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Director Wrangel Lubin's thoughts on filmmaking, lighting, and the short film Future History

Director Wrangel Lubin's thoughts on filmmaking, lighting, and the short film Future History

Posted by Arianna Vetere on Oct 25th 2021

While we are always inspired by the work our users create with Nanlite, there is something especially compelling about the rich hues and artful storytelling of this short film, Future History. So compelling, in fact, that we decided we needed to know more about the incredible minds behind the film. Director Wrangel Lubin was kind enough to answer all of our questions, and we thought we’d share his inspiring insight with you all.

Nanlite: What inspired you to explore the topic of this video, future history?

Lubin: “The best stories are the real events that happened in history. The most inspiring heroes are the ones that don’t have plot armor. I grew up in Trenton, a city known for its toughness, so the concept of fighting from the bottom is something that’s always motivated me. Juan and I grew up in the same city, so the topics of loving what you do, and doing your job with dignity inspires many of our themes, such as this one.”

Nanlite: What does your creative process look like?

Lubin:“It starts with an image in my head. Usually, it's one character and I just start getting curious about who they are. After that, I write an outline with story beats that I want to hit. Whether it’s a specific moment or words that have to be said, these elements become the framework for whatever story I’m creating. At that point, I’m diving into music archives and songs for hours upon hours. I try to listen to the piece’s music while writing the piece. Personally, it gives me a different energy while writing. Also, whenever I send an idea to Juan or Jaileen, I want to have the song ready so they get a better feel of the vibe.

Once I send the ideas, treatments, scripts, and storyboards over I wait and see how the team feels. Feedback is a huge help, and Juan and Jaileen definitely keep the ideas within the realm of possibility. Sometimes we have to rewrite a scene or redo an entire concept to make it make sense. Since no project is perfect on the first draft, the writing process starts again. This time it’s not as intensive, but serves to smooth over the rough edges.

When the team feels good about everything, we start set designing. Jaileen (aka 3D) does it all, and somehow, there’s no idea too outrageous for her. She’s always up to make the most of every scene.”

Nanlite:Future Historyis filled with beautiful colors that shift with the perspective of the video. Could you tell us a little bit about how you and your team used color to communicate the ideas behind the video?

Lubin:"I wanted the colors to reflect the time our main character was living in. We were very cautious about the feelings we wanted to evoke. For example, the initial scene is filled with blues and pinks. Blue is a very lonely color, but it’s also sincere. The reason we chose it is because we felt MLK’s delivery best introduced the audience to the world. The pinks were crucial to convey the creativity of our character. The design of the room and how the pinks accent the art table were purposeful. You may have noticed that the pinks were exclusively accenting her art station.

When we transitioned the color to orange for Nipsey, the idea was to give off a feel that we were in California.The orange glow helped us emphasize the almost spiritual nature of his words. Nipsey has such a homely vibe in how he speaks. It feels very personal and unrehearsed, almost as if you were in his living room chatting. We wanted to make his scene feel as much like California as we could.”

Nanlite: How did our lights help you realize your vision for this project?

Lubin:“We discovered Nanlite through James Jackson, (who probably could be the greatest Nanlite ambassador) who did a great job selling us on Nanlite’s capabilities. They were pivotal. We took on the task of showing an old-school character in the future, and the PavoTube 30C’s created the perfect mix of intensity and softness that we needed stylistically. I was very surprised at how durable and gentle the light was at such close range to a subject without diffusion.

Another example was the color change during Nipsey’s segment, where we actually used the PavoTubes to key our subject. The tubes provided a very authentic and dreamy feeling green, furthering the spiritual introspection of Nipsey’s segment.

The Forza 300’s were also critical to highlighting the paintings of each subject. We needed a light powerful enough to bring out the volumetric lighting that we wanted, but also gentle enough to not take away from the overall image.”

Nanlite: What’s a piece of advice you’d like to share with young creatives that are just getting started?

Lubin:“Have fun. Always have fun. And focus more on getting better and not on receiving attention. We all have imaginations and wild ideas, but it takes willingness to learn and fail to execute them. I fail so often that I’m surprised when I don’t. Most of that is because I’m constantly trying something different. I was very fortunate to have a mentor who was constantly evolving his skills and understanding. And also, it’s okay that you don’t know everything, (or in my case anything) as long as you try.”

Nanlite: Where can we find more work from you and your team?

Lubin:“I have a special relationship with the guys over at Redd Pen Media. Both of our companies, Axion Studios and Redd Pen Media are owned by two guys from the same hometown. We come together, even with our busy schedules, and try to help each other grow as creators.”

You can find more of their work at:


Director: Wrangel Lubin |@wrangellubin
Producer: Juan Ortiz |@juan_reddpen
Producer: Wrangel Lubin
Director of Photography: Juan Ortiz
Gaffer: Wrangel Lubin
Key Grip: James Jackson |@mrjamieblack
Editor: Juan Ortiz
Colorist: James Jackson
Production Design: Jaileen Nieves |@_artvaark_
VFX: Jeremy Bookover |@jeremybrookover
Talent: Tanama Yabisi Turay |@carmelleorganic
Production Co: Redd Pen Media |@reddpenmedia
Production Co: Axion Studios |@axion_studios
BTS Photographer: Dantone Creative |@dantone_creative

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