As with most (or likely more accurately, all) independent productions we were balancing time, equipment and cost when planning the shoot on Incident on Marmont Avenue (click the link to see the movie and more). Julien Lasseur (IMDB), the director of photography, and I talked often about how to keep the production moving along while maintaining a high quality project. We decided to pre-light as much of the set as we could. Pre-lighting each room would hopefully mean that we didn't have major lighting setups to do in each room as we moved locations. Because of this plan we new we needed a ton of physical lights. Every room would have individual lights set that would stay in the room until the room was in use. Additionally, we were shooting in a house with no generator so we had to budget our energy needs and use low draw lights. We decided to light the entire movie with Kinoflo, Dedo and TorchLED BOLT Lights.
The original plan for the TorchLED BOLT lights was to use them to light the entire length of the driveway for the shot where the main actress pulled in a car. However, the original limited usage for the TorchLED BOLT lights soon morphed into major usage. As we began to light the set we found ourselves using the TorchLED BOLT lights in more and more places on the set. The size and versatility of the TorchLED BOLT made it easy to pop them just about anywhere. You could find a TorchLED BOLT (powered with the Switronix PB70 battery) hanging from the ceiling in the living room.
You could find a setup lighting the makeup station in the garage.
We placed a unit inside a lamppost to be able to control the light intensity. Part of the reason that you can stick these lights anywhere is that turning a knob is all you need to do to change the intensity. Instead of having to reposition or constantly monkey with complex parts we could just dial the intensity up or down.
To help light the exterior of the house we placed units in the bushes to help light the walls of the house. Because these lights provide 5600K/tungsten, 3200K/daylight and an average matching to multiple set-ups was easy.
When I say we placed them I mean we literally just set them on the ground in the bushes. We shot all night and the next morning when we where wrapping out of the house the lights were still going strong on just the one charge.
Last but not least we used them to help grab quick behind the scenes interviews. Nothing fancy just someone handholding the light so that it was quick, portable and able to be positioned to get the best light on our subjects.
Your imagination is truly the only thing limiting how this light can be used on an independent set. I am so sold: I will not do another shoot without a few of these on hand. I now find them to be one of my essential tools on the set.
As a technical consideration I recommend using the PB70 or some sort of larger brick battery because these batteries really do last all day without fear of losing light. The last thing I want to deal with on set is another piece of equipment that I have to change batteries every hour or 2. If you pair a Switronix TorchLED BOLT along with their PB70 battery you can just turn on your light and shoot. There is nothing better as a filmmaker than to have a light on set that works for every situation and doesn't need constant attention for adjustments or batteries. This is really a must have unit for any filmmaker or director of photography.
I just wanted to note that we used the PB70 battery base for the shoot as the TorchLED Bolt battery was not out yet. Since the shoot Switronix has released the Bolt Battery Kit (TL-F970). This smaller battery attaches to the back of the Bolt and is rated to keep the light working for 2 hours. The PB70 powerbase we used is rated for 4 hours. If you need a smaller battery the new kit light is great but if you need a longer charge the PB70 rocks. You can't go wrong either way.
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(cover photo credit: snap from the video)