Indie Filmmaking 101:
Light Fast and Shoot Fantastic with Rosco LEDs

A few months ago, we shared a story about how cinematographer Gabe Mayhan used our LitePad Vectors on a production he’d shot called Cured. Afterward, Gabe wrote us to thank us for including him in the blog and shared with us that he was about to begin shooting an indie-feature called “Lazy Eye” in Joshua Tree. Gabe told us “it’s a low-budget, 12-day shoot, and we are going to be relying a lot on LEDs.” After seeing what he was capable of doing with our LitePad Vectors, we sent him a Silk 210 LED fixture and a RoscoLED Tape Gaffer Kit to use on the production. Below is what he sent us when he got back.

In the world of indie filmmaking, the budgets are low and the days are packed to the brim with work. This is the norm, and Lazy Eye was no different…. except, in this case, we only had 12 days to shoot the whole darn thing! I knew that LED technology would prove to be invaluable to us because of how quickly we had to work and, of course, we needed to deliver an image that looked better than what our budget would afford. Welcome to Indie Filmmaking 101.


That’s when I turned to my friends at Rosco and asked about their LED Solutions. I knew that, because we would be moving at such a quick pace, we had to have something that would look great really quick. One of Rosco’s newest LED lights is the Silk 210 and, I have to say, that it leaves little to be desired. The features of this light allowed us to quickly get it into position – without a large footprint, without having to lay additional distro, and without setting up an entire grip jungle to color, shape and control it. Everything we needed was contained to the unit, including a bright and easy-to-read display, and intuitive, simple-to-use dials for dimming and color-temperature control. In addition, the Silk has Honeycomb Egg Crates that come in different degrees to give the unit a tighter throw. Outside of the unit’s dead on color-temperature and massive brightness, the egg crates are my favorite addition – and the most useful feature of this light, in my opinion.


The Silk 210 really came through for us on this shoot three ways:

  1. We were working in very tight quarters and the Silk allowed us to bring a larger, softer source into the set without sacrificing the composition or the comfort level of the crew.
  2. Working in the desert, heat very quickly became an issue – and the sound guys are always yelling about the AC being on! The Silk’s ability to run cool kept the working temperature of the location more comfortable than other fixtures that bright.
  3. The Silk also proved its worth on our night exteriors. We were able to use the units at a distance, which gave a perfect moonlight detail to our deep backgrounds. Typically this would have necessitated a 2K with a 1/2 CTB and an 1/8 Plusgreen – which would have meant extra time setting up the genny, laying out the distro run, cutting the gels, etc. With only a 12-day shoot – that was time we didn’t have. Thanks to the silk, we could just dial up our desired color-temp, slap a battery on the back of the unit, lock it down and bag it.  It’s worth noting here that we usually had to dial down the output!!

Rosco also sent us one of their RoscoLED Tape Gaffer Kit that we used to bring out the architecture of our sets. Specifically, we had a shot looking back into a dark kitchen, and I wanted to add depth and texture to the background without taking away from our foreground subject. I noticed that there were wonderful blue tiles underneath the cabinets and decided to accent those using some of the RoscoLED Tape. Thanks to their adhesive backing, we were able to simply stick the LED strips under the cabinet. A few extra minutes spent hiding the cabling along the lines of the cabinet-space and behind some set dressing and – voila! – it looked like lighting that had always been there!


Without the RoscoLED Tape, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the same effect. Using a fluorescent or a smaller fixture would have looked too much like a single source instead of something built-in and part of the environment. These little LED dandies are going to become a mainstay in our lighting packages from now on!

Be sure to visit the Silk 210 and RoscoLED Tape Gaffer Kit web pages to learn more about these useful filmmaking tools. If you’d like to see more of Gabe Mayhan’s work, visit his website and follow him on FacebookInstagram – or Twitter. “Lazy Eye” is currently in post-production and is looking for donations through their fiscal sponsor More Than Friends Film Funding – a non-profit, crowdfunding organization that supports LGBT and women filmmakers and their projects. Read this Indiewire article or visit the production’s website to learn more.



About Joel Svendsen

Content Marketing Manager: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. Joel's knowledge about Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our different marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.