For fast-moving film duo director of photography, Ben Marlow and producer, Jack Tompkins, no two days are ever the same. Their energetic and enthusiastic style sees them always in demand to create dynamic content from music videos to sports and documentaries. One constant across all their projects is their go-to light of choice – Litepanels Gemini.
“Whatever we are shooting, the Gemini 1x1 always comes with us.” says Jack, “We know its going to give us so many creative options, no matter what we want to do.” Ben adds, “The power, versatility and manoeuvrability of the Gemini 1x1 means we have a fast and effective way of shooting great images.”
In their latest project - for a major sports clothing brand – Ben and Jack used three Gemini 2x1s and two Gemini 1x1s to create the dynamic lighting on a dark football pitch. The brief was to create a 30-45 second Instagram style advert that told a compelling story in a stylised and expressive way. The Gemini lights served to add dramatic light to the player and provide practical light in the goal.
“We wanted a nice warm light to be coming from the goalmouth, much more pleasing than the floodlights which are very white and harsh.” Says Ben, “So, we put three 2x1s in the goal using the CRI mode to dial in a warm 3200°K. With the scene set, they turned their attention to the player. “We used two Gemini 1x1s to provide key accent colors,” he continues, “with the player in place, we switched the 1x1s to Gel Mode and we cycled through the color options until we found the two with the best contrast.” With a library of 300 industry-standard gels that can be used over daylight or tungsten base white light, more than 600 gel colors are available at the touch of a button. “To be able to pick up a Gemini and instantly select the exact gel you need is a life-saver,” says Jack “It allows us to be more creative on the fly, before Gemini we were restricted to whatever pack of gels we brought on set, now if during the shoot we decide pink is better than green we can switch it with no down time.”
A night shoot on a commercial football pitch meant that speed was of the essence. “We had a very limited time when the pitch was available and the lighting conditions were right, and that’s where the 1x1s were amazing for us.“ says Ben, “Being able to run the lights from Anton/Bauer DIONIC XT batteries at full power for so long means that we didn’t need to worry about bringing a generator or running power cables across the pitch; it meant we could move further and a lot quicker, and with the sun coming up 45 minutes after we first hit record, we had to be quick.” Weighing in at just 5.3kg, Gemini 1x1 are quick to rig and light enough to be hand-held. Jack adds “being able to move around the pitch to different locations, with the lights, fast and without needing to stop and reset the scene meant we could make a lot in very little time.”
With a CRI of 97, Gemini produces a consistently accurate and dependable white light for true to life color reproduction. “The light from the Gemini 1x1 Soft is lovely, straight out of the light,” says Jack, “Some LED lights we have used in the past have a quite harsh light that required modifiers to correct the output, but Gemini Soft panels always have lovely soft light that you don't need to worry about.” On the football shoot, quality light was essential. “Shooting on RED we needed our subject to be lit perfectly,” says Ben, “the accurate output of the Gemini meant we could expose correctly at the base 800ISO.”
Gemini’s flicker free output at any frame rate or intensity level delivered extra creativity for Ben and Jack. “We used a lot of slow motion,” says Ben, “Shooting at 100 frames per second, knowing that the output is always flicker free was massively reassuring on the day, particularly with our limited time”. Jack adds, “The creative abilities of the Gemini really enhance our work adding a great deal to our production value.”