Video / Hands-on Review

Behind the Scenes of the Luxli Viola Commercial BTS Video

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The Luxli Viola 5" Multi-Color On-Camera LED light is a compact but powerful creative tool. How does Luxli illustrate its versatility and usefulness? How about a video? Even better, how about a video about making the video?

When commercial director and writer Shawn Collins came up with the idea for the illustrative video, he also knew, from the beginning, that filming a behind-the-scenes video would be a part of the process. Collins says, “As a filmmaker, I wanted to show other filmmakers the extremes you can go to with the Luxli Viola lights.”

Luxli Viola 5" Multi-Color On-Camera LED Light

Collins and Executive Producer Matt Hill had a choice: they could film five separate scenes and stitch them together, or take on the more challenging possibility—capture five scenes in one take, to show the flexibility of the lighting system. After some careful consideration, they decided to attempt the more difficult of the two options, complete with a behind-the-scenes look at the production. Collins acknowledged that “we decided to do something that no filmmaker would ever really find themselves doing—changing through five colors mid-scene,” but the fact that you can do this is illustrative of the capabilities of these lights.

The Luxli Viola light is a down-scaled LED panel light that has adjustable brightness and color temperature. The lights can be controlled locally or through a mobile application on the iOS system. For those familiar with the Rift Labs KICK pocket light, you will notice similarities between that product and the larger Viola. In fact, the Gradus Group’s product developer, Casey Krugman, worked in cooperation with Rift Labs, and the Luxli Viola is designed and manufactured in Norway. The KICK light has been around for several years, so the Viola shows a more refined control interface with knobs instead of buttons, a beautiful digital readout on the back, an included NP-F550-type battery, and a power port on the side for an included charger.

The setup plan called for four Violas with diffusers to serve as background lights. These would be controlled by the mobile app, because up to six lights can be simultaneously linked to the app and globally controlled by an iPhone or iPad. The other Viola lights would be controlled manually. Assistant Director and Production Designer David Ben-yshay assembled lightweight interchangeable backdrops, Isaac “Yitzy” Stackell gathered the props, and Kevin Berrey, Director of Photography, assembled a Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM Super 35 with an Atomos Shogun Inferno Monitor/Recorder for the primary shooting, while two GoPro Hero4 Black cameras and a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V digital camera handled the behind the scenes work. Impact light stands, clamps, and gooseneck arms were used to hold the lights.

With the set completed, the team readied the shoot with a mannequin as a stand-in for the actor and ran through 20 takes to get the lighting setup and prop changes down. Once the actor arrived, the crew ran through nine more takes before nailing it on attempt number 10.

Collins used Adobe Premiere Pro (part of the Adobe Creative Cloud) to edit the video, with FilmConvert for color grading. Adobe After Effects, also part of the Creative Cloud, was used for the snow and marshmallow fire effects. Premiere was used to mix and edit the soundtrack, while the tunes came from the Dewolfe licensing library.

As you can see from the finished product, the color control and brightness of the Luxli Viola allowed it to be used seamlessly through five distinct scenes. The Viola is part of Luxli’s new Orchestra Series of lighting and accessories, designed to allow filmmakers to, as Collins put it, “conduct an orchestra of lights.” Future products in the Orchestra Series will include 1 x 1' LED panels, as well as lights of other sizes.

Let us know if you have questions for the video’s production team!

5 Scenes lit by Luxli Viola 5" Multicolor LED Lights

Written and Directed by Shawn Ashley Collins
Lead Actor: Elizabeth Vogelgesang
Executive Producer: Matt Hill
Producer / Director of Photography: Kevin Berrey
Assistant Director / Production Designer: David Ben-yshay
Gaffer: Casey Krugman
Propmaster / Wardrobe Supervisor: Isaac "Yitzy" Stackell
Key Grip: Jeffery White
Lighting Technician: Neil Beck
Lighting Technician: Ari Berger

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