Filmwerks Kicks Off Spring With New Lights, Big Fight

Filmwerks International is gearing up for a busy spring, and the company is already lighting up (and powering) the country. From Fashion Week in New York City to a UFC event at Fort Hood, Turner’s NBA All Star Game studio show in Los Angeles, and CBS Sports’ West Coast golf tour, Filmwerks is providing production support for a diverse variety of events nationwide.

At this weekend’s NBA All Star Game, Filmwerks will provide a new type of lighting to the Turner Sports studio-show set. The new lights, which have yet to be named, are 4,000-watt spheres that are wire-reinforced and look something like an umbrella. The bright, soft lights can be blacked out on one side to shoot in only one direction but, at 4,000 watts, are versatile enough to be used for large remote productions.

“As opposed to the normal spheres that are air-filled like balloons, these are wire-reinforced, package up very neatly, and can ship everywhere,” says Filmwerks International CEO Michael Satrazemis. “We have developed them specifically for large outdoor site lighting. We are sending them out with Turner and seeing how they feel about them and how they work. So far, we’ve gotten some really good feedback from them.”

For the past two years, Filmwerks has been lending the lights out to various clients to use and provide feedback, which the company then integrates into the light design. It recently used the lights on Copper Mountain for an urban snowboard scene. “It was spectacular,” Satrazemis says.

The results were so impressive that the company will adapt the lights for other mountain events, he adds. “We are taking these lights and designing a tower system to light halfpipes on mountains, and it’s going to be really unique. We’re going to be able to provide direct overhead lighting above a slope, which eliminates a lot of the shadow effect and all of the glare in a camera.”

As for the name, he wanted to call them “Kick Ass Lighting,” but, unfortunately, that name is taken. He is open to suggestions.

Elsewhere this year, at Texas’s Fort Hood, Filmwerks provided lighting and support for a very different application, a UFC charity event to support wounded soldiers and their families.

“The UFC guys staged this very successful, standalone event,” Satrazemis says. “Normally, we’re in Las Vegas, where we’ve got an arena and a lot of support infrastructure. At Fort Hood, there was no support, but we were happy to do it. It was a really cool thing that [UFC President] Dana White did, and everybody who was involved with it really liked it.”

Filmwerks also has a crew out on the West Coast, following the CBS Sports golf production through San Diego, Los Angeles, Pebble Beach, and Phoenix, among other locations. The company has a long history of supporting CBS golf productions, so Satrazemis likes having at least one client that presents something of a routine.

“We’re thrilled to start another golf season with CBS,” he says. “They’re a spectacular client to work with.”

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