Home Equipment Lighting Techniques: Using a theatrical light to save time, decrease crew size and save on grip gear

Lighting Techniques: Using a theatrical light to save time, decrease crew size and save on grip gear

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC


@shanehurlbutasc

I wanted to continue my instruction on shaping light techniques with using specific theatrical lights. Hold on, how does a light shape itself? Well, the ETC Source 4 Leko light is like having a grip and flag package inside your light.

Tungsten 500 Watt ETC SOURCE 4 Leko

Tungsten 500 Watt ETC SOURCE 4 Leko

Tungsten 750 Watt ETC SOURCE 4 Leko

Tungsten 750 Watt ETC SOURCE 4 Leko

I am not talking about barn doors that control a little, but more like having a whole flag arsenal at your fingertips. Not many people understand the power of these lights. They are not movie lights; they are meant for theater and stage plays, right?!

WRONG!!!!!

Hard Light

As we have discussed in the past in this post on Shaping Hard Light, hard light can be controlled with a series of flags and c-stands.

Shane shaping hard light

Shane shaping hard light

The light has no “light control” around it and light is spilling around the room

The light has no “light control” around it and light is spilling around the room

Notice the bottomer, topper, lamp left sider, and lamp right sider

Notice the bottomer, topper, lamp left sider, and lamp right sider

View from the opposite side

View from the opposite side

But what if you do not have a crew to deploy it, or a truck to carry all of it?

The Source Four Leko is a powerful tool. The leaves here allow you to shape and control your light.

The Source Four Leko is a powerful tool. The leaves here allow you to shape and control your light.

Have I got you yet?
Just because a light is made for the stage doesn’t mean it should not be one of the most powerful tools in your lighting kit.

What is a Leko?

A Leko is a theatrical light that uses a series of different lens barrels to project a beam of powerful light to exactly where you want it. The lens barrels come in differing degrees where the higher number means that it will spread the beam wider and a smaller number will be less of a spread.

5 Degree Leko

5 Degree Leko

10 Degree Leko

10 Degree Leko

19°, 26°, 36°, 50° Lekos

19°, 26°, 36°, 50° Lekos

Different lens barrel lengths and light spread

Different lens barrel lengths and light spread

A 36° lens barrel will give you more spread than a 19°lens barrel.

We used four different source 4 Leko barrels set up twelve feet from a wall, measured the spread, and made light meter readings at 800 ISO in the center of the light pools for them so you can see the difference between the barrels. The barrels we used were: 19°, 26°, 36°, and 50°.

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What is a Leaf?

This light is powerful. You can use the lens barrels to control the width of the beam. You can also shape it with leaves that are like having a grip and flags inside your light. Because this is an ellipsoidal light, it projects the light through a lens like a movie projector and that can be shaped internally with these four leaves that can cut the top, the bottom and both sides of the beam. This is not a soft cut. Well, let me rephrase that. You can make your cut soft if you would like or you can make it very hard. With a Fresnel light, the barn doors will only deliver a soft shadow, where the Leko can give you whatever softness or hardness you would like.

Fresnel light with barn doors

Fresnel light with barn doors

Fresnel with barn doors, light pool on wall

Fresnel with barn doors, light pool on wall

Source 4 Leko Light with 26° Barrel

Source 4 Leko Light with 26° Barrel

Source 4 Leko light with 26° barrel light on wall. Notice the sharpness of light created with leaves.

Source 4 Leko light with 26° barrel light on wall. Notice the sharpness of light created with leaves.

leaf handles

leaf handles

Looking into the barrel at the four leaves, making a square here

Looking into the barrel at the four leaves, making a square here

Close up of the Leko leaves

Close up of the Leko leaves

What is an Iris?

Not only can you use the leaves to control the light pattern, you can also use an iris that comes with the Leko to shape your pattern of light. These are awesome tools to create pools of lights in bars, clubs, highlight works of art on walls, statues, create shafts of lights, etc.

Leko Iris

Leko Iris

Notice the small pool of light created by controlling the iris

Notice the small pool of light created by controlling the iris

The iris gradually opens to increase the size of the pool of light

The iris gradually opens to increase the size of the pool of light

The iris is almost all the way open.

The iris is almost all the way open.

The iris is all the way open here. Notice the size of the pool of light.

The iris is all the way open here. Notice the size of the pool of light.

Notice the blue pools of light on the floor from overhead Lekos.

Notice the blue pools of light on the floor from overhead Lekos.

Notice the pools of pink and green light on the floor.

Notice the pools of pink and green light on the floor.

Notice the pools of pink and green light on the floor. Also notice that the spot of light focused on the table is lit by a Leko overhead.

Notice the pools of pink and green light on the floor. Also notice that the spot of light focused on the table is lit by a Leko overhead.

Leko light and smoke from The Rat Pack

Leko light and smoke from The Rat Pack

Notice the Leko light pool on the ground and the use of smoke in this shot from The Rat Pack.

Notice the Leko light pool on the ground and the use of smoke in this shot from The Rat Pack.

What is a Pattern Holder?

Not only can you use the leaves, an iris and a donut to control the light beam, you can also use a pattern holder to project images, shapes and even logos. I have used this many times to put hot patterns out of focus in backgrounds that deliver beautiful bokeh or patterns to emulate tree dapple, or venetian blinds. You name it, Rosco has a pattern for you.
Rosco pattern library

You can send a logo to Rosco and they will make you a pattern to project on walls.

Rosco Gobo - Venetian Blinds

Rosco Gobo – Venetian Blinds

Rosco Gobo - 3x3 Tall Window

Rosco Gobo – 3×3 Tall Window

Rosco Gobo - Leaf Breakup (Small) Pattern

Rosco Gobo – Leaf Breakup (Small) Pattern

Rosco Gobo - Stucco Leaves

Rosco Gobo – Stucco Leaves

Rosco Gobo - Stippled - Blue Red Lavender

Rosco Gobo – Stippled – Blue Red Lavender

Rosco Cool Ink HD Gobos

Rosco Cool Ink HD Gobos

 

2014 Hurlbut Visuals Versatility in Filmmaking Educational Event with our logos projected on the wall

2014 Hurlbut Visuals Versatility in Filmmaking Educational Event with our logos projected on the wall

What is a Donut?

No, it is not a delicious treat. It is a device that helps create even harder shadows out of a Leko light. It slides in the front of the lens barrel and helps define the beam better out of the light and eliminates the wall, the person, or the bounce card from seeing the whole face of the lit lens barrel.

Here is a Leko light without the donut.

26° leko light without donut

26° leko light without donut

Inserting the big donut into the front of the Leko

Inserting the big donut into the front of the Leko

The big donut is being slid in front of the light beam in the below picture:

Close up of the donut being slid in front of the front of the barrel

Close up of the donut being slid in front of the front of the barrel

Once the donut has been put in, the beam is defined.

Front of the Leko barrel with the big donut

Front of the Leko barrel with the big donut

Side by side comparison of light with and without the big donut

Side by side comparison of light with and without the big donut

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Here is a picture of the small donut being put in front of the Leko barrel:

Small donut being put in front of the Leko barrel

Small donut being put in front of the Leko barrel

Below is what the front lens barrel looks like with the small donut placed in. Notice how the beam is now defined with the smaller space for the light to go through.

Front of Leko barrel with the small donut in place. Notice the smaller space for light

Front of Leko barrel with the small donut in place. Notice the smaller space for light.

Below are images showing the Leko without the small donut, and with the small donut. The small donut also creates nice sharp edges in the light:

Side by side comparison of no donut on the light, versus the light with the small donut.

Side by side comparison of no donut on the light, versus the light with the small donut.

Here is a picture of the light without the donuts, with the big donut, and with the small donut so you can compare the sharpness:

Side by side comparison of no donut, with the big donut, and with the small donut

Side by side comparison of no donut, with the big donut, and with the small donut

I am going to use black wrap instead of buying the expensive donut. A little DIY solution here.

We also took light meter readings of the 26 degree Leko without the donuts, with the big donut, and with the small donut so that we could find the F-Stop loss.

The three light meter readings from left to right: No donut, big donut, small donut

The three light meter readings from left to right: No donut, big donut, small donut

The DIY donuts can also be used when projecting custom Gobos to sharpen the image.

Hurlbut Visuals Gobo projected with a Leko without a donut

Hurlbut Visuals Gobo projected with a Leko without a donut

Hurlbut Visuals Gobo projected with a Leko and a big donut. Notice the increased sharpness.

Hurlbut Visuals Gobo projected with a Leko and a big donut. Notice the increased sharpness.

Hurlbut Visuals Gobo projected with a Leko and a small donut. Notice the sharpness in comparison to the projection without any donuts.

Hurlbut Visuals Gobo projected with a Leko and a small donut. Notice the sharpness in comparison to the projection without any donuts.

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

How much does this baby cost?

Well, that is the beauty. You can pick these lights up very cheap. Just over 1 will get you set up for success with all the bells and whistles I described above.

SHANE’S LEKO PACKAGE

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In Conclusion

There is not much that this light cannot do. You can clearly see how this light will save time and increase your lighting speed exponentially.

Shane’s Inner Circle members got to see  how I use this theatrical tool in tungsten as well as its new LED form to light with in many circumstances. Don’t miss out on articles like these – sign up today!

New LED ETC SOURCE 4 Line

My 25 years of shooting movies in many different environments has given me the experience to share these tips with all of you. This playbook will propel you ahead of your competition.

Learn even more tips and tricks in Shane’s Inner Circle.

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2 comments

Ahmed December 21, 2016 at 9:13 AM

Very awesome article break all the books we memorized, Kindly may you compare between this cheap baby and dedo fixture
Regards
Ahmed

Reply
Richard April 12, 2017 at 4:37 AM

Well written article with good informations!!

Reply

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