Litepanels used underwater for ‘Without a Trace’

September 3, 2009

For a recent episode of the CBS series “Without a Trace,” underwater cinematographer Pete Romano needed to make sure that the audience could see one of the show’s regular actors, even though he was underwater. The solution was the Litepanels MicroPro light in a SeaSun underwater housing.

Using the underwater studio, Tank One, in Long Beach, Romano pulled the details from the actor’s face while getting a balance fill light that didn’t overpower the shot.

For the episode, Romano put the Litepanels MicroPro into a special watertight housing that also allowed for color correction or diffusion units to be slid into the front. The combination was so small and close to neutral buoyancy in the water, it was easy to move as the action was followed.

Because the Litepanels LEDs required less than one-tenth the amount of power as traditional underwater lighting sources, the batteries ran 10 times longer than old-style underwater fixtures. For this shoot, Energizer E2 Li-Ion AA batteries were used, allowing for the MicroPro to run for more than five hours.

Romano’s company, Hydroflex, designed SeaSun housing for the Litepanels fixture. The fixture-housing combo creates a soft light with no cables and is neutral in the water, giving the user the ability to gel or diffuse when needed.

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