PBS Hawaii recently had the remarkable opportunity to bring together Hawaiian royalty, the history of their culture through music, and a unique look at the only royal palace in the United States. The Iolani Palace staff worked closely with PBS Hawaii’s crew to preserve the historic location, where camera crews are rarely permitted to film. “Thanks to Litepanels LEDs, the least of our problems was lighting,” said PBS senior production technician Glenn Yamamoto.
“Of course, the major concern was protecting the delicate artifacts inside Iolani Palace,” Yamamoto said. “LED lights were the only acceptable type of lighting the curator would approve inside the palace. Power was another major concern, knowing there were only two electrical circuits available for lighting. Litepanels draw very little power and can also be powered with batteries, so we were happy with our options.”
For this musical special, Yamamoto used three HD broadcast cameras, a jib, a dolly, and from Litepanels, four 1x1s, one Sola 6 Fresnel and three MicroPros.
Shot similarly to PBS’s Austin City Limits, the Iolani Palace special, Na Mele: Na Lani Eha, features performances of songs written by royal siblings King Kalākaua, Queen Lili’uokalani, Princess Likelike and Prince Leleiohoku, collectively known as Na Lani Eha (The Royal Four).
“Each musical performance was recorded live,” Yamamoto said. “We shot in three rooms of the Iolani Palace with a total of five different setups. The lighting challenge for each setup was to highlight the musical talent, but still showcase each unique location. The most challenging setup was in the throne room, which I consider the centerpiece of the Iolani Palace. This involved a five-piece musical band with a hula dancer. We were able to accomplish all of this using only our four Litepanels 1x1s, a single Sola 6 and three MicroPros.”
“The Litepanels were simply the right lighting solution for the show’s unique needs,” PBS Hawaii multimedia writer Liberty Peralta said. “They don’t run hot and are low-power, using 95 percent less than a standard studio light. So there was less fire hazard and lower energy needs. The intensity of each fixture is highly adjustable and emits a ‘friendlier’ light that is safer to use on historical artifacts, especially compared to halogen or tungsten light.”
Na Mele: Na Lani Eha from Iolani Palace presented by Hawaiian Airlines, a unique look into the music and royal history of Hawaii, premiered June 11, Kamehameha Day, as a live pledge program on PBS Hawaii.