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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Continuous Lights For Still & Video

As you explore the possibilities of shooting video with DSLRs to augment your still work, a different kind of lighting solution might be in order

This Article Features Photo Zoom

LEDs have become one of the most popular lighting solutions available today because, when used in an array, they offer decent output without the heat of many of the other continuous lights. They’re also efficient and consistent in regards to their color output. Manufacturers of LED lighting solutions also talk about the quality of light as being warm and with the softness of tungsten. These are some of the reasons that many television studios have made large investments in LED panels. They provide flattering light that’s easy to work with.

To get high output, LED panels must be made in large arrays. Each individual “bulb” (they’re actually diodes, not bulbs) can generate only so much light. Smaller panels give more of a point source, but lack the overall output. Recently, LED manufacturers have been making Fresnel-type LEDs, which help give both high output and small source.

The days of fluorescent being harsh and green are in the past. Today, you can get a powerful fluorescent bank that’s cool to the touch and color-neutral. These light units typically are made in banks with several high-power bulbs in each fixture. Once they have had a chance to warm up, high-quality fluorescent banks put out stable color.

LEDSelected Examples
Below are some selected examples of continuous lights. In the amount of space we have in the magazine, there’s no way to include every product from these manufacturers or to adequately describe the full range of products that are available from each one.

Adorama DV60 LED
The DV60 LED is a compact LED panel that can be mounted on a camera or compact stand. The illumination is from an array of 60 LEDs. The included Li-Ion battery simply snaps into place on the back of the unit and will provide about 11⁄2 hours of running time. Contact: www.adorama.com.

ARRI Hybrid Kits
ARRI (www.arri.com) is one of the most well-known and highly regarded manufacturers in the film business. They also make a full array of lighting equipment and lighting kits. ARRI’s Hybrid lighting kits include both tungsten lights and accessories and also LED lights and accessories. The combination of light sources in a single kit gives you high output from the tungsten and LEDs, which are cool-running and have an inherent softness to them because of the physical size of the light source. LEDs also consume much less power, which can be particularly important when you’re not shooting in the field. We like the kits for photographers who are making a switch from strobes because they give you a solid framework upon which to build, and they’re self-contained in a single case for ease of transport.


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