Last October, my production crew and I were trying to shoot outdoor interview footage in the middle of a literal monsoon. We were on location in Belize for an episode of an HGTV real estate series, which usually shoots outside and relies on natural light and silks for diffusion. Our crew works at a breakneck pace, usually shooting each episode in about three days, often in remote locations with minimal gear.
With bad weather on the horizon, we were forced to move under shelter—but the scene still needed to look like the outdoors and match the outdoor background. Thankfully, I had packed two new lights: Zylight’s F8-200 LED Fresnel and Aladdin BI-FLEX 2 flexible LED panel. Those lights were life-savers! The network said the show never looked better, and that’s because of the lighting.
Once the monsoon had passed, we used a softbox and diffuser, with the BI-FLEX 2 as a key light in some setups and the daylight-balanced F8-200 as a back light. They have enough punch, even in the daylight, to kick up the look, providing that “bright sparkle” you want for this kind of show.
The water-resistant F8-200 is an ideal replacement for an HMI in the field: it travels well, runs on AC power or battery, and does not require me to pack spare bulbs. The fixture is very light and robust. It’s the kind of light I’ve been looking for forever.
Harry Frith is a director of photography.