Definition July 2021 - Web


ABOVE Astera lighting became a key aspect when focusing on the actors, whether from above or on the side. Its versatility meant Alicia Robbins could deliver a warmer or cooler atmosphere with ease

“Astera lights can be dialled into the RGB colour space, which makes them easy to adjust on the fly” possible to place the sources in areas that were harder to get to – such as under or behind furniture, or in a plant.” The ability to stick the tubes to any wall to add a pop of light was especially useful for long walk-and-talk Steadicam shots, where the occasional dead zone for light is to be expected. “When you’re moving down hospital hallways, there aren’t many convenient places to put a key light, because of their narrow nature,” says Robbins. “Being able to hang either the bare bulb Astera tube, or an Astera tube in Kino Flo housing, was the best way to get light into the tighter areas. “We placed tubes vertically behind the door frames that the actors walked through, and also tucked one into the place where the wall meets the ceiling to give the actors a light from above. This helped us feel the light change from different directions. So, in one section it was mostly coming from overhead, then – as the actors crossed the threshold – the light would come in more from the side.” Once the lights were put into place, Robbins could focus on the colour control. Luckily, Astera lights can be dialled into the RGB colour space, which makes them easy to adjust on the fly.

“Before rolling the cameras, my gaffer and I would watch the actors rehearsing and decide how we wanted the scene to look. If we wanted to make it a bit warmer or cooler, he’d call it in over a walkie to our board operator with the DMX number associated with the unit, and get them to dial it in – using very small increments. And the colour quality was very good. “This was also the first season of Grey’s Anatomy that utilised mostly LED technology. Previously, colour adjustments were made by placing gels on tungsten sources, which can be quite time-consuming – not a good option for us, due to on-set Covid-19 restrictions that permitted us to work just ten hours a day.” The requirement for social distancing also made the Asteras a great choice. Not only for their ability to be adjusted on the fly and away from actors, but because they demand fewer electricians. Robbins explains: “Rather than one electrician set up the lighting, and another run the power, we only needed one to set the lights up, since there are no cables involved. This helped keep more of our crew separated and helped with multitasking the lighting.” To buy, rent or discover more about Astera LED tubes, go to

seen reflected in the shield. But in this instance, it didn’t matter, because Asteras are very similar to the lights you’d find in a real hospital – and looked completely natural to the scene. This was not the case for other sources, which needed to be painted out in post.” Uniquely, Asteras fit into Kino Flo housing, which meant that Robbins was able to position the Titan and AX1 tubes overhead without running any sort of power. These were then remotely controlled using the Astera box that talks wirelessly to the dimmer board. “Putting them in Kino Flo cases made it quicker to hang, especially since they’re already constructed with side doors for light control – and with a mounting bracket that can go on either a C-stand, or be hung overhead from the built-in lighting grid on the stages,” says Robbins. “But there were times when we could hang the tubes on their own without the casing; simply by using clips that could grab the bare Astera tube and literally screw the tube to the wall. This made it


JULY 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 23

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