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Lights, Love, and Gunpla: How One Boy, Two LED Light Panels, and A Bunch of Plastic Robots Sparked An Artistic Revolution

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An Arri S60 SkyPanel with a yellow RGB

An Arri S60 SkyPanel with a yellow RGB

It Was Love At First Light

I recently had the pleasure of working with the Arri S60 SkyPanels while working on the music video for The Hearsay’s song “Warning Signs.” These LED power-houses were an incredible asset.

As a burgeoning gaffer, I relished the opportunity to play with the fully tunable color temperature, RGB+W color gamut and built-in effects and filters.

I specifically used the color gamut to throw wide washes of highly saturated contrasting colors in the bands’ performance shots.

As you can see from the still below, we keyed with one color and backlit with a contrasting color. Varying this technique with different color pairs was easy thanks to the S60’s RGB+W mode.

What's more, it was even simpler once we discovered the Hue setting. This lets you dial in the specific hue rather than tinkering with the RGB calculator.

In short: I fucking loved these lights. Like, a lot.

Love Becomes Obsession, Which Becomes Gunpla Madness

I was personally enthralled by the Arri S60 Skypanels. Moreover, I became desperate. I needed to play with them and to uncover their secrets. I decided that the ever-growing army of plastic robot models taking over my office would make for the perfect subjects to experiment with.

The models, or “Gunpla” if you’re cool like me, are near and dear to my heart. I grew up loving the Gundam anime series and started building the models based on the titular “Gundams” as a quiet rainy-day hobby.

With my models posed and ready, I spent hours dialing in different setups and combinations with the two S60’s.

A Different Shade of Mania…I Mean Fun!

The natural next step was running my pics through Adobe Lightroom for some touch ups and color correction. The results, as you can see, were a little touch and go.

Gunpla with a white background.

Gunpla with a orange, yellow, and greeen background.

While I’m happy with the outcome, I know I have a lot to learn and hope to call on a certain ECG colorist for some tips on how to perfect my craft. I had a blast working with the Arri S60’s and hope that our relationship is far from over.

Gunpla photography might be a new hobby of mine as well. The picture below enjoyed a two day stint at number two on the gunpla reddit page, a distinction held by only a handful of the photography elite.

Who knows: maybe in fifty years I’ll look over my pile of awards for excellence in Nerd-boy photography and think of the LED light panels that started it all.

Gunpla with a black background.

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