Aladdin Flexlite 1 | Extreme conditions cave

A report about the experiences  of the SRF shooting “expedition Hölloch” with the Aladdin Flexlite 1

At the end of September I received the  job as a director of photography to direct the special  programme of Swiss TV “Schweiz Aktuell” “expedition Hölloch”. The project consisted of live broadcast, as well as recorded films from the eight largest cave system in the world

The adventure in the dark and the technical challenges of this project interested me very much. Before the first visit  it was clear to me that I didn’t want to illuminate the scenes in the cave very bright but I wanted to try creating a mood that conveys the darkness.

On our first visit in the cave beginning october  it was clear that we will have to get over physical, mental as well as technical challenges .  One of the requirements demanded that our technical equipment can be supplied with emissionfree power in order not to contaminate the natural environment in the cave with gases.

The climate in the cave is constant throughout the year with an average temperature of 6° C and a humidity of 95% to 98%.  In the over 200 km long cave system are some passages which are only accessible with difficulty. An adequate lighting system was required under these conditions.

Therefore I had to find a lighting system which was powered by batteries, was waterresistent, robust, compact, lightweight. from an illuminator colleague I have heard that a new, highly flexible and waterproof lighting system was on the market – the Flexlite 1 from Aladdin.

Test shots in the Hölloch should show whether the Flexlite 1 emits enough light and if it is practical in use under the local circumstances. The test confirmed that the Flexlites 1 from Aladdin represent the perfect solution for our needs: The luminous efficiency, the low weight, the durability of the lamp and the ease of use have completely convinced me.

On December 6, our reports were successfully broadcasted without any technical breakdown.  During the 4 shooting days in the cave the Flex Lites have exceeded my expectations as well as those of our lighting director Roland Koch. The lamps were found to be resistant to mud and wet and none of the 5 Flex Lites broke down during the recording.  With the LED’s we could put both a soft light on the people and work out the desired structure and mood of the cave  as counterlight.  Thus the wonder lamps have made a valuable contribution to the programme.

Based on these positive experiences with the Flex Lites, I would recommend this lighting system for a wide range of applications: for extreme situations, where the weight or the durability plays a role, also for interviews in the everyday life of TV,  where a soft keylight has to be set in a short time.

Text: Philippe Schnyder, working as cameraman since 11 years for TPC technology and production center switzerland AG

Images: FocusPictures

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