So, Bodi Company recently went into a big box store to shoot some commercials. Our Director DP, Robb Fischer, has a very specific lighting design for these spots. Unfortunately the overhead lighting in a typical box store is not that attractive on camera mostly due to the multiple shadows created by each overhead light bank. We needed to control the in-house lighting but we didn’t want to decrease our overall levels. We also needed something that could quickly be moved around an open store for multiple setups. The solution: The backlit menace arm 8 x 8 flyswatter rig!
So, how are we going to do this?
One of my favorite things about Robb is that he seldom tries to tell me how to rig something. He is very good at envisioning how he wants it to look and coming up with the parameters I need to work in. In this case he simply needed an 8 x 8 diffusion frame over the talent. After that he left it up to the lighting department to make it happen in the constraints of an open store with tight aisles.
We came up with an 8 x 8 half-grid combination menace arm and flyswatter rig that worked off of a single Roadrunner stand. The setup was portable enough to be manageable by only two crew members but was quick to setup once we got to a location. By floating a diffusion frame over the subjects from a single stand we were able to knock down the overhead lighting while keeping the support out of the shot. We were even able to reach from one aisle to an adjacent aisle for some of the tighter locations. Our design allowed us to raise, lower and pivot the 8 x 8 frame to maneuver it in the store aisles.
On a subsequent version we added a Litemat 4+ fixture to the setup because we found that the ½ grid diffusion cut too much light. The Litemat allowed us to dial in the color temperature and the intensity needed for any given location.
The resulting light quality did not look out of place when compared to the background and we were able to keep the overall look on the talent that Robb was striving for.