Allen's Blog

Posts tagged ‘LED’:

Lordy… What a Light!

Thanks to James Comey for legitimizing my use of ‘Lordy,’ but a product I’ve been using recently has been just astonishing in what it can do in a package so small it belongs in every shooter’s gear bag.

Aladdin Eye-Light BiIt’s called the Aladdin Eye-Lite Bi. Distributed in the U.S. by Zylight, it’s a bicolor LED light that fits in your hand and is rated to run continuously for two hours (or far longer, if you don’t mind plugging in via micro USB). Color temperature is adjustable from 2900–6400K; a second dial controls dimming from 5–100%. Unlike many of the cheap “me too” LEDs we’ve complained about over the years, the Eye-Lite Bi’s color rendering is excellent – 95 CRI/TLCI.

Its 3.5” x 1.5”aluminum housing is sturdy and weighs a mere 2 ounces. The micro USB port is along the top side, and the ¼-20 tripod thread along the bottom can certainly come in handy when shoe-mounting to your camera or a mini tripod. There’s even a small loop built into one corner, about zip-tie size, if that’s how you like to keep things organized. It’s not cheap—it’ll run you about $160 at your local camera store—but it is worth it! (If you can get by on a non-bicolor version, you may still be able to find Aladdin’s previous models for a few bucks less; I first saw them at NAB a few years ago, and was impressed, but I feel that the bicolor version is a truly outstanding product.)

Aladdin Eye-Lite used as fill light

For its size, it puts out a lot of light, and you can easily tape any diffusion or color gels over the LED array. It is a terrific tool for close-up work, and I can see wide use in forensics. Anyone shooting with a macro lens, whether nature close-ups, food, jewelry, or scientific imaging, will see its usefulness. When you have a light source this small (and therefore this maneuverable), adjustments are incredibly easy.

I used it recently while photographing a necklace made by Martha’s Vineyard artist Kate Taylor. The materials are wampum, sea glass, and gold beads. While the image with no supplemental lighting is fine (if a bit flat), adding the Eye-Lite made a real difference in depth and dimensionality.

Product shot - before and after

As many of you know, I’m always looking for new products that extend our creativity, and this is one of several that I’ll be writing about in the next few weeks.

Rosco’s Latest at NAB 2017: Silk and RoscoLED

If you couldn’t make it to Vegas this week, don’t despair – Digital Cinema Society visited the Rosco booth to see what they were showing off, and has the scoop.

Visit Rosco’s website to learn more about the Silk family of products, and be sure to read our own post on RoscoLED tape.

RoscoLED Tape: The Easiest Way to Create Customized, High-Quality Accent Lighting

RoscoLED, lit

Quickly add LED accent light to any scene, in any color, at any intensity — without spending extra time soldering or doing math.

We’ve always been fans of the LitePad family of products, which continues to do very well for our friends at Rosco. Now, Rosco is introducing RoscoLED Tape, which allows lighting designers even more flexibility without requiring them to be electrical engineers. Simply put, RoscoLED is a strip of self-adhering LEDs that can be tuned to the exact color and brightness, cut to the exact length, and placed in the exact position you need — quickly and easily.

Your mind is probably already racing with ideas for where you could use RoscoLED Tape. What kinds of new looks could you create with this technology? We envision it being used in countless ways, not only for photographic and film scenarios, but also in architecture, landscaping, industrial design, and even fashion. Forget Mood Rings – why not Mood Suits?!

RoscoLED Tape VariWhite

Getting started with RoscoLED is easy; Rosco has already assembled kits tailored to whatever your needs happen to be. There is a basic kit for each variety of RoscoLED: Static White (Daylight or Tungsten), VariWhite (tunable from 3000K–6000K), and VariColor (full color RGB+W). These kits contain all the parts you need to get up and running quickly: a few reels of RoscoLED Tape, connector cables, and the appropriate control box.

All three types of RoscoLED Tape are just under half an inch wide; minimum length varies depending on type. All of them support flicker-free DMX dimming, repeated indoor/outdoor use, and an provide an excellent color rendering index (CRI > 90). Power options include plug-and-play connection to standard AC, 12V DC vehicle accessory port, or AA batteries. And it’s all compatible with your existing LitePad gear, by the way. There’s even a sweet little wireless remote control.

RoscoLED Tape VariColor

RoscoLED Tape Reel VariWhite

For cinematographers and lighting technicians who need even more flexibility, look to the appropriately-named Pro Gaffer Kit (available in Daylight or Tungsten). It starts with a durable Sentinel 912 carrying case measuring 14″ x 12″ x 5.4″. Within the case you’ll find multiple sizes of RoscoLED Tape – 3″, 6″, 12″, and 24″ – two strips of each length. Included power options are very generous: 100-240V AC power adapter, AA battery pack, car power adapter, single channel dimmer, RF PWM wireless remote, and cables to connect it all. From this foundation, you’ll be ready to get right to work — or to grow your set using whichever RoscoLED Tape segments and accessories you need… all available a-la-carte from your local Rosco dealer. For inspiration, take a look at how RoscoLED was integrated into the RNHL Analyst Area:

RNHL Analyst Area Set

Filed August 10th, 2016. Related:

LitePad Vector: A Rugged, Do-Anything, Go-Anywhere LED Light Panel from Rosco

LitePad Vector

We’ve been beating the LitePad drum for many years, as Rosco’s take on the LED light panel has always seemed to hit a sweet spot between performance, versatility, and value. Now comes an upgraded design: LitePad Vector. We’re delighted to see the wizards at Rosco taking everything that was great about LitePad and amping it up — while still keeping the price within reach. As longtime distributors for Rosco products, we expect to ship quite a few of these to dealers all across the US.

First among the innovations is the fact that LitePad Vector is – somehow – smaller than previous LitePads, yet shines four times brighter than before. Now packed into a sturdy black anodized aluminum frame, each 8″x8″ LitePad Vector slips into tighter spaces while providing up to 1700 lux at 1 meter. Passive cooling means there won’t be any annoying whirring fans to deal with – total silence! The built-in diffuser, a cornerstone feature on every LitePad, ensures that the light output is soft and even – like a softbox, only thinner. (And less likely to sail off on a windy day!)

Speaking of which, if the wind does pick up and knock down your LitePad Vector, you may be surprised by how resilient it is. This new generation of LitePad is amazingly tough. Watch this video and see for yourself:

Impressed yet? (That said, we beg you: please don’t try this at home… or on location!)

To keep things simple, LitePad Vector comes in two varieties: CCT or Daylight. CCT units offer tunable white balance from 3000K–6000K, while Daylight units are locked at 6000K (and cost a little less.) Color rendering is terrific: up to 93 CRI, so everything you point these at pops (to the maximum extent allowed by law.)

Because they’re so compact and only weigh 4.5 pounds each, pre-configured kits are offered for the runners-and-gunners: a two-head backpack kit that includes mounting gear and rain covers, and a three-head location lighting kit that includes a road case, light stands, mounting hardware, egg crates, and three of Rosco’s OPTI-FLECS LED filter kits. If you hadn’t heard, OPTI-FLECS filters are perfectly sized and tuned to allow easy tweaking of color temperature on Rosco’s LED light heads. All these accessories are available a-la carte as well, of course, if you have more specific needs.

One of the biggest advantages of LED lighting is the massive reduction in power consumption, so aside from being more Earth-friendly, this efficiency opens up a new world of power options and run times. Rosco has always provided lots of choices in this regard: LitePad Vector can not only be powered by AC worldwide (100–240V), but can also run on Anton/Bauer or V-Mount batteries, or many of the previous-generation adapters such as the AA battery pack or vehicle power port. Whichever you choose, maximum power consumption is a mere 65W, so you spend less time breaking to replace batteries when out and about. Last but not least, color and brightness can be adjusted by DMX remote over RJ45 cable.

LitePad Vector is now available – reach out to your local photo and lighting retailer, and have them call us if they don’t have it in stock yet! It’s sure to become your Swiss Army knife of lighting solutions.

NAB Show 2016: LEDs Everywhere, But What of Their Quality?

With the 2016 edition of the NAB Show now receding in the rear-view mirror, here are my observations on the path our industry is taking.

As always, we flew to Las Vegas to support our colleagues at Dedolight as they demonstrated the innovative lights they’ve worked to bring to market this year.

Dedolight NAB 2016 Booth

This was definitely the year of LED lighting overload. There must have been at least 20 times as many companies showing broad source fixtures as last year, most of them no-name Chinese manufacturers just jumping on the LED bandwagon with no understanding of, or regard to, the quality of their products’ output. In fact, they do have appeal for the “fix it in post” crowd of shooters.

NAB 2016 LED mania 1

NAB 2016 LED mania

It’s a mindset that’s frustrating to those of us who care deeply about lighting for television and motion pictures, and who devote so much of our efforts to perfecting lighting as an art form. Teams from Dedolight, Arri, Mole-Richardson, and Rosco work very hard to develop the lights that advance the state of the art. It’s slow, difficult work, but it translates into money well spent when you see the results.

Dedolight News 2016

Dedolight catalog 2016

So it was rewarding to see the Dedolight booth filled with visitors day after day, everyone eager to discover all that’s new and to have a chance to talk with Dedo Weigert himself (when he’s not being interviewed).

Dedo Weigert interview NAB 2016

Once again, the use of DSLRs in production continues to rise, now being challenged by micro four thirds cameras. I’d even say most of the video production taking place at the show was based on the latter format. And here’s where another of my favorite companies comes into play — Fotodiox continues to expand its range of lens adapters so that just about any lens can be mounted to almost any camera body.

Fotodiox lens adapter rings

Beyond being beautifully conceived and finished, these reasonably-priced products mean that favorite optics can have a whole new life. I have an ancient Leica 90mm f/4 Elmar which the legendary Marty Forscher custom-adapted to my Nikons 30 years ago. Used wide-open, it is a remarkable portrait lens, and now is equally superb (although with an effective focal length of 120mm) on my Fuji X-E2.

Zeiss lenses at NAB 2016

And it’s just as amazing to see the range of lenses that Zeiss is producing with DSLR platforms in mind. True, the prices are sky-high, but again, it’s unfair to complain too much; in a production environment where Nikon and Canon cameras are being used for everything from commercials to feature films, the economics, speed and output quality for most shoots is a match for massive, far more costly production cameras.

Red drone at NAB 2016

As for drones, which only a few years ago were out of reach for most individuals, they too keep getting better and cheaper. Watching coverage of the violent floods and storms happening across the U.S., they have unquestionably changed news-gathering. Can’t quite bring myself to buy one, but the thought of being able to have a drone in hover mode over the tennis court and watch a sobering post-match replay is tempting.

Nanuk cases at NAB 2016

Nanuk Nano cases at NAB 2016

Finally, a shout-out for Nanuk equipment cases from Canada, particularly their Nano series. I first saw this company’s products at the PhotoPlus show in New York last year and was really happy to see them at NAB.

The latching system is innovative and very secure. The Nano cases, in a range of colors and sizes, can’t be beat for storing accessories and location must-haves. I own and have used Pelican products for many years and think they are fine, but in my opinion, the Nanuk cases reach another level.

Can’t leave without some dining recommendations, for whenever you may be in Las Vegas —

I have no interest whatsoever in big name restaurants on The Strip, regardless of who the chef behind them is, but after a long day of work here are two that you might not find on your own:

Chef Marc’s Trattoria on West Sahara is as good a Tuscan-style Italian restaurant as I’ve ever eaten at… period. Feast your eyes on some of the dishes on their website, and then find a way to get yourself in front of the real thing.

For ramen and other traditional Japanese noodle dishes, Monta has been a favorite of mine for several years. Again, visit their website, make the drive to Spring Mountain Road, and enjoy some of the best ramen you’ll find outside Japan.

Lastly, just in case you’re driving to Los Angeles from Vegas (just under 300 miles), here’s a handy tip, based on the laws of supply and demand: fuel up before you leave. Gas was about $2.25 in Las Vegas, but 100 miles west, in the desert… well, let’s just say mountain lions weren’t the only predators out there.

Gas in the desert

Watch the Dedolight DLED7 Turbo Focus on the Head of a Pin

This week we’re in Las Vegas to help Dedolight get the word out on their new products. If you can’t be at the show, have a look at this video to get a feel for the level of craftsmanship that goes into everything they build. If you are at the show, please stop in and say hello! We’re in the central hall, booth C11435.

Filed April 19th, 2016. Related: