My Gear: Lighting

Bi-Focus 1×1 Unit B&H Mfr. Site

VL: LitePanels have exploded onto the film/video and even photography scene over the past few years – you’ll see them on major hollywood blockbusters, TV studios, and on Monday Night Football. Why?  Well for several key reasons: 1. Thye don’t heat up.  So you don’t need to wear gloves as with almost any other lights, you won’t burn your hands, you won’t need a huge insurance policy in a big sound stage…  leave them on for a few hours and you can handle them with your bare hands. 2. They are lightweight – a crew member can handhold these and in effect become a walking tripod as you run and gun – and therefore they are safe to hand in just about any spot you can think of. 3. They can use both AC and battery power.  You can use an Anton Bauer battery pack and never have to worry about cabling – forget generators or cables. 4. They are very well built and travel extremely well. 5. You can adjust the brightness level (and color temperature and/or flood in models below) with a dial on the back of the unit as you would with a dimmer – extremely precisely.  

You can also do so wirelessly with a DMX unit – ergo as the subject moves closer to the light (mounted on the camera for example) the DP/Gaffer can dial the unit down wirelessly. 6. You can slide in cut in diffussion and color filters (that come precut w/ the units in a small carry bag) in front of the unit in seconds for color shits and/or to soften the light or cut it down. 7. You can mount these on a C-Stand, a boom, a monopod – you name it – anywhere. 8.  You can mount these in 4×4 to get a much larger source of light – and up! So why isn’t this the ONLY light people out there use?  Well – because of the intensity of the light – LitePanels are not strong enough to overpower sunlight for example.  You need much larger light sources for that – especially if you want to diffuse them – ergo the 4K, 10K, 18K etc lights out there – which are in a total different realm price wise, crew wise, setup/time-wise etc. These lights will start to work on an overcast day – and sing indoors and at night.  

They can be dimmed down to being almost non existent – which is key with HDDSLRs.  You can very easily introduce the slightest kick of light in an actor’s eyes – with the dimmer dial.  Forget cutting a light down by a 1/4, 1/2 or full stop w/ ND gel or other tools – being able to work with a dimmer in cinema is a huge time saver. Given that HDDLSRs outperform other systems in low light – you’ll find that these LED lights marry themselves perfectly to HDDSLR productions – especially at night or in low light.   The only catch is that you’ll still need industry-standard cinema lighting when the sun comes out… I tend to travel with 2-6 of these on small to medium sized productions.  And always have them on order/standby on large productions.

Description (from LitePanels): Introducing the 1×1 Bi-Focus, the first LED light fixture capable of variable spot and flood focusing. An alternative to energy inefficient Fresnel lights, the ultra-thin and portable 1×1 Bi-Focus offers a cool-to-the-touch, low energy draw solution that provides the flexibility to instantly vary the width of light beam.

Go to the 8:28 mark on the video below to see these units:

2010 HDDSLR Gear Video from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

Bi-Color 1×1 Unit B&H Mfr. Site

VL: Being able to go seamlessly from Daylight balance all the way down to Tungsten balance – and everywhere in between – is hard to beat.   I mix two of these with two of the Bi-Focus units on average to give me an incredible level of flexibility.

Description (from LitePanels): A soft, high output light that lets you quickly dial up any color – from cool white daylight to warm white tungsten. The new Litepanels 1×1 Bi-Color flood lets you adjust color temperature instantly so you can adapt to different shooting conditions and skin tones on the fly. Like all Litepanels 1×1 lights, the Bi-Color has a full-range dimmer, remains cool to the touch, runs on AC or an optional snap-on battery, and produces a great, soft-wrapping light quality.

Sola 6 Fresnel B&H Mfr. Site

VL:  The quality and directionality of a Fresnel that is light weight, low heat, and has a low power draw.  These lights have been standard in Hollywood, but the tungsten iterations of them that have been available over the years get extremely hot and drew as much power as they output.  With the new LED design, all of these problems are eliminated.

Description (from LitePanels): Employing Litepanels’ ultra-efficient LEDs, Litepanels Sola 6 draws 75W with output equivalent to a 650W Tungsten Fresnel. That’s about 1/10 the amount of power to provide the same illumination as a conventional tungsten Fresnel, with very little heat generation. The cool-to-the-touch feature of LED lights not only cuts down on air-conditioning requirements, but since they don’t require the heat dissipation and protection necessary for conventional Fresnels, the Sola 6 weighs only 1/3 as much as HMI and Tungsten predecessors (and have no external ballasts). The Sola 6 has a universal AC input and can be used on consumer power sources worldwide.

Sola 4 Fresnel B&H Mfr. Site

VL: A smaller version of the Sola 6.

Description (from LitePanels): The smallest DMX controllable LED Fresnel on the market, the daylight- balanced Sola 4TM offers the controllability and light-shaping properties inherent in a Fresnel light at a small fraction of the power draw of conventional fixtures. Like the rest of Sola series, Sola 4 provides Litepanels’ famous soft light quality.

Sola ENG Fresnel B&H Mfr. Site

VL:  An even smaller version of the Sola series.  Perfect for putting small (but powerful) accent lights in small, hard-to-reach places. 

Description (from LitePanels): Litepanels® introduces the first LED Fresnel that’s ideally suited for today’s cutting edge broadcast work. The revolutionary daylight-balanced Sola ENGTM provides the controllability and light shaping properties of a Fresnel light, but utilizes just a fraction of the power of conventional fixtures. It operates from battery or AC power thanks to the newly included AC/DC Power Supply.

Croma B&H Mfr. Site

VL:  This light is a camera-top light in the same vein as the MicroPro (below).  However this light allows you to adjust the color temperature.  Great light for documentary and video journalism.

Description (from LitePanels): The Croma™ is a sleekly designed, camera-mounted LED lighting fixture that provides Litepanels hallmark soft light with the addition of variable color temperature output. It is a versatile solution for run-and-gun news shooters, event videographers or still photographers who move rapidly from one light environment to the next, with no time to change lighting equipment or add gels. Delivering powerful performance in a small package, this self-contained light can be a secret weapon on any set or location, wherever extra kick or nice fill is needed.

Micro Pro B&H Mfr. Site

VL: This unit has become so popular (because it uses AAs and can mount on a hotshoe) that I’m seeing a lot of still photographers using them!  They are perfect for video as well of course.

Description (from LitePanels): The professional LED light that runs off 6 standard AA batteries. MicroPro daylight on-camera lighting fixtures harness the company’s proprietary LED technology in ultra-lightweight, compact package. With twice the illumination of the Litpanels Micro, the MicroPro offers luminous, soft, directional lighting, with the same warmth and great color characteristics that made Litepanels an integral part of television, broadcast news & motion picture productions worldwide. Shift-free, Flicker-free, Heat-free At the top of the Micro Pro housing is a convenient integrated dimmer dial that puts instant 100% to 0 dimming with minimal color shift right at the operator’s fingertips. Output is flicker-free and heat-free and remains consistent.

MiniPlus B&H Mfr. Site

VL: This is officially the first "cinema" light I ever used – I used one of these (and a regular Profoto 7B strobe unit’s modelling lamp) exclusively – to light "Reverie" (see video below.)   The scene in the helicopter was light with the MiniPlus at the end of a monopod, as were all of the scenes in the car – the MiniPlus was set down atop the column of the steering wheel… et voila! This is one of the very best compact, dimmable light out there.  You can sneak it in pretty much anywhere – and use it as a key light (indoors or at night) or a little fill light for the eyes.  It’s battery operated (or AC) and will fit pretty much anywhere.

 I can’t say enough about it.  This is to a videographer what a strobe is to any photographer: a no brainer-bring-with-you-everywhere-always-light…


Reverie from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

Description (from LitePanels): Building on the success of the popular Litepanels Mini, the compact, portable, dimmable LED softlight, the new MiniPlus offers an upgraded design and new features. Available in daylight (flood and spot) and tungsten (flood) models, the powerful new system provides soft, directional output. This broad lighting source is ideal to mount on a camera, wall, or any place that calls for a highly portable softlight.

RingLite Mini B&H Mfr. Site

VL: This is a gorgeous light source that gives you the well-known "ring light look" made very popular by portrait and fashion photographers in the past 5 years or so.  It’s also the perfect light for video portraits and a great tool for you to mount on a steadicam around the lens for a general fill without shadows.

Description (from LitePanels): The Ringlite Mini employs powerful LEDs laid out in a tightly plotted grid. Lighting is divided into three separate user selectable segments (bottom, middle, top). A separate, master dimmer circuit controls channels of output. On the back of the unit, four easy-to-reach toggle switches regulate power and control upper, center, and lower illumination.

L-758C Cine Light Meter B&H Mfr. Site
Description (from Sekonic): The Sekonic L-758C Cine Light Meter is the world’s first multi-function light meter that can be programmed to match and be calibrated to the sensitivity of your digital camera sensor or type of film for perfect exposure control.  They have produced an incredible meter that more than meets the needs of the photographic community. This full-featured meter will definitely make everyone happy as it is loaded with every imaginable feature – and then some…