Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Let there be light.....

Let's be clear here.  Lugging heavy lighting gear around, is NOT a de-light-ful experience.
So finding a 'lite' kit is really something that can brighten any filmmaker's day.
And lately, there have been a flood of interesting products hitting the market.
Looking through all this new kit can be an en-light-ening experience.
Seriously, one of the new popular types of lights, is the 'LED matte' type.
The lights can literally be rolled up and stuffed into a cargo pants pocket.
Not saying I'd recommend doing that, but you could!  The combination of
cool lights (no worries about wearing gloves or needing fans to keep the talent
from sweating with these) plus small footprint, has made these types of lights
a 'bright spot' for many filmmakers on the go.

One such light is LEDGo's Versa Tile.  I needed a light to take with me when
I travel for corporate shoots.  Most of the time, these shoots involve interviews/
talking heads.  But for me, living in Alaska, they can also involve travel on small
planes, to remote locations.  So having gear with a 'small footprint' is important for
a solo filmmaker.

I recently landed a contract to produce a series of eight :30 spots, each highlighting a
different person in the state university's PITAAS program.  This would require some travel
to fairly remote locations, in small planes.  With this in mind, I decided to 'lighten' my
wallet, and buy the LEDGo.  I bought the single panel....which I figured would be enough 
for a 'one subject' interview.   Below is my 'traveling kit'.  My previous blog entry covered
the rolling bag which holds my cinema camera body, a still camera body, lenses, batteries,
chargers, laptop, external hard drive, Tram 50 mic, SD cards, lens cleaner, iPad, iPhone,
lens converters, GoPro, headphones and a few other odds and ends.  My tripod is packed in
it's case.  The light is packed in it's provided bag.

Bonus, the provided bag is big enough that you can fit a couple extra filmmaking tools in it!....

Back to the light.  I bought a single panel, but you can buy multiple panel kits as well.
Make a big square.....or a long narrow strip.  You decide.  You can buy various frames
so that you can have a big square, a long strip, or whatever configuration you need.
I started by buying this one:
LED Go single panel

The light comes in a nice bag.  Open it up and you see this

After you pull out the light matte.....

It's a little confusing at first, but you will quickly get the hang of
putting all this stuff together.  Remember, you do not HAVE to
use the frame, you could just tape the light matt on the wall.
Or clip it to something with a clothes pin.....I mean C47.
The light will bend easily.  You can use this to 'mold' the
light as needed.

But if you want to, you can use the included frame and it
works pretty nicely.

One nice feature, is that the light has an included dimmer, and
color temperature fader.  You can literally use it matched to indoor
light, or outdoor light.  For example, say you are interviewing someone
and using outdoor light which comes through a window as the key.
But you need just a little more fill than the reflector gives you.
Boom, throw up this guy, dial the light to the appropriate color, and
fill in the opposite side.

Alternatively, you can use the light indoors as a soft key light
by changing the color temperature.

And with the dimmer, you don't need to worry about 'scrimming' down
the light, although it does come with a nice diffuser if you want to use that.
It's a handy little light, and I really like it.  You can plug it into the wall
with the included AC adapter.  Or you can use a V-mount battery with the
included V-mount plate.  Yet another option is to buy a third party V-mount
to Sony adapter and using Sony NP series batteries.  A ton of options!  Here is a
little review video.

It's 'light', controllable, cool, and has lots of options.  I'd highly recommend 
adding this light to your kit, if you are a solo filmmaker or video producer.

Gabe Strong
G-Force Productions Digital Cinema

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