Cinematographer Chris Vanderschaaf excels at high speed. He mainly operates at 1000fps and is a self-proclaimed lover of slow motion who has shot for commercials, action sports brands and music videos. As a motion control specialist ever in search of an LED fixture powerful enough to light 1000fps, Vanderschaaf recently tested the DMG Lumière MAXI Switch to see if it was up for the challenge. Below are his results.
Prior to a recent client shoot, Chris set up a slow-motion test at home featuring a can of soda pouring over a glass of ice. He set the MAXI about 14” away at 5600K and at full intensity. He was mainly testing to determine if the LED MAXI Switch was flicker-free at 1000fps. He found that not only was it flicker-free, the MAXI soft light didn’t produce any micro LED dots in the liquid reflection. As the key light, the MAXI produced a nice, big, soft source light, and he didn’t have to add any diffusion or a gigantic softbox to achieve this.
“Upon first opening the unit, I found it to be very user-friendly,” said Vanderschaaf. “The menu structure is simple to understand, and it’s a robust light that’s ready to go right out of the box. I was up and running fast.”
The slow-motion cooking and food styling footage that we’re accustomed to seeing in commercials is shot at very high speed, which requires a large, bright source light. Following his successful at-home test, Chris brought the MAXI onto his next job and put it to work as his key light for a food shoot with VIA Films in Portland, OR. The first part of the shoot involved capturing a chef cutting and chopping vegetables.
Using the same settings as his test footage (5600K @100%), Vanderschaaf was thrilled with the performance of the 2’x4’ MAXI Switch LED fixture throughout the duration of the shoot. “I love the cool-running LED units,” Vanderschaaf noted. “We usually have to bring in a higher wattage fixture to put out enough light for slow motion, and it heats up the room within five minutes. It’s also impressive that, as powerful as the MAXI is, it only draws 400 watts.” The MAXI Switch not only made the set more comfortable for the crew and the chef – it also kept the produce camera-ready longer because it didn’t wilt as fast as it would under traditional hot lights.
For the second part of the shoot, Vanderschaaf used a manual swing arm to capture movement at slow motion. He used the MAXI as the key from the top and the natural light coming in from the window as the backlight. Watch the video below to see the results from this setup.
After the shoot, Vanderschaaf not only shared with us how well the slim, lightweight MAXI Switch performed in his high-speed conditions, he also noted that “it’s a very rugged, capable unit that would be great for interviews.” Interestingly, he also mentioned that he could see “using the MAXI as a kind of ‘book light’ that is a quick step or two faster than the traditional set-up.” He’s not the first cinematographer to think that… and we have our previous Spectrum Blog post to prove it.
If you would like to see more of Chris Vanderschaaf’s work, follow him on Instagram @chrisvtv, visit his website: chrisv.tv, or explore the VIA Films website to see some of their premium stock footage and reels. To learn more about the LED soft light Chris used in his recent slo-mo video projects, be sure to visit the MAXI Switch product page on the DMG Lumière by Rosco website.