Cinematographer Par Ekberg uses BBS Lighting to illuminate Coldplay’s “Magic” music video

Cinematographer Par Ekberg recently shot the Coldplay music video Magic using BBS Area 48 LED interchangeable remote phosphor soft lights. With over 53 million views on YouTube, Ekberg received a Best Cinematographer nomination for a music video at this year’s Cameraimage festival.

The black-and-white video has the look of a silent film and was shot on a circus tent sideshow set near Downtown LA using both interior and exterior locations. “We were really spread out,” said Ekberg, “and it was like 10 different circus tents. I had a basic setup for the whole area, with a lot of fixed lights all over the ring for ambient lighting so we could move seamlessly from one location to the other. The Area 48’s low power draw allowed us to run them on batteries so we didn’t have to fool with cabling. We had them on roll-around light stands and being able to wheel from location to location enabled me to do a lot of stuff in a short period of time.”

The portability, even light distribution and full dimming-range of the Area 48s were the perfect fit for the busy shoot. Ekberg wanted to pay homage to the silent film era look, “so I always had a kind of solid light, Fresnel or flare, imitating that harsh look. But when you go for that classic silent movie lighting, you sort of end up with a very dull image. I had to somehow spice it up and give it some depth. That’s where the Area 48s came in. “We were pressed for time,” he continues, “but I could always throw the Area 48 into place, turn the dimmer up to where I wanted it, and get that little edge, or little bounce or definition on the cheek. When I was using mostly spots, the Area 48s just filled it in here, added accent there, produced backlight elsewhere. There’s no other light that I’ve worked with that gives me the same versatility.”

For the shoot, Ekberg relied on the accurate color rendering of his Area 48 lights to bring out the proper colors.

The official version of Coldplay’s video was entirely black and white, but color shots for a director’s cut provided a flashback and forth between the silent film past and the present day storytelling. Ekberg depended on the accurate color rendering of the Area 48 lights to capture the proper colors. “The first thing I noticed when a gaffer friend introduced me to the Area 48s was that they’re a powerful, dimmable source that is really true in color, that I could basically throw in wherever I wanted and get a lot of punch out of it.” Not only could Ekberg depend on the interchangeable remote phosphor design of the Area 48 for color rendering, he could also change the color temperature of the light while still maintaining the same high output light levels.

Ekberg is a busy cinematographer, shooting music videos as well as beauty, fashion and automobile commercials in Europe and the US. He brings his Area 48 lights to every set.

Here’s the video for Magic

For more information on Area 48 lights, please visit for the US and for Europe.