Leopold "Leo" Naessens is a UK-based gaffer who has worked on a variety of film productions throughout the country, as well as a handful of virtual productions with Epic Games. On his most recent production, Leo was able to bring the power and versatility of Rosco DMG Lights onto the set of the hit series Gangs of London for Sky Studios. Where speed was necessary and flexibility was paramount, the adaptable nature of the DMG Lights was precisely what the production needed.
Leo joined as a gaffer on Gangs of London midway through filming the second season. He quickly adapted to the production's rapidly changing schedules and location moves. According to Leo, he enjoys these types of challenges because then he’s always on his toes, apt to come up with a creative solution to any issue. With the lightweight and adaptable range of DMG Lighting fixtures in his kit, he was ready to tackle any challenge. Below are three ways Leo put his DMG Lights to work on set.
Illuminating Car Scenes Inside An LED Volume
One demanding aspect of the production was filming inside an LED Volume where his team was tasked with shooting up to 12 scenes a day. They had a car rigged in the center with driving plates surrounding it. For this car scene, Leo put the smallest and the biggest fixtures of the DMG Lighting range to work: the compact DMG DASH™ and the powerful DMG MAXI™.
Leo shared that he used four DMG MAXI Lights to create highlights along the entire length of the car on both sides. He achieved this by rigging two DMG MAXIS side by side to essentially create one 8’ x 1’ light. He described how he equipped the fixtures with SNAPBAGS to soften the light, allowing him to create a cloud effect to highlight the car. Attaching two DMG MAXI Lights together created the ideal sized light because it was long enough to cover the entirety of the car without being so long that he had to worry about light spilling over.
In order to light inside the car, Leo used a DMG DASH equipped with a DOT Round Diffuser to provide an eye light for the actors. He described the DMG DASH as small and uncomplicated and he appreciated how easy it was to rig them to the dashboard or the headrest as needed. “The DASH is ideal for situations where there isn’t much room to place a light, but you still need a little something to add to the scene.”
Creating A Realistic Fiery Glow With DMG DASH
Leo also shared how a DMG DASH also became the star of a shisha lounge scene. He placed a DASH unit into a small charcoal oven to replicate the glow of hot coals. The fixture was installed alongside a couple of actual burning coals, which sold the effect so well that even Leo thought they had lit a real fire inside the oven and he worried about the safety of his equipment. Although it was a small effect, having the charcoal glow was essential because an actor ended up throwing some of the “hot coals” from around the DMG DASH (the ones that weren’t actually hot) into the face of their opponent during a fight scene in the lounge. You can watch the whole scene below.
Utilizing The Intense Power Of A Triple DMG MAXI
Leo's final story was about a night exterior scene that they were setting up in the forest. The DoP requested a large HMI, but Leo knew he could use his DMG Lights to deliver on the DoP’s vision, while also providing a time-saving solution. While a crewmember was rigging the originally requested HMI, Leo also pulled out his Triple DMG MAXI setup that had three DMG MAXI fixtures linked together using the DMG MAXI Triple Yoke.
Leo shared that he always keeps a Triple DMG MAXI rigged up in his truck for this very reason. The sturdy lightweight combination of three powerful DMG MAXI fixtures can provide more light in less time with less power than other traditional solutions.
In the time it took his crewmember to even begin assembling the HMI, Leo was already showing the capabilities of the Triple DMG MAXI to the DoP. Leo described how the DoP, assuming it was at full power, was impressed by the strength of the light. You can imagine how impressed he was then when Leo told him that he only had the light set at 12%. Needless to say, they saved the HMI and shot the scene with the Triple DMG MAXI. Without the need for additional diffusion frames, larger stands, or physical gels, the Triple DMG MAXI enabled Leo to provide more time to the director, the actors on set, and his fellow crew members.
Even with all of the hurdles he had to overcome while working on Gangs of London, Leo was able to rely on the strengths and features of his DMG Lights. He described how they were easy to teach to his crew, adaptable to the changing sets of the show, subtle when needed, and powerful when necessary.
Many thanks to Gaffer Leopold Naessens for sharing his story with us. Make sure to follow @leopoldnaessens on Instagram to see what Leo's working on next. If you’d like to learn more about the versatile set lighting solutions he used while shooting season two of Gangs of London – please explore the DMG Lighting product page on the Rosco website.