Martin Burke as the elf in David Sedaris' play, Santaland Diaries.
Santaland Diaries, is my favorite Christmas play ever. And when Martin Burke plays the elf in this one man production it's possible that it rises to becoming my favorite live theater performance, extant. So, every year the marketing folks at Zach Scott come calling and we do a shoot for direct mail, website use and various other bits of advertising. I'd like to think my work is so great that it's the reason they sell out every performance, but as I've already said, it's a great play.........So much for my fragile ego.
They called again this year and I threw a wrinkle into the plans. As you probably know I've become fascinated with LED lights of all varieties and I told them I'd love to help out with the photography as long as they'd be okay with me using all LED lights for the shooting production. "Sure. We guess."
500 LED panel placed on either side, just behind Martin. The lights have a lot of spill so I'm using two of the Westcott FastFlags, covered with black fabric to block any spill forward onto Martin. The lights have four switches on the back and you can turn on and off banks of LEDs to adjust the intensity. After a quick metering I turned off one of the four banks on each back light.
For a main light I'm using a 1,000 bulb LED panel aimed through a one stop diffusion cloth on a Chimera four foot by four foot frame. I added another 500 bulb light just to the left of the big light. It's mostly hitting the diffusion but I'm also letting some of the light hit Martin directly just to add some contrast and intensity to the shot.
On the opposite side I'm using a small Westcott FastFlag with a white fabric of fill (you can just see the sliver of the side profile above the flex fill that's sitting on the floor and leaning against the light stand.
That's the extent of the lighting. So, how did it all work out?
Final word was from the marketing crew: "Wow. No heat."
Zachary Scott Theater is building a new theatre next year and the plans call for them to be the second theater in the country to switch over to all LED stage lighting. Do I feel a groundswell occuring? Or is it just the inevitable slide and glide away from the light bulbs of the last century?