A CAPITOL FOURTH SHOT BY PETER J. NICOLL USING HS
Cinematographer Peter J. Nicoll, who recently used TruColor HS to light talent for KQED’s A Capitol Fourth, details his experience working with the fixture:
“PBS puts on a concert on the fourth of July each year. As the roll up to the event, PBS creates what they call “Tune-Ins” that feature the year’s performers inviting people to tune in at 8pm on the fourth to enjoy the performance. I was contracted by PBS and Capitol Concerts to provide a field location in front of the Capitol where we could expose the Capitol dome and the talent as they came off stage. There were limitations in terms of location and power in as to where we should set up, and the set up had to be fast and flexible enough to be ready to pick up the talent at their convenience. The light in the capitol would move through our shot from back lighting the dome in the morning to front lighting the dome from noon on into afternoon and ensure that we got decent detail in the shot of the Capitol’s exterior. To me, this meant a lot of soft light on the talent in order to help offset the big white thing behind them.
My overall experience working with the HS was excellent. In many ways it exceeded my expectations in doing what it does best: providing bright, soft light up-close on talent. I am never a fan of ballasts, but the ballasts seemed solid and I found it easy to run the longer head cables and keep the ballasts near me in case I needed to dim the units. The HS replaced some big lights that needed a lot of grip and a lot of power to use them. I could put the HS right on the talent and the light was excellent.
Based on the requirements of the project, I didn’t have the room to modify the light at all. Previously the project had used 1200 watt HMIs to light the talent, and I suspect that was heavily diffused. Based on my client input and my scout, I knew we were going to be limited on three things: crew, space and power. To me, the Cineo was a perfect solution as it’s really designed to be up close to talent with a minimum of heat and I was really impressed as to how soft the light was—I didn’t need to back it up to put it through a frame of diffusion and its wrap was really very good. I needed as much punch as possible on a bright sunny day with the US Capitol in the background, and I could put the light as close as I could get it to the edge of frame, very close the the talents eye line and they all seemed very comfortable.
My favorite thing [about working with the HS] was running the entire production, lights, prompter, Pix240 and monitor off one 20 AMP circuit. I had a rather nerve-wracking call with my producer the night before the shoot who told me that we were moving the location because of rain and he was very nervous about power. We ended up with two 20 AMP runs and we really only needed one. This is really where this unit and others like it make a huge difference—less power, less cable equals more speed in setup and a greater flexibility in where you can go.
I’ve been converting over to LED/Daylight fixtures slowly and trying to make some solid decisions. I need to be in the middle of three things at once and drop a light in and see how it does in a very real, very difficult situation. For this project the HS did exactly what I wanted it to do with no mods, very quickly. The HS excels at really bright, soft light.”
You can see more of Peter’s work at http://www.peterjnicoll.com and follow him on Twitter @PeterjNicoll.