LOS ANGELES – It never fails. There you are, waiting to shoot a gondola scene in Venice, Italy, but the gondolier is unable to dock at your predetermined – at pre-lit – location. What do you do?
“I needed another moonlight source from a balcony to accommodate the new landing point,” recalled Andre Martinez, who has worked on ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for several seasons. “Running another cable and ballast to set an HMI would have taken a fair amount of time. In less than five minutes, my gaffer had a battery-powered F8 in place and we were ready to roll.”
Known for shooting in exotic locations, the shows are exciting but challenging to shoot. Martinez works to create a “beautiful quality of a light in a reality environment where cameras often see nearly 360 degrees,” he said. “I try to create a setting that not only looks nice but also appears free of equipment – and feels natural for the cast who aren’t trained to hit marks like an actor would.”
Both series are shot primarily using the Sony PDW-F800 camcorder, though the Canon 5D Mark III is used for time lapse, B-roll and underwater footage. Martinez also keeps about eight GoPro cameras on location and has used the compact Canon C300 for a few specific events. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are shot in 720p to make the show look less “filmic” and more “real” for the audience, according to Martinez.
Interview setups are the most controlled parts of the shows. Often shot in tight quarters, contrast and depth of field are concerns. Martinez also tries to incorporate windows, lanterns and other potential light sources in the frame. “Our art department does a wonderful job helping to create a background environment,” he explained, “and then I try to light in relation to and motivated by the space and art direction. Often the light on the cast member is just a key and a back light with a soft bounce fill.”
Martinez used two Zylight F8 LED Fresnels during a 10-week stretch of shooting for the current season of The Bachelorette. “Transporting the F8 is quite easy. It fits in a relatively small road case, and the fact that it doesn’t require a ballast or head feeder cables makes it that much more self-contained,” he said.
“With the battery adapter, in no time I can have a ‘punchy’ light with spot/flood capabilities anywhere I need it,” Martinez added. “In the past, I’d often have to carry a backup portable generator for shooting an arrival scene or something far from our main location. The Zylight F8s give me all the light I need quickly without running miles of extra cable or carrying a second generator.”
Long before the 10-week shoot was over, Martinez was sold on Zylight. “I hope from now on to always have at least one Zylight F8 in my lighting arsenal for any project. It puts out a lot of light, especially considering that you can power it with a battery,” he said. “It has a really nice quality of light, and its color temp remains true throughout the dial as you dim it.”
ABOUT ZYLIGHT LLC
Founded in 2003, Zylight LLC is the leading manufacturer of intelligent LED lighting instruments for the film and video production industry. Every model in its easy-to-use lighting system produces fully calibrated bright white light, while some also provide a spectrum of adjustable colors without gels. Full wireless control and DMX integration are included, and AC or DC power options are available. The Zylight state-of-the-art LED system is truly the most unique and flexible lighting system on the market today. With more than 50 dealers worldwide, Zylight continues to develop innovative LED lighting solutions to help make your job easier. More Than Bright – Zylight. Find out more at www.zylight.com.
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