Using a Book Light for a Super Soft Key

Using a Book Light for a Super Soft Key

“Hey Rob you wanna DP for me? We’re shooting a commercial for a truck liner company and need to shoot it in the back of a semi truck.” That was the call I got from Sean at 323 Productions and although I’ve never lit in the back of a semi, I was up for the challenge. In this post I want to break down my lighting setup, give credit to the idea, and share the results.

The Book Light Technique

Before I say anything more, credit goes to Shane Hurlbut. He wrote up an amazing blog post on the Book Light. How to set it up, the materials used, diagrams, and the results. Check out that amazing post here.

I have to admit that I forgot about that post. What made me think about it? The conversations going on in Shane’s Inner Circle. It’s an amazing group that has great conversation and suggestions going on. The Facebook group, private posts, and discussions with Shane himself make this a worth while purchase. Find out more about the Inner Circle here.

The Project

This project was for US Liner and their product that turns the back of a semi truck into a cooler. I’m sure there’s a lot more to it, but I couldn’t tell you what all goes into it. Moving on, they wanted a funny video that advertised this product. Sean came up with a great script that made a parody of a flight safety instruction.

Outside of Semi Truck

Now that you have a background on the project, let’s get into how I lit the flight attendant in a 6ft wide semi truck.

The Gear

Quickly going through here’s what we had:

  • Red Epic (shot at 5k and framed for Anamorphic)
  • Rokinon Glass (stuck with the 85mm)
  • Honda EUI2000 Generator
  • Arri 1K
  • (2) 2ft 4 Bank Divas
  • 2ft 2 Bank Diva
  • ikan LED ID500
  • Flags, bounces, and nets
  • Diffusion and gels

The Set Up

Here’s a lighting diagram of the setup

lighting diagram

Originally we had the 1K as our key but it drained our generator and didn’t have the time to deal with gas refills. Without hesitation I swapped out the 1K for another 4bank with all tungsten bulbs. There was a bit of a green spike so I went through all my minus green gels and landed on 1/4. I was shocked (and happy) that it looked no different than the 1k after a few tweaks of the height, tilt and bounce board placement. What’s great about these fluorescents is how little power they use.

The other 4 bank was placed by the camera and tilted up to the white ceiling. This brought the room level up and took out a dramatic look that we didn’t want. The final 2 bank was used as an edge and hair light. Since the blue curtain appeared dark I threw my 500 LED on the ground and put it at about 50%. This was our master shot through the whole thing and worked really well.

screen shot of result

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