Home Projects / FilmsFeature FilmsDeadfall Final Days of Deadfall: Giving the Stag Horn Saloon Life, Texture, and Color: KINO FLO

Final Days of Deadfall: Giving the Stag Horn Saloon Life, Texture, and Color: KINO FLO

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC

Fragile Dawn and Dusk in Montreal

It is so sad saying goodbye to Montreal.  I love this amazing city.  The crew was the best I have ever worked with and I will miss them all.  Thank you so much to each and every one of you for giving 150%.  “Deadfall” was a challenging film to make, and your positronics attitude combined with a commitment to excellence made it so rewarding. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The last week was a very exciting one; steamy love scenes with Olivia Wilde and Charlie Hunnam, falling in love in a dive bar in upper Michigan, and VFX shots that involved spinning a Lincoln Town Car on a BBQ rotisserie rig.  Check out the little treat below.

Many of you have asked what types of lights I prefer. If there is one light that I use more than any other, and it is a Kino Flo. Call me classic but I am still using the units that started it all.  I know that Frieder Hocheim has made some incredibly powerful and compact Diva lights and ParaBeams that out perform HMI Par lights, but I go for 2′ and 4′ singles.  2′ 4- Banks and 4′ 4-Banks, and Image 80’s.  These are my go-to Kinos that bring my images to life and they are 6 different lights in one.  They are the gag light, the key light, the edge light, the back light, the effects light and the bring the background to life light.  You name it; they deliver it.

When the Director Stefan Ruzowitzky and I discussed the palette of this film, de-saturation was one of the words we used to describe our colors. However, when Charlie and Olivia walked into this upper Michigan dive bar that we called the Stag Horn Saloon, we wanted the colors to pop.  It would be a color oasis in the middle of a white snow covered world.

Olivia and Charlie enjoy a meal at the Stag Horn Saloon. 4′ 4-Bank Kino used to fill Charlie motivated by a light blue neon in the BG

One light came to my mind to be able to deliver this concept and that was Kino Flo’s.  I used all different colored Kinos to motivate beer neon signs, juke boxes and pinball machines that surrounded the perimeter of the bar.

I used the red tubes from Kino Flos to simulate a Budweiser Neon sign at the end of the hall

When it came to lighting bar maids and bottles at the bar, once again there is not another light that can deliver the ease and dimming power of a Kino behind liquor bottles, beer glasses, you name it they make it glow and look fantastic. I lobbed these single Kinos in everywhere.  When it came to lighting Olivia Wilde’s close-up I turned once again to the 4′ 4-Bank Kino to illuminate Olivia’s beautiful aqua eyes.

Once again using the Kino 4′ 4-bank to bask red light onto the pinball machines

Using Kinos dimming ballasts to their advantage behind the liquor bottles. This is a must have feature when working with HD. On film, these bloom beautifully, but on HD, they burn out and look like video, so using the dimming function is absolutely essential to giving your HD footage a filmic look.

I wanted to reflect blue colored light off of Olivia’s sequin dress. Here you see a 4′ 2-Bank unit with blue tubes doing just that

On the ECO/ GREEN side of things, Kino Flo has been leading the march for lower power consumption with higher output since the mid 90’s.  On my first film that I ever photographed, “The Rat Pack,” Kino Flos were there and Frieder was right along side me – building whatever I needed to help me shape, control and color the light.  When I was not happy with the color of his 3200 degree tubes and kept on renting these yellow flo’s from him, he made the 2900 Kino. When I wanted to control the Kinos for a contrasty look  on The Rat Pack, he designed honeycomb crates that clamp onto the font of the Kino so that it only falls on the area you want.  He is such an innovator.  I aspire to be as cutting edge as this man. Take a look at Kino Flo’s line of lights and accessories.  They fit any budget and any story that you want to create.

Saying goodbye images to my crew in Montreal:

Having a blast at the Stag Horn Saloon, mirror balls a spinning

Always ready to jam if there is jamming to be done

Marc Larose, our 1st A.D. This man was amazing. His schedule was brilliant and made my job so much easier with his incredible vision

Our fearless leader Stefan Ruzowitzky, enjoying his green tea. We both loved tea and had tea wars on set – who could drink the most. He held the record of 24 cups, I broke that record on the 7th week and felt very dizzy doing it.

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mel haynes April 22, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Wow what a fun ride the camera operator went through. He looks a little rough at the end of it though. Its going to be a lot of fun seeing this film watching all the scenes that you describe. As always, a pleasure to get an insight into how these scenes are lit and filmed. I am totally going to go out and buy one of those rotisserie things..I think Target sells them…..

There is a lighting shop within walking distance from me that I have never been in, but I have been interested in picking up a Kino or two and start building my lighting kits. After seeing how you use them in all those various spots, it makes me more confident to pick some up.

P.S. did I hear some toys playing in the background during your narration? haha

Shane April 23, 2011 at 12:44 AM

mel haynes, Thanks so much for your support. I think this film is going to be great. Amazing cast and the script was a page turner.

Matt Short April 22, 2011 at 6:43 PM

I’ve always been a huge fan of Kino Flos. They give you excellent control of your light. The colors in the bar with the smoke look great. I’m looking forward to seeing how this comes out on film. The rolling Lincoln shot looks like a lot of fun. How much did you charge that guy to shoot it? 😉

Ramses April 23, 2011 at 12:50 AM

Thank you so much for dedicating some time on giving us inside information and tips. Greatly appreciate it. Got a question…. the picture of Olivia and Charlie you have a 4 bank kino flow and two diffusers up behind that. What type of lighting are you diffusing and what effect were you trying to achieve with those lights (general ambience light)? I’m trying to visualize the frame and how everything would look like. Can’t wait till the film comes out and see everything that you have talked about in past blogs on the big screen.

Shane April 23, 2011 at 12:55 AM

Ramses, you are very welcome and thank you for those kind words. The warm lights are my baton lights that I have designed. They come in 8′ and 4′ strips. I had a 8′ strip behind 2-4 x 4 Lee 250 diffusions. Then I used a 4′ baton to edge Charlie. I always key light and edge light from the same side.

Chris April 24, 2011 at 8:27 PM


Out of curiosity, why do you key and edge from the same side? I usually do opposite sides, but will give it a try now.

Thanks for sharing all of this valuable info, love the blog!

Robert Shaver April 25, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Here’s a detailed article by Art Adams about why he keys and fills from the same side:

Shane April 25, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Chris, I like what I call Key on Key, which is edging from the same side as you key from. Then I will let the shadow side go fairly dark, the fill also comes from right over camera never going to the opposite side that you key from. Then I will use depth lighting in the background to separate the dark side of the face.

Nor Domingo August 21, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Hi Shane!

I would like to make my own baton lights. Hope it’s okay. Do you have a patent pending on this design?:-)

I’m just wondering if I can use spot par 38 bulbs. I have trouble finding the R30s here in Manila.


Shane August 21, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Nor Domingo, those globes are a bitch to find. I am having a factory in China fires up to make them. I will be the sole supplier. You can purchase them from me in about 3 months. I am going through quality control on the globes right now. Then slow boating them over. Should be priced
Around 3.50 a globe.

Nor Domingo August 22, 2011 at 1:14 AM

Oh China. What can I say? You gotta love ’em. $3.50 is not bad. How long do the globes last do you reckon? Trying to figure if I should stock up on them. Thanks!

Shane August 22, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Nor Domingo, they last a long time because you rarely have them at full intensity. I usually run them at 35 to 55%.

Charles April 23, 2011 at 3:44 AM

That video is definitely the winner this week on the Internet. I was thrown out of my chair when the thing began to spin. Kino-flos are still great! Thanks for the inside information.

Josue April 25, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Hey Shane. That was a great video you shared with us. Thanks for keeping us future filmmakers informed with these creative ideas you come up with. I really admire your work.

Bill Hamell April 25, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Hey Shane,

Why colored lamps instead of gelling white ones?


Shane April 25, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Bill Hamell, higher output with flo’s that have the color in the tube.

Brian April 26, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Hi Shane, you didn’t mention using Divas. Do you prefer to use the classic Kinos over the Divas, and if so, why?

Shane April 27, 2011 at 1:54 AM

Brian, I have not found a place in my lighting design for that unit. I need to experiment with this unit more. I find that the Diva tubes are a much harder light quality so I have stayed away.

craigc April 26, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Shane, thanks for the info once again, the pics really help explain your thought process. I have always liked Kinos due to “feel” I get when I see how they play off of skin tones. Some of the newest LED fixtures tend to look right to the eye, however record funny color shifts. Anyway I really have never tried using Kinos as a way to “paint” in other colors. I would usually gel a tweenie or something. I’m gonna try tube colors the next chance I get.

Shane April 27, 2011 at 1:52 AM

craigc,Thank you so much for your support. I used to do the same, but now I hardly ever use gelled fresnels. I feel that it doesn’t feel natural.

David S April 28, 2011 at 11:21 AM

As always sincere thanks for sharing and educating us. What you share with us is what I’ve always wanted from American Cinematographer mag. I continually share you website and info with colleagues, students, and even my family. Thanks and keep up the great work.

Shane April 29, 2011 at 12:17 AM

David S, these are the comments that continue to inspire me and thank you so much for your support and continue to spread the word.

Baron May 7, 2011 at 4:16 AM

Hi Shane, with reference to the bottles and the dimmer; I know somehow this is good advice but I just don’t quite get the picture.

By bloom you mean the highlights slowly fade away? Forgive my ignorance, I’m trying to understand this concept because we frequently have to shoot bar counters and this would help us a lot.

Can you elaborate a little more?

Oli Kember May 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

I can’t believe you’re responsible for Honeycombs. Quite amazing, thank you for continuing to push the boundaries and not rest on your laurels. Very inspiring stuff.

Shane May 29, 2011 at 12:12 AM

Oli Kember, thank you so much for all of your kind words and support. I am glad you liked the interviews. Next is Kino Flo, this will blow your mind.

Oli Kember May 30, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Shane, you’ve got me very excited. Thanks for the heads up! There’s something I’d like to share with you but I’d rather not put it on the blog, is there a means by where I could send you an email/ more private message? Thanks again.

Shane May 31, 2011 at 12:24 AM

Oli Kember, please email me. Thanks

Ahmed August 18, 2015 at 5:17 AM

Hi Shane I have a Suggestion why you do not make A whole series about kino flo as advertising to it so we hunt two birds with the price of one bullet you get a good deal with kinoflo company and we as inner circle members get very infromative posts .I suggest entitle the series ” Beyond creative cinematography with kinoflo ” .

Shane August 31, 2015 at 8:50 AM

Working on the collaboration. Looking good for 2016. These relationships take time for all parties to understand the power of our community. Once they do, they are all in.


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