If you think that HDSLRs are the only game changer in town, think again. Over the last few years there’s been a revolution going on in lighting, at the forefront of which are Litepanels. In fact, their use of proprietary LED technology is so innovative that last year, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded them an Emmy!
It’s easy to see why. Their LED technology offers a multitude of benefits over conventional (tungsten) light sources. For starters it’s daylight balanced, virtually heat free, absolutely flicker free and can be dimmed from 0-100% with almost no noticeable colour shift. It also scores over alternatives such as HMIs and fluorescents, by being more compact, self contained, cable free and battery powerable.
Although this technology originally came to market in large panels for the film & television industry, more recently, it has found its way into two ‘on camera’ units, the ‘Micro’ and ‘MicroPro’. This is huge news for ENG and HDSLR/camcorder users! Whereas conventional top lights offer short running times, even when connected, by easily damageable cables, to heavy battery belts, the miserly juice requirements of LEDs, mean that Litepanels’ Micro will run for 7-8 hours and their MicroPro 5-6 hours (on four/six Energizer e2 Lithium Ion batteries respectively). What’s more, because they are daylight balanced and give naturally soft light out of the box, unlike conventional tungsten top lights, they don’t require gelling (though 3 pre cut gels are included, should you require them).
Setup couldn’t be simpler – slide the included sturdy metal ball mount into the hotshoe of your camera and screw it down, screw on the Micro/MicroPro, angle it and lock its position with the lever at the side of the mount, then turn on the unit and adjust its intensity with its top mounted knob.
The quality of light is simply beautiful. It is also surprisingly bright, so bright, in fact, that one Micro Pro will, depending upon camera to subject distance, happily light half length. What’s more, as I discovered recently, on a video shoot, they make perfect eye lights.
The main difference between the Micro and MicroPro is size. The latter is larger and offers a correspondingly higher output. Although both will happily sit on an HDSLR or video camera, the Micro is probably better suited to anything much smaller than a Canon 7D or Sony EX1. The MicroPro also includes a soft case (with space for a second Micro/MicroPro and a pair of hotshoe mounts).
In the five year plus history of The Technofile, this is probably a first , but I can’t find a single complaint with them. To put it simply, they just work…extremely elegantly and are the perfect solution to a multitude of problems. What’s more, with a quoted life of 50,000+ hours (which, if you used them for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, would be over 17 years) represent a great investment. That’s why, in addition to boasting an Emmy, they can now boast an even greater accolade…a Golden Bagel Award!
More info: www.litepanels.com
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