Van Nuys, California - It is important for gaffer Tom Pugh to have the best lighting he can get for the quirky FX series, Wilfred, about a manic depressive man who sees his neighbor’s dog as a man in a dog suit. When Pugh saw the new Litepanels Sola 12 Fresnels, he immediately added the LED fixture to his lighting package.
These daylight balanced LED lights have become critical in maintaining the dramatic look of this comedy series, which is shot on Nikon D800 DSLRs. “They are great cameras, but when you get used to the 16-stop latitude that cameras such as the ARRI Alexa offer, the limited latitude of the D800 forces us to come up with creative ways to keep the image in proper balance. That’s why the new Litepanels Sola 12 is a perfect choice,”
Pugh explains. “It not only provides the proper balance, but the Sola 12 also uses approximately 4amps, which means we can safely plug into any household wall circuit.” And to Pugh, who often works on location, “the low power consumption comes in extremely handy when shooting where the use of house power becomes an option.”
To help produce the unique look of Wilfred, Pugh controls the output via the builtin dimmer that takes the Sola 12 from 100 percent to zero with no color shift and “no green,” he’s quick to point out. What’s more, he says the Sola 12s, “work well as a nice sun crash when fully spotted in and also make for a beautiful key light or fill when flooded. At full spot, they put out about as much as a 1200W par with a wide lens at 12 feet. When in full flood, the Sola 12, with its unique Fresnel lens, has a very bright yet creamy light output. When I put it through some 129 or full grid, I get an amazing result at lower T-stops.”
On practical locations, Pugh often finds it challenging to keep lights and cables out of the shot, especially when he has to light for two opposing overs and a wide master. “Our first use of the Sola 12 in this situation showed us that they are perfect for these kinds of shots,” he says. “We were inside a foyer with one of our cameras lensed up with a 20mm. We saw everything framed floor to ceiling, wall to wall. There was no way to get cable into the area without seeing it. So, I simply plugged the Sola 12 right into the wall, went full spot with it, and created a beautiful sun source.”
Pugh sites the versatility of the lights as key to his choice. “Recently, we were shooting actors Jason Gann (Wilfred) and Elijah Wood (Ryan Newman) sitting at a kitchen counter that had a very large support column right next to them. It prevented putting our lights in our place of first choice. Directly behind, we also had large floor-to-ceiling windows that Key Grip Kevin Ball had covered with N9. The Sola 12 provided a simple solution.
By bouncing it into a 3x3 show card and through a full grid frame, we were able to work around the marble column and create a beautiful light on our two stars.” Looking out for his crew, this gaffer appreciates that Litepanels fixtures run cool. “There is absolutely no heat emitted from this lamp, which means that any of the lamp operators can safely make a lighting adjustment without having to worry about putting on gloves to protect their hands,” he adds. Via Litepanels.com