My 40amp Love Affair

That’s a wrap! Last week I wrapped up principal photography on the feature film

The Wedding Invitation and the one main thing that I learned from shooting this awesome ultra-low budget movie was that there is no excuse for not having big budget ideas. And with the use of LED technology, we were able to create just that. I used a variety of LED units from the F&V ring light, Mole LEDs, to the Cineo HS light from DPS Inc. Therefore, when it was time to shoot the big wedding scene where we used an older gymnasium that had no house power and our budget could only afford a 40 amp generator, we made it work. My big unit became the Mole 1200 HMI along with two of the Mole Junior Daylight LED units which are like 2K fresnels, but perfectly daylight balanced. I then used the Cineo HS light as my main soft key source which is comparible to a 2K Zip light that uses interchangeble phosphor panels from daylight to tungsten with truly accurate color temperature and zero flicker issues. With the 1200 pulling around 12amps, then each Mole Junior pulling only 2 amps, and the HS pulling also less than 2 amps, I was only at 18 amps with these units! This left me room to run extra units here and there for a little extra oomf as well as the decorative bulbs and DJ balls.

The scene to the left was a night for day scene using the Mole LED Junior as the sun source through the windows, a Mole LED Baby as a back light bounce, and the Cineo HS light as the front key. Total amperage: less than 5 amps! We simply used a 20 amp whisper quiet generator for this location.

But I cannot forget to also acknowledge the low light handling of the Panasonic GH4 which was the camera I used for this film. Rating it mostly at 400 ISO, it loved the light being between F2 & 2.8 range for key and 0.7 or less for fill exposing the camera between a F2.8 and F4. And using a speed booster with my Rokinon primes made this challenge even easier giving me an extra stop of light.

I feel this movie was the ultimate test in making low budget movies look good and it was fun getting to play with new lighting toys and personal gear that I had never used before.


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