Lighting on Location.

In the middle of nowhere

Lighting was always a source of great hustle: it was heavy, bulky and bulbs were a nightmare. Now with LED lights everything changed.

For me it all started when I worked on Oxford Street Turning of the Lights advert. We drove into London with other cameraman and discussed on-camera lights. At a time I used to have Paglight C6 which was a bullet-proof bit of kit but the battery was very heavy and it was hanging over my shoulder on the belt. Hardly a good solution. And it did drive me nuts: the belt had a habit of catching pretty much everything and everyone on my way.

New little gem

So, this new little gem was introduced to me: HDV-Z96. It runs of the NPF battery as well as 5 AA batteries . If you are using AA’s 5 Duracell’s it will last you about 20 minutes to half an hour. NPF is very handy especially if you are using something like Sony Z1, Z5 or Z7. If your light runs off the same battery as your camera: you are laughing!

More to come

LED video lights are modular and you can even buy them in lots of 4. If you buy this unit it can run of 1 NPF battery. Awesome if your camera takes it. Then you just need to worry about one lot of batteries.

But, but, but and there is always this but that’s on the way!

It is great on location in super low light or even at night but it is really helpless when confronted by daylight. You can read about this unit of 4 lights here. So use this single light as a camera top light and you’ll be very happy. When you want a three point light on location (say some place where there is no electricity, you are in some remote village) then go for those lights. They are small, weigh next to nothing and CHEAP. Be aware that if you are using them as individual lights, you would require stands, just as those lovely babies, here Its about £10, so you can’t complain. In fact, they are built well. The other good thing about those tiny lights is that they come with plastic filters: daylight diffusion and tungsten. Both are attached with magnets so no hinges to clip or break.

Example print screens

Check out those print screens. I have used a unit of 4 lights and 3 individual lights to light the scene. I’ll let you be a judge of it (shot on Sony Z5)

Mike_1_lit with z96






Mike_2 lit with z96






Vera With Violin_lit with z96






Now, however, things evolve and change rapidly. There are some great led lights (some are also battery powered) such as those here

With those z96’s you can light the scene very quickly and shoot away!

Thanks for your kind attention and I’ll bring you more info soon.

Until next time,

Mike Bogatyrev.


About zinasemenova

Russian filmmaker and blogger at

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