For a recent episode of Without a Trace underwater cinematographer Pete Romano, ASC needed to make sure that the audience could see one of the show’s regulars, even though he was underwater. “We were at the underwater studio, Tank One, in Signal Hill, Long Beach,” he explains. “I needed to pull out the details in the actor’s face and get a nice soft fill that wouldn’t overpower the shot.
“The Litepanels MicroPro™ in the SeaSun® housing allowed me to pull a rabbit out of a hat. When shooting underwater, you are working in a three-dimensional water column,” Romano explains. “Depending on the scene or the subject, the camera and lighting are usually in constant motion trying to get the shot.
“For this episode I simply put the Litepanels MicroPro into a special water-tight housing that also allows for color correction or diffusion units to be slid into the front. The combination is so small and close to neutral buoyancy in the water, it’s very easy to move as you follow the action. And, because the Litepanels LEDs require less than 1/10th the amount of power as traditional underwater lighting sources, the batteries run ten times longer than old-style underwater fixtures. For this shot I used Energizer E2 Lithium ion AA batteries, allowing for the MicroPro to run for over five hours if needed.”
This isn’t the first time Romano used Litepanels in the specially designed SeaSun housing (created by Romano through his company Hydroflex). “I’ve used the MicroPro in several different venues, including a commercial in the Bahamas for Southwest Airlines, where we had a similar problem. The light on the actor’s face inside the mask was way down. By using a Litepanels MicroPro off camera, we were able to get enough light inside the mask to match the light level outside the mask. It really made a difference.”
“This is an extremely simple and easy approach to fill lighting underwater,” he adds. “It’s a soft light with no cables and it’s neutral in the water. Plus you get the ability to gel or diffuse when needed.
“I always take a MicroPro in the SeaSun housing with me no matter where I go now.”
For more information about Litepanels award-winning lights contact Litepanels, Inc., 16152 Saticoy Street, Van Nuys, CA 91406, Phone: 818/752-7009, Fax: 818/752-2437 Email: [email protected], www.litepanels.com