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No Lighting Task Too Big for K5600 Joker Bugs

K5600’s Joker Bug 800 kit

NEW YORK—Traveling is essential in this world of fast-paced content production. In a given year, I may lap the world six times chasing stories. I have to travel light and need reliable and durable equipment. That’s why I selected K5600’s Joker Bug lighting equipment.

I have four Joker lights in my personal lighting package: a 200, 400, 800 and a recently added 1600.

Joker Bugs are really great lighting units and I use them on just about every project in one configuration or another. They each pack into a single case and tip the scales at or below the limit on most airlines. Additionally, they operate on the different electrical supplies found around the world, so I’m able to plug in and start shooting wherever I go.

I do a lot of multicam work and have a few lighting rules that I rarely break.

The first of these is to use soft lighting on people. This helps faces look good and in turn, helps me to look good. For interviews with a reverse shot of the reporter, K5600’s Soft Tube Joker Bug accessory is often my choice. I can position one light horizontally, just above the frame between the subjects, keying both with the one Soft Tube.

My second rule is to always light from the back side, meaning that the cheek closest to the camera has negative fill as I find this more flattering. K5600’s Soft Tube is light enough to fly overhead using a stand near the camera, allowing me to keep the far side of the frame clear of gear.

We all know that uncomfortable talent can ruin a shoot, and when I’m lighting I always keep this in mind. You never want to have a shoot interrupted because the talent is sweating or squinting. When using a Soft Tube I often find even the most seasoned talent is impressed. It’s a specialty device they usually have never seen and they really appreciate how gentle it is on their eyes, and as Soft Tubes give off so little heat, the talent stays dry and comfortable.

Pancake chimeras paired with the Joker lights have proven themselves very useful in shooting green screens. I like the way daylight works as a key and recently had an opportunity to shoot a five-person morning team posing on green. I simply hung two 800 Jokers behind the talent in large pancake chimeras and used an 800 and a 1600 in pancakes for fill and key respectively. The rear pancakes served as overall light for the wall and floor, and doubled as a back light.

I purchased the 1600 knowing that I’d be able to use it with our Phantom camera when shooting slow motion. High frame rates can be a problem when using some lights; not so with the Joker 1600. It comes with selectable modes to eliminate flicker up to 2800 fps while still managing to output enough light to get a decent exposure with fast lenses. The light is also dimmable.

Matt Knapp is a director of photography at New York’s HSCUSA.TV television production facility. He may be contacted