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Litepanels Illuminates the World of Vampires in New Orleans


The New Orleans Vampire Association meets to discuss plans for Halloween weekend and the annual Endless Night Vampire Ball.
There is a sect of New Orleans residents who believe they are vampires. To capture their story, cinematographer Austin Smoak needed to film in dimly lit bars and houses in the French Quarter and on the streets at night. To stay light-weight and low profile, she equipped her DSLR cameras with the MicroPro and MiniPlus from Litepanels, part of Vitec Videocom.

“We had chosen to shoot on Canon DSLRs for the look, but also because it was easier to get people to be themselves around a smaller, less imposing camera,” Smoak explained. “The DSLRs have great low-light capability, but all too often, we found ourselves in scenes that were far too dark for even the DSLR to pick up and still be good.”

“The Litepanels fixtures were perfect because they were easily adjustable and slid right into the hot shoe of the DSLRs,” she added. “We mixed and matched the Micros and Minis depending on what we were doing. The Minis were great because they put out a great deal of light and would quickly light up the scene and let us tell the story, but they’re a little larger than the Micros. For situations where we wanted to be lower profile, or just knew we wouldn’t need all the punch, the Micros worked great. The Micro tends to be a perfect weight for mounting on some of the smaller cameras. I also like that the Micros take AA batteries, which are easy to get in a pinch, unlike the Minis where the batteries needs to be charged.

“I was incredibly happy with the ability to easily adjust the Litepanels fixtures,” said Smoak. “Their compactness and the amount and quality of light they put off is great. There is no doubt that there are several situations on Vampires where we simply could not have covered the story if we didn’t have Litepanels with us.”

Vampires: New Orleans, a documentary web series about people who believe they are vampires, airs on

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