Ryan Schaminee is a Netherlands-based freelance gaffer and lighting board operator who also works internationally on a wide variety of commercial, television and some film projects … utilising various Astera products almost every day.
He finds the Astera ranges reliable, highly flexible and appreciates the great quality of light, all attributes that assist him in thinking quickly and laterally to come up with inventive and cool looking lighting solutions that are spot on.
For a recent commercial shoot for Versuni – home to some of the world best known and most loved domestic appliance brands – Astera HydraPanels enabled Ryan to do just this!
He needed to back-light a large 2-metre-high by 4-metre-wide cabinet structure which was built in Westerpark Studio, Amsterdam to showcase an impressive array of awards that have been won by various Versuni brands. The cabinet was an idea pitched by producers Urbain Studio, who then asked Ryan to advise on the best lighting.
Ryan wanted to dramatically highlight the awards in white and be able to change the colours behind each trophy individually for contrast, and with no light spillage.
It was a one-day shoot, so the lighting set up was pressured and needed to be quick and efficient for which Hydra Panels with their individual pixel / zone control and magnetic beam modifiers immediately stood out!
Thirty-two fixtures were sourced for the shoot which were supplied by several different rental companies, and in the process, Ryan even purchased a set of four for himself – so impressed was he with the fixtures! “I have always wanted some since they were launched,” he admitted, “So this was the perfect time and it made up the numbers!” These were supplied by Astera’s Benelux distributor, Controllux.
The scaffolding rig built to support the HydraPpanels was constructed by Ryan and his team and the units were attached using the spigot connectors.
The HydraPanels were run powered and (data) controlled wirelessly, with Ryan taking advantage of being able to daisy-chain units together which saved more time on cabling and meant fewer power sockets were needed.
On the same shoot, Ryan also used 7 x Astera AX2 PixelBars to illuminate the studio background in Versuni’s corporate colours. All lights were programmed and run via a grandMA3 on PC command wing.
The commercial was directed by Pierre Nivière, the DOP was Marlon Fokker, the best girl was Tara Bisoen and the sparks / LX was Joep Fransen. Ryan commented that they all enjoyed the teamwork and collaboration of producing a great-looking commercial for the client.
On another recent commercial, he used 2 x HydraPanels on a stand that was swiftly moved to cut between different camera angles, again proving their ultimate usability.
Ryan notes that the magnetic diffusion filters that come with the lights are exceptionally quick to add or remove as needed, and the battery power of all the Astera ranges has always impressed him. “Being 100% wireless with DMX control is brilliant – you have all the options.”
He has been using Astera products since the AX1 first hit the market a few years ago and has become a firm advocate of the brand for all the above reasons.
“I use Astera on every shoot and every day now. I think the brand is extremely strong, they are innovative, in tune with the market and make excellent products.”
Photo: © Ryan Schaminee + Luca Bono and Thomas Vording