Graduate Film with Micro

Interview in the living room of a Kenyan woman: Beryl Magoko shoots her graduate film with the Litepanels Micro camera light

In Kuria Constituency, a region of Kenya defined by its rural character, Kenyan film student Beryl Magoko made her final graduation film project about the circumcision of girls. She used the compact Micro LED light from Litepanels, a Vitec Group brand, for interviews with protagonists. With its practical battery operation and light weight, the camera light proved to be the perfect companion for this extraordinary project in the middle of the African veld.

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Beryl Magoko studies filmmaking in Uganda at the Kampala University's Film-TV-Video Department, which was founded in 2009. "Sophia's Big Day", her documentary concerning the difficult issue of female circumcision, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) in Kenyan villages, is her final project. She filmed on an open field during the rite of circumcision, at which approximately 100 girls were circumcised within four hours. In addition, she interviewed women and girls affected by circumcision as well as doctors and church representatives, and accompanied volunteers during awareness campaigns at schools. 

Preparation with obstacles

Together with Joseph Kitsha, an assistant from the department, Beryl Magoko made her way from Kampala to Kuria Constituency. Even today, FGM still takes place there. The circumcision rites have been a tradition for centuries in Kenya and are solidly ingrained in the mentality of the ordinary rural population. The fear shared by the victims and their parents and the resulting skepticism regarding an anti-circumcision film made the small team's work considerably more difficult.

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Reaching a goal with personal commitment and an unfaltering will

In spite of this, the student stood behind her project with absolute conviction and did not allow herself to be intimidated. "One single success outweighed a hundred defeats", Beryl Magoko points out. She herself is from Kuria Constituency and personally knows many of the girls and women she interviewed. "This created a valuable foundation of trust, which increases the authenticity of the film enormously."

Technically high-end quality – despite difficult conditions

Although the graduates did not have access to high budgets for their graduation films, the university was able to provide professional equipment thanks to the generous material donations of different manufacturers and private people. This is how Litepanels camera lights have become an inherent part of the equipment at Kampala University. While filming on an open field, Beryl Magoko learned to appreciate the extremely low weight of the small, handy camera light by Litepanels and enthusiastically explains: "It proved to be very advantageous for us that the battery-operated light does not require an external cable and consequently can be used everywhere and for several hours." With only four AA-batteries, the LED camera light can be powered for an hour and a half. With lithium ion batteries, the Micro delivers seven to eight hours of professional lighting.

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Easy handling facilitates professional filming

"The camera light can also be mounted and detached quickly and easily," adds the student and mentions a further advantage of using the Micro: The light generates hardly any heat and thus not only saves energy but also prevents the user from burning his/her hands on it. Beryl Magoko mostly filmed the conversations in the womens’ or girls’ kitchens or the living rooms and, with the flicker-free and completely dimmable light, placed them in the scene, so that a comfortable lighting situation resulted for the interviews about the traumatic experiences.

"For me as a student, it is a great privilege to be able to work with professional film equipment. This not only significantly increases the motivation while working, but it is also a lot more fun," says Beryl Magoko summing up her work.

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