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LED's for SD night shooting

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John DeLustro
LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:21:47 pm

Hello all, my apologies if this has been discussed to death, I searched without success.

I am trying to lighten our field gear, and am interested to know if anyone has had success in using LED's for (news) standup shots at night. I already frequently use the camera mounted LitePanel, but am hoping to supplant my two stand units with something more lightweight. I don't especially care if they can accept batteries or not, but it would be a nice bonus. I've been eyeballing the Ikan ID 500, but it feels a bit too inexpensive to be true.

Thanks in advance!


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Mark Suszko
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:45:41 pm

There's two things you need lights to do for a night ENG "live shot" standups: light the talent close-up, and perhaps light something up in the background as well. That second job needs more "punch" than current LED tech can deliver at the same price-point. You *might* be able to do the close-up part with LED panels or fixtures, but I'm going to say that the best bang for buck in that particular niche would be a flo and not an LED. Not much more power consumption, but more throw and more/wider soft light that will work well at ten feet or so.


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John DeLustro
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:15:09 pm

Thanks Mark, I think I need to investigate this request on my end a bit more. I had initially just wanted opinions on LED's (which I have little experience with, outside of the Litepanels and Colorblasts), but now I'm not certain of what the end purpose of this gear is. I was asked to do this to facilitate night ENG shots, but the vast majority of those shots for us have the NYC skyline as a background, which is both bright enough on its own, and a bit too far away (from Tribeca) to bother illuminating. I'll update when I have more specifics.


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John DeLustro
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 23, 2011 at 5:00:44 pm

Looks like 95% of the time, I will only need a 6'-10' throw, with the journalist being the primary (sole) target of the light source(s). The primarily goal for these units is to make things more portable, both regarding size and weight. My perception of less maintenance (and lamp costs) is a secondary benefit.


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Mark Suszko
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:13:21 pm

Okay then, if you only need to light a reporter's talking head from 6 feet, LED's are a viable alternative. Lightpanels sells one called the SOLA that's a fresnel LED, around $700. Videssence has a line of LED lights now in 25, 50, and 100-watte types, (looks like they just add more of the same module to stack them), but these may be based on house current 120 volts and not 12 0r 24 volts. For ENG work, battery power is a must, with AC backup a welcome extra.

Look at Bescor, Ikan, Zylight, Micropanels, Switronix.


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John DeLustro
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:19:26 pm

I'll check out the SOLA. Bescor looks good in the catalog, but I picked up a cheap kit from them, and both units were broken before I opened the box. Figured that they were still inexpensive enough to consider disposable if the quality was acceptable, exchanged, and the replacement kit was broken in a different way. I'll be avoiding them from now on. The Ikan seemed very nice at B&H, though a different customer in the store reported dimming issues with it. Still likely to try that next. I'll look into the Videssence.

Thanks!


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Dennis Size
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 24, 2011 at 5:11:18 am

For what you're lighting my weapon of choice would be either the 1'x 1' LITE PANEL (BiFocus or Bi Color) or the Diva 400 -- although the 200 would be lighter for you, since that seems to be your criteria.
We use Color Kinetics' iWhites and eWhites by the dozens (perhaps hundreds), and they quite good ...but not for what you're shooting. There's really nothing else currently available for your purposes -- except perhaps Arri's "Broadcaster" LED.

DS



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Mark Suszko
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 24, 2011 at 5:25:03 am

Dennis, friend, I could have suggested Lowels; most of the ENG crews I have worked alongside carry at least an Omni or a Tota, when they need to light a big area in a hurry with a minimal setup. They don't take up much room, are rugged and cool off fast when you need to strike and get out. My on-cam lights are usually Frezzi halogens, powered off the same Anton Baur pack as the camera, and that works very well for typical ENG work. But I got the impression the poster really wanted to try to go even lighter weight, and to get away from AC powered lighting, LED's are the best answer. Not as cheap, but in this case, the size/weight/battery performance was the overriding factor.

Lowel makes a nice portable flo-based light bank, btw:-) Have to see if they ever get into LED stuff....


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Dennis Size
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 24, 2011 at 5:40:30 am

According to John (the poster) "I don't especially care if they can accept batteries or not"
That being said Diva is the best choice -- in the current state of technology .... unless of course John has money to burn experimenting with a variety of LED's -- in which case he should go with NILA's.

By the way, I think I know those ENG friends of yours who use OMNI's and TOTA's. They're the ones with no finerprints on any of their fingers! :-)

DS



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Mark Suszko
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 24, 2011 at 2:48:11 pm

If he doesn't care about needing AC power, B&H sells a variety of LED lights by American DJ that look like PARs and fit on ergular light stands. I could not speak to the quality of the output but the price is low.


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Mark Suszko
Re: LED's for SD night shooting
on Feb 24, 2011 at 7:49:27 pm

This is for my buddy Dennis Size:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/653888-REG/Lowel_BLN_10_Blender_LED_F...


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