It might be the era of digital cameras, but Hollywood still has a sense of history, often paying tribute to the groundbreaking technology that has brought the industry to this point. Recently, cinematographer John Hora, ASC and co-cinematographer Douglas Knapp came together to make the first Cinerama film to be shot in 50 years. It is part of “In the Picture, a Tribute to 60 Years of Cinerama.” This introductory travelogue was shot with a combination of technology of the past; Cinerama camera #3, which was used on “How the West Was Won”, a set of three Kodak Ektar 27mm lenses and today’s Fuji film stock as well as Litepanels LED lights.
“For someone who loves film history and cameras, this was a dream shoot,” says Knapp. “We tried to create a present-day travelogue in the style of the original Cinerama film, to show off interesting and inexpensive or free things to do and see in the Los Angeles area.” The idea was to shoot in the historic 3-panel Cinerama process with modern film stock and the refurbished Cinerama camera. Producer/director David Strohmaier wrote the script to highlight places like the Hollywood Museum, the Mullholland outlook over the Hollywood Bowl, Griffith Park Observatory, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard, the Santa Monica Pier and more.
“Because we were using old lenses that allowed less light and were shooting at 26 frames-per-second instead of 24, there were times when we needed a little extra light for good luck. That’s where Litepanels LEDs came in,” Knapp explains. “One of the most beautiful locations was the merry-go-round at Griffith Park. We brought two Litepanels 1x1s with us and clamped them to a couple of the non-moving vertical poles within the merry-go-round. Easy, because they can be battery operated. They provided just the right amount of light for our actors.
“The other time that Litepanels was invaluable came when we were shooting Debbie Reynolds’ interview at the Cinerama Dome,” Knapp adds. “Because we couldn’t run cables on the location, the battery power came in handy once again. We attached the 1x1s to light stands and set them in the background for a nice fill.
“Litepanels are some of the most valuable lights I’ve ever used,” says Knapp. “They are lightweight, small and have a lot of punch. It’s tremendously helpful that they run on batteries. Because of the direct LED light, they give an overall soft quality and still get a nice sparkle in the eye.”
The finished 28-minute modern day travelogue follows actor Stanley Livingston (who played George Peppard’s older son in “How the West Was Won”) and his wife Paula Drake as they take a younger couple through Los Angeles’ landmarks. It is a supplement to the 60th anniversary showing of “This is Cinerama”. The initial one-week showing at the Cinerama Dome ran at the end of September of this year. It will be seen at various times in the future at the Cinerama Dome and the plan is to screen this tribute in subsequent years at Cineramas in Bradford, UK or in Seattle (the only two other Cinerama theaters still in existence).
Litepanels was founded in 2001 by 5 professional gaffers and engineers who saw the future and pioneered LED (light emitting diode) lighting for motion pictures, television and the audio-visual industry. Their Emmy® award-winning technology has now been used on thousands of productions worldwide and is trusted by the world’s leading broadcast organizations.
Backed by the Vitec Group’s legacy of 100+ years in the broadcast and production industry, Litepanels continues to expand its suite of flicker free, color accurate, fully-dimmable soft lights that talent and Lighting Directors admire. These environmentally friendly fixtures practically pay for themselves with power savings and long life, setting a new standard in professional lighting. Along with other leading brands in the broadcast and professional videographer industry, Litepanels is part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company. For more information on Litepanels, visit www.litepanels.com
About Vitec Videocom
Vitec Videocom brings together some of the most respected, most innovative and most sought-after brands in the industry: Anton/Bauer, Autoscript, Litepanels, OConnor, Petrol, Sachtler, Vinten and Vinten Radamec. It acts as an endorsing brand for these market-leading broadcast, film and pro video products, encouraging multi-brand system sales and simplifying the way that customers worldwide do business.
Vitec Videocom is an operating division within the Vitec Group, an international business serving customers in the broadcast, photographic and military aerospace and government markets. Vitec is based on strong, well-known, premium brands on which its customers rely on worldwide.
Vitec Videocom – innovative products around the camera.