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K5600 HMIs Cover All the Bases

FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA.: I'm a freelance news cameraman who's covered major global news events, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, earthquakes in Haiti, and now the American presidential race.

Tony Zumbado One of the biggest challenges I face covering such assignments is traveling as light as I can, yet having the proper lighting gear to do the job.

When I returned home from the "Arab Spring" last year, I never imagined in my 30 years of freelancing that I would be privileged to cover such an historic event. Of course the pace was hectic with the 24/7 live shots—thank goodness I brought along my K5600 HMI kit. The two 800 Jokers and one 200 Joker came in very handy, as most of the city lights in places I was working had been shot out.


Not only did the Jokers allow me to light my set, but they had enough punch to also help light the backgrounds of my colleagues.

Now I'm back home and covering the Republican presidential candidate election tour. Jumping from one state to another, following all of the candidates, becomes a very exhausting assignment.

For most camera crews doing campaign coverage, one of the greatest challenges has always revolved around the amount of gear to pack, especially lights.

Once again I have decided to travel light. Choosing Joker-Bug 800s allowed me to take along the heads, ballast and accessories all in one stackable case. I found that traveling light didn't mean having to give up lighting flexibility—the Joker-Bug 800's provide a lot of that.

When doing network live shots. one of the challenges I face is having an HMI lamp that can provide enough "punch" to light two or three people in the daytime. The Joker-Bugs ensure that this isn't a problem. I have plenty of light to make even the most "deep-set" faces look great, and I can then use another Joker 800 to light the background.


The flexibility that the Joker-Bug 800's have given me in lighting in both daytime and nighttime conditions is really a big asset in my work. I can also mount a Joker-Bug 800 inside a "Leko" to create a long-throw light source that I can cut as needed. And with the 800 inside the "Leko," I have a great way to put a network logo in front of the talent or on a wall that can actually be read even in full daylight. The Joker-Bugs make it simple to get many different looks without having to carry a ton of gear.

Another benefit they bring to location shooting is being able to work in all sorts of weather. The weatherproof ballasts are really fantastic. Traveling outside the United States is also a no-brainer as these ballasts can work from 220 Volts as easily as 120.

There's a new 1600 Joker-Bug coming out and it only needs a 15 Amp circuit. I can't wait to add it to my package.

Tony Zumbado is a freelance news cameraman who has covered major news events around the world. He may be contacted at

For additional information, contact K5600 at 818-762-5756 or visit