Every once in a while, I get my hands on some really nice gear to shoot with, and this time was no exception: as I was preparing an assignment that required using light in outdoor and indoor settings at the same time, I reached out to Broncolor, whom I have been working with for some time now, and decided to add to my gear list the latest battery-powered generator they have just released earlier this year: the Move 1200 L.
I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed at the gear, as I had been using exclusively Broncolor lights over the past years. The reason I chose to work with this brand is because it is the only one to deliver the quality that my work requires: without it, I wouldn’t have been able to produce my award-winning Athletes series. Period. Neither would my latest work for Red Bull have been possible (more on that very soon on this blog, stay tuned!)
But I didn’t expect such a pleasant surprise in terms of the sheer capabilities of this compact flash unit. Let’s just recap for a second:
Whether outside above the water (check out the behind the scenes images below!), or shooting video (that the clients had also required this time), or just pairing it with the amazing Scoro 3200E, the Move delivered a great number of flashes, way more than we needed, and extremely accurate and short flash durations to freeze the athletes’ movements nicely.
Below are some images I have taken while I had it with me, and we have put together a short video for you, in order to account for the performances on the Move 1200 L while shooting on this assignment.
We chose to use a Scoro E pack, and the Move Outdoor Kit 2, including the 1200 L power pack; two MobiLED lamps; one 70 x 70-centimeter Softbox; one umbrella; one RFS-2 radio transmitter; and one MobiLED continuous light adapter. The Move Outdoor kit is nicely packed in a trolley backpack, so it was super easy to carry it and move it around (no pun intended). It only weighs 6.2kg, and with its two sockets delivering each 1200W, it is in my opinion a real winner.
The price of the Move 1200L generator isn’t low, but it’s still lower than Profoto’s comparable Pro-B4 battery-powered pack, AND it’s perfectly able to freeze a movement as you can see in the video above, because you can set it to deliver its flashes either based on flash duration or on color temperature, depending on your needs, as is the case with its bigger brother the Scoro pack.
The Scoro and Move generators were nicely paired with a Broncolor Para 177cm, a beauty dish, a few softboxes and sport reflectors.
I was shooting with a Nikon D800, which I have been using on commercial assignments for over a year now. I was using either a 24-70mm zoom or a 70-200mm zoom depending on the setups.
The working conditions
We used the Move 1200L in three different environments:
- on a river to shoot kayaking, with water flowing around and with very fast paddle movements,
- indoors on a handball striker jumping in the air to score a goal
- on a climber jumping between holds and then falling at the speed of gravity
For the Kayaking shoot, I was standing at quite a distance from the athlete who was paddling in the middle of the crazy water of the river (the region was experiencing very high flooding conditions that day, but we were lucky enough to be able to shoot anyway). An assistant was holding the Move 1200L, a lamp on a stand with a beauty dish above the athlete as he was paddling up the current. The challenge was to be able to deliver a fast flash (in order to freeze both the paddles and the water droplets) while also giving us enough power as the lamp was not always close to the athlete, and be reliable to trigger with the RFS controller.
All of that worked very nicely and we were quickly able to continue with the handball shoot. There the challenge was working with the Scoro and the Move while still delivering a fast enough flash in order to freeze the striker in the air as she was scoring a goal. Here again, at a power of 7.5 out of 9.0 allowed by the Move pack, we had impressive results with flash durations of the order of 2500ms to 4000ms.
I was really impressed at how sharp the images came out.
The last test was with the climbing shoot, and there again we weren’t disappointed: the climber was jumping to reach a volume above her head, and then falling down to the speed of gravity, and every single image was sharp.
Check out a few behind the scenes images we took below:
The bottom line
The fact that we were able to work in such diverse conditions, get so many flashes at high power (twice 1200W in a 6.2kg pack that fits in a backpack!) and never run out of power, made it a real no brainer for me. All of that with a flash speed of up to 1/8500 s (at t 0.1, for the experts you know this is what you want to look at) allowing you to freeze absolutely everything you want.
As always the results with the Nikon D800 were fantastic.
The other nice plus is that our client wanted to shoot videos too, so with the MobiLED lamps in video mode, delivering some LED light at the equivalent of 100W, we were able to also bring a nice additional light source to the athlete and get a better quality of footage (this can even be achieved without the pack, by plugging the lamps directly to a wall power socket via the MobiLED adaptor if you only do video).
As such, I really find the Move 1200L to be an amazing bargain and really something to consider if you shoot a lot of outdoor images as I do, and are demanding on the quality of color temperature and flash duration control for your images.
Like Broncolor’s top-notch Scoro packs—PDN named the Scoro A4 “Power Pack of the Year” in 2009—the Move 1200 L generator offers all the signature perks of the brand: 9 f-stops of power control, flash temperature control, flash duration control, and asymmetrical control on its two outputs.
If you factor in its lower price than that of the competition, I think the conclusions are pretty obvious.