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Old May 13th, 2008, 07:48 PM   #1
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Lighting setup for Cities of the Underwold...

Does anyone know about how lighting is set up for shows like "Cities of the Underworld" on the History Channel?

My initial guess would be that the camera operator has a light mounted directly to his camera that is powered by a battery belt or something similar. However, there are a few shots that I would assume have to be lit by multiple lights. For instance, the episodes showing ancient underground structures in Europe and Russia. Is this something that's set up by a single camera-person before the shooting begins, or is there a crew of 2 or more people walking behind the videographer? If there are multiple lights, what kinds of lights would be best suited for such tasks? My concerns would be dealing with moisture or flowing water, and also with battery life and efficiency.

I'm doing some research for (hopefully) eventually getting to shoot for a documentary inside some old, abandoned gold mines up here, so I'm curious as to how I'd be able to pull something like that off...

Thanks!
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Old May 18th, 2008, 12:51 AM   #2
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Sure is quiet out there on the alpine tundra...

Is this just a goofy question that shouldn't be asked, or is it more complicated than I could possibly imagine?
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Old May 18th, 2008, 11:57 PM   #3
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Hi Shawn,

I actually used to watch Cities of the Underworld (season one) when me and my wife worked in LA for the production company that produces it. Unfortunately, we were stuck in the production office and did not travel around with the crew :(

But I do know for a fact that they used a Kessler Crane for some (if not all) their jib shots. FWIW.

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Old May 20th, 2008, 01:24 AM   #4
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Hehe... I hate getting stuck in the office too, but I suppose nothing would get done since I'm the only person in the video department right now.

Yeah, those transition shots with the cranes are really cool at first. After seeing them several times though, combined with the "edgy" music, they start to look a little cheesy.

So, if they're hauling cranes/jibs into some of these places, I would assume that there would have to be a small crew of sorts haul everything and help with setup/teardown. I'd really like to start working on more long-form projects like this instead of the usual 30-second commercial! Someday...
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Old May 21st, 2008, 12:52 AM   #5
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Hi Shawn,

You're right, they definitely had a crew while travelling around the world. At the time when we were working at their production office, they were doing a show for TLC, following around three separate bull riders, followed by three separate crews. At this time, they were also shooting Underworld. (I believe, Underworld was their first foray into HD.)

I also agree that long form shows are a good idea. Maybe you can talk with other creative people in your area, and get some ideas together.

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