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Rocket Jump Studios

Video Game High School (VGHS) a popular action-comedy web series from Rocket Jump Studios, is a show about ‘best friends, first loves, and landing that perfect head shot’.

Set in the near future where video gaming elevates its best players to stardom, the show follows BrianD and the friends and enemies he makes at the elite Video Game High School. VGHS is known for using live-action scenes with the series’ characters to show action within the games.

Freddie Wong, a filmmaker and VFX artist, is credited as Director, Executive Producer, and Co-Creator, along with Matt Arnold.

For VGHS’s upcoming six-episode season, shot over 40 days in the greater Los Angeles area, Wong and his team relied on a host of production gear from Litepanels to keep up with their breakneck shooting schedule and deliver the efficiency and flexibility their workflow demanded.

We caught up with Freddie Wong to find out some of the more unusual ways Litepanels products were used on season three of VGHS:

In film school, we used a lot of old, traditional Fresnels, and I burned myself multiple times. I wondered why we were still using lighting from 1910! Then a DP I was working with recommended Litepanels, and their LED technology made perfect sense to me. Their fixtures have a very low power draw, they don’t make your crew sweat, and LED technology is new and improving, as opposed to old and established. Litepanels allows us to work with the speed and efficiency we need in order to do what we do.

On VGHS, we had Litepanels fixtures everywhere and anywhere. There were a number of situations where regular lighting just would not have worked; it would have been too cumbersome or not even possible. We did a lot more location shooting for season three, and the ability to have a light where we needed it, without having to spend 20 minutes running cable and making sure the generator could support it, was really important.

VGHS behind the scenes with Litepanels

We relied heavily on our Sola 6 Fresnels, especially when we were shooting in remote locations. Litepanels was also our go to whenever we would say, ‘Hey – we need a fill in right here!’ It was super fast. We could just fly them in wherever we needed them, and we weren’t sitting around, coiling cable all night. When you’re trying to shoot fast like we do, covering eight to ten pages a day on a show with big crowd scenes, action scenes, and a lot of visual effects components, it’s just critical.

We used Litepanels fixtures as self-contained lighting units a lot, especially for car driving scenes and shots at night. It was great to be able to run off batteries in those situations. We had Anton/Bauer Gold Mounts on the back of several of our lights, and we just clicked the batteries right in”
– Freddie Wong

For episode six of our new season, there was an action car scene we were shooting at the end of the day, and the sun was basically over the horizon. We were in a very remote location, we weren’t running power or anything, we still needed to get some stuff shot, and there was no way we could push until the next day. So we put every battery powered Litepanels unit that we had up around the car, and it gave us enough fill for the last half hour of the day. We didn’t have to push into an expensive overtime situation, which was great from a production standpoint, but it also made it look like we still had enough light to shoot, even though we were definitely on the waning edge of that day.

We also found some bizarre uses for several Litepanels fixtures on VGHS. We discovered that the Bi-Color 1×1 LS’s, with the ability to change the colour temperature and dim them at the same time, looked like a changing television or video game. They ended up being our go to for television and computer monitors through the entire series. Who knew, but it worked perfectly.

Video Game High School - behind the scenes

We would hide the Litepanels Lumas on laptops too. We’d tape them on, and from certain angles it became the computer up light. It was a lighting source that was controllable and much more powerful than a computer LED monitor, and it was a quick way of getting a very cool lighting effect for a lot of things that we did this season.

There were many situations on VGHS where Litepanels’ LEDs were just better in every way. They’re faster, they’re lighter, and they let us get the shot. For VGHS, we operate on a budget that is a fraction of what you’d find on a traditional television show, and a fraction of what is spent on other web series. We need every piece of the machine to be well oiled and working at its best.

VGHS behind the scenes using Astra

I think content is going to need to be made even cheaper and faster, based on where we see the industry, and the world, heading. That doesn’t mean giving in on quality and production values, but you have to leave the excess behind. The tools you use to create content need to allow you to work quicker and better. You’re going to find that on the cutting edge of technology; you’re not going to find that by using the same things they used on Citizen Kane.

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