Lighting cameraman Tim Hudson ACS had the idea in 2014 when he and his crew were challenged to track three actors with gentle soft light at night. The trick was to prevent spill on the surrounding white snow. The shot needed a light that is soft, directional and mobile.

The only fixture soft and mobile enough was a China Ball, but it’s not directional.

Tim had an interest in umbrella bounce fixtures and emerging LEDs, which gave the idea of lining an umbrella with LED. Thousands of individual diodes were rigged to the armature of a custom umbrella. The light quality of the improvised un-diffused parabolic source was beautiful and exactly what the shot needed. As it turns out, a light that is soft, directional and lightweight is a handy tool for all.

After pressure from fellow film makers to produce these lights, Tim and his wife Sarah put together our Hudson Spider team and delivered the first production units at the end of 2017. The parabolic 36” fixture, known as the Redback, has quickly made its way on to movies, tv shows, commercials and stills shoots.

Umbrella bounce fixtures produce a very similar quality of light, however they are “much too cumbersome and difficult to use at the speed of modern production”, says Matthew Lloyd CSC from the set of Spiderman Far from Home, where he is leapfrogging several Redbacks every day on set, “it is so great to have a parabolic soft light on the truck that can actually work and be set up in 5 minutes or less”.

Hudson Spider welcomes visitors, so please plan a trip to our Spidey workshop in Valencia California.

October 2018, Team Hudson Spider