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HomeCraftsCameraJames Mathers Relies on Litepanels for Indy Feature 1000 to 1

James Mathers Relies on Litepanels for Indy Feature 1000 to 1

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James Mathers uses Litepanels on the set of 1000 to 1.
James Mathers uses Litepanels on the set of 1000 to 1.

When cinematographer and co-producer James Mathers signed on for 1000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story, he knew it would be a labor of love. His equipment had to be cost-effective and function flawlessly so as to not hinder the tight shooting schedule. For lighting, he chose Litepanels LED lights.

1000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story is the inspiring true tale of a young basketball star who racked up 1,000 points in high school, only to be felled by a catastrophic stroke during his freshman year of college.

For his principal form of capture, Mathers chose the RED Epic, equipped with Angenieux and Fujinon lenses, with the OConnor 2575 camera support.

“But it was the lighting that probably presented the biggest challenge,” said Mathers. “We had to cover everything from a large basketball stadium to small intimate shots. There were no resources available to change out tubes or time to relight. So, I opted for a minimum of ‘big guns,’ plus my trusty LED lights from Litepanels.”

“Whenever we needed light floating on the floor for full and close-ups or for added punch for small interiors, the Hilio was perfect,” he explained. “It’s fairly lightweight and draws only 115 Watts. At one point, when we were towing the picture car with a U-Haul trailer, we powered two Hilios off a small inverter.”

Because the Hilios have plenty of output, Mathers was able to soften the light with Rosco 250 Diffusion and add Rosco #248 Half-Minus green to compensate for the green tint of a car’s windshield, which is a challenge with many modern, energy efficient cars these days, he explained. “Inside the car we had a Litepanels 1×1 Bi-Color running off an Anton/Bauer camera battery. This provided plenty of exposure from the fill side, even on the very sunny day we had for the shots.

“It always amazes me how close to the subject you can sneak a Litepanels 1×1 when fighting a too bright background as in a daylight car interior,” he added. “At one point we were shooting in tight quarters, in a narrow hallway, where Hannah Marks reacts to David Henrie as he portrays Cory Weissman having a stroke on the campus of Gettysburg College. I had the camera right down on the floor, but needed to ‘sneak in a little fill.’ That was easy, I just placed a 1×1 at an angle to the action – and that was all we needed.”

For 1000 to 1, Mathers was introduced to another Litepanels fixture, the Inca 6 tungsten balanced LED Fresnel. “This one was about the size and output of a 1k Baby-Baby, but drew little over 100 Watts. It stayed cool to the touch.”

The film stars Beau Bridges (The Descendants), Jean Louisa Kelly (Mr. Holland’s Opus), Michael Lerner (Oscar nominated for Barton Fink), Cassi Thomson (Big Love) and David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place). Mathers co-produced 1000 to 1 which was written by former Growing Pains show runner Bob Burris and produced with former Disney finance exec Bruce Gordon. TV veteran Michael Levine directed the movie.

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