Joey L. Highlights Ethiopian Narrative with Zylight


Film Shoot Relies on Battery-Powered F8 LED Fresnel in Remote Region

Last Updated: February 4, 2014 6:01 pm GMT
(Los Angeles, California--February 4, 2014) Known professionally as Joey L., Joey Lawrence is a still photographer by trade and still new at directing live action projects. The story of his new short film, "People of the Delta," was developed from his five years of photography work in Southern Ethiopia. Shot on location in the region, the project relied heavily on the Zylight F8 LED Fresnel when conditions proved problematic for HMI lighting instruments.

Joey L. relied on the Zylight F8 LED Fresnel while shooting People of the Delta in Ethiopia.

People of the Delta is a narrative, not a documentary, with a script inspired from stories Lawrence heard while working in the area. Funded through a Kickstarter campaign, the film was shot with an ARRI Alexa camera over about four weeks in Ethiopia last fall and is currently being edited.

It was the first time he used it for a shoot, but Zylight’s daylight-balanced F8 LED Fresnel quickly became Lawrence’s lighting instrument of choice for People of the Delta. “It saved us in so many situations,” he said.

The script called for a lot of scenes inside huts, which are built from sticks and have sunlight streaming through the doorways. Director of photography Sean Stiegemeier prefers to shoot with natural light and supplement with lighting instruments, Lawrence explained, and the F8 allowed the crew to get more exposure and depth.

Lawrence also used an IS3c, Zylight’s LED wash light with adjustable color temperature and custom soft box, as a fill light and for color effects. For example, its built-in color control, which produces millions of colors without gels or filters, was used to replicate firelight in one scene.

The crew packed HMI lights for the shoot, but some bulbs broke during transport on the bumpy roads of the region. Power was also a significant issue. With a small crew in one of the most remote places in the world, it was challenge to transport a generator, as well as acquire and transport gasoline. Plus, as Lawrence said, power fluctuations and an unsteady current can damage an HMI bulb, so a stabilizer in the generator was required to protect the HMIs on location.

People of the Delta was shot on location in Ethiopia using locals as on-screen talent.

In contrast, the battery-powered F8 did not suffer damage from the rough roads, and was invaluable on location when power was questionable. “The F8 is way more robust. The shoot would have taken forever with a more traditional setup,” Lawrence said. “I was surprised how bright the F8 was and how long it could last on one battery. I never thought it could do so much. It really is good stuff.”

After People of the Delta wrapped, Joey L. stayed in the area to complete a still photo shoot with his Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Instead of his usual strobe flash, however, he used the F8 to light his subjects. “I don’t shoot in broad daylight,” he explained. “I shoot at sunrise and sunset. In those kinds of situations, a constant light is so much nicer than using a strobe. You get an instant preview, and you need way less setup time and test shots.”

With the electricity and transportation challenges of the region, Zylight’s battery-powered F8 LED Fresnel became the lighting instrument of choice for the People of the Delta shoot in Ethiopia.

Founded in 2003, Zylight LLC is the leading manufacturer of intelligent LED lighting instruments for the film and video production industry. Every model in its easy-to-use lighting system produces fully calibrated bright white light, while some also provide a spectrum of adjustable colors without gels. Full wireless control and DMX integration are included, and AC or DC power options are available. The Zylight state-of-the-art LED system is truly the most unique and flexible lighting system on the market today. With more than 50 dealers worldwide, Zylight continues to develop innovative LED lighting solutions to help make your job easier. More Than Bright – Zylight. Find out more at


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