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What is this, a House for Ants?

miniture tabletop studio shoot in Colorado
Lighting diagram by Tyler Kaschke, Colorado Gaffer

Have you ever worked on a miniature set before? It’s a unique challenge for sure and there’s a reason people specialize in this type of work!

The same general principles apply, you just need to scale down the size of your lights and modifiers. But when every detail is more pronounced in the frame it can be tough to make it still feel “natural”

There are a couple tools designed specifically for shaping light on a small scale. Fingers and dots are a good starting point. They’re basically just fun-sized flags and nets in the shape of long rectangles (fingers) and circles (dots). Very helpful but also very expensive! They’re a speciality item 🤌

The next really helpful tool to have on hand is an iris for your Leko / spotlight attachment. The iris allows you to squeeze down the size of your light into a tiny controlled beam to highlight specific areas of your set. You will lose output with an iris, but sometimes it’s a necessary trade off.

To light this set, we keyed with the LiteMat 2L with Snapgrid coming over the top of the side wall. Controlled its spill on the back wall with a duvetyn sider, and slowed down the foreground area it was hitting with a double net. Then used a double net finger to slow down the right side of frame so the floor of the set wasn’t just smokin hot. The 60c with Leko pushed light through the window for sunshine and created a soft gradient on the wall with a single net. A Pavotube II was lighting up some little trees out the window to create more depth. An Amaran 100x with a snoot for back light on the talent. The practical wall sconces looked neat but needed itty bitty gel cuts of 1/2 ctb and 1/4 minus green. Fun! Added some fill side return with a CRLS diff 4. 🫠

Denver, Colorado has many studios available to shoot projects of all sizes. This one was at TrueMotion Studios in Littleton.

Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with G&E and grip truck rentals based in Boulder, Colorado and serving Denver, Golden, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.

For more information about lighting tips and shooting commercials in Colorado, follow me on Instagram @colorado_gaffer


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