Everyone is trying to find new ways of doing things due to the pandemic, but for filmmaker and USC Professor Tristan Whitman, he has always had to find new ways of doing things when he’s called upon to shoot top toymakers’ action figures and cars, as was the case with a recent spot for the beloved Mattel “Hot Wheels” line.
Working with Moustache Productions and The Good Kind of Crazy ad agencies, Whitman already had experience filming the 52-year-old racecar line, but he used this new commercial job to try out BB&S Lighting Innovations product line to help make the cars look “big and in your face.” Whitman films the cars in motion using high-speed cameras like the Phantom, and he spoke about the challenges of the job: “We often go right next to the car and shoot wide so the car looks bigger which creates whole set of technicalities. For miniatures you have to highlight things like the bumper or the grill and yet hold the blacks of the tires while reading what’s written on the wheels. It’s about putting a light where needed in dark areas so you can pop little pieces of the car.
In order to produce a powerful concise beam that was also dimmable, he used BB&S’s hand-size Compact Beamlight (CBL) along with Lightbridge CRLS C-Reflectors. He chose a 7X7cm C-Reflector despite them ranging in sizes to 100X100cm.
Whitman also shot using a RED Dragon equipped with a probe-style lens with the need to catch the light while the miniature racecars go through loops and such. “I needed a small and compact fixture that output a hard edge while shooting 1000fps. No other LEDs are as hard and punchy,” he said. “The tiniest CBL let me eliminate dark shadows we often have to deal with on the tracks. Shooting from 120 to 190 fps, they were the only source that really dug into dark shoots and deep tracks. And there was no flicker!”
He also used the Pipeline Reporter kit, which fits right under that probe-style lens, and used that to add accents and precise light fills. He also tried the BB&S Force 7 LED LEKO for this shoot. “When the Force 7 projects it is clean. With other LEKOs you can see the colors of light mixing as they leave the lens, but this one is pure daylight. And it is nice and hard. Yet, after a full day I touched the back of the Force 7 and it wasn’t hot at all.”