Much thanks for Barbizon Lighting Company, out of Alexandria, VA, for hosting a FREE lighting class put on by representatives from LitePanel (a Vitec Videocom company). Pat Grosswendt, Joe Teodosio and Jay Ignaszewski came out and gave great, practice demonstrations on how LED lights can be effectively used to create different moods, and enhance scenes when shooting video. Yes, they utilized LED lights from the LitePanel family but true to their word this was not a sales pitch but a real informative training.
Pat, Jay and Joe showed the group the Astra 1x1, the "Brick" and the Caliber Fresnel lights in various configurations and explained how subtle light placements, reflective and/or diffusion materials can change the mood and affect what an audience might see. Pat likes to call it "dumpster diving" and used items like poster board, bags from packing material and even a 1 gallon milk carton to change the intensity and direction of the light. He showed us how to create great visual effects that refocused our eyes as an audience to see what a grip or director would want you to see.
People can from a near as Fairfax, VA and a group of lighting directors came from as far away as Lancaster, PA for a great class on using LED lighting. I'm a big fan of LED lights. I recall one shoot that I had to do in the home of a friend for my documentary "The Other Side of Ministry" and I had to carry in some heavy lighting equipment; I was exhausted and sweating even before the shoot began. After that experience I looked into LED lighting and saw that it can make a world of difference. Now I can carry the lights I need in a much smaller, lighter case, don't have to worry about heating up a room/subject, don't have to worry about blowing a fuse and can get the shots I need and then pack up quickly without having to wait for a cool down period for the bulbs. Attending these sessions (I stayed for two of the three sessions) provided me with great ideas to correct some of the mistakes that I was making with my LED lights. It also gave me an opportunity to see some more powerful lights in action. All three gentlemen stressed the idea of renting equipment before you buy to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want. I admit that I have often looked at the best low cost device when making equipment purchases but I see where that can leave you with less than what you need and you don't end up saving anything in the long run.
I'm making plan to head out to the Vitec Videocom headquarters in Shelton, CT which is only about 5 hours drive from me and close to Hartford airport. Hopefully I get the chance to meet the guys again and see what else Litepanel products can do to help me improve my productions.