Lighting Spotlight: Cinematographer Kit Fraser
"I am certain I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Panalux's help and support." Director of Photography Kit Fraser has been a loyal Panalux client since his days at uni when he would spend afternoons wandering the Panalux warehouse, perusing an endless supply of lights to his heart's content. Since graduating over a decade ago from The University of Westminster - now known as the Westminster Film School - Kit has built an impressive portfolio that ranges from film to television features to commercials. Today, he specialises in high-end beauty and fashion commercials, a niche he has taken to primarily because of a focus on the quality of the final picture.
A true lighting aficionado, Kit credits Panalux with feeding his early fascination with lights and providing an initial training on stands, grip, cabling and power distribution.
"When I was in uni, we hired three or four autopoles from Panalux. Not exciting but I had no idea what they were. From that one shoot, I met Mark [Greaves] who showed me some more kit and let me come down to the warehouse. From there, I was hooked."
As his career took off from project to project, Kit remained firm in his choice to use Panalux wherever and whenever possible.
"The best part of my job is lighting. It's what I'm most excited by. From the beginning, I've always found it really important to use Panalux and that has helped me tremendously. Over a 10-year period, you build up a really important understanding and relationship."
That understanding and flexibility have helped Kit make a name for himself, he said, citing the trust Panalux has shown him, especially early in his career. While working to grow his skills and snag increasingly larger jobs, Kit says that the Panalux rental team was always willing to help him out on lower budget projects that didn't necessarily pay well but were important for his portfolio.
"I don't have any barriers when I call Panalux. I can ask for a favour, any kind of question. There's a certain level of apprehension when you're on a big job and have to ask a rudimentary question. If I didn't have that relationship with Panalux, I wouldn't feel free to call and ask those questions or favours. I would feel awkward."
Fascinated by lighting technology in particular, Kit says he readily relies on Panalux’s industry-leading stock of equipment to create his own look and feel.
"Even if they are incredibly busy with huge films on at the same time, I can't remember many occasions in 10 years that Panalux wasn't able to get me exactly the kit I wanted, which is important. If I ask for a particular piece of gear, it's because I have a use for it."
MY IDEAS, MY LIGHTS!
In addition to the largest lighting equipment stock in the UK, Panalux’s in-house Product Development and Engineering resources have opened up a whole new world of lighting possibilities for Kit.
"The fact that you can come work with Panalux and design and build your own piece of gear is incredible. I have had lots of end ideas for lights but don't have the expertise to make it happen."
For Kit, who moonlights as a lecturer of cinematography at his alma mater, Panalux continuing to reach back and support young DoPs is essential to the advancement of the entire industry. In his experience working with cinematographer hopefuls, Kit finds that students today are noticeably more technically advanced and boast a broader range of skills than when he was in school. Panalux affords those students important opportunities to get ahead and establish a base-knowledge in lighting through trainings, exposure to different gear, and discounted kit rental.
"Even if you're working with a Gaffer, it's important -especially when you're starting out - to know how to fix a light or where to fix it. Panalux gives students a chance to learn about even the simplest things - what a distro box does - which is really important."
For Kit, having Panalux’s backing from early days through to his biggest jobs continues to provide invaluable reassurance and security.
"I feel like I'm involved in something more than just a faceless company. Knowing that Panalux is there and will support me if I want to pursue something big or small or take a risk is brilliant!"