New York City-based photographer/cinematographer Dave Geffin had a challenge – shoot a high-energy fast-moving fashion film in low light and at night, in two distinct locations in Manhattan, without falling peril to the limits of lugging around bulky stands and grip.

A key concept was to have the models lit so they stood out from the busy New York backgrounds and effectively create a more commercial, studio-look on location. Shooting in Manhattan can be difficult – there are laws that require permits for stand-alone equipment and the struggle to travel quickly around the city with heavy gear highly limits your creativity. Dave embarked on a project to test what he and his talented crew could create with compact Flex LED mats on literally the hottest night of the year, when temperatures reached 108 degrees in high humidity. 

Fashion Film with Dave Geffin

© Chuy Gutierrez

Equipped with two battery-powered 1x2’ Flex Bi-Color LED Mats, Dave’s team first took to an empty NYC rooftop to capture some classic New York City rooftop scenes. Here, he briefly tested movement as he operated the camera and choreographed with both assistants and models to get the style he was looking for. His two assistants had no grip equipment to work with and had never operated handheld lights in this way before. Dave and the lighting assistants worked to coordinate camera movement with the light movement (including height and positioning) so that as Dave moved with his subjects, he would be able to maintain light distance and consistency of quality throughout the shoot. Typical lighting setups would have been too straining to move around in such a fashion, but lightweight and battery-powered LED lights can prove to be extremely useful for shoots like this where consistency is key. Camera movement synchronized with the subject’s movement plays an essential role in the look and feel of the final image.

Fashion Film with Dave Geffin (2)

© Chuy Gutierrez

After getting some interactive scenes on the rooftop in a multitude of different lighting conditions with orange, yellow, and pink light from the ever-changing sunset, it was time to move to the second location. Could Dave and his team create the same results in the busiest, most densely-populated area of New York City? With just camera equipment and Flex LEDs, the crew headed to Times Square for the ultimate challenge. Each of his assistants was assigned to hold a 1×2’ Flex Bi-Color Mat with frames and diffusers and they expertly followed Dave’s camera movement through the busiest part of New York, lighting the models so they were separated from the busy background throughout the take.

Fashion Film with Dave Geffin (4)

© Chuy Gutierrez

With the Flex’s bi-color capabilities, Dave was able to cool down or warm up the color temperature to create the mood he preferred regardless of the location or skin tone. Shooting on the fly without needing to stop to move gear also allowed him to connect with his subjects which is integral to these type of shoots, allowing for the more natural, carefree, and confident vibe he was looking for.

Fashion Film with Dave Geffin (5)

© Chuy Gutierrez


Cinematography / Editor: David Geffin

Featuring (in order of appearance): Jennifer Daniels, Meki Saldana, Marsha Larose

Lighting Assistants: Britney Young, Alex Nahorniak-Svenski

Hair / Make up: Samantha Goldstein

Behind-the-Scenes Cinematography / Editor: Chuy Gutierrez

Watch the final fashion film below!

Watch more filmmaking tutorials and behind-the-scenes content here.

Watch more fashion film and photography tutorials and behind-the-scenes content here.

Lighting Gear in Action

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