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Which LED lights ?

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I have been looking for some LED lights to invest in for my camera shoots. I am pretty mobile, mainly shooting bands but also screenplays/short films. Through some research I have found these portable ones

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/4X-96-LED-Video-Light-for-DV-Camcorder-HDV-Z96-F135-/300546751509?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45f9fb7c15

 

But I was wondering your thoughts if it was better to invest in something less portable and more stable like these,

 

http://www.amazon.com/ePhoto-Photography-Lighting-Balanced-ePhotoINC/dp/B003QRBAIA/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1360461706&sr=8-33&keywords=LED+500+with+stand

 

 

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If you don't need portability then get tungsten lights. The color quality of modestly priced LEDs just isn't there yet. 

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I'm really digging the Switronix TorchLED Bolt's. They seem fairly accurate and were relatively cheap. Though, I ultimately want/need a Light Panels Studio ENG kit.

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Grab some vintage Mole Richardson, LTM Pepper or Colortran fresnels off ebay.  They're cheap and the build quality is meant to last a lifetime, or in the case of Mole Richardson, longer than your lifetime :)

 

FRESNEL-563x330.jpg

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The general vibe I have been getting is that LED's aren't worth it unless you invest a good amount... any other opinion on this?

 

And what would you guys suggest for a shoot that is coming up in a month, under $500? Is it even possible to get something decent for that price? Tungstens? The color is definitely important.

 

(I will look into those vintage ones but portability is definitely needed)

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Those fresnels are cheap and available for a reason.  Their time has passed.

 

The look is old fashioned.  They're inefficient.  They melt your talent and turn your set into an oven.  Blast them into some diffusion outside a window maybe or to throw light down a long corridor, or possibly for supplemental light outside.  Unless you're just trying to be ironic using that stuff with contemporary camera gear.  

 

If you're going to actually invest in something I'd suggest Kinos, or the equivalent.

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Would you recommend LED lights - burnetrhoades?

 

Or something else? Which ones from Kinos?

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I don't have any experience with LEDs.  I ordered my first one just the other day, a small unit to have in my kit for emergencies.  I'm hopeful that they (in general, not necessarily the one I got) are indeed the future because they have many practical advantages over any fluorescent technology.  It just all comes down to light quality and I haven't used them on a production yet or seen their use enough to have any kind of meaningful judgement.  

 

I just know I'll never use fresnels or the like unless I'm lighting exteriors and just need as much light as I can tap for large areas where most of their faults become less of an issue.

 

As for Kinos, I forget the models we borrowed but my understanding with them is you're paying for the ballasts, the tubes and the ability to dim.  Construction-wise, I've never seen one that isn't a let down, they feel cheap as hell.  But the light quality and your ability to control it is what's important.  That said, I'd try to get at least a two-bank or a couple two-banks in, I think we had the 4' size.  For smaller work, eye lights, putting a tiny fill somewhere I'd look to cheaper solutions that work in a pinch and get the best you could afford for your talent key and fill, or at least their key.

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Also, don't be afraid to build your own fixtures, especially for interior location lighting, if you like a natural look.  Even with Kinos on set a lot of great DPs augment practical lights with their own homebrew creations, bat strips, China balls and the like, because these tend to look less contrived than studio lighting.  They're also less stressful on your actors and don't chew up as much space.

 

 

edit: I looked but they don't have it in their online archives, but if you ever see for sale or get the chance to pick up the October 2000 issue of American Cinematographer Magazine there's a great little article on the lighting philosophy of Jean Yves Escoffier and how he applied it to the Labute film Nurse Betty.  It's been a touchstone and reference of mine all these years whenever I think about interior lighting and the legitimacy of homebrew lighting fixtures, even on the set of a major motion picture.  People talk all the time about what they think they could or couldn't pull out of a bag in front of a client and that's just ridiculous.  The end image is all that matters.

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I have some orange work lights that I may be able to make use of....

 

But I film a lot of bands and actors inside studios so I do need to purchase at least one light. Everything I have been shooting was under lit and lit oddly in weird places... So I  have been attracted to LED's because of their coolness and portability, but most people's opinion over these forums say LED's aren't worth it unless you invest in the $1,000s...

 

I'm not sure what to think but I would like a recommendation from you all on WHICH set YOU would invest in. Budget under $500.

 

Thanks again.

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Well, the two studio banks you linked above, the ones with the stands, they went right into my Amazon wishlist so that I had, quick handy reference to investigate them more.  I liked the looks of them and the price seemed very reasonable for the amount of light they put out...though it didn't seem clear to me if their specs were combined for the two of them, which would be disappointing, or if they represented the individual lights.  

 

Honestly I don't get the comment on spending thousands.  LEDs themselves, individually, cost what little they do because they have to cost something.  The money you'd be paying would inevitably be related to the construction of the case and associated hardware for dimming, etc.  I mean, maybe if every one of those little guys was hand wired in someone could justify a tall sum but, even then, that hand wiring would likely have been done by someone in a far off land who might have been paid a dollar that day.   The high cost is all mark-up and branding.

 

Take one of those 160 LED lights...that's less than $2 worth of actual light-giving-device and the rest of the cost is due to wiring, dimming and the materials + manufacturing of the case, and then mark-up.   I've been looking at replacing all of my signals and blinkers on my car with LED bulbs and if you go to a major automotive retailer they're asking upwards of $20 or even way more for a pair of bulbs I've been able to find for about $6 at a lighting-oriented site that's not specialized in automotive products but is more closely related to the actual manufacturer who produces all manner of LED lights.  

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Also, don't be afraid to build your own fixtures, especially for interior location lighting, if you like a natural look.  Even with Kinos on set a lot of great DPs augment practical lights with their own homebrew creations, bat strips, China balls and the like, because these tend to look less contrived than studio lighting.  They're also less stressful on your actors and don't chew up as much space.

 

 

edit: I looked but they don't have it in their online archives, but if you ever see for sale or get the chance to pick up the October 2000 issue of American Cinematographer Magazine there's a great little article on the lighting philosophy of Jean Yves Escoffier and how he applied it to the Labute film Nurse Betty.  It's been a touchstone and reference of mine all these years whenever I think about interior lighting and the legitimacy of homebrew lighting fixtures, even on the set of a major motion picture.  People talk all the time about what they think they could or couldn't pull out of a bag in front of a client and that's just ridiculous.  The end image is all that matters.

 

Just bought it on ebay  Paying more for postage to europe than for the magazine itself!!!!! ;). Hope it's worth it =)

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Just bought it on ebay  Paying more for postage to europe than for the magazine itself!!!!! ;). Hope it's worth it =)

 

It's a significant issue even beyond that, though the Nurse Betty article is the main reason I still pick it up to look through from time to time.  It also has a really cool article on the first ever, end-to-end, digital IP with the cover feature on Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?  And though I'm not mentioned by name, Eric Nash is quoted in there, in the sub-story about the effects for the film, discussing what I and my team did extending the water out to the horizon and putting the tops of houses and trees and such in there.  

 

Dave Prescott was the overall CG sup on the film and I headed up the team that did the flooded valley sequence.  What's extra nifty about how we did it is how shader sup Johnny Gibson gave us raytraced reflections of the building and tree cards in the water before Renderman ever officially could do raytracing ;)

 

Anyway, it's got a really good article on the cinematography of Requiem for a Dream as well, which also has extraordinary cinematography.

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I like it very much. Pretty easy to stash one away in a kit, and it can be used for so much more than just lighting a subject.

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I used to borrow a Cineroid headlight for wedding videos from my pal. It's fantastic, but quite expensive. For a christmas present, he gave me the HDV Z96, the version which has both accu and batteries.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8rpfgiH9bQ

 

It's, say, 90% as good as the Cineroid, and it is cheap(er).

 

 


 'I am pretty mobile, mainly shooting bands but also screenplays/short films.'

 

Very good is the very costly Litepanel Ringlight , my friend has this and some big litepanels (akku operable), that cost over 1000 bucks but fit in a laptop case.

 

To light a room the way it should be done, you'd need different light sources, and surely fresnels (available with LED also, i.e. from Arri, but still the most versatile are HMI) are the best choice for that.

 

An LED headlight is useful when your motif would otherwise be either too dark or noisy. Comparable to a flashlight, but dimmable. One would avoid it whenever possible, but sometimes it comes in handy.

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I have been looking for some LED lights to invest in for my camera shoots. I am pretty mobile, mainly shooting bands but also screenplays/short films. Through some research I have found these portable ones

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/4X-96-LED-Video-Light-for-DV-Camcorder-HDV-Z96-F135-/300546751509?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45f9fb7c15

 

I've got 8 of these little F&V Z96 lights, they are great lights and last for ages with a Sony F970 battery attached to the backs instead of inserting 5xAA batteries (which is also an option if your caught short of charged F970 batteries!). They are not the best in build quality though, after about a year's usage, the on/off dial on one of the units is tempremental? but you can dim each light to your required amount. They are great for filming on location where light is required as either fill or back lights, but if your planning on lighting a subject against a white background, a MCU shot would require at least 8 of these units and a MLS shot would probably need 12 units or maybe 16? obviously not as bright as red heads etc, but they are great lights and very portable!

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Ok thanks everyone... Some good information in there...

 

That TORCH LED BOLT light seems right up my alley. In my price range and seems powerful enough. That video was helpful too.

 

But do you think I could use one of these as my main lighting source? or, would this be more of a backing light? Also, I know it says on camera light, but is this light still designed to be used on a stand? I have always been told not to use a light on your camera unless you are going for that paparazi look, so I am definitely looking  for something on a stand..

 

Between the LED Torch Bolt light and one of those LED lights on amazon  http://www.amazon.co... 500 with stand

 

Which would would be more powerful, and essential for a video shoot? Do the Z96 lights compare to the LED torch bolt?

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The torchLED works great on stands. It comes with a ball head with hotshoe and 1/4 20. B&h sells one that also comes with a high capacity battery and charger for free. From what you said earlier, I gathered this would be a good tool for you - just a little something extra to add some fill, a background light, or hair light... It is also very small and can fit in your bag with little fuss.

You should be thinking of this light as something to either augment existing light, or be aided by it.
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Which would would be more powerful, and essential for a video shoot? Do the Z96 lights compare to the LED torch bolt?

 

They are virtually identical IMO, both dim, both support 5600k and 3200k (with tungsten filter on the Z96), both powered by a Sony F970, batteries or mains adapter, , Oh wait, I can get four F&V Z96 lights for the price of one Switronix LED Bolt? No brainer for me!

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They are virtually identical IMO, both dim, both support 5600k and 3200k (with tungsten filter on the Z96), both powered by a Sony F970, batteries or mains adapter, , Oh wait, I can get four F&V Z96 lights for the price of one Switronix LED Bolt? No brainer for me!

 

Looks like with a bank of 4 Z96 you have ~3200LUX where the Switronix is ~2000LUX.  I do love the scaleability of these.  Seems like, with just a little engineering for some kind of support frame, there's no reason you couldn't keep clicking on additional units passed a 2x2 matrix.

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The Z96 are way cheaper. I am going to get a bunch of those but wanted to see if there was anyone on the other side saying LED bolt would be the way to go (consider the price).

 

Also, if I couldn't use a set of the Z96's or LED bolt lights as my main lighting source, what could I use? What kind of light would I buy as my main lighting source? Other forums recommended these

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/298604-REG/Impact_401470_Three_Light_Mini_Boom_Kit.html

 

Would this be better than those LED's?

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Those fresnels are cheap and available for a reason.  Their time has passed.

 

The look is old fashioned.  They're inefficient.  They melt your talent and turn your set into an oven.  Blast them into some diffusion outside a window maybe or to throw light down a long corridor, or possibly for supplemental light outside.  Unless you're just trying to be ironic using that stuff with contemporary camera gear.  

 

With respect, sir:  It might be "old fashioned" but it's a look that I'm in love with.   In my experience, they're no hotter than the cheap Chinese redheads I used to work with.  , Those would fail several times during a shoot... from bulbs constantly blowing to ceramic insulators cracking, to smoking parts, what a pain!  After messing around with those & cheap worklights, the Fresnels are a nice step up.   ....and they're reliable.  

 

FWIW, I shoot a lot of music videos & the bands I work with jump around a lot anyway... the heat's pretty much a non-issue.  But yeah, if you're doing feature work, something cooler might be the way to go.

 

 

Here's a quick pic off my cell phone (didn't have time for a proper still) from a shoot I did last week.  Used an Arri 1k, Mole Baby Baby 1k for key & fill lights (with fairly heavy diffusion), back lights are Pepper 650w on the left and Mole 407 750w on the right.   It's Februrary in Canada, so after we finished shooting, we just put the lights out the front door to cool off before packing them back in the car! :)

Look closely, you'll see my GH2 loaded up with a Nikkor 35 & Bolex anamorphic :) and yes, this might just be the nerdiest heavy metal video in history.

792353_10151490339646081_687508746_o.jpg

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