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HomeCraftsCameraZylight F8 LED Fresnel Delivers on The Oregon Trail for Ken Willinger

Zylight F8 LED Fresnel Delivers on The Oregon Trail for Ken Willinger

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Cinematographer Ken Willinger, SOC, (left) used a Zylight F8 LED Fresnel on location during a recent shoot near Register Cliff in Wyoming.
Cinematographer Ken Willinger, SOC, (left) used a Zylight F8 LED Fresnel on location during a recent shoot near Register Cliff in Wyoming.
Veteran cinematographer Ken Willinger, SOC, recently traveled to the wilderness of Wyoming to lens the short film Brothers on the Trail.

The four-day shoot in early October was based around Register Cliff in Wyoming, a key navigational landmark during the 1800s for people migrating west, which is now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Shooting on location, as opposed to a soundstage, was considered essential to the project. “The director really wanted to capture the reality of where this story takes place,” Willinger explained. “The images were stunning, and there was no way to replicate that in the studio.”

An internal production for Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the short film takes place on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s. The western emphasizes the importance of keeping a pledge by sharing the story about two travelers who meet and make a promise to each other. It is the fifth short in a series that Willinger has shot for the Freemasons with his RED Epic Dragon. The 5K footage will be downconverted to HD for the final cut.

Willinger explained that a key piece of his lighting gear was a daylight-balanced Zylight F8 LED Fresnel. He had seen the F8 at the 2014 NAB Show, but this was his first opportunity to use one. With generators on location for the “fairly big” production, Willinger did not have to rely battery power.

Willinger admitted he was “slow to adopt LED” because he felt early instruments were harsh and had color issues, but plans to use the F8 on future shoots. “It took a while for me to trust the LED look,” he added. “Now, I’m happy to use it and I’m really glad we had the Zylight on the set.”

A full complement of large, high-powered lighting systems were on hand for primary lighting duties – but Willinger said the more portable F8 was very valuable as an edge light and as a fill for moonlight during evening campfire shots. “We had some big lights on this film. Once those were in place, that was it,” he explained. “The Zylight was so simple to move around and yet so powerful. It really was a great light for us to have on set.”

Available in daylight (5600K) or tungsten (3200K), the F8 has a high CRI (color rendering index) and maintains single shadow traditional Fresnel beam shaping through an eight-inch SCHOTT glass lens. With a patented focusing system for spot and flood operations, the fully dimmable F8 offers an adjustable beam spread (16-70 degrees). Its LED engine with quantum dot technology draws 100 watts, but has close to the light output of a traditional 1000-watt Fresnel.

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