As my work increases and my company grows, I’ve been able to invest back into my equipment. This is something that we as filmmakers should all be doing as much as possible.
One of the aspects that I am investing heavily into is lighting. Lighting is everything in cinematography and indeed in any type of video production. Having the ability to light a shot, a scene or even an entire location can make or break the video you are filming.
My Lighting Kit
I now only use LED panels in my lighting kit. Why? Well HMI’s are big, heavy, hot and draw a phenomenal amount of power – no good in an office environment. Fluorescents have extremely dangerous chemicals in them if dropped and always have some form of green cast and tungstens I only use as a practical light source.
My corporate work needs me to be mobile, have the ability to set up quickly, not have to worry about blowing a fuse and making the talent incredibly sweaty. LED’S are perfect for this type of work.
Pixapro VNIX 1500s
These are my go-to panels. They are fantastic and provide a much better quality of light and more power than the Aputure LS1S.
I use these lights as my key light or to bring up the general ambient light in a room.
I can run them off of V Mount batteries and they have their own style of soft-box to soften the light. They have a CRI and TLCI of 95 and a LUX rating of 12,000 at 1m. That’s crazy bright!
I have two of these lights and I can’t recommend them enough. They are with me on every single shoot in some guise or shape.
When I first started down the road of LED lighting, this was the light I bought first. For some time it was my key light.
Now I’ve got my VNIX1500S’, this light has become my go-to for a hair light or as a fill light as it has a CRI of 95 and mixes very well with them. I have the easy softbox and grid for this light just to have more control over spill.
I own two of these little lights. While they might not be the brightest of top lights, they are like all Aputure lights, wonderful in terms of colour rendition.
I use them now as accent lights or to light up a very small area. I also use them occasionally as a top light and as a hair light. To keep them from throwing spill everywhere, I wrap some blackwrap around them to make a make-shift snoot.
Reflectors and Flags
I have a few 5 in 1 reflectors which I use for flags, reflectors, a little bit of scrim and my favourite use for them is to bounce to create a really soft light.
I also use them outside to diffuse a shot. This shot of Josh Cook outside is on a close up at 135mm. The sun came out at just the wrong moment so I put a scrim overhead to soften the harsh sunlight. The moment we finished shooting his shot, the sun went away.
Lighting is something I am really only just mastering. I take it far more seriously now than I have ever done before. If I’m honest, it’s what i should have invested in properly 7 years ago when I started doing this job.
When I am asked the question “What advice would you give to new filmmakers?” My answers is now, “invest your time, energy and money in learning, experimenting and using lighting as a creative and practical tool, just like a camera”.