Founded in 2006 by Jon Edwards, Naïve Studio started as a platform for Jon’s freelance photography and film that he was shooting alongside his day job as a graphic designer, until 2013 when he decided to enter a short action sports film into the Sony Pro Production Awards. “I never thought the film would get anywhere in a professional contest,” Jon remembers. “But I won and as a prize Sony gave me a huge amount of kit, including a FS700 slow-motion camera.” After this, Jon received training at Pinewood Studios where he learned to grade and light scenes professionally. “It was at this point I realised this wasn’t going to be a hobby or a side-line anymore for me.”
Since then, Naïve Studio has grown into a production company that houses a broad team of directors, cinematographers, photographers and editors. Specialising in high-end creative and commercial content often shot in remote locations, their unique and stylish campaigns have earned them endorsements from various industry giants like Sony, Zeiss and Hoya.
Looking to expand Naïve’s on-hand lighting equipment, Jon needed gear that wasn’t going to weigh the team down on location and would give him the versatility to shoot high-quality stills as well as video. Initially renting two Rotolight Anova PRO 2s and a NEO 2 three-light kit, Jon put them through their paces on a personal shoot in a coastal wood in the north west of England. “We wanted to shoot somewhere challenging,” says Jon. “As with any outdoor location there plenty of obstacles like cold temperatures for the model, transporting the kit to a remote, quiet location and trying to find an open space. Once the initial Anova PRO 2s were switched on, everything became much easier and the shoot just took shape.”
Jon and the team then took the lights on a test shoot in a dark mine in Penarth. “I was sat in a meeting with Zeiss and Sony, and mentioned I was going to light up an underground mine to shoot fashion content in ultra-slow-motion and everyone stressed how hard that would be to achieve,” Jon says. Experimenting with the location in the lead-up to a commercial shoot for luxury fashion brand, Creo Studios, Jon initially set up some reference shots of the caverns to figure out how he was going to light it.
With a powerful continuous output and High Speed Sync flash all-in-one, Rotolight LEDs are ideal for the hybrid shooter. The shoot what you see benefits of continuous lighting allowed Jon and his team to preview exactly where the light was going to fall in the final shot and tailor the brightness to illuminate only specific areas of the mine and add more dimension using the harsh shadows and complimenting the textured walls of the cavern. With adjustable colour temperature from 3150-6300K, Jon and his team were able to match the artificial output to the cool tones of the subterranean environment.
The results from this personal photography shoot, titled ‘Lost Industry’, are a part of Jon’s wider project of shooting in abandoned mines across Wales to produce modern and industrial fashion shoots.
Shooting the full campaign for Creo Studios later on, Jon could rely on his lighting setup to get the shots he needed. Flicker-free at any frame rate, the Rotolight LEDs allowed Jon to easily shoot the high quality slow-motion footage he needed for the campaign.
“It goes to show,” Jon concludes “that with hard work, a dedicated team and amazing equipment, you can make your ideas a reality and turn anywhere you want into a suitable shooting environment.”