CREATE sets with acclaimed filmmakers

Read our interviews with acclaimed filmmakers and discover how to light up your sets like a pro.
Learn about their experience on set and why did they choose Digital Sputnik lights

 cinematographer Nigel Bluck

Nigel Bluck is known for his work on Deadpool (2016), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Home Song Stories (2007).
See his page here: http://www.nigelbluck.com/




  true detective (2014- now)




Synopsis: Seasonal anthology series in which police investigations unearth the personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within and outside the law.


Why Digital Sputnik?  


"I have been using the Sputnik lighting system for a year now and am still discovering new ways to use them. This is I feel one of the most flexible creative lighting tools out there, I literally try not to leave home without them! For me it's often the last-minute change that makes the difference - something you can't see until all the elements are finally in place and the camera is finally clear - this is where these tools shine - total color and intensity control from the camera wirelessly - Genius!” 

Bluck says he quickly embraced the faster shooting pace. "We'd do about 40 set ups a day, much more than on a typical feature".  

 
- "He gave the show an underexposed aesthetic, which was evident particularly in night scenes where the color temperatures of practicals were dimmed into dirty yellows and blacks take on a grungy orange tone. It's a look that reflects the toxic environs the characters inhabit. “I'm beating up the digital image to the point where it is screaming for light,” Bluck notes. “That's also how I like to shoot film. I work very closely with my DIT to just put things right on the edge of what's bearable. I knew this was a small screen finish, and I could push it that much further because noise is a little bit less of an issue.”

What is your setup? 

3x DS3 Advanced and 2 x DS6 and 2 x Mini Yokes Nigel owns his own DS lighting package which he uses on all the projects he shoots. He has 2 x DS6s for HMI replacements and 3 x DS3 Advanced systems when he needs to cover a larger area. The DS3 Advanced systems can be built out to DS9s and custom configurations using the Mini Yokes.


  New Zealander Nigel Bluck was the director of photography on the second season of True Detective.

 cinematographer Dante Spinotti

Dante Spinotti was born on August 24, 1943 and is an Italian cinematographer.
He is known for his work on  The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Heat (1995), L.A. Confidential (1997), The Insider (1999), and Wonder Boys (2000).





  the ant-man and the wasp (2018)




Synopsis: As Scott Lang balances being both a superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.


Why Digital Sputnik?  

'If you are looking to light like the legends of the industry then the DS9 is the way to go. "

"Giving you the longer throw granting your actors more freedom of movement. The DS9 was great when I needed a longer throw, and was amazing on faces. I am very keen on the tactile quality of the Digital Sputnik light emission and the shape of their beam. They don’t have the sometimes ‘sterile’ quality of other sophisticated LEDs. ” 

What is your setup? 

Camera: Arri Alexa 65

Lights:
DS9 Set Almighty DS9 3 x DS3 and mini yoke set.


 Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC (Ant-Man and the Wasp photos by Ben Rothstein. Courtesy of Marvel Studios.) 

 cinematographer Lisa Wiegand

Lisa Wiegand was born on October 20, 1968 in Michigan, USA.
She is known for her work on Mayans M.C. (2018), Chicago Fire (2012) and Detroit 1-8-7 (2010)



 Chicago justice (2017)


TV series synopsis: The State's Attorney's dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigates heated city politics and controversy head-on, while fearlessly pursuing justice.


Why Digital Sputnik?  

In an interview with the American Society of Cinematographers, Lisa explained how she chose our DS lights. 

'For location work, Digital Sputniks and Mole-Richardson Tener LEDs became the hero lights. “They blew my mind over and over again,” says Wiegand. “There is so much flexibility built into them, and they draw such a small amount of power.”

Wiegand first saw Digital Sputnik’s new line of modular LED lights onscreen in The Neon Demon, shot by Natasha Braier, ADF (AC July ’16). She then visited Digital Sputnik’s showroom in Sherman Oaks to see the units in person, and she ultimately selected the DS 1, DS 3 and DS 6 for use on Chicago Justice.
“The Sputniks were always with us everywhere we went,” Wiegand says. “And we always had a Sputnik sitting right off set with a battery mounted on it so if we didn’t want to run cable or we needed something really fast, a single person could fly that sucker in on a stand, and it was ready to go and had a lot of punch to it.”
Using his 12.9” iPad Pro, gaffer Ronald Dragosh controlled the Digital Sputniks via the company’s app, which allowed him to adjust the intensity and color. “Ronald had the biggest iPad you’ve ever seen,” jokes Wiegand. “His iPad could be a coffee table. He would sit there with that giant thing and be like a conductor with all the lights.”

  Full interview from American Society of Cinematographers " Chicago Justice can be read here

Lisa’s all-girl camera team on Chicago Justice were able to speed up their workflow by powering the DS1s with V-mount batteries while using app control.




What is your setup? 

Camera: Arri Alexa Lights: 2 x DS1s set


Justin Lubin/NBC
Lisa Wiegand on the set of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders with stand-in Jim Lindsey; at left: Harry Hamlin, as attorney Barry Levin


 cinematographer Markus Förderer

Markus Förderer was born on July 14, 1983 in Germany.
He is known for his work on Red Notice (2021), Skyscraper (2018) and Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

  Claudette Barius

 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)


Synopsis: Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind's new space defenses be enough?


Why Digital Sputnik?  

“With only a few minor exceptions, we lit the entire movie with RGBW LED fixtures. Working with RGBW LEDs is basically like grading on set, except you’re adjusting color timing with the lighting instead of manipulating a video file.

In an article from American Cinematographer (The Aliens Strike Back — Independence Day: Resurgence by Jay Holben) they are discussing how did they work with LED lights and what are their benefits and disadvantages. 

In prep, Förderer set several base looks for the mix of RGBW colors, which he would call “tungsten” and “daylight,” along with several other preset looks. “The out-of-the-box presets for daylight and tungsten didn’t really hit what I wanted, especially with the combination of our show LUT,” he explains.
“We created a few presets for each light so we could have a place to start, and then say, ‘Dial-in 10 percent more red,’ ‘5 percent less blue,’ ‘Make this one a little cooler, that one a little warmer, and pull some green out of that one.’ There were no gels at all; color was created in the fixtures themselves. It became like printer lights, and after a while it was just intuitive. Roland is so ambitious and there was so much coverage, there’s simply no downtime — you have to be efficient, and this system allowed us to move incredibly fast.”

"To maintain color consistency, Förderer primarily limited his choices of LED fixtures to two brands: LiteGear LiteRibbon LED strips and Digital Sputnik DS 6 LED fixtures. “One of the problems with LED technology is that the color and spectrum of the lights vary so much from manufacturer to manufacturer,” he notes. “Mixing and matching can be a nightmare, so I stuck with limited choices. Sometimes even various batches of LEDs from the same manufacturer can have a different spectrum, so we had to be careful.”
“We built the LiteRibbon into the set wherever it made sense,” the cinematographer explains. “When I needed something harder [and] punchier, I went with the Digital Sputnik fixtures, which are very powerful LED lights with narrow beams. You can group them in clusters, and they work as a great hard light.”


Full interview from American Cinematographer " The Aliens Strike Back — Independence Day: Resurgence" can be read here



 

What is your setup? 

Camera: Red Dragon Lights: DS6s and DS9s One of the first Hollywood studio feature films to be lit only with LED lights.



Useful tutorials  to work with DS lights are here




cinematographer Natasha braier

Natasha Braier was born December 11, 1974, and is an Argentinian cinematographer. 
Known for her work on "The Rover", " Gringo " and "XXY".


 The Neon Demon (2016)

Odoo • A picture with a caption
Theatrical release poster
Synopsis: An aspiring model, Jesse, is new to Los Angeles. However, her beauty and youth, which generate intense fascination and jealousy within the fashion industry, may prove themselves sinister.


Why Digital Sputnik?  

I played a lot with color on this film, and I couldn’t have done it without Digital Sputnik Lights, which can be set up very fast. The DS6s are a powerhouse of a light that packs a punch while giving you delicate and precise control over the hues. When not lighting subjects DS6s can double as beautiful set pieces, that can be up in no time. Even though the set packs impressive 1M lumens / 1400W peak output it is still light enough to be controlled with just a single iPhone. 

In an interview "Cinematographer Natasha Braier on Then Neon Demon" with Beth Marchant from "StudioDaily", Natasha explained the usage of DS lights:

"We used a fairly new LED lighting concept called Digital Sputnik. They have a showroom in L.A. but the headquarters and development is in Tallinn, Estonia. They are much stronger than most other LED cinema lights on the market. So you get more light for the size. Also, the developers all used to do post-production, so the lights are extremely precise in terms of mixing RGB and getting a number, so you can replicate color temps later. We rented some of the lights and they also lent a number to me. Their system really saved us a ton of time when gelling lights because we didn’t have to waste time experimenting. It was really fast and precise to change from one color to the next. It was so perfect for this film."

I also read that he is color blind. How did that affect the way you two worked together, especially on a film that radiates color across the spectrum?

"He does see a couple of colors. He sees blue and red, and that’s why all his films have such a strong presence of intense blue and red. But I was pretty clear that I didn’t want to use the same colors he always uses, so the variations we used were more cyan, turquoise and pink magenta. Sure, he loves intense colors because that’s what he can see. But his color blindness really served this movie, because of all the neon lights"


Full interview from StudioDaily, Natasha Braier talks about shooting "Neon Demon"  in more detail

 

What is your setup? 

Camera: Arri Alexa

DS lights used:

2x DS6s and 1x DS1 dual


Useful tutorials  to work with DS lights are here


Nicolas Winding Refn and Braier set a shot for a surreal sequence during the production of The Neon Demon (2016).
Photos are taken from the American Cinematographer webpage



cinematographer jess hall

Jess Hall was born on March 16, 1971 in England. 
He is known for his work on Hot Fuzz (2007), Grindhouse (2007), The Spectacular Now (2014) and Transcendence (2014).

 

ghost in the shell (2017)


Photo by Paramount Pictures

Film synopsis:  In the near future, Major Mira Killian is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals.


 

Why Digital Sputnik? 

The vast majority of the illumination was accomplished with DS6s, DS3s, and DS1 Digital Sputnik units. The Digital Sputniks are an essential tool, with great precision and flexibility.
Have an upcoming sci-fi feature to shoot then this will give you a great mobile package to light up your location while having full wireless control.

In an interview from British cinematographer,  Jess Hall talks about our lights in more detail:

"What research did you do as regards the lighting requirement? 

JH: The colour palette of anime films such as Ghost In The Shell and Innocence are unique. The quality of the light is elegant, considered, and highly-refined. As the film’s architecture in based on Hong Kong, I took around 2,000 photographs of the city during an early scout of its architecture, signage, and its unique properties, including the quality of atmospheric haze at night. I started to analyze and cross-reference these with the original anime.
The result was that I came up with a palette of 28 colours, my colour story for the film – a complex mix of subtle secondary colours, cyans, greys, violets, ambers, cool white light, as well as accent colours. The big creative challenge was how do you reproduce a palette of that complexity and then control it? I started experimenting with LED lighting in all its different guises, but initially most of the fixtures appeared a bit too crude in terms of their colour rendition, I could not get where I wanted to in terms of subtlety.
From my tests, I found that Digital Sputnik lights, with their six-channel colour mixing, were the most sympathetic to what I wanted to achieve. In addition, they maintained colour consistency throughout the range of dimming, critical as I was using many interacting lighting effects. I also wanted to use a lot of practical lighting and I knew there was going to be a lot of in-built lighting in the sets so I approached Mike Bauman at Lite Gear, to see how they might develop their four-channel RGBW fixtures. Ultimately we added Tungsten-white and amber to a prototype light and manufactured six-channel LED lighting strips. This developed into a unified strip and manufactured it into a product called the Cine 6. They also adapted their LiteMats to suit my purposes, as well as creating many custom fixtures, which we built into sets, props and costumes.
At this point I knew that I could mix the complexity of colour I desired, but I also wanted my colour palette to be universal, to be available on every lighting fixture I was going to use. Along with the Digital Sputnik and Lite Gear fixtures, I knew I would require RGB fresnels so I selected ARRI L5, L7, and L10s. ARRI SkyPanels were deployed in soft boxes along with Creamsource Sky lights. I used a spectrometer to analyse the RGB values of each of my 28 colours. This base was fed into other units in order to replicate the palette. Ultimately each colour on each unit was subject to the interpretation of the camera, so mixing by eye to the monitors in P3 colour space with a LUT was the only way to guarantee total accuracy. It was quite a long and involved process, but we got there in the end."


The full interview with Jess Hall about "Ghost in the Shell"

 

What is your setup?

Camera: Arri Alexa 65

DS lights used:

4 x DS6s 2 x DS3 Advanced 4 x DS1s


Useful tutorials to work with DS lights are here



Photo is taken from https://britishcinematographer.co.uk/jess-hall-bsc-ghost-shell/