5 REASONS TO LIGHT WITH CHINA BALLS (ASIAN LANTERNS)
One of the more common hacks in lighting are the Asian Lanterns AKA China Balls AKA Paper Lanterns. I've used them to light an entire shoot, super MTV UnPlugged Style with romantic mood lighting. I used different color balls to accent each corner with different color tones, and even put gels in white ones to gain any color hue that I desired. If you're looking to light a film or photo shoot, this is one tactic I highly recommend. One visit to your local hardware store for the bulbs and another on Amazon.com to buy your lanterns. Pack them flat in your bag, and you're good to go.
1. They are inexpensive, easy to store, easy to pack for a shoot, light weight and did I say cheap!?
2. The China Balls are perfect for film enthusiasts and photographers because they give an omnidirectional light which is soft and filtered. I highly advise the white ones. You can throw a gel into the white ones, and get any color you wish. You should order the white ones from Amazon because generally white is for mourning in the Chinese culture. Link below lets you buy them from Amazon.
3. You can spray paint or cover half the lanterns with tape, paper or paint to block light. That means you can get directional light, this is especially helpful when you want to give the subject light and still maintain shadows through out the room. You can throw a gel around the LED bulb and get different colors.
4. You can hang them from the ceiling, from a c-stand, have someone hold them or even (yes I've done this) hook one to the end of a long stick. Have an assistant hold the globe over the subject and you're great. In fact, you can travel with this set up if you want your subject walking down the street it's easy to follow them with a battery operated LED light inside lantern. I really only suggest LED light. They are battery or A/C operated, and safer than a standard bulb.
5. You can get them anywhere. If your place of residence is near a major metropolitan area, you can visit the local China town and buy them. I recommend something about 30", as the smaller sizes are less effective. The key word is LESS. They can still be effective, just make sure you have a couple big ones.