The Die Hard films are renowned for their non-stop action and complex sets. That’s why, for the newest installment of the Bruce Willis action feature, gaffer Jeff Murrell relies on Matthews Studio Equipment’s MAX and MINI MAX light movers to get his lights in tight places or keep them out of the way of the non-stop action.

MAX and MINI MAX, designed by key grip Richard Mall are quickly replacing menace arms, comet booms, goal posts and other ways to hang a light above or behind or just out of frame. The flexibility of these easily transported and set up light movers allows for the placement of a variety of light or heavy weight equipment, providing backlight, key light or top light with ease.

“In one particular scene in Live Free or Die Hard, we were using a process trailer with multiple cameras,” explains Murrell. “You have to keep everything inside the confines of the trailer, due to moving in and around other vehicles.

“MAX’s design allows a single post in a given corner, with nothing hanging off the back to counter balance. Its efficient adjustability up and down allows for quick changes if needed. MAX’s square tube design also adds to the stability of the lighting when moving at various speeds and lane changes.

“Without the use of MAX, I would have had to use the traditional ‘goal post’ approach to achieve the same thing,” Murrell explains. ” ‘Goal posting’ the light would have required two vertical stand posts and therefore cut down camera angles, which could possibly compromise a better coverage of the scene.”

MAX was originally designed for use on practical locations where walls can’t be moved and holes can’t be cut into ceilings, something that can be done on stage. “In this picture, we have more than a few practical locations where we had to reach a light out to a certain distance and the stand can’t be in the shot,” Murrell explains.

“MAX and MINI MAX really shined here,” he adds. “In this police station, we put MAX up against a wall and extended the arm out to reach the correct distance.

“On this particular movie, we are seldom doing any scene with less than two cameras on every shot and usually three to four,” Murrell explains. “MAX and MINI MAX are really helpful in these situation. The fact that you don’t have to put a counter balance into the equation allows MAX to be used in so many positions that would have been nearly impossible before.”

Live Free or Die Hard, from Twentieth Centry fox is slated for release June 29th, 2007, the evening of the Independence Day holiday weekend. It is a particularly appropriate date because the story itself takes place over the Fourth of July. In this picture, directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld franchise), John (Bruce Willis) battles an attack on the vulnerable United States computer infrastructure.


Matthews Studio Equipment is a 36-year-old manufacturer of industry specialized hardware and lighting modification devices. Located in Burbank, California, Matthews Studio Equipment has received numerous industry awards for the innovation and introduction of many new, revolutionary products to the international production industries.

Matthews Studio Equipment
“Technology That Complements Your Imagination”

For further information on Matthews Studio Equipment or the use of MAX and MINI MAX on Live Free or Die Hard, please contact:
Robert E. Kulesh, V.P. Sales & Marketing
Matthews Studio Equipment
2405 Empire Avenue
Burbank, CA 91504 USA
Tel – 818-843-6715
Fax – 323-849-1525

Photos courtesy of Frank Masi / 20th Century Fox

Higher resolution images available for print

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