Cave Lighting

March 5, 2001 tips & tricks

From: Bob Murdock WFXT-Boston

Here’s a quick light tip for the DVC/PRO crowd, although I think almost anyone with state of the art gear could benefit from this.

Recently I got to shoot a nat piece 300ft underground with tunnel minors (called “sand hogs”) who are digging a 17mile tunnel for a new water system here in MA. My concern was how to light and what to bring. Although there was power down there, dragging a light kit was completely impractical.

DVC/PRO as many of you know has pros and cons. One of the pros is extreme sensitivity in low light. I went to my local electric supply place and purchased 2 DC quick disconnect plugs (1.99 ea) and 10ft of 10ga DC wire. I had a shop tech cut my Frezzi cable and insert one plug. The other plug was connected to both ends of the 10ft wire.

My Frezzi could now be pulled from the camera and extend out 10ft! I took an old Lowell light stand and knocked the “locking” pin out of the top mount post and removed it because the Frezzis’ hole was too small to clamp on to the stand.

Now I had a quick light and a stand!

Hmm, how to control the light. Answer? a sheet of aluminum foil wrapped around the Frezzi and bent into any shape I wanted the light to go! It worked fantastic, and was plenty of light for my DVC camera/interviews. Instead of a flat head-on camera light blast, I could place my Frezzi off to the side and control the light the way I wanted it, all powered from my camera brick. Since then I have used this “rig” to back light live shots, and even throw a pattern up behind an interview subject by punching holes on the foil! Try it, it’s easy and cheap to make. Just make sure to bring an extra brick in your Fanny Pack so you don’t run out of power.

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