Jump to content
Jonesy Jones

Aputure: the Blackmagic of lighting

Recommended Posts

EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Dude so happy you started this thread.

I'm getting my first lighting kit started and have been researching Aputure's light. So glad that I'm hearing good things about the quality of their lights. Good CRI, good output, LED, at that price seemed too good to be true at first. Anyways... Any suggestions on building my first official lighting package? Really want something that would cover most basic lighting situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On April 22, 2016 at 11:36 PM, jcs said:

We use the LS-1S, LS-1/2 (97 CRI), 528W, 528S, and H198, in daylight color. They all work great, especially for skin tones (better than our more expensive Dracast LEDs, which are only used for bounce/back fill now). Look forward to seeing the variable spot/Fresnels from Aputure (we use a Fiilex P360EX- very nice but not variable beam angle or very bright (can swap in/out the plastic Fresnel insert).

Which Dracasts did you buy? I actually just picked up two of the Dracast Plus color adjusting panels. Right now if you purchase from BH photo, they ship with a 300 dollar V mount battery. I actually prefer the controls to be on the panel, this way you get a super portable temp adjustable soft box, without being tethered to a stand...

I'm a little on the fence whether I should go color adjusting or go straight 5600k for my next purchase. I currently own a 1x1 and 1/2 panel from dracast. The light out put isn't as high but the versatility is really nice… 

Would also like to add that this case is really good for any light panel kit. I have taken the original light panel 1x1s all over the world with this case. It can hold 4 stands, a microphone boom kit, stingers, etc. I use this as my main lighting/accessory case.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=564291&gclid=CjwKEAjwuuy4BRCvs43g9fX9mz4SJACiYydPhRVjPgygy0y4YgWZnODsnJJCCjwfBiD4CgZ6q0YR_BoC2g7w_wcB&is=REG&ap=y&m=Y&c3api=1876%2C92051677442%2C&Q=&A=details

 

IMG_6137.JPG

IMG_6136.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, August McCue said:

Any suggestions on building my first official lighting package? Really want something that would cover most basic lighting situations.

Don't get LED fixtures.  Get straight tungsten.  The footcandle-per-dollar is generally better with tungsten as is the power-luminance density.  Plus, focusable tungsten fixtures are significantly less expensive than their LED counterparts.

 

Straight tungsten fixtures are probably the most versatile source, so they cover most lighting situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, tupp said:

Don't get LED fixtures.  Get straight tungsten.  The footcandle-per-dollar is generally better with tungsten as is the power-luminance density.  Plus, focusable tungsten fixtures are significantly less expensive than their LED counterparts.

 

Straight tungsten fixtures are probably the most versatile source, so they cover most lighting situations.

But they're heavy, large, and get really hot. If you're lighting interviews, LEDs are great, but yes an LED panel is no competition for a 2k Arri...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, August McCue said:

Any suggestions on building my first official lighting package? Really want something that would cover most basic lighting situations.

I bought 2 of these for 199€ each... 

https://www.amazon.es/Excelvcan%C2%AE-Control-Remoto-Inal%C3%A1mbrico-1040PCS/dp/B011AYJ474/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1461453126&sr=8-4&keywords=excelvan+1040

Very well built, they mix perfectly with Aputure's HR672's, same cri +95 quality (I've done a side by side test and they look identical), but twice the power. They work 3 hours at max power or 6 outputting the same amount of light than the Aputure's (spot version) with a 220€ 177Wh "Kayo Maxtar" V-lock battery. I usually use 1 battery per light/day, I put it on and I forget about it (I hate changing NP's every hour). It's hard to think of any cons, maybe the only thing that I don't like is that the warm filters don't match the Aputure warm filters, but I don't like either of them anyway, I usually use CTO gels on both.

I think they're a knock off (or rebranded version) of these, but a daylight version...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1147568-REG/axrtec_axr_a_1040bv_bi_color_led_panel.html

As you can see, for that price the Excelvcan (terrible name) is a steal...

Other lights... Aputure's AL-H198C is great and cheap, and I also like the 672's, smaller and lighter than the Excelvcan's so you can easily put them up in smaller places with a magic arm. Talking of arms, the Tarion magic arms have been a great cheap discovery for my kit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, BenEricson said:

But they're heavy, large,

No, they're not -- not compared to LEDs with the same output and beam angle.  Tungsten fixtures generally have a greater power-luminance density than LEDs, so tungsten fixtures are often smaller and lighter than LED fixtures with the same output and beam angle, especially when considering open-faced, focasable tungsten fixtures (which are non-existent in the LED world).

 

37 minutes ago, BenEricson said:

But they're heavy, large, and get really hot. If you're lighting interviews, LEDs are great, but yes an LED panel is no competition for a 2k Arri...

Tungsten fixtures are hotter than LEDs, but with tungsten you get:  more control;  greater power-luminance density; better footcandle-per-dollar value; more versatility; and you almost never have to worry about color accuracy (CRI).

 

40 minutes ago, BenEricson said:

If you're lighting interviews, LEDs are great,

For interviews, an LED fixture is not as good as a tungsten softbox.  The usually larger tungsten softbox gives a more flattering light than the smaller, sometimes "metallic" looking light from an LED unit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tungsten vs LED... umm, like always it depends on workflows... cableless mobility and low heat are the big ones for me (my tungsten lights are rotting in the cupboard). LED cri is up there now, and running something like an Aputure 120T on a V-lock battery makes a lot of sense to me. The days of... hiding cables/ endless sauna sessions/ wearing gloves all the time/ having someone at the fusebox/ using generators... are over, and I don't miss them at all. Higher price seems like the only true "Con" for the latest LEDs, but I think they worth every penny. That's my two cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, tupp said:

Don't get LED fixtures.  Get straight tungsten.  The footcandle-per-dollar is generally better with tungsten as is the power-luminance density.  Plus, focusable tungsten fixtures are significantly less expensive than their LED counterparts.

 

Straight tungsten fixtures are probably the most versatile source, so they cover most lighting situations.

Not when you add the cost of a generator and the crew to lug it up a mountain they're not. It only took one guy with a backpack to carry the 4 LEDs, batteries, and fogger I used to light a tunnel for 6 hours.

1 hour ago, tupp said:

For interviews, an LED fixture is not as good as a tungsten softbox.  The usually larger tungsten softbox gives a more flattering light than the smaller, sometimes "metallic" looking light from an LED unit.

Sometimes. But most of the latest generation 95+ CRI LEDs look every bit as good as tungsten. Unless you never plan to leave the studio, LEDs are the most versatile option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, John Emery said:

I backlit this with one of those, mine's a daylight version rated at 72w. Runs for about 2 hours on a 160w v-mount. Key and fill were done with an Aputure AL-H198 and a Fiilex P180E. Shot with a 5D MK3 ML raw @ 6400 ISO 1/48 f/5.6.

qHLNpEv.jpg

That location is 2km from the nearest vehicular access point. We had a crew of two. Try doing that with tungstens.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, BenEricson said:

Which Dracasts did you buy? I actually just picked up two of the Dracast Plus color adjusting panels. Right now if you purchase from BH photo, they ship with a 300 dollar V mount battery. I actually prefer the controls to be on the panel, this way you get a super portable temp adjustable soft box, without being tethered to a stand...

1 Dracast LED1000 Pro Daylight and 1 Dracast  LED1000 Pro BiColor . Solid construction however the Aputure render skin tones better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, John Emery said:

Tungsten vs LED... umm, like always it depends on workflows... cableless mobility and low heat are the big ones for me (my tungsten lights are rotting in the cupboard).

Certainly, if one's shoot takes a short time, then batteries can work.  However, lots of shoots take all day (especially narrative work) and battery power is not practical in such situations.  Of course, a lot of work (especially narrative) requires the versatility and control that tungsten fixtures offer, LED fixtures are not practical.  The thing is, tungsten fixtures can work in most all situations.  Tungsten can sometimes generate noticeable heat, but the versatility usually outweighs that potential problem.

 

3 hours ago, John Emery said:

The days of... hiding cables/ endless sauna sessions/ wearing gloves all the time/ having someone at the fusebox/ using generators... are over, and I don't miss them at all.

You hide cables?  The only time I ever hid cables was when they were in the shot, but that was just basic dressing.  Gloves are usually not necessary, unless one is perhaps removing scrims or wrangling a hot Fresnel with some problem.

 

You stationed someone at the fusebox?  Really?  Generators are almost never necessary for fixtures of 2k or less.

 

3 hours ago, John Emery said:

Higher price seems like the only true "Con" for the latest LEDs, but I think they worth every penny. That's my two cents.

Again, LEDs also have less control, less versatility and a lower power-luminance density, when compared to tungsten units.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, squig said:

Not when you add the cost of a generator and the crew to lug it up a mountain they're not. It only took one guy with a backpack to carry the 4 LEDs, batteries, and fogger I used to light a tunnel for 6 hours.

A generator is almost never needed for fixtures of 2k or less, or, in your example, if one is in an exceptionally remote location.

 

I do not dispute that LEDs work well with battery power.  I have used them precisely for that advantage.  However, when one has to shoot all day, it is much preferred to run off of AC.

 

And, again, in most situations, one can do a lot more with a tungsten kit, compared to bulkier and less versatile and less controllable LED fixtures.

 

 

3 hours ago, squig said:

Sometimes. But most of the latest generation 95+ CRI LEDs look every bit as good as tungsten.

Many LED units indeed have good CRI, but if I had to shoot an interview of a middle-aged woman, I would always choose a large tungsten soft box over a LED panel!

 

 

3 hours ago, squig said:

Unless you never plan to leave the studio, LEDs are the most versatile option.

This notion could not be further from the truth.  Again, tungsten has a higher power-luminance density than LEDs, so they are actually more portable, more controllable and more versatile -- all very important properties when shooting on location.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, tupp said:

This notion could not be further from the truth.  Again, tungsten has a higher power-luminance density than LEDs, so they are actually more portable, more controllable and more versatile -- all very important properties when shooting on location.

You're living the past mate. The future is here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, squig said:

I backlit this with one of those, mine's a daylight version rated at 72w. Runs for about 2 hours on a 160w v-mount. Key and fill were done with an Aputure AL-H198 and a Fiilex P180E. Shot with a 5D MK3 ML raw @ 6400 ISO 1/48 f/5.6.

Nice shot!

 

5 hours ago, squig said:

That location is 2km from the nearest vehicular access point. We had a crew of two. Try doing that with tungstens.

Again, I do not dispute that LEDs work better than tungsten with batteries.  However, your example of an exceptionally remote location is just that -- an exception -- and tungsten is generally a more versatile and controllable light source than LEDs.

 

On the other hand, I can see how the director could be disappointed by the lack of versatility inherent in that LED kit.  For instance, what if the director looked at viewfinder (at the shot you posted) and said, "That's nice, but can you give me one or two dramatic narrow light beams that travel through the haze?"  What could you do?  That LED panel can't make light beams and the P180E might not have the punch to make a readable beam through the haze with the ambient light needed for base exposure.

 

There are open-faced, light-weight, focasable tungsten fixtures that could provide those light beams off of 12-volts, or, even better, off of a 30-volt battery belt.

 

There is another possible scenario in which the LEDs could have fallen short in the tunnel situation -- what if the director was a "gimbal kiddie" and asked for a wide tracking shot (as gimbal kiddies are wont to do) 100 feet into the tunnel?  How would you do that with the LED panel and the P180E?  You want to convey the natural fall-off from the entrance of the tunnel, but the panel falls-off too quickly to give the needed exposure at the end of the move, and the P180E doesn't have the punch to be readable at 100 feet.  You can't track the light, because that would create moving shadows (and probably look unnatural, anyway).  You can't mount an LED on the ceiling further down the tunnel, because you can't reach the ceiling and/or there are no pick-points on the ceiling.

 

If you had an open-faced, focasable tungsten source, you could stem it up high and feather the beam so that the brighter spot falls on the distant end of the move while the dimmer, outer portion of the beam falls nearer to the start of the move.  With the focusable tungsten source, you would still have some of the desired fall-off, but you would get the exposure you needed deeper in the tunnel.  This scenario could be easily accomplished with a 420-watt, 30-volt tungsten bulb and a battery belt.

 

So, tungsten sources have the versatility to accommodate more lighting scenarios.

 

1 hour ago, squig said:

You're living the past mate. The future is here.

I'll tell you what, I'll bet you US$10 that if you research your favorite current movie or TV show, that you will find that they use mostly tungsten lights on their windowless locations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tupp said:

Nice shot!

Thanks.

1 hour ago, tupp said:

Again, I do not dispute that LEDs work better than tungsten with batteries.  However, your example of an exceptionally remote location is just that -- an exception -- and tungsten is generally a more versatile and controllable light source than LEDs.

I like exceptional.

The newer LEDs are quite controllable. I wouldn't rely solely on panels, I'm just about to invest in some 120w and 30w LED fresnels. The P180E is quite hard, as is the dedo DLED4.1 which is also focusable. The new Aputure fresnels and the Litepanels Caliber look like good 150w Tungsten replacements which are light enough for the forthcoming gimbal kiddie tunnel tracking shot. An actress will be holding a Tilley lamp, but the lamp won't cast enough light on her face so I'm going to cheat it with a gimbal mounted P180E and an LED panel backlight cheating daylight like that sniper shot. I'm about to do some tests to determine exactly how I wanna light it. The beauty of LEDs is I can throw a bunch of them in my backpack, head into a tunnel with a mate, mess around, and save my money for beers afterwards. I'd need 4 people to do the same thing with tungstens, and a lighting test turns into a production. These new LEDs like the Aputure 120T can do anything a blondie or a redhead can do and run off a v-mount battery.

1 hour ago, tupp said:

I'll tell you what, I'll bet you US$10 that if you research your favorite current movie or TV show, that you will find that they use mostly tungsten lights on their windowless locations.

I'm not a follower.

Don't get me wrong, I love tungsten light, but over the last 12 months LEDs have really come of age, and affordable high quality LEDs are a viable tungsten replacement.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Jonesy! Ted here from Aputure. Didn't get a chance to meet you at the show, but really glad that Jeremy could show you all the new tech. Thanks for the write-up and love. It really means a ton to us. 

If you don't already know about it, we're got a user group on facebook-- not unlike Black Magic ;) -- where we collect feedback and discuss Aputure stuff. I want to start up a live-stream once a week where we can all discuss what you guys are looking for so we can keep making it. 

Cheers,
Ted

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Ted from Aputure

Thank you for joining the forum.


I commend Aputure for the new 120T's compatibility with the Bowens accessories. Even though I don't have any Bowens gear, it's always smart and beneficial to both manufacturers to share accessories (especially between a strobe and constant line). I have noticed that kind of cooperation in the past between Profoto, Lowel, Dynalite and Speedotron.


It is interesting that the 120T has a separate power pack.


You and @squig have claimed that the 120T is comparable to a redhead and a blonde. Could you please post the photometrics on your 120T, using the standard beam angle delineation of 50% (one stop down) from the brightest point? It would be helpful if you could include a range of distances -- 1.5 meters, 3 meters, 4.5 meters, 6 meters, etc. Full spot and full flood readings would be great.


Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got most of the Aputure LEDs, except for the new fresnels of course.

I most like the 528's and 672's because I like light and small and they're easy to power with Sony batteries.

My favorite combo for soft light closeups and interviews is the new (95 CRI) versions of the 528W (flood) combined with their small and cheesy but very effective soft boxes. There's not enough spread and depth with the much more focused 25 degree 528S with their soft box. But the 75 degree 528W works great. Because we shoot in Film/Log mode @ 800 base ISO, you actually need to dim them in an normal shoot, even with the Flood version and diffusion.

But, the bottom line is I have one kit with a mix of 528 and 672 panels and the light is clean and punchy as well as clean and soft. They're all on small but sturdy Giotto stands. The non-Aputure LEDS I use with them are a few Ikan iLED6's that are also 95+ CRi, focusable spots that go from 15-60 degrees. I always use them spotted for backgrounds, rim, hair and accent. They also run on Sony bats. All told I carry 10 panels and spots and batts in a single Ape case that can light a small to medium set with no wires and really great IQ.

We probably adopted Aputure lights earier than about anyone else in the west going back to their e original 528s, and they've never failed once on a lot of less than ideal locations. I sold all of our tungsten Arris and original CoolLights a while ago. I still use the originals with a simple 1/4+ green gel insrted into each and they match great with the newer models.

We're serious Aputure supporters here at The Imagination Company.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...