DMG DASH™ Octa Kit: How All Eight Fixtures Were Used To Light A Short Film

When we released the DMG DASH Octa Kit, we also introduced the concept of “What Can You Create With Eight DMG DASH Lights.” LA-based Cinematographer Sarah Whelden saw the posts and took on the challenge expertly when she put the eight-light kit to work on a recent project. She had the kit on set while filming a short film entitled Tight, and found herself using all eight DMG DASH lights from the kit in the final scene. Sarah walks us through how she used the DMG DASH fixtures below.

A lighting diagram showing how Sarah Whelden used DMG DASH fixtures in her lighting setup."The DASH units are incredibly flexible and were a solution to so many of our needs on set!"
Sarah Wheldon

The final scene of our short opens on a large dolly move that leaves little room off-screen for lights. The DASH lights worked beautifully for hiding in nooks and crannies to light our talent, intensify practical sources, boost ambiance, and create interesting accents throughout the space. When all was said and done, we had the entire 8-light kit in play alongside some of the larger DMG lights hiding in hallways and coming in through windows.

Two DMG DASH For Color Contrast

One DMG DASH is hidden in a fountain to create a warm glow, while another DMG DASH is mounted above the fountain to illuminate the wall in warm light.

Walking through the scene, as our talent leaves the foyer (where he is lit by a DMG SL1) we truck left to follow him into the next space. There was a no-longer functional fountain built into the exterior wall of the house that the camera passes by. It looked rather unintentional and out of place, so I hid a DMG DASH (#1) in the bottom of the bowl to create a sconce effect, which was ominous and fitting.

The color contrast between the blue ambiance spilling onto the sides of the house and the warm incandescent light coming from the bowl, however, was too much, So, my gaffer, Ryan Kuna, had the thought of putting another DMG DASH (#2) above that was matched to the film stock (3200K), which added some warmth to the entire wall. I really loved the way this all turned out.

Two DMG DASH For Visual Effects

Two DMG DASH lights “Firelight" mode are placed on a bookshelf to create an eery, warm light in the background of the scene.

We liked the mystery of the dark dining room as our character enters. This connects the audience with our character’s POV by revealing the space to both of us at the same time when he flips on our gag light (which the DMG MINI was perfect for). But we needed something to separate him from the background or else the camera move would begin to feel strange and unmotivated. Two DASH lights (#3 & #4) in “Firelight” mode were placed on a bookshelf behind the actor. This created separation with a really eerie candle effect, while giving us enough level to properly expose to 100ASA.

A screenshot showing how the warm DMG DASH lights helped create separation of the actor and the background in the scene.

Two DMG DASH To Amplify Moonlight

We had an ambient moonlight fill coming in through a window in the kitchen, but as he approaches the French doors, we were losing his face a bit. Another DMG DASH (#5) unit with the DOT Round Diffuser attachment placed right on the counter gave the feeling of the light softly skipping off the counter. It felt slightly disconnected from the window source, however, so we added a second DMG DASH (#6) on the windowsill to help wrap the light. It all feels very seamless to me on playback.

Two DMG DASH lights add extra moonlight into the scene. One DMG DASH with a the DOT Diffuser is on the counter and another DMG DASH is in the windowsill.

Two DMG DASH To Enhance Practical Lighting

The actor makes his way back into the living room, eventually landing in a chair by a lamp on the other side of the room. We used the final two DASH units (#7 & #8) on an extruding mantle nearby. This gave the effect of the lamp providing the illumination on his face, without blowing out the fixture itself. The extra width from putting them side-by-side added just a touch of softness to the source, which really sold the effect.

The light output from a practical lamp in the scene is supplemented by two DMG DASH lights that were placed on the nearby mantle.

DMG DASH Octa Kit: Final Thoughts

Given our very small team, I loved that I could come in and move the DASH units around to add a quick pop where we needed it as we moved through the coverage in the scene. In our opening shot, I was able to place seven of the eight lights onto preexisting surfaces without any grip gear, which saved us a lot of time. The Magnetic Mount Accessories in the kit especially came in clutch a few times. Towards the end of the scene, we ended up pulling out the LINK4 from the kit and combined four of the DASH lights together to give us a mobile key light with a little more punch.

Four DMG DASH units connected together with LINK4 are used to create a brighter key light in the scene.

At the end of the night, the kit was so well organized that it was easy to spot if anything was left behind, and easier yet to put everything on charge for the next day.

With an entire scene as her DMG DASH playground, Sarah Whelden was able to find several different ways to use all eight of the unique pocket-sized LED lights inside the DMG DASH Octa Kit. We appreciated the unique ways that she put them to work illuminating her characters, applying contrasting colors into the scene, and emphasizing practical lights that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. If you would like to learn more about Cinematographer Sarah Whelden, then you can check out her website at or you can follow @sarahmakesmovies on Instagram.

Photo Credits: Sarah Whelden

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Lacey Colter December 07, 2023 Questions?

About Lacey Colter

Marketing Manager - Film/TV/Broadcast: Lacey Colter has been working in the entertainment industry since 2015. She started in production before transitioning to a cinema lens manufacturer and now covers the film and television market for Rosco. She has spent years of her career interviewing a variety of industry professionals.