Pick of the Month: The Litepanel Astra 1×1
Friday, 27 January 2017
AbelCine’s Pick of the Month is back. This series highlights some our most experienced staff members and gives them a chance to share their first-hand knowledge with you. Our longtime Production Sales Agent Matt Livingston told us recently that a Litepanel Astra 1×1 saved his life! Well, it saved his shoot at least. We’ll let him tell it:
A friend of mine asked me if I could shoot some footage of his luxury yacht for his website. In order to catch the city lights sparkling in the background, we decided the best time to shoot would be right at sundown. I chose the Sony Alpha a7S II, because of its low light capabilities, along with a Zeiss 15mm Distagon and a Zeiss 50mm Macro Planar lens, and the MoVI M5 in order to get some real beauty shots. The water was supposed to be choppy so I didn’t want to bring a light that was larger than an onboard sun gun. However, my DP suggested taking the Astra 1×1 and a Snapbag Softbox just in case – and, boy, am I glad we did!
Unfortunately, the shoot got off to a late start, and we missed at least half of the coveted magic hour light. The background looked beautiful but there wasn’t enough light for our models’ faces. A light stand was out of the question with the boat rocking everywhere, so my DP operated the MoVI, while I snapped an Anton Bauer battery onto the Astra’s Gold Mount Bracket and just held the light in my hands. Moving from the interior lights inside the stateroom to the fading light from the sun and the city in the background, we relied heavily on the Astra 1×1. We realized quickly that shooting our models in front of the heavily backlit Statue of Liberty – quite a few stops hotter than anything on the boat – would have been a recipe for disaster if we had only relied on the quickly fading sunlight. The Astra 1×1, however, delivered the power we needed to help offset the background and get a more even exposure. Having the ability to tweak the color temperature with a dial of my finger was huge, not to mention the ability to dim the light easily – particularly essential when you’re the light stand!
The soft light from the Astra helped me achieve the romantic and glamorous look we were hoping for, despite our super run-and-gun setup. I had thought golden hour would have done the trick on its own, but since the shoot took so much longer than we originally anticipated (that’s never happened before right?!), the Astra 1×1 really became the savior of the shoot. I was just so pleased with its performance: it was lightweight enough for me to hold in my hands all night, powerful enough to make a serious difference, soft enough to give me the look I wanted, and efficient enough to where I didn’t have to bring more than a single 150 w/h battery. If I had left that light behind, my entire shoot would have been ruined for sure, and hey, I might have even been thrown overboard! So let’s just say it did save my life.
Glad you’re still alive, Matt!
If you have any questions about the Litepanel Astra 1×1 or any of its add-ons or accessories, feel free to reach out to Matt directly. You can also check out Megan Donnelly’s recent blog, or our comparison chart on the Astra line for more information.
Be sure to check back again next month for our latest Pick of the Month.