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Toby Trueman

Can you give a brief introduction about yourself and your company? What is it you film and for whom?
My name is Toby Trueman, I'm the Creative Director of a company called Heehaw. We're a film, video and animation production company based in Edinburgh, working across the varied landscape of promo and documentary. We work on a huge variety of projects and with a huge variety of clients; from boutique independents to global organisations. We're also developing our film arm, working on a slate of original content, mainly factual.

What was the problem that you faced when you realised you needed a new solution?
In our line of work we jump around locations a lot, sometimes we've had to sacrifice lighting just to remain portable enough to make our days, relying on natural light and fast lenses. Unless you're in one or two locations the days of lugging around a set of reds has long passed; more and more we're finding we need to be mobile and flexible. Using 1x1 LED panels is great, but sometimes you just want to highlight a detail, or bring up an area of the background but you cant get a light in there without it entering frame. Small, lightweight, and powerful is the key. Last year we spent three weeks in remote regions of Nambia and could have really done with some Scorpions then!

How did you benefit from the scorpion lights, how did they fix the problem you faced?
We got a duo set of Scorpions; two lights + case seemed brilliant for the price point. The package takes up the same space as a laptop bag, and weighs about the same, so it's very easy to pop them in with your other gear without thinking about it. The first shoot I used them on was for the Boozy Cow in Edinburgh. An internal location, a bar with little natural light. Keying with 1x1 panels we really needed something to separate the subjects from the darker background. But it's a bar, so very little space behind. We popped a scorpion along the narrow gap at the top of a fridge and brought the head out over the side to provide a rim light. Worked brilliantly, and took 2 minutes from problem to solution.

Elsewhere, they came in very handy for picking out characters or details. We were filming a group in a corner booth of a room, but we were losing the characters to the right of frame. We were tracking into this one too, so couldn't add a larger light or we'd see it, and we'd have to flag it off to control the light anyway, leading to the same problem. There was a pipe frame separating the corner booth from the next one over, so we coiled a scorpion around the top of that and used the velcro to hold the battery pack in place. Job done. You can actually see the light in the shot, but because of screen time, size and proximity to the ceiling, it passes off as a practical and doesn't draw the eye.

The flexibility of these lights had led to us being much more relaxed and excited about lighting locations

The flexibility of these lights had led to us being much more relaxed and excited about lighting locations. If we find ourselves with a problem we're instantly looking for nooks and crannies in which to hide a Scorpion to help bring the scene to life. It's a really refreshing feeling; it's going to speed up our work and bring up the quality of the image.

Toby Trueman


I'm the Creative Director of a company called Heehaw. We're a film, video and animation production company based in Edinburgh, working across the varied landscape of promo and documentary.