In another scene, we used lighting to symbolize the taxi driver’s inner chaos as his world was increasingly shaken up by events of the night. We programmed the Geminis to fade very slowly and subtly from one colour to the another as the driver’s situation evolved. The changes are so subtle that they aren’t readily apparent to viewers, but the subliminal effect really helps communicate this character’s growing turmoil.
High-quality low light
The LEDs’ dimming capabilities also played an important role in setting the mood for “Drive All Night,” especially for the scenes inside the taxi. We wanted these scenes to be very dark, but even so, we needed a steady glow of light on Cara’s face. We got the effect we needed with a single Gemini 1x1, dimmed all the way down to 1.5%, as a book light in the front passenger seat. The Gemini 1x1 is so small that it was able to create the effect in a very subtle way, with just a bit of the lavender light. The light quality was outstanding, even at such a low level.
For the car scenes and several other practical location shots, we powered the Geminis with Anton/Bauer Dionic XTs – the same batteries that drove my ARRI Alexa XT camera with Sigma Cine Zooms alongside a 7-inch SmallHD monitor. The Geminis were dimmed, but it was still quite remarkable that we were able to run them on a couple of batteries for the entire day.
Thoughtful lighting, executed with ease
The Gemini LEDs are so lightweight and easy to use that they never get in the way of our creativity. That’s especially important on a production like “Drive All Night,” which had a very small crew. We could rig the lights really fast on location and start adjusting them right away to paint the look for a given scene. We simply would not have had that creative freedom with bigger, heavier lights that take longer to rig and need an external power supply.
I think a cinematographer’s job is to take a storyline and give it meaning. It’s important to understand what you want to say with your imagery first, and then figure out how to communicate that meaning through lighting and camera. With LEDs like the Geminis, I have the freedom to experiment with colour and try different effects, all with less hassle and using less power. These next-generation LEDs are essential tools in my storytelling toolkit.
As an established talent in the Los Angeles indie filmmaking scene, DP William Hellmuth strives to create meaningful images that visually reinforce the story or themes of whatever project he's shooting. William has shot for brands like NERF, Blizzard, Sony, Honda, Listerine, and more. Besides filmmaking, William enjoys spending time with his wife and kids (and dog), brewing beer, and playing nerdy table top games.