If I were to shoot this entire documentary outdoors I wouldn’t really need additional lights unless some of it is nighttime. However I plan to shoot at least half of the interviews inside the camps. Of the handful of camps I’ve been in, most of them are dark with small windows and wooden walls. In order not to have to boost the gain on the video camera and have grainy footage (think low budget horror film) I am going to have to bring in lights. Properly exposed, well lit interviews will make this film ten times better and that much more professional.
One problem. Lights require power. There are no power lines running to these camps that are well off the beaten path. Some may have generators. Ours does. However the incandescent Lowel light kit I use at work to shoot commercials pops breakers in older buildings. These lights aren’t the most portable either. I swear the lights plus case weigh 80 pounds, or that could just be me getting older…
The solution. Battery operated LED lights. I’ve seen LED lights gaining popularity for mounting on top of cameras for ENG (electronic news gathering for my non video buffs) and I was curious if they had larger lights to light an entire scene. They do; companies like Lowel, Flolight and Digital Juice have created larger LED lights that mount to light stands. They come in various color temperatures and light outputs and run off relatively inexpensive, rechargeable Sony NP batteries. And an entire 3 point lighting kit weighs less than thirty pounds. Definitely portable. Today I ordered the Miniburst 3 Point Light Kit from Digital Juice. It is the most inexpensive of the brands aforementioned. I am excited for them to come in and see how well they work and how much light they throw out. And to see if they are worth the money being invested in them.
I was hoping to test them out this Saturday and shoot the first interview with my dad. Mother Nature has decided that the U.P needs to continue being the coldest place on earth. According to MLive.com “Michigan's Upper Peninsula was the coldest place on Earth in January, averaging about 7 degrees colder than usual”. Let me just say that it is hard to be creative when you cannot feel your fingers. I plan to shoot a variety of shots outdoors at my camp and with a high of zero; I will call it good enough after just a couple minutes. Hopefully it warms up soon!