Lighting Design Forum
Good Portable LED light kit
Good Portable LED light kit
by Kevin Gonzales on Mar 6, 2018 at 4:45:02 pm

Hey Creative Cow Community:

Want to replace my old Lowel Tota light set. I am looking for the best possible LED light kit (3 to 4 lights total) that throws well with a good CRI and can run on batteries if needed. What I loved about the Totas is they throw really well... but are freaking hot as hell and not that travel friendly.

Budget is about $1500 to $2000

Any suggestions?

Thanks all.

Kevin Gonzales

Re: Good Portable LED light kit
by Bob Cole on Mar 14, 2018 at 1:29:44 am

I like the Tota's too. That puts us both in the uncool club. But they really do throw out the light. I use them when I have to go somewhere by airplane; I put them in Chimeras and have beautiful, soft light - and lots of it.

The cheapest LEDs tend to have lousy color rendition. Do not go there. Bi-color sounds great, until you realize that in order to use all of the diodes (?) you will have to shoot in-between tungsten and daylight, at about 4300K.

You're right about batteries: Some lights (not all) can be powered and will last a long time on a relatively small battery. That is just fantastic.

No first-hand experience here, but on my wish list is the Litepanels Astra 6x. Powerful, though it will chew up a lot of your budget. The battery plate is extra, and has to sit on the light stand, I believe.

My direct experience is with Dracast and Arri/VisionSmith: I've been happy with my bicolor Dracast 500s, occasionally on sale at B&H. If you have certain fresnels on hand (Arri Plus, Mole, maybe more) you can relamp them with VisionSmith's LED product, creating a daylight-balanced fresnel for relatively low cost. But it's not battery powered, so it's only okay, not AC-free battery nirvana.

I'd recommend something like an Astra 6x daylight and a couple of Dracast 500s (I think there are several different configurations of Dracasts - you'll want barndoors, I think). The reason I recommend the Astra 6x daylight is that you said you wanted lots of light. Converting a daylight source to tungsten only costs you 47% of the light; converting tungsten to daylight costs 64%. You can usually cheat a bit, and use a 1/2 CTO on a daylight source, which only costs 27%. So you wind up with a more powerful tungsten AND daylight source.

What I'm really looking for is a powerful battery-powered LED that will replace the Tota's in my Chimeras. So far, no luck. Recommendations are welcome!

EDIT: look on this forum. There are several great suggestions in the CAME-TV thread, and others.

Bob C