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Rotolight Keeps Lethal Bizzle And 'Need For Speed' On Track

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The latest instalment of EA's Need for Speed video game franchise – Payback – was launched towards the end of 2017 to much fanfare. For months before the official launch fans were teased with trailers featuring explosive action and high-octane racing, including Need for Speed Payback Drift School.

The video featured rapper and actor Lethal Bizzle learning how to drift in the virtual world, taught by vlogger and gamer BlackPanthaa, and then in real life, in a McLaren 570s. While both these endeavours required high levels of skill, the same was required for the production team to produce an enticing, heart-racing teaser film that created a lot of excitement pre-launch.

Enter multi-award winning television and film director Kevin Chapman. Well recognised for his work with brands like F1, Honda, Renault and Puma, and broadcasters including BBC, ITV and Channel 4, Chapman was commissioned by Ad Hoc Films and EA to bring this latest installment in the Need for Speed series into the real world.

The premise was simple: follow Lethal Bizzle's quest to learn the finer points of drifting. The challenge, however, was completing all aspects of the shoot in only one day. From indoor gaming to on-the-track footage, lighting played a critical role in helping create the high-quality content that EA is known for.

As a long-standing fan of the Rotolight LED range, Chapman used a number of the award-winning lights on set, including six Anova PRO 2s, an AEOS two-light kit and NEO 2 three-light kit, used as key, back and fill lights.

"We began the day by rigging the internal shoot. It was a small space but the Rotolights were great for the environment, as they are quick and easy to set up and use. And the adjustable colour temperature is amazing, you can just dial it in using the controls on the back of the light. There's no need for gels or spending lots of time on set up," said Chapman.

The Anova PRO 2s were used outside of the room to emulate daylight, as well as in the actual shot due to the striking look of the lights.

"I love the Anova PRO 2. It's a really flexible piece of kit and is not just practical for lighting but is beautiful as well, and I like to use them in the back of frame," explained Chapman.

The interior shoot also featured the NEO 2 as a key light on BlackPanthaa and Lethal Bizzle. The addition of a cosmetic peach filter produced a soft light that highlighted the duo but reduced facial shine without the need for makeup.

"The Rotolights were also great because they are battery powered, which means no cables lying around on set, something that was an advantage with many people running around in such a small space. The batteries are also incredibly efficient, which means we didn't have to worry about running out of power because they last so long."

The remainder of the shoot took place outside on the runway, with time a critical factor as sunset approached. Chapman used the entire range of Rotolight LEDs to capture a series of hero shots of the McLaren 570s. The AEOS, for example, the first LED on the market to feature integrated aluminium handles, was hand held and swung around to create a movement of light that produced a striking reflection, while shots were taken of the silver McLaren badge.

For the scenes captured before and during sunset, Chapman adjusted the colour temperature of the Anova PRO 2 to match the orange and red tones of sunset. With the fast-changing light quality as sunset progressed, it was critical that the lights were quick and easy to set up.

"We had to set up a lot of lights and put them into action quickly to catch the sunset. We mainly used the Anova PRO 2s for this part of the shoot and they were brilliant – we popped the light onto the stand, put it in position and the scene was lit in seconds."

Looking back at the day's shoot, Chapman reflected: "The shoot was a resounding success. We finished on time and got the shots we needed. The Rotolights really made a difference for me. They are just so flexible. Using them is fast, quick, and easy. And the effect you get from the LEDs are absolutely amazing."

Search for Need for Speed Payback Drift School with Lethal Bizzle on YouTube to watch the final result.

This article also features in the March edition of Broadcast Film & Video.
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