Cinematographer Michael Svitak was recently hired by Home Helpers – a company that provides senior and in-home care professionals in 900 communities across North America – to shoot a series of “documentary-style” videos that would celebrate each of the nominees for their 2017 Exceptional Caregiver of the Year Awards. The project would take Mike and his crew across the US on a very tight time schedule, which meant they needed to select their gear carefully so that they could travel light and still produce high-quality video-content. Mike decided that the Silk 210 Kit was the perfect light to be his key light for the project and below he recounts how the light performed for him while on the road.
In February 2017, Director Jeannette Godoy asked me to shoot ten short films for the company Home Helpers. They would highlight the company’s top nominees for their Exceptional Caregiver of the Year Award. It was an unforgettable, 24-day shoot that would take a crew of four, which included Godoy, Chris Ruiz – Producer, David Weldon – Gaffer/AC and myself as DP, across the USA.
Cinematographers in today’s industry must be versatile, and that goes for the equipment we use to capture the imagery that will translate into emotion. Each selection of camera, lens, filter, diffusion and light must add value to the project. Due to the nature of this particular job, we would be traveling with all of our equipment through airports and on the road in a minivan, so space would be tight and production wanted to keep the excess baggage fees to a minimum. I chose to shoot Sony FS7 paired with Leica R lenses provided by Revolution Cinema Rentals and knew that I needed at least one strong key light that would keep our look consistent wherever we shot.
I had used the Rosco Silk 210 Kit on several commercials in the past with very positive results. The Silk 210 is light (only 13 lbs), nimble (21.9” x 13.9” x 3.9” – including yoke), battery powered (or 110/240 AC), dimmable and, most importantly, has full true-color control from 2800K to 6500K. Because of my prior, positive experience with the fixture, I chose to use the Silk 210 as the primary light on the Home Helpers project due to its clean, soft quality of light. We didn’t have the luxury to bring along a significant amount of grip and lighting equipment and I knew we’d be walking into unknown environments daily. With the Silk 210 Kit along, I was confidently set up for success.
Because the Sony FS7 only has 3 color settings when shooting Slog3 in 4K: 3200K, 4300K and 5500K, I really needed a light that could fluctuate in between those temperatures to produce clean skin tones on our subjects. We added a Softbox to our Silk 210 Kit for interviews and occasionally bounced its light off the ceiling or wall for added ambiance.
The Silk 210 went everywhere. Having the ability to be mobile with the Silk 210 was invaluable. In terms of color quality and flexibility, the Silk performs exceptionally well. In addition, the Silk 210 Kit is incredibly simple to use; we had zero issues with it in transit, and the light functioned excellently in diverse weather conditions.
When looking back at the footage at the end of the day, I was extremely pleased with the results of the Silk 210 and would recommend it to anyone needing to create high-quality lighting conditions while staying mobile. The Silk 210 is a remarkably valuable light that can be used for key, fill and backlight, or simply as an eyelight. It’s become my go-to source for any application and it’s always close by when I need it.
If you’d like to see more of the interviews Michael and his crew shot for Home Helpers, visit their Exceptional Caregiver Award Page. You can also see more of Michael Svitak’s work on his website: www.michaelsvitak.com. Be sure to explore the Silk 210 Kit Product Page to learn how this compact, versatile LED soft light can be the key to successful illumination on your next project.