Blake Hottle used mirrors to break up the beam from a ColorSource Spot jr to inventively light the background for a "60 Minutes" piece on the James Webb Space Telescope

Adaptable ColorSource Spot jr punches above its weight for TV’s 60 Minutes

Blake Hottle is a freelance Director of Photography/Camera Op whose work has been seen regularly on 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, CNBC Documentaries, and more. On his latest shoot for 60 Minutes, ETC’s new ColorSource Spot jr impressed him. “It’s fast, versatile, and has plenty of power for how we shoot today.”

It also proved a match for his creativity. The segment for 60 Minutes was about the new James Webb Space Telescope launching this fall and included an interview at aerospace manufacturer Northrup Grumman. Because he couldn’t film interviews with the scientists in the clean room where the satellite is being assembled, he needed to find a way to spice up a corporate boardroom with TV lighting tricks for two different interviews. For the first interview, Hottle hung a variety large photos and placed mirrors strategically on the floor. Then he aimed the ColorSource Spot jr at the mirrors.

Blake Hottle positions the beam of a ColorSource Spot jr
Blake Hottle used a ColorSource Spot jr fixture to inventively light the background for a “60 Minutes” piece on the James Webb Space Telescope

“I used mirrors instead of individual lights because I couldn’t afford to lose the time changing multiple lights when we switched from filming two separate interviews,” explains Hottle. Thanks to the “run and gun” shooting style of news mags and documentaries, Hottle frequently ends up doing his own setup and shooting.

“I don’t have a crew of grips and a gaffer,” Hottle says. “And I don’t have a lot of time to set up. This way I could set up one fixture and use the mirrors as a breakup. The single beam hit multiple mirrors and I got all these happy accidents. I didn’t have to sit there with multiple individual lights setting up flags and cutters. This looked organic, random, and was more visually interesting. We simply pulled up the hanging photos out of the frame for the second interview, which was already pre-lit.”

 

ColorSource Spot jr has flexibility for TV lighting

The color temperature flexibility of the ColorSource Spot jr also came in handy to the meet the requirements of TV lighting.

“We tried the 3200 K setting, but I wanted something that popped more. I used full daylight at 5600K out of the ColorSource Spot jr to give us a half-blue on the photos. That way the face tones (which I kept at 4300K using a different fixture) popped a little.”

While the segment hasn’t aired yet, Hottle is pleased with how it all turned out – and especially pleased with the ColorSource Spot jr: “Being freelance, I’m an owner-operator of my own business. I own all my own cameras, lights, grip, and everything. I have to be really, really careful about not having too much stuff and only having stuff that is useful and punches above its weight. The ColorSource jr ticks all those boxes.”

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