Rotolight The Light of Choice for Award-Winning Directors and Cinematographers

When shooting with strict deadlines, it is vital that your equipment is dependable and efficient; simplifying your workflow without compromising on performance. In the build-up to the release of EA Sports’ newest game, Need for Speed Payback, award-winning director Kevin Chapman utilisedRotolight’s award-winning LED lighting to deliver a thrilling teaser trailer starring British rapper, Lethal Bizzle. Through an equally as fast-paced career, Chapman is well-known for his work with brands like F1, Honda and Renault, as well as broadcasters such as BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and has been awarded three BAFTAs and two RTS awards for his work.
The trailer features YouTuber, Blackpanthaa, teaching Bizzle how to drive in game; mirrored by Bizzle drifting a McLaren 570s on the iconic Dunsfold Park racing track. With only one day for the shoot, the schedule was packed; with high expectations from EA Sports to deliver an action-packed trailer to accompany the game’s launch. As the shoot involved filming in multiple locations, Rotolight’s portable range of LEDs enabled them to move between sets quickly and achieve consistent results across both settings. Starting in-studio, as BlackPanthaa and Bizzle played the game, the crew later moved outside to the Dunsfold racetrack to drift the McLaren in real life.
Filming in a studio with limited space meant that Chapman had to strategically position lights to illuminate the scene while creating natural looking highlights on Bizzle and Blackpanthaa’s faces; using a number of Rotolight LEDs to emulate daylight pouring through the window. “In the indoor shoot, the NEO 2s were perfect not only to emulate daylight through the studio window, but also to be in the actual shot because of their unique design” says Chapman. Powered by battery, the Anova PRO 2s and NEO 2s eliminated the need for intrusive cabling on set.
Needing to create stunning hero shots of the car itself, the production team were able to create a dynamic shining reflection over the silver McLaren badge by handholding the Rotolight AEOS and sweeping the light back and forth over the front of the car.
As the day drew to a close, the crew wanted to capture the sun setting behind the McLaren on the runway with the sunlight reflecting onto the car’s metallic body. Using four Anova PRO 2s to ensure the scene was evenly lit, Chapman was able to adjust the light’s colour temperature using the dials on the back of the light to complement the orange tones of the sunset and perfectly light the McLaren.
“We used a lot of lights and put them into action quickly to catch the sunset” says Chapman. “We mainly used the Anova PRO 2s for this part of the shoot and they were brilliant — we popped the light onto the stand, put it in position and the scene was lit in seconds.
“The shoot was a resounding success” concludes Chapman. “The Rotolights really made a difference for me. Using them is quick and easy; they’ve opened up a whole new window of how to direct and how to shoot things. It’s a really flexible piece of kit.”

With such a tight schedule, Chapman has learnt the importance of high performance equipment with multiple functionality. More than just an LED, Rotolight products also act as a High Speed Sync flash (1/8000th) for creatives who find themselves shooting stills as well as video and is equipped with an industry-first suite of CineSFXTM; a collection of customisable lighting FX for videographers. Designed in conjunction with VFX veteran, Stefan Lange (Skyfall, Batman, Tomb Raider), the built-in SFX simulates fire, paparazzi, TV or lightning for added drama. This eliminates the need for complex, time-consuming flicker-box workflows, allowing productions to be more agile.

Lange recently used a NEO 2 three-light kit and Anova PRO in the production of BAFTA nominated Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool starring Annette Bening (American Beauty; The Women; The Search) and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot; Fantastic Four; 6 Days) which follows the romance between a Hollywood leading lady and a young actor.

As the film was set in the late 1970s, director Paul McGuigan was keen to use traditional visual effect methods that were contemporary with the period of the film; using rear projection technique instead of more modern blue/green screen process workflows.

When budget and logistics don’t allow for a moving car on set, achieving the effect of movement even on a static set can be difficult, but the crew were able to simulate passing street lamps using the flicker FX and creating custom fade up/ down effects with Rotolight’s Designer FadeTM feature.

“During driving scenes,we used NEO 2s to help create that scene-changing effect. We also found the Designer Fade™ useful to fade up from zero output to 100% and back again to create a seamless dynamic effect,” says Lange.

“Even on a large film set lit with big studio fixtures, I always have my own set of three NEO 2s standing by and ready to bring in for that extra kick or fill, or on a smaller set up, they provide enough punch on their own.” 

Filmmakers are seeing the demands on time, budget and creativity ever-increasing. Having dependable equipment is no longer enough; it’s also about equipment that helps you to overcome challenges on set and enables spur of the moment creativity too. Rotolight LEDs offers a wealth of creative tools for your arsenal, as well as delivering superior quality and reliable lighting that adds tremendous value to shoots.