Erik Lee Steingroever

Erik Lee Steingroever is a gaffer who worked on many movies and commercials. He recently used the Softubes on the movie "Lonely Emma" and explains his choice.

"Since the (lighting) game changed after entering digital cinematography, I keep finding myself more often in situations, in which it is more effective and aesthetically pleasant to replace large exterior key lights with units placed inside certain location. In this specific case, we were shooting on the 7th floor of a high rise building, where it would have been almost impossible to place cherry-pickers with 18k’s. or/and dino-lights in front of all the windows. Also we were shooting up to five minutes a day - for eleven days, interior/day & night, in four rooms - all coming with a pretty low ceiling and two big panoramic windows... altogether not what I would call a great location to light at all.

So we installed a whole bunch of hooks in all the ceilings, so that I was able to hang 48mm alu-pipes (there was not enough space for wall-breakers) above every windows and on the opposite end of the room I had joker-bug 800, with soft-tubes as fill-light. As additional ’side-lights’, we had two joker-bug 400 with Softubes in every rooms and two flexible Arri pocket-par with light pipes.

I asked my best-boy (Michael Rieck) to prepare pieces of 1/4 cts for all the pipes & tubes to be used for the daytime-scenes and a variation of nd12 and nd 15 for the windows (which I prefer to attach right to the glass of the windows). Since we mostly switched from day to night within two scenes, we just replaced the 1/4 cts on all the pipe & tubes with the following mix of gels : one 1/4 cto, nd6-9 & 1/4 minus green. This took only 10 minutes while construction covered the windows with black-outs. This way, the entire set was roughly lit in a very short period of time and needed only a few additional adjustments before we started the interior night scenes.

All eight joker-bugs (and Softubes) were working for eleven days, an average of 12 hours a day."

DP : Klaus Merkel
Production : Nova Film