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HomeCraftsCameraLitepanels Shines Light on Human Trafficking Doc Life is Love

Litepanels Shines Light on Human Trafficking Doc Life is Love


Line producer Marcella Villegas Castanon
When Cinequest Picture the Possibilities line-producer Marcela Villegas Castanon was putting the support package together for the company’s Life Is Love documentary, she chose Litepanels Croma LEDs as their main lighting. The project, an inspirational documentary about young women who have been freed from the world of human trafficking and have been transformed through the work of Somaly Mam, in Cambodia, takes the audience through their past and present, to show the possibilities of their future.

“Our DPs have used Litepanels LEDs before and they told me these lights would be what we needed as we entered dim and small areas (brothels, small houses) for specific interviews,” Castanon said. “So we chose four on-camera LED Croma Litepanels, one for each of our DP’s Canon C300 cameras, because they are portable (no outside power) and powerful. They wouldn’t take much room and took little time to set up. Their durability and adjustable color temperature was also a plus as we were shooting both inside and outside.”

Throughout the documentary there were three distinct situations where Litepanels provided the perfect lighting support. “We had two difficult scenes inside brothels, where we interviewed clients who partake in the industry and another with the women who work within the brothels,” she explained. “The rooms were small, dimly lit and bland in color. The Cromas allowed for some depth and color for the interviews and for the rooms themselves. And when we were filming the clients outside, they were the perfect fill light to eliminate shadows on the men’s faces.”

The second situation where Litepanels Cromas were a plus was when the small company filmed at a health clinic. “We were shadowing one of the survivors who now volunteers her services in assisting women with medical advice,” Castanon explained. “We had very limited time for set up, hence the on-camera Litepanels were easily accessible and quick to attach onto the camera. They provided just the right amount of light for the dim and small clinic room.”

The camera team often used the Litepanels as backlight or fill light during sit-down interviews. “The locations, at times, were too compact to insert c-stands and larger lights,” she explained. “So these Cromas were very convenient to place behind the subjects, acting as backlight. We also conducted interviews outside, in which many cases there were trees that cast shadows. The Cromas were perfect to brighten and fill the interviews.”

Life is Love is slated for completion in February, in time to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The project will also be submitted to Toronto, Sundance, and be showcased at the company’s own Cinequest Film Festival in 2014. The company has also struck a worldwide distribution deal for various other festivals, in an effort to raise awareness of this issue. The film will also be used by the Somaly Mam Foundation to boost its fundraising.

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