Kobold Stands Up to Hurricane Weather

by Dale West

NORTH MIAMI, FLA. I'm a freelancer who's been working in the Miami market for the past 18 years. My client list is diverse and includes most of the larger cable properties, corporations and network sports and news outlets. Each has their own style of shooting, from run-and-gun reality to extensive magazine sit-downs and live locations. Each of these requires a different lighting solution. However, I've found myself lighting more and more with just daylight. It's a much more appealing light, especially as we move into HD—it just seems more natural. As a result, I've added more daylight fixtures and HMIs to my lighting package.

Cris Nickless, soundman, and Malcom Balfore, producer, prepare for a location shoot at Florida's Fort Lauderdale Beach. Network news demands a large number of location live shots. I've always had HMIs, but being required to work more and more on location, regardless of weather, made me reevaluate my instruments. However, some of my HMIs are not designed to work in the rain. That's where the Kobold HMIs came into the picture. I own 200, 400, and 800 watt open-face instruments and they've been bullet proof since day one.


One of my first memories of how well they work in the rain was during Hurricane Katrina. I was in Palm Beach County, Fla. with a network correspondent, producer and another camera crew. At newstime the storm was only about one and a half hours from making landfall, with winds near 80 miles per hour. There was no place to take cover, so the plan was for us to be "out in it." Conditions were so bad that visibility was near zero. We managed to secure a stand for the fixture used to light the background, but the wind was too tough for us to put up a stand for lighting the correspondent. While the soundman literally held the cameraman, I held that lighting instrument in the driving rain for about 30 minutes. Not once did we lose light. Short of putting the units in a car wash, I'm not sure they could have gotten any wetter.


Just because they perform well in wet weather doesn't mean that they are intended only for wet locations. My corporate work has taken me to the Caribbean about six times in the past year to shoot material for a large resort chain. Since travel budgets are tight, we're forced to be very selective with the gear we bring along. Our package includes several lighting instruments, including the Kobold open-face HMIs.

In-room shots are probably the most difficult, as the client always wants to see the details in the room, as well as the view through the window. Without the punch from the HMIs I don't see how we could have gotten it done. The glass diffusion filter helps reduce the light if we don't need the full force. By sliding in the dichroic filter we can stream in "morning sun."

All in all I couldn't be happier with my Kobolds. If I could make one change, it would be a smaller case. However, I'll live with the case I've got as long as the lights continue to perform like they have during the past two-and-a-half years.

Dale West is a DP/cameraman and has owned and operated Dale West Video Productions since 1992. He is also co-owner of the Manatee Bay Post editing house. He may be contacted at dale@dalewestvideo.tv.

For additional information, contact Bron Kobold USA at 866-504-2766 or visit www.bron-kobold-usa.com.