Small Production Footprint: Lighting and Grip


My primary choice for lighting was to go with LitePanels LED lights (and of course flexible reflectors). The LitePanels Micro, Mini Pro and Croma were the perfect choice. All the reasons you’d go for LED in the first place – low power consumption, low heat and small size – worked for us, plus the ability to vary the output down to “just enough” to fill in facial shadows, made them perfect. We particularly loved the Croma’s ability to dial in just the right color temperature. Also important for our journey was that they ran on standard, rechargeable AA batteries. To be disposing of hundreds of batteries would not have sat well with Solar Odyssey’s “green” message.

For cabin lighting – given that I expected we’d shoot a lot in the cabin, I discovered LED strip lights. Low wattage, 12v and a really nice soft light. These were the perfect solution for lighting the cabin – both for functional light and for shooting.

In cabin light test. The LED strip lights alone.

I’m totally in love with these lights, and since returning to Burbank have been finding all sorts of architectural ways to use them. Behind a small gap under our mantlepiece to create a subtle glow, down the middle of selected banana palm leaves off our balcony, and behind some bookshelves for soft backlight.

Grip Kit

I planned a heavy reliance on Gorillapods and indeed we used them a lot. We had some of the bean-bag like Pods but found we didn’t use them any where near as often as the Gorillapod. It was good to have both choices, and we didn’t miss the standard C-stand setup. Of course, we were shooting reality/documentary, run-n-gun so we weren’t setting up lights very often. I had planned to do more formal lighting setups for the off-boat interviews that never eventuated (because the boat spend almost all day, every day, just traveling.)

Where we did put up lights the LitePanels micro, mini and Croma – particuarly the Croma with its variable color temperture, filled the bill perfectly.

The only place we really missed the more traditional C-stand grip kit was holding a reflector. That ultimately became a crew-member job, as it so often is.

2 replies on “Small Production Footprint: Lighting and Grip”

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  1. Phil-

    This mirrors almost exactly my run/gun kit and I’m particularly happy with the Croma, it’s ton better designed than the cheaper Micro-Lite in every way, plus its ability to match interior/exterior lighting with a knob turn is crucial capability.

    LOVE the tip on LED strip lights.

    – lsm

  2. I also thank you for the strip lite info. Bought a strip thru your link.
    It will go in my sailboat, undergoing some interior design changes.
    Hope you got a buck or so from the sale.
    Generally enjoying the thread on all footprint production.
    Jay Wilson

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