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 Max McGonigal Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
OTT A Multiscreen Environment
Sefy Ariely Just when pay-TV operators and content providers seemed to be facing an insurmountable number of challenges related to OTT multiscreen delivery, the cloud has emerged as their saving grace. During this Q&A session, Sefy Ariely, EVP Americas at Viaccess-Orca, discusses the advantages of using a complete cloud-based TV Platform as a Service (PaaS) for OTT multiscreen delivery, explaining the differences between relying on the CAPEX vs. OPEX model for broadcast delivery, from an infrastructure and cost point of view.
Tags: iss114 | ott | pay-tv | paas | tvaas | Sefy Ariely
Submitted by Sefy Ariely Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Breakthrough
Julia Belle How do you become a Hollywood Film Producer? Or a Second Assistant Director? Or a Gaffer? Truth is, theyre not particularly straight-forward questions to answer. But that doesnt mean you should give up there and start working in a jam factory as your school careers advisor recommended.
Tags: iss113 | Anattic | Tucano | Director | Gaffer | Film Producer | Julia Belle
Submitted by Julia Belle Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Smaller, Lighter, High-Capacity Batteries
Steve Emmett The desire for longer run-times from smaller and lighter batteries, has always been keenly felt by users of high power consumption digital cinema style cameras. The new generation of cameras is smaller but the power consumption, in most cases, has increased. High-capacity Li-Ion batteries of 150Wh or more provide longer run-time, but with increased capacity comes increased size and weight.
Tags: iss113 | Batteries | NAB 2016 | PL150 | PAG | PL96 | RED | PL150e | Steve Emmett
Submitted by Steve Emmett Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A Marathon Filming Review
Simon Tillyer A marathon filming review... 60+ interviews filmed, edited and promoted within 24 hour... A 26 mile marathon in anyone's world is a long way with cobbles, uneven surfaces, steps and thousands of people in your way. However I'm not talking about the recent London Marathon but our adventures' at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.
Tags: iss113 | NAB 2016 | DVX-200 | PIX-E5 | IDX SL-VBD96 | NP-F | Simon Tillyer
Submitted by Simon Tillyer Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Females In The Broadcasting Industry
Emma Clifford You're hiring. You're reviewing CVs.You're not bothered about names are you? What matters are skills, experience and the competencies of the candidates, right? Wrong! You probably have unconscious bias.
Tags: iss113 | FBI | Females | STEM | Science | Technology | Enginreering | Maths | CV | STEMNET | Girls in Tech UK | Future Tech Girls | Emma Clifford
Submitted by Emma Clifford Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Our Time At NAB 2016
Beth Zarkosh We were lucky enough to visit this year's NAB Show in Las Vegas, and we must say there were some real treats on show! Here's just a few things that stood out for us and worth keeping your eye on.
Tags: iss113 | NAB 2016 | Virtual Reality & 360 Degree Videos | Black Magic | DaVinci Resolve 12.5 | EDIUS 8.2 | Colour Correction | Motion tracking | GoPro Omni | Canon | Sony | Panasonic | 4k | Beth Zarkosh
Submitted by Beth Zarkosh Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Remote Production
Jim Green Ten years ago,remote production was the stuff of dreams,a glimpse into a brave new world. The prospect of providing real-time audio control of live events thousands of miles away,without even leaving the studio,was as enticing as it was unlikely.
Tags: iss113 | Calrec | Latency | Control | infrastructure | IFB | DSP | AES67 | Ravenna | Dante | SMPTE 2022 | Jim Green
Submitted by Jim Green Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Audio
Pieter Schillebeeckx Audio monitoring has come a long way since its humble beginnings of a box with a speaker, a volume control and an analogue input. Today's high-end audio monitoring units boast an impressive array of I/O such as SDI, MADI, AES-3 and Analogue while offering a large amount of functionality such as accurate metering, loudness measurement, Dolby decoding, metadata analysis and video confidence monitoring. There is however a huge storm brewing in the world of broadcast in the form of video and audio over IP, which will turn everything upside down.
Tags: iss113 | Audio | Audio Monitoring | SDI | MADI | AES-3 | S2022-6 | TR-03 | TR-04 | IP | AES67 | Dante | Ravenna | 3G-SDI | TSL | MADI | PAM-IP | Pieter Schillebeeckx
Submitted by Pieter Schillebeeckx Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Class: Multi - Channel Audio
Bruce Devlin If you're given a media file and it has 16 channels of audio then life can quickly become the opposite of boring, especially if it has to go to air quickly and the supplier is new. Put simply there are many ways in which the different channels can be laid out in the file, but there isn't a single overall standard for labelling them. Enter SMPTE ST 377-4 - the Multi-Channel Audio Labelling specification (MCA). It's really boring and this is a good thing.
Tags: iss113 | Audio | Media | Multi-Channel Audio | MCA | MXF | GUI | Bruce Devlin
Submitted by Bruce Devlin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
5 Things I Saw At NAB
Peter Savage 2 ARRI Trinity stabilisation It may look like something that was dreamt up for a sci-fi film but the Trinity stabilisation system is a truly remarkable bit of kit that is most certainly real. Available as an upgrade to the Artemis or a third-party camera stabiliser, it consists of a compact and lightweight two-axis gimbal head, a monitor mount and joystick that attach to the gimbal handle, a battery hanger module and a pendulum that allows for perfect 'drop down' moves. As it works with a vest, it is essentially a cross between a steadicam and a small crane. The shots you can get with this are incredible. It was first s
Tags: iss113 | NAB 2016 | ARRI Trinity Stabilisation | Sony Media Backbone Hive | PVM-X550 | CAPEX | OPEX | OLED | Leyard & Planar 8k video wall | Atomos | Atomos Shogun Inferno | Shotover U1 | Peter Savage 2
Submitted by Peter Savage 2 Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Measurement and Visualization of Loudness
Michael Kahsnitz Today's audio engineers and editors have to fight various battles, including constantly shrinking production budgets, less time to create the final program content and more tech specs to match than ever. For this compilation, we take a deeper look at the required major indicators common to all the standards.
Tags: iss113 | LUFS | LKFS | TV | Loudness | Audio | Measurement | Visualization | Michael Kahsnitz
Submitted by Michael Kahsnitz Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Loudness Measurement and Control Strategies For The UK Broadcast Market
Manik Gupta A common issue that today's broadcast ,cable, and satellite operators face is inconsistent loudness. Over the years, the loudness levels of some commercials have been deliberately increased to catch audiences' attention. Ultimately, inconsistent loudness between regular programming and advertisements has discouraged continued viewing and resulted in consumer complaints.
Tags: iss113 | Loudness Measurement | Loudness | EBU R128 | EBU | LKFS | LUFS | Manik Gupta
Submitted by Manik Gupta Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
NAB Review
Duncan Payne As I emerge from the customary post-NAB haze and try to formulate a coherent analysis of the 2016 show, perhaps the most striking realisation is that despite pacing the halls for four long days, I barely scratched the surface. The scale of the event, much like Las Vegas itself, is simply extraordinary, with over 100,000 attendees and nearly 1900 exhibitors. Right from the first morning of the show, my social media feeds have been full of reviews of amazing products and technical advancements, many of which I just didnt get time to see.  Here, however, are some highlights of the things I did manage to get to.
Tags: iss113 | NAB 2016 | Las Vegas | Black Solo | Kahuna | C-Cast | ObjectMatrix | Nexis | Matrixstore | XStream | Alexa 65 | XT | SXT | Varicam LT | Dual Iso | PTZ | HDC-4800 | PXW-Z450 | HDC-4300 | L10 | L20 | L30 | C300 | Canon | CN18-80 4K | ENG style 4k | NDI | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Sound Devices: My Choice For Everything Audio
Darren Brisker Ever since I can remember, I have had a passion and curiosity for sound and sound recording. For the past thirty years, I have had the good fortune of turning that desire into a career as a production sound mixer working on incredible projects, including three of The Twilight Saga films. During my three decades in the industry, I have always prided myself on using the best equipment available, in order to capture the best sound possible. Equipment selection is critical to success, and the game was forever changed when Sound Devices entered the mix.
Tags: iss113 | Sound Devices | Audio | 744T Recorder | SL-6 | 688 | 664 | Comtek BST 216-75 | Sennheiser | Sanken | MixAssist | Darren Brisker
Submitted by Darren Brisker Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
TV Futures
Gemma Frith I used to hate audio. Every time we recorded audio on a location shoot, something seemed to go wrong. It was a nightmare. And because I didn't understand it, I avoided it and would do anything to not be responsible for recording sound. However, eventually it got to a point where I hated how much I hated audio more than I hated audio itself! It became frustrating that I couldn't get it right, and I didn't want to have to avoid it anymore; I wanted to become a master of audio. That may have been slightly ambitious, but still, I was going to try.
Tags: iss113 | Audio | TV | CCI TV | Radio | Student | Gemma Frith
Submitted by Gemma Frith Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Sin City
Dick Hobbs. I am writing this is the immediate aftermath of yet another NAB. For me that means a week of walking around,talking to a wide variety of people and taking the temperature of the industry.
Tags: iss113 | NAB 2016 | 4k | HDR | Oculus Rift | Heath Robinson | Nokia | Dick Hobbs.
Submitted by Dick Hobbs. Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine