LED lighting for image creators
LED lighting for image creators

Somehow I ended up on a growing number of LED Lighting equipment manufacturers e-mail mailing lists. Most of them were from China, some from the States and elsewhere. They must have thought that, as we supply broadcast, film and video lighting, that we would be interested in LED lighting. They were right. So I used to dutifully reply, asking them questions about the colour rendition index (CRI) of their LEDs. CRI is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce an object’s colour accurately, in comparison to a natural source. The closer this value is to 100, the better. Of course, for image creators this is a very important issue. Or at least it should be. Suffice to say, not one of them replied. I assumed that they did not understand the importance of the question to us, let alone the answer. Eventually, I simplified the question to one about colour temperature. Surely they could answer this? But, no. Some simply said “blue”.
 
The point I want to make is that not all LED lights are suitable for video, broadcast or film use. In fact, most are not. If you are offered a light without the manufacturer being able to tell you the colour temperature or CRI, then walk away. Never mind the trendy features like low power consumption and low heat output; if it is the wrong “colour”, you should not try and use it. If the colour is so wrong that it has to be used with a set of correction filters to make it an acceptable colour, then again I suggest it is not the right product to choose for lighting your image.
 
In 2009, LED lighting has come of age in our industry. After many years of tantalising us with the new technology, a good number of manufacturers have now harnessed it to produce some excellent products. Not surprisingly, most already have a good understanding of our industry, and are well known to us. Most have been waiting for the basic technology to evolve into something we can use. The Light Emitting Diode (LED), much like a tungsten halogen or HMI lamp, is the start point in every design. The key is to harness or enhance the light energy emitted, and control it. Although the technologies applied in the LED manufacturing processes vary, the resultant emitter chosen will be “white” and bright. Most manufacturers will add a lens to the emitter to control the direction and quality of the output.
 
Arri, the world’s largest and leading manufacturer of broadcast and film lighting, have this year introduced three distinctive LED lighting products. The Caster series gives a bright, even, slightly soft quality of light from a 21 x 8.5cm. surface area. It is fully dimmable, with a dial-in colour temperature range from 2800K to 6500K, and a CRI of 90. The 11-36 volt powered fixture has a very robust housing, and is well designed for location use. The LoCaster has manual control, and the BroadCaster has DMX control. Priced from around £900. The Arri PAX is a clever and versatile system. It features their True Match LED technology to give natural light characteristics. About the same size as a Caster, its light quality can be varied with a selection of lenses and diffusers. Colour temperature, and indeed any colour, can be matched to filter references. CRI is 95. The unit can be remote controlled. A comprehensive two light kit costs around £10,000. The Arri BLM series is a multi-colour output background lighting system.
 
Litepanels, now owned by British plc, The Vitec Group, are a relatively young company. Nevertheless they have become a world leader in LED lighting with some popular products. The 1 x 1 Panel measures one foot square but less than 2 inches deep. With a tight array of 576 lenslet covered LEDs, the output is bright, even and fully dimmable. There are five principal models, some with variations. All feature a very lightweight but robust housing. 12 to 24 volt or mains adapter powered, you can also use your V-mount, PAG or Anton Bauer batteries. In either Daylight or Tungsten, there are Flood models with a 50 degree beam and a projected light value similar to a 300 watt fixture. The Spot model with a 30 degree beam has a projected soft light value similar to a 500 watt fixture. The Super-Spot model with a 15 degree beam has a projected soft light value similar to a 650 watt fixture. Prices start from around £1300. A Low Profile version has the LEDs mounted at a 40 degree angle off axis. This enables the light to be fitted in a tight corner flush to a ceiling, yet illuminate an area away from where it is mounted. Two new models were recently introduced. The Bi-Color model allows you to dial between daylight and tungsten, or any step in between. The two Bi-Focus models allow focusing from 50 to 30 degrees, or 30 to 15 degrees.
 
Litepanels MiniPlus units, offer soft, directional output in a robust package for location production, or on-camera use. There are flood or spot daylight models, or a tungsten model to choose from. Power is supplied by an optional on-board battery, or by the camera. Again, they are fully dimmable without changing the colour temperature. Prices from £540.
 
Lowel, the worlds leading manufacturer of portable lighting systems, has just introduced the Lowel Blender. In a typically compact, lightweight and versatile package, this unit allows you to intuitively mix twin arrays of high CRI LEDs, until you see the right blend of colour to suit a mixed source environment. With an output of 590 lux at about 2 metres it is punchy, but will probably be used most as a semi-soft fill light. Priced at £670 or less.
 
British manufacturer, Gekko Technology, has eight distinct products but is perhaps best known for their ring lights systems. Lenslite fits HDV camcorders, and Kisslite suits larger diameter lenses. These white light “beauty” or fill lights are versatile and lightweight, with a separate ballast mounted underneath the camera or on a flying lead. For different applications, they also offer a compact triangular cluster of 3 LEDs, a straight row, and a rectangular block. They recently acquired the Kelvin Tile design from Element Labs. It is a square semi soft source with dial-in colour temperature control, and full dimming. They have a unique mix of 6 LEDs per cluster to achieve a broad spectrum white light.
Bebob lights uniquely feature a cluster of LEDs on a spine in the middle of a circular reflector. This produces efficient focusing, clean shadows and high output. Two hand-held or stand mounted models run off 12 volt camera batteries mounted under the light. The LED40 model will run for over two hours from a 90 watt/hour battery, but produces the equivalent output of a 300 watt focusing light. The LED60 model consumes 60 watts, but with nearly double the output.
 
Of course, the low power consumption of LEDs makes them the ideal technology for lights run from the same battery you are using to power your camera. Let’s not forget to consider the colour and quality of light, though.
 
PAG have a plug-in LED unit for use with existing Paglights. With the lens covered daylight LED placed in the middle of the reflector, uniform output throughout the focusing range is achieved. It is fully dimmable too. List price for the plug-in is £174 + vat.
 
Dedo’s renowned optical engineering has been applied to their on-board LED light, also known as “Ledzilla”. Output is a bright, daylight white, clean beam, with a long focus range. Again, it is fully dimmable. The tiny, lightweight unit can be run from a camera’s power output socket, or from a 7.2 volt camcorder battery via a plate. Prices start around £369.
 
Bebob have a camera mounted light, similar in principle to their other LED lights, but smaller. Power is taken from the camera’s D-tap.
 
Litepanels have two popular camera mounted lights. The Micro is a very lightweight, bright, rectangular panel of 48 lenslet covered LEDs in a 9 x 6 cm. area. Output is even and bright. It is powered by four AA batteries mounted internally, or by a 7.2 volt camcorder battery via a plate. It is supplied with a tilting camera “shoe” fitting. The Micro Pro is twice the size, and accepts six AA batteries or battery plate. Both are fully dimmable, and accept diffusion or tungsten correction screens. List prices are £260 and £390 respectively.
 
If you are looking to invest in LED lighting, and think that the time is now right, please do not view the products outlined here as a comprehensive list. There are more to consider. However, as it has always been for tungsten, HMI, or fluorescent, bear in mind that the hardware is less important than the output. Look at the light, not the light.

Tags: led lighting | lighting | iss035 | arri | arri pax | litepanels | v-mount | pag | anton bauer | daylight | tungsten | lowel | lightpanels | gekko | bebob | pag | dedo | N/A
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Submitted by Ed Harper Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Why fast production storage is just not enough
Martin Bennett UHD, 4k, 6k, 8k...the proliferation of high-resolution formats and files along with the growing number of skillsets that can collaborate on projects push storage bandwidth and capacities beyond their limits. If we just take a look at the potential storage requirements for a single 8K raw digital cinema format then we can kiss goodbye to 86,000 GB per hour! Then add to this the predicted increase in general video content IP video traffic is expected to be 79% of all consumer internet traffic in 2018 - this continual increase in media will test the storage strategies of all facilities, big and small.
Tags: iss102 | production | storage | ip video | traggic | media | Martin Bennett
Submitted by Martin Bennett Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Automate your marketing system
Den Lennie As I discussed in the previous issue building a relationship with your potential customer is vitally important, as this gains trust and allows you to then present a buying option. Ive also spoken about our free report that we offer to visitors, and this next chapter is all about how to create that report and how to set up your emails so that they are automated. When you know how, its super easy!
Tags: iss102 | marketing | leads | cameraman | content | advice | industry | expert | Den Lennie
Submitted by Den Lennie Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Fiber Transport for the future
Lars Hohmann What can handle fibertransport today, centralizedrouting tomorrow,decentralized routingthe day after, and signalprocessing all the time?
Tags: iss101 | fiber transport | centralised routing | signal processing | signal | audio | Lars Hohmann
Submitted by Lars Hohmann Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Audio basics
Larry Jordan# It is an absolutely true statement that the best way to improve the quality of your image is to improve the quality of your sound. Viewers will happily watch grainy, black-and-white images and consider it "art." However, nothing you can say will keep them in their seats if the audio is too loud or unintelligible.
Tags: iss101 | audio | science | display | levels | decibels | scale | Larry Jordan#
Submitted by Larry Jordan# Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Cautionary notes from GTC Member number 001
Dick Hibberd Recently I was invited to be on the panel of judges charged with selecting the winners of the 2014 'Bill Vinten GTC University Awards'. This was just the second year of this excellent scheme and, if the submissions from universities increase annually pro rata, then we will soon have a major logistics problem in simply viewing and judging all the entrants - but that will be a great problem to have.
Tags: iss101 | gtc | camera man | bbc | studio | golden age | history | equipment | skill | Dick Hibberd
Submitted by Dick Hibberd Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Finding the Oracle of audio capture
Simon Tillyer With over 300 hours of YouTube video uploaded every 60 seconds it's not hard to understand why any manufacturer would be looking closely at the new generation of emerging filmmakers whether they be in the consumer (creating content for "fun") or prosumer (creating content for a fee) markets. You might however question what interest a specialist audio manufacturer would have.
Tags: iss101 | sennheiser | consumer | prosumer | video content | avx system | Simon Tillyer
Submitted by Simon Tillyer Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A box of delights
Dick Hobbs. In the immediate aftermath of NAB and its bombardment by new gizmos, I want to talk about Professor Noriaki Kano. In the 1980s, at the Tokyo University of Science, he came up with a simple model of product design for customer satisfaction.
Tags: iss101 | nab | science | diagram | product | baseline expectation | linear satisfiers | the delighters | Dick Hobbs.
Submitted by Dick Hobbs. Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
NAB 2015 Highlights
Beth Zarkhosh For those of us lucky enough to visit this year's annual NAB Show in Las Vegas, we know how amazing and mesmerising it was, but for those who didn't get the chance to make it, then here's a lowdown on what we thought was the highlights of the biggest post production and broadcast conventions in town!
Tags: iss101 | nab 2015 | highlights | kit | equipment | drone | camera | virtual reality | 4k | Beth Zarkhosh
Submitted by Beth Zarkhosh Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A wide spectrum of choice
Andy Clements Without microphones, in-ear monitors (IEMs), intercom and distribution systems based on wireless technology, many of today's large-scale television studios, outside broadcast and film productions would be very difficult, if not impossible, to stage. Wireless solutions provide convenience and, in the main, great performance, however as with many technologies careful investment will provide the best results.
Tags: iss101 | microphones | in ear monitors | intercom | distribution systems | broadcast | audio | Andy Clements
Submitted by Andy Clements Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
5 must haves for sound recordists
Paul Zanders Every location has a different set of challenges and you have to deal with whatever sound your environment throws at you as best you can whilst looking after your gear and yourself. Here are 5 non-technical things that make my life on location easier.
Tags: iss101 | sound recordist | dedleg | tips | audio | equipment | must have | Paul Zanders
Submitted by Paul Zanders Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
REDucation - Real world RED camera training
Ben Sheriff Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th March saw the REDucation training workshop arrive in London at the Met Film School in Ealing Studios West London. I've used a Red One but have yet to work on a shoot where I can get my hands dirty with the newer cameras they manufacture (Epic-X, Scarlet, Dragon and now Weapon). When I was asked to attend the course and write up the experience by Kit Plus magazine I naturally jumped at the opportunity.
Tags: iss101 | reducation | training | equipment | kit | red one | camera | Ben Sheriff
Submitted by Ben Sheriff Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Overcoming complexity in remote production leads to more and better live broadcasts
Henry Goodman Despite the instant accessibility of recorded media content, there are many events that are still best enjoyed as a live broadcast. At the same time, such broadcasts are becoming increasingly complex, and with increased complexity comes increased cost.
Tags: iss101 | remote production | live broadcast | recorded media content | broadcast | Henry Goodman
Submitted by Henry Goodman Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
CALM - A crucial act to follow
Martin Moore Sudden jumps in sound level between television programmes and commercials first came to the notice of legislators after a loud commercial interrupted a family dinner at the home of US House of Representatives member Anna Eshoo. The technical parameters adopted in the draft were based on an existing recommended practice document issued in November 2009 by the US Advanced Television Systems Committee.
Tags: iss101 | audio | sound level | technical parameter | perceptual loudness | Martin Moore
Submitted by Martin Moore Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The IP Solution - intercom systems without extensive new cabling
Manuel Brico When a broadcasting or TV station wants to install a new intercom system in its broadcast centre or headquarters - or wishes to replace its entire intercom system - it is faced with two big investments. One concerns the capital investment in terms of hardware and software. This will include investment in equipment such as the intercom matrix, keypanels and accessories. The second concerns the installation and the commissioning itself, as a new system requires new cabling due to different standards and system topology.
Tags: iss101 | ip | intercom systems | cabling | broadcasting | tv station | Manuel Brico
Submitted by Manuel Brico Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Marketing is everything and everything is marketing
Den Lennie Marketing for filmmakers can be very intimidating. I think it must have something to do with being creative; we seem to be more concerned with creating content than creating new business.
Tags: iss101 | marketing | filmmaker | business | economy | film business | Den Lennie
Submitted by Den Lennie Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Moving voiceovers into the 21st century
Leigh Emmerson There was a time when the only way to get a voiceover for your production was by contacting a voiceover agent who would obligingly send over a CD or two full of voiceover sparkle and you and your client would choose one, schlep on down to a studio and pay a small fortune to sit on a swanky sofa and watch said sparkle record your script.
Tags: iss101 | audio | voiceover industry | video producer | studio | dat tape | Leigh Emmerson
Submitted by Leigh Emmerson Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine