ARRI L7 lights in action
DP Andrés Lizana Prado speaks with ARRI about his career to date, the lights he enjoys using, and the showreel he recently shot to promote ARRI's L-Series range of LED Fresnel fixtures...
How did you first get into filmmaking?
My parents emigrated from Chile to West Berlin when I was a child; I became interested in stills photography at an early age and at some point I was inspired to switch into filmmaking. In the late 90s I began as a set-runner on TV shows and was quickly hired as a camera intern. After that I got my first jobs as a camera assistant on feature film productions shooting in Potsdam-Babelsberg. Since then I have worked as a first assistant cameraman, underwater cameraman and recently as a cinematographer.
ARRI's L-Series line of LED Fresnels is based on a few core concepts: tuneability, color fidelity and quality. This video showcases the L-Series' unrivaled manufacturing process and its features, cost savings, and versatility in the field.
What did shooting the L-Series showreel involve?
We were shooting on location at the ARRI production facility in Stephanskirchen, Bavaria, and at a TV studio in Berlin. This was a very interesting project, as we were actually using L7 LED fixtures to light up the set. It was fascinating to take a look at the manufacturing process and I was amazed to see the production site where these fixtures are put through such rigorous tests. It was also great to see that the workers who assemble the L7 lights have their working space lit by those very same fixtures. Although the setting was sometimes quite industrial, the light from the L7s created a natural and pleasing look.
What equipment was used to shoot the showreel?
Well of course we used the whole range of L7 LED fixtures, but we also had two other types of lamphead on the set -- the ARRIMAX 18/12 and ARRI M18. The camera equipment was also from ARRI; we had an ALEXA XT with a set of ARRI Master Primes and a 16.5-110 mm Master Zoom. Fortunately, when you shoot a project for ARRI, you are automatically working with the best equipment available.
Did you push the L7 fixtures to provide creative lighting solutions?
Absolutely. There was an interior night scene in a small studio space dressed to look like a hotel room. We used the color-controllable L7-C fixture to create an effect of city lights coming through the window, with the light bounced in from outside and the colors and intervals changing. Then we used a tungsten-balanced L7-T with Chimera as a fill light, and another L7-T as a down light.
I have to say that I was struck by the robustness and reliability of the L7 fixtures. The fact that they are compact and lightweight means that working with them is fast and flexible; it gives more space for creativity, freedom and spontaneity. It was a really positive experience, shooting the L7 promo film, and I am very pleased with the result.
What types of lights do you regularly use on your other projects?
Since the introduction of the ARRI M-Series I have frequently used the M40 and M18, because then I usually don't need a generator, and yet these lamps have extremely good light output. In fact the M-Series lights are my current favorites, as they create superb light and are universally useful. For night scenes, I'm a fan of the soft light created by balloon lights, but I also like to try out new things. For my next project I am looking forward to trying the new ARRI M8. In general, I always have a few fluorescent lights or LEDs with me, but the exact lamp choice is of course dependent on the project.
I like working with ARRI lights simply because they are very reliable products, with which I practically never have problems. They are very durable, and can withstand the harsh conditions that you sometimes get on set. Basically, ARRI lights are the absolute highest quality one can get. For the size of each lamp, they provide an outstanding light output and generate beautiful light.
In your career, what is the project you've most enjoyed working on?
All my projects so far have been very nice experiences. I love working on feature films, and one that I particularly enjoyed was THE PIANIST, by Roman Polanski. However, what actually makes this job so fascinating and challenging is the diversity of projects you can find yourself working on. I am always open to new experiences.
And finally, what is your favorite movie?
It would have to be LÉON - THE PROFESSIONAL, by Luc Besson!