Their founder, Oregon-raised and New York-educated Josh Alkoff landed in Canada because he was motivated to change the status quo.
Josh cut his teeth as a filmmaker in the New York indie-film scene, which required a dynamic and nimble approach to lighting/camera work. He then focused his skills as a lighting technician and a rigger on Hollywood films, large budget TV shows, commercials and music videos. It was during this experience that he noticed a major inefficiency in big-budget productions – crews were loading gear from 40-foot trailers into smaller cube trucks in order to position them within the vicinity of set, where they would need additional runners to transport the equipment where it was needed.
In contrast to this approach, Josh discovered efficiencies film sets while travelling Europe in which each department had their gear packed into small, easily accessible vans. Rather than production crews closing off large areas and lining the streets with multiple support trucks, the European crew blended into their environment. This European style of filmmaking was what inspired Josh to create Modern Lighting.
Modern Lighting is a boutique lighting and grip equipment rental provider. It supplies a fleet of vans fully equipped with all the essential and industry-standard lighting and grip equipment needed for any size of film production.
For the uninitiated, the lighting department is responsible for the light and power on a film production and works closely with the director of photography (DP) to achieve the desired look. The grip department, who also work alongside the DP, build and maintain the equipment that shapes the light, supports the camera, and can create dynamic movement during the scene.
With Modern Lighting, every single piece of equipment is integrated into a highly curated system, where it fits together and is deployed with ease. For example, light fixtures allow wireless control so productions can customize each setup and adjust it on the fly with minimal effort. There are substantially reduced amounts of technicians required to achieve complex rigging, while more control that would not have been possible without this system.
Modern Lighting wants to bring a new model of filmmaking to the mainstream – one that is efficient, streamlined, and practical. They want to provide the very best essential equipment while stripping away the bulk and clutter that often strains a film production. By doing this, Modern Lighting can make high-quality filmmaking more accessible to a broader audience – both in its price point, and its ability to be nimble.
And Modern Lighting wants to build and maintain close relationships with their clients. Through constant communication, customization, and unique service, their vans/equipment can be enhanced to fit the specific needs of each client.
Modern Lighting doesn’t stick to conventions or antiquated rules. They are a young, energetic, and innovative company that wants to break away from traditions while building a community of like-minded partners.
Modern Lighting is tech-focused, organized, and efficient. They invest in products that are industry-standards, rather than hopping on trends. In fact, their model is becoming the trend: a trim, streamlined service, influenced by European filmmakers, who value quality and efficiency over Hollywood size and spectacle.
Modern Lighting has built a proven model that scales upward for TV-movies, but is also designed for commercials. At the core of Modern Lighting is a focus on technology, aesthetic, and control which gives directors confidence to forge their mark and help the agency achieve its brand. As such, the principal target moving forward will be mid-to-larger budget commercials as Modern Lighting grows its base of directors and crews that love the ease of which they can produce high end results.
They are also launching a brick-and-mortar rental shop to unlock a new revenue stream from the digital video market, that stand much to gain from the technology and experience gap that Modern Lighting bridges for them. In doing so, they will allow travelling film crews to fly into town and fulfill all their urban shooting needs without hassle.
The short-term goal of Modern Lighting is to be engrained in the Canadian TV and commercial production industry. The long-term goal, more conceptual in nature, is to change the established filmmaking model. Modern Lighting wants to show that with the proper equipment there are no barriers for creating high quality content, be it for the novice or the professional. With their sophisticated integrations, the imposing film infrastructure – which can be a barrier to entry – is no longer a requirement for creating high quality content. Their goal is to make filmmaking decidedly more accessible.