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Shooting with the Ringlite Mini: Siiiick!

I was about to shoot a music video for a friend who is in a local Boston rock band called Nervous. We threw ideas around for a while, but we ended up with a pretty simple concept of a girl bumming around her house and eventually going on a bike ride. Not very complex, but who cares, it’s a music video! Our friend Marianne who would play the girl, had recently gotten into a bike accident. She had a busted up hand with a brace on it, and her eyeball had a few broken blood vessels in it. I felt these physical attributes would make the content weirder, and so I decided to accentuate them. For the opening shot, which is a close up of Marianne’s face, we used the Litepanels Ringlite Mini to make her eyes look even more bizarre. Specs of red in the white of her eye, and a ring of white in the pupil. It looked mad cool. I would even go as far as to say it looked dope.

The original intent of using the Ringlite was to gain a certain effect for all of the interior apartment scenes. I wanted it to look a bit like “Grey Gardens” and a bit like Fiona Apple’s video for “Criminal”. Both of these pieces use some type of camera mounted light. “Grey Gardens” being a doc with many dimly lit interiors, does it for necessity.

Grey Gardens

“Criminal”employs a drastic spotlight effect in interior spaces as a stylistic choice.

Criminal Music Video.
I wanted to meet in the middle between these two looks. I had the Ringlite mounted for every interior shot. Obviously it didn’t end up being the prettiest footage in the world, but that wasn’t the point of doing it. It gave the desired effect. As the camera moves in the wide shots, you can see the light fall off around all edges of the frame. As Marianne moves through the frame, her body  gets darker and lighter depending on her distance from the camera. Her skin even blows out a bit in the times where she briefly gets very close to the camera. I made her do many tasks around the house like wash dishes,make coffee, play video games, answer the phone, and change sweaters a number of times. All things that are somewhat dexterous, and that would accentuate the inconvenience of the hand brace. All of my close ups I did almost too close. When I would have normally used a 65 or an 85, instead I used a 135. I was changing lenses frequently, but the Ringlite wasn’t much of a hassle. It slides on and off with the greatest of ease. I had a pretty minimal setup with a Sony F3, set of Zeiss Superspeeds and the Ringlite. I had a couple other lights that I used sparingly. So I used the Ringlite for two totally different purposes and they both worked out splendidly. It’s easy to mount, very lightweight, and has a ton of adjustability and light level control. It’s siiiiiick. -Sam Smith, QC Technician, smith@rule.com

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Bags named Petrol

A question I get a LOT working at Rule is, “How do you guys choose your bags?”  The answer is: carefully.  When a new line or an interesting item comes on the market, we either take it is as a demo, or we stock it and try it out.  If it’s good, we order more.  If it’s bad, we never order it again. With bags, a lot of us here shoot.  We have our preferences.  We also rely a lot on our client’s referrals for what they use and are happy with.  I’m focusing this blog on Petrol because it’s not a new line of bags, but they’ve made several new developments feature-wise that I appreciate, that other companies have not yet adapted. The first nice thing, is the inclusion of a line of LED lights on the inside of the bag.  Night shoots, especially in the fall go after 5PM a lot of the time.  Packing up is often done in the dark, even if shooting isn’t.  Being able to open up your bag and see where things go without holding a flashlight in the other hand is an immediate bonus. The other is that Petrol makes really nice lighting bags.  They’re not cheap.  But if you’re looking for a bag that is SIMPLE, with wheels, and not overdone, Petrol makes a good one similar to the size of the Arri 3-piece light kit, except in soft-case, hard-foam form.   They also make a C-Stand bag, which comes in handy because, let’s admit it, C-stands are usually tossed in the van or truck un-cased, and they are awkward to carry around while trying to carry other equipment. An interesting addition to the Petrol line is the Cambio bag.  Prognosis is still out on this. Petrol is trying to be creative by putting a pull-out tripod on a bag, excluding the need for a tripod.  This is something that might seem dinky at first, but if you’re traveling up a mountain and now need a tripod and you’ve got one, this might seem like the best idea ever.  In everyday situations though, it’s always better to plan out your shots AND your equipment. A customer favorite is the Deca-Lightweight Audio Bag and the Deca Eargonizer.  These are well-designed sound recorder bags.  I pair everyone who is using more than just a sound recorder with one of these bags.  For example, if you are using a pair of wireless lavs with a sound recorder or mixer, this bag just makes sense. It’s organized with clear material in the right places and balanced with pockets for EVERYTHING so that you’re not fumbling around trying to separate wires and cords. That is a quick summation! In another few weeks, we will be stocking the Petrol PC104, the PC302, the Decashell Cam Backpack and the PM805.  The Decashell Cam Backpack is of specific interest, as it looks like a normal day backpack, yet holds a lot of gear.  It is mostly black with only small labels, so it will not draw attention to the equipment if you are going overseas!  Also feel free to email rulesales@rule.com, or any of our sales reps for more information. Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales, brooks@rule.com