Director of Photography, Benedict Spence is the proud owner of the LiteTile and LiteMats, both of which were key fixtures when lighting comedy series, GameFace. Wanting to do the series and writer justice, Benedict describes how he used the LiteGear products to reflect the witty and tender emotions that resonates throughout this sitcom about navigating your thirties when you’re under-prepared.
“Andrew Chaplin and I shot the pilot for GameFace in 2013 but it wan’t until last year that we were given the whole 6 part series to shoot for E4 and Hulu. GameFace is a heartfelt story about a woman struggling through life, but also and more importantly, it’s very funny. Writer and star Roisin Conaty poured her heart and soul into the script, which is semi-autobiographical, so Andrew Chaplin and I were keen to really do it justice in terms of visual story telling.
From the start I knew we would be reliant upon LED sources a lot on the show. Being a UK comedy TV production the schedule was tight, and so was the budget. However I was lucky enough to get legendary gaffer Alan Martin to join us. A regular with John Matheson and Hoyte van Hoytema, Alan has lit huge films in the past. He had previously shot Witless for the BBC with Andrew Chaplin and myself. Cinelease provided us with a fantastic lighting package, with Arri M series lamps and a range of other kit.
I’m the proud owner of 2x LiteGear LiteMat 4’s and a 4×4 LiteTile kit and they were top of my lighting list. I find myself using both lamps on almost every single scene. They are large enough to be truly soft sources without any additional diffusion. They are also incredibly easy to control; the LiteMats have very efficient egg crates and I use a DoPchoice 4×4 SNAPGRID on the LiteTile.
On the bigger interior setups, with big daylight sources through windows, I find the LiteMats have enough output to work as front fill or backlight, and the LiteTile can work as a key quite happily. On smaller setups and scenes they both work fantastically as a key, fill or backlight. I love putting the LiteTile behind a 1/2 silk on a t-bar. It’s an incredibly fast- to-set up version of a wedge/book light, giving an almost identical quality of light, but needing about half the manpower to set up or move around set. Plus it’s dimmable to zero and colour temp tuneable!
Even with all the high-tech kit I so often fall back on simple Tungsten China Balls and covered wagons for night interior work. I love how natural yet flattering they look and when dimmed they really bring out the warmth in skin tone. On GameFace I was surprised to find that the LiteMat 4’s worked very well mixed in with the Tungsten China balls. I would often add something from a LiteMat, when I wanted something more controllable.
One of the big scenes in Episode 1 involved a dialogue and a stunt at the top of a tower, overlooking London and the Thames. I shot on Cooke 5i primes, which have a very fast stop of T1.4, director Andrew Chaplin and I really wanted London to feel alive with light. Again the LiteMats here were essential, like most LED sources they can be dialed to zero. However the size, and therefore softness, of them meant that they can be used as a soft, wraparound key without any frames or extra diffusion. Less work means faster setups, which means I can spend more time tuning the lighting, and more time on camera for the director!”