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Craig Kief Colors the World of ‘The Muppets’ with ETC LEDs

On The Muppets, I used ETC Selador Desire LEDs for musical numbers on our talk show set, and to add color to many of our swing sets. They allowed me to work faster and better. For a splash of color anywhere, I do a quick hang and focus, then sit at the monitor with an iPad and color wheel to dial in an exact color … and change my mind instantly. Being able to look through the camera and paint the image with light is an incredibly empowering creative tool.

Their unparalleled color is important for digital cinema cameras, whose range of visible hues is more limited than the naked eye. Strong colors can appear very different on camera, and the subtlety of the Desire’s seven-color system allows for fine-tuning. Even as “white” light, the Desire’s color reproduction tops other LED sources because the spectrum is filled out by the multicolored emitters.

Craig Kief

Color on The Muppets was extremely important to me, and quite a challenge. The puppets contain every primary and secondary color in the spectrum, so our set and lighting palettes had to be chosen carefully to keep separation from each other and the backgrounds. The Desire fixtures allowed me to quickly and accurately dial in that palette, injecting mood and texture to a scene, while staying on our shooting schedule. My commercial directors also love the flexibility of trying different colors easily as wardrobe and sets come together.

Craig Kief is the cinematographer for The Muppets on ABC.