"A Skypanel S30 with an Octa 3 SNAPBAG® and a SNAPGRID® is my go-to key-light"
Belgium based Tom Van den Abbeele is busy working on feature films, episodic television and occasionally, commercials. As a busy gaffer and owner of WATTS BVA rental company he knows his way around lighting gear.
He was an early adapter of DoPchoice, first appreciating their “no tummy” SNAPGRIDS® for chimera light banks. He was 100 percent sold when DoPchoice introduced their 4’ x 4’ diffusion frames. “They made customized products. I had a feature coming up and the DoP wanted a key-lite through an octagonal 5’ Chimera. This was when the Area 48 LED fixture just came on to the market, and I was a huge fan so I asked Stefan if he could make me an octagonal SNAPBAG® that fit on an Area 48. He made it happen and I had a very happy DoP on set because now we had this amazing Octadome that we could dim down and use it in all kinds of colour temperatures. He made up a new type of speed ring mount that had a lot of similarities to DoPchoice’s current RABBIT-EARS®, but in a very early stage!”
Van den Abbeele is a big fan of LEDs explaining that actors like the lack of heat and noise. He appreciates that along with LED lights, DoPchoice gear saves space on set.
He was an early adapter of Quasar Science tubular lights. “I love working with them but I was unable to control spill. So first I used them in old KinoFlo 1bank and 2bank fixtures. I wanted to ask DoPchoice to make a SNAPGRID® that fit onto the tubes. But before I had the time to contact them I saw a picture on Instagram that they were launching the product!
DoPchoice introduced the Single Tube SNAPGRID®®, a neat fit for a slim tube of up to 4’ in length and it sets up in a snap. “I immediately bought 15 pieces, says Tom, “and I already find them a game changer. Everybody loves them.”
How does he use them? “On a film we are lighting now, there’s a 2-camera scene in a kitchen where we have a simple shot and reverse shot but in both there’s a window in frame. One camera shoots a frontal with a little bit of window in the background and the second camera takes a profile with the window in the background.
“Because of the silk curtains we can not bring a lot of light through the window or it would blow out and we need detail. So we bounce two M4s through the window to compensate for the sun in the background. Inside I placed 2 Quasar Science Rainbow fixtures rigged in the center of the 2 windows. Because of the SNAPGRIDS® we can use the Rainbows to overtake the windows without lighting the whole set.”
DoPchoice makes some of Abbeele’s favorite tools, whether on tubular lights or rectangulars. “A Skypanel S30 with an Octa 3 SNAPBAG® and a SNAPGRID® is my go-to key-light. The Octa 3 is just big enough to make it one of the most beautiful and easy to use key-lights that we have available now.”
With a smile Abbeele explains, “It seems we always get less time to do the same work. Now DoPchoice gives us tools to help us to do just that! We can work a lot faster and create even more beautiful images, just because their products are so great.”
Tom Van den Abbeele