Zylight F8 LED Fresnel Delivers on Oregon Trail for Ken Willinger, SOC

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Zylight - Oregon TrailKen Willinger, SOC, has been a cinematographer for more than 30 years. After starting his career in news and documentaries, the Boston-based shooter now concentrates on corporate, commercial and narrative films. One of his latest productions, Brothers on the Trail, took him to the Wyoming wilderness.

The four-day shoot in early October was based around Register Cliff in Wyoming, a key navigational landmark during the 1800s for emigrants heading west that is now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Shooting on location, as opposed to a soundstage, was considered essential to the project. “The director really wanted to capture the reality of where this story takes place,” Willinger explained. “The images were stunning, and there was no way to replicate that in the studio.”

An internal production for Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the short film takes place on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s. The western emphasizes the importance of keeping a pledge by sharing the story about two travelers who meet and make a promise to each other. It is the fifth short in a series that Willinger has shot for the Freemasons with his RED EPIC DRAGON. The 5K footage will be downconverted to HD for the final cut.

Willinger was pleased to find a daylight-balanced Zylight F8 LED Fresnel as part of the grip and electric package for the shoot. He had seen the F8 at the 2014 NAB Show, but this was his first opportunity to use one. With generators on location for the “fairly big” production, Willinger did not have to use the Zylight on battery power, though he was impressed by the feature.

Willinger admitted he was “slow to adopt LED” because he felt early instruments were harsh and had color issues, but plans to use the F8 on future shoots. “It took a while for me to trust the LED look,” he added. “Now, I’m happy to use it and I’m really glad we had the Zylight on the set.”

A full complement of large, very high-powered lighting instruments were on hand for primary lighting duties – but Willinger said the more portable F8 was very valuable as an edge light and as a fill for moonlight during evening campfire shots. “We had some big lights on this film. Once those were in place, that was it,” he explained. “The Zylight was so simple to move around and yet so powerful. It really was a great light for us to have on set.”

Available in daylight (5600K) or tungsten (3200K), the F8 has a high CRI (color rendering index) and maintains single shadow traditional Fresnel beam shaping through an eight-inch SCHOTT glass lens. With a patented focusing system for spot and flood operations, the fully dimmable F8 offers an adjustable beam spread (16-70 degrees). Its LED engine with quantum dot technology draws only 100 watts, but has close to the light output of a traditional 1000-watt Fresnel.

For more information, visit: www.zylight.com

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