane once and
several of the overhead compartment doors were
badly deformed. Looked like somebody had been
shooting in there.
From: "Bill Farnsworth" (bill.farnsworth at verizon.CUTOUTnet)
If it was a 767....... that was me.
And that's all I'm gonna say.