When photographing surveillance, I kind of feel like a sniper. You have someone in your sight — they have no clue — and then you gently squeeze the shutter. Bang — you shot them.
Well, kind of, with a camera of course.
My name is Mike Kubeisy, and I’m a Hollywood still photographer. I’m taking a break from the sets of Hollywood to share something so awesome with you, the Photofocus family.
I was recently given a Lume Cube Professional Kit to try out in my photography workflow. These small, yet very powerful lights are nothing short of amazing. They are very impactful and have a very tactical application to them.
Ready, set, action!
I was recently photographing some surveillance images of a couple characters on the TV show, “NCIS.” Usually, if talent are in a car, I immediately use a polarizing filter (a “pola”) to dial out any reflected light, and then I shoot. Occasionally the interior of the car could be dark so I would have to try and get some light onto the dash to light up the talent’s face. Not as easy as it sounds — lights are cumbersome, and then Local 728 has to power them up (it’s a union thing).
In the photo below, the pola is doing its job; however, there’s no light on the talent. Another challenge I had was the tinting strip on the top of the windshield.
There is a new technology called Quasars. They’re pretty cool fluorescent looking tubes that you can charge and then control the light output. The problem is they’re too long to hide in the dash of a car, not to mention the system is expensive for the task at hand.
Queue in the star of this review, the Lume Cube. These little lights are the size of a GoPro and have enough power to light up a driver and his accomplice. The accessories that are included give you the ability to light up or highlight just about anything you would be shooting. The app is also very intuitive — it allows you to adjust the output of the Lume Cube and also show the battery level. In addition, it allows you to control all the Lume Cubes you are using.
A side note here, let’s go to Craft Service where all the goodies are. The Professional Kit includes two Lume Cubes and all the accessories you see in the photo.
Let me say this kit is complete! The cool thing is Lume Cube updated the kit to a 2.0 version with more power and longer battery life, which is great cause you never know how long your shoot will go.
Back to the set
Now let’s add some Lume Cubes. As you can see these lights are small and get the job done. I put the diffusion domes onto the Lume Cubes so that I wouldn’t create harsh shadows.
As you can see with the addition of the Lume Cubes, by having the actor lean forward to stay out of the tinted strip, I was able to capture the talent and recognize him.
This was all captured when I was standing on a 10-step ladder while controlling the light output from my phone with the app.
The Lume Cubes made my job easier, with minimal time spent on setting up. The image isn’t really all that exciting, but it’s a small part of the whole episode of “NCIS,” the top-ranked show in the world.
I would challenge you to get a few of these Lume Cubes and take your skills up to the next level.
Fade to black. That’s a wrap.