Travelling 'light'. Tips for film-makers on the go.

I'm very fortunate that my job as a lighting camera operator takes me all over the world on jobs of various sizes and scales. I've shot commercials, live events, TV shows and loads of branded content. For smaller corporate jobs I tend to shoot, light and run sound. With that I'm often responsible for bringing all the kit to fulfill a production so keeping weight to a minimum is key, especially when traveling abroad.

travelling light - filmmaking kit

Today I'm going to focus particularly on lighting kits. I recently stumbled across the portable ice light and I couldn't be happier with it. There's numerous branded versions and the one I bought was YOUKOYI video light.

ice light

It's lightweight, bi-colour and kicks out a decent amount of stepable soft light. I now have two of these and a small reflector in my travelling kit and can comfortably light a talking head or add a bit of fill to some b-roll without breaking a sweat. The light lasts for 4 hours and is charged by USB. That's means I can charge my ice light on the move using an anchor power bank and be ready to hit the ground running. So far I'm over the moon with the ice light's performance and would recommend it for any travelling film-maker/ camera operator who's weight conscious.

ice light on standby for a commerical shoot in Manchester

(This image is from a recent commercial shoot where the ice light was on standby constantly to add that bit of fill light or ping a bit of light off some foreground detail.)

Camera sensors are so good nowadays that I could probably fulfill my job with one light and a reflector. Obviously this isn't an ideal setup and if budget allows I would always stress for more lights. In my heavy duty lighting bag that goes with me on most larger scale shoots includes 3 x LED panels, 3 large air cushioned stands, fairy lights, extension cables, gels, diffusion, croc clips, V-lock batteries and charger and you won't be surpised to know it weighs a ton. It is handy however to be able to light and shoot great content that fits into a rucksack.

I hope you guys found that useful and happy shooting.