It’s felt like a long wait since it was first shown off at IBC last year, but now it’s finally here. Aputure has now taken its flagship Light Storm 300 series COB LED lights bicolour, with the new Light Storm LS 300X. Aputure says it that it goes beyond the standard bicolour systems, though, which utilise multiple side-by-side LEDs of different Kelvin values, by incorporating a custom colour-blending element in front of the LED to turn it into a single colour-changing light source.
I guess it’s a sign of the times, but I get sent far more LED lights to test than any other light…. even though I never personally use LEDs.
When I say I don’t use LED lights, it’s not because I have a dislike for them, but for me, they have limitations that I struggle to deal with when I shoot what I shoot. If you’re after some affordable continuous light for video work that looks natural and emulates everyday lighting, then LEDs are your first and smartest choice. But for what I do, which is often very controlled and saturated colour work that is anything but natural, I’m going to stick to the control and power of flash for now.
Gel and lighting manufacturer Rosco has released the MIXBOOK. They say that it is the “world’s first digital swatchbook”. If you don’t know what swatchbooks are, the physical Rosco gel swatchbooks are essentially sample books of the different gels and materials that Rosco makes.
But as LED lighting has become more popular, and particularly coloured LEDs, demands have changed. Rosco’s MIXBOOK digital swatchbook is essentially the digital LED equivalent of the original gel swatchbooks. It’s a handheld LED unit (although it has a 1/4-20″ socket, too) that can create just about any colour of light you can imagine.
As LED lights have gotten more powerful and colour accurate, they’ve pretty much become the new standard for continuous lighting, replacing the more traditional tungsten lights on-set. One of the things LED lights have now started to incorporate more often is DMX lighting control. Conceived in the 1980s, DMX allows the remote control of one or multiple lights from a single control base. Lighticians lets you do this, too, using existing DMX systems, all from the screen of your smartphone. We chatted with Lighticians at IBC 2019 to find out more.
Spiffy gear has released some pretty interesting products over the years. Products like the Light Blaster and, more recently, as they’ve started getting into the world of LED lighting, Spekular. Now, they’re expanding their LED lighting range with a small, wearable LED light called Lumiee.
Lumiee is what they’re calling a “slap light” and as the name suggests, it works like those slap bracelets many kids had in school back in the 80s and 90s. Lumiee is available in two flavours. One is a cinema grade 95+ CRI bicolour LED while the other is a “mood-generating” RGB LED light.
Elinchrom has expanded its lighting range, adding to its long-standing range of strobes with a continuous LED light. Manufactured by Light & Motion in partnership with Elinchrom, the Elinchrom ELM8 is a portable continuous LED light with an EL mount. For Elinchrom strobe users, this means it should work with all your existing modifiers.
As we’ve come to expect from Elinchrom products, it’s not cheap, though. In Europe, it has a price tag of €1,379 + VAT and in the USA it’s $1,699.
For most of us, when we want an overhead camera rig, we set up a light stand with a boom arm or stick a modified TV bracket on the wall or something. Then we’ll throw up an LED panel, or maybe some Spekulars. But that’s not good enough for YouTuber GreatScott!. Oh no, he built his own custom design using PVC pipe, plywood, aluminium sheets and stuck a computer monitor to it to see the camera viewpoint and made his own LED control circuit to light the scene below.
Balloon lights are an uncommon light source for most of us. But such lights are often used in TV and movie production. They’re essentially huge light sources that are overhead of your subjects using very bright bulbs. The balloon part of it acts like a big diffuser to help soften and spread the light out more evenly. They’re not cheap, though.
But this DIY option from Todd Blankenship at Shutterstock shows us a way to make one fairly easily using some shower curtains, LED strips and helium.
An integrated flash can come in handy for photographers, but it’s useless for vloggers and video makers. However, a new Canon patent could resolve this. It shows a set of LED lights integrated with the pop-up flash to provide DLSR video makers with a continuous light source.
This is the last part of a three part mini-series of articles on LED lights for photographers. Part 1 looked at the pros and cons of commercial level LED lighting for photographers, so if you missed it, Do LED Lights Have a Place in Your Kit? – Part 1: Pros & Cons. Part 2 saw us test the viability of using coloured LED bulbs in our strobes, including what to look for and what I recommend. Here’s the link to that one too if you missed it Do LEDs Have a Place in Your Kit? Part 2: Coloured LED Modelling Bulbs.