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Old September 20th, 2010, 12:40 AM   #16
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I'm curious if anyone's tried the ePhoto lights that were referred to on Amazon. $229 for the 500LED seems like a good deal.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 10:23 PM   #17
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Grip-LED light by DZP Video

This is the light that I am selling. Here it is on ebay.... Grip-LED light by DZP Video - eBay (item 290485515563 end time Nov-07-10 12:57:21 PST). Stockton mentions my light (thanks)... but that was back in July... I have since been refining it... it is about 1 inch thick 10 1/2" square... has slots for clothes pins... and comes with 2 types of diffusion sheets... called Duralens. This is a product used in florescent lights. It is fairly flexible and is less brittle than standard plastic lens material used in most ceiling florescent panels. The other feature is that it has a grip pin and you must use a grip head or elbow to mount the light! Correct... the panel comes from LED Wholesalers... who sells them on ebay. The approach I have taken with this light is to be able to add various layers of diffusion and or color gels... hence the clothes pin slots... you can see this in the pictures on ebay. A good dp friend of mine used four of these lights last week for a shoot for cbs... the talent was in front of a green screen... my friend was thrilled how well these lights, not only lit the green screen but also the talent as well... no separate lights just for the green screen... His comment was that the slots for the clothes pins is a brilliant touch... he added the extra diffusion to get the effect he wanted. Also, you should be aware that barn doors on led lights are basically useless!... all they will do is dim the light... and not shape the light... which is what barn doors are really for! Barn doors also add weight, some even have reflectors... again a useless feature! My light weighs 2 lbs. As for color temperature... it is 5500 K and is uniformly white... not green as some of the led lights are... I have one that came from China and it is definitely green. Whoever is making this panel is doing a very good job. I think with today's hd cameras and the quick run and gun mentality that has taken over the video/tv world... a nice 3 or 4 light kit like mine is light weight and very portable! If you have any questions... I'd be happy to answer them... my website is www.dzpvideo.com. Thanks. Here is a scene lit with the Grip-LED lights... if the upload works.
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Old November 6th, 2010, 04:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stockton Massey View Post
Paul,

I appreciate the time you have put into your well thought out and reasoned opposition to the current state of LED lights. This was / is not a debate of the pros and cons of LEDs. I was merely interested in people's experience with the current lights on the market.

I agree that LEDs have a ways to go. However, that is another conversation entirely.

Anyone else have actual experience with these any of these lights?
I have significant experience with LEDs. I own a studio where I run tungsten, color-balanced fluorescent fixtures, AND LED lights.

LED lights are, by far, the most efficient in terms of illumination per watt cost. The are also, by far, the MOST difficult to work with - at least for someone who understands and practices quality lighting for video.

LED lights are essentially a dense row of spotlights. As such they put out what appears to be a relatively constrained, relatively flat field of light in a single direction. That light, once it hits any object or surface works like any other light - spreading and diffusing while simultaneously losing power.

Unfiltered they have nice "reach." HOWEVER unlike traditionally designed instruments (e.g. tungsten) the beam shape and spread is TOTALLY different. You can't CUT a beam from an LED source like you can from a traditional open face or fresnel fixture. You cannot get a clean line and therefore control spill and spread. Barn door a LED fixture and you get STRIPES of light. Worthless unless you're attempting to do a window blind special effect.

Also, the color output of today's LEDs are NOT well balanced. You often need to color correct the output if you're in mixed lighting circumstances. (Most of them skew noticeably GREEN)

For me, this puts them squarely into the category of SPECIAL USE lights. For what they do - they are very much superior to any other technology. For the areas where they do POORLY - they are a very poor substitute for other instruments.

I don't know a single pro who I would call on for professional lighting at a high quality level who depends exclusively on LED lights.

Again, that doesn't mean they aren't good lights. If ALL I aspired to was mediocrely lit one person or two person interviews - and valued portability above all else - than an all LED kit might make moderately good sense.

But as a working pro - there's just WAY too much that LED fixtures can't do that I find NECESSARY to my practice. That same statement, BTW would be just as true about an ALL HMI kit - an ALL fluorescent kit - or any other kit that dismisses all the options that make truly great lighting possible.

It would be as silly as a guitar player that ONLY owns one single guitar. What a Stratocaster is superb for is well and good. But if you need to play something classical - it's about the WORST tool you could reach for. Owning and all LED kit is to me, about the same as someone who aspires to become a quality guitar player owning only a DROBRO guitar.

It's just too limited.

YMMV.
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Old November 6th, 2010, 04:54 PM   #19
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Sigh,

Where to start.

(Please understand I'm NOT trying to be hyper-critical here - it's just that with so many people buying lights and trying so hard to teach themselves - without ever going through any sort of true training or apprenticeship programs - it stands to reason that many will look at a picture like the one posted here and never even know what a professional eye would look for and try to correct. In that spirit, I'll point out a few obvious (to me at least) flaws in the lighting of this picture. I'm NOT saying it's incompetent OR even poorly executed. I'm saying that there are areas where it does NOT meet my individual standards for portrait lighting. Those standards are debatable. Judge for yourselves whether or not my comments are worthy - AND ask yourself whether some of these issues MIGHT be the result of the TYPE of lights being used.)

Initially, the whole pictures looks unacceptably FLAT to my eye. The background has little depth and interest. Clearly it's a hung purchased background - which is fine - but it LOOKS like a hung purchased background. That to me is a very poor choice. In the hands of a pro - a background such as this can subtly suggest texture and depth. This shot's background has neither.

Moving on to the subjects. What's with the ball cap shadow on the kid? Yes, ball cap shadows are natural and often unavoidable - but would it have killed anyone to lower the light so the shadow didn't cut the kids eye socket in half! Kids generally have BEAUTIFUL eyes clear and often unnaturally colorful. This kids eyes are set deep and don't POP at all. This is exactly why pros carry the odd 150 fresnel. Perfect chance to make the kid look GREAT - rather than just "there."

On to the woman. Two MAJOR issues for me. Look at her lips. You'd NEVER get that upper lip thing that looks like a white virus if you used a true soft source. (not to mention the larger version on her lower lip) You've GOT to pay attention to shiny places - and lip gloss is SHINY! I'll bet this is one LED that's reflecting directly back from her lip to the camera lens. NOT flattering.

And then there's the ORANGE backlight. There's a place of this kind of thing - but PLEASE - NOT on the fleshiest part of the poor woman's arm. This simply makes her look OVERWEIGHT. Same unfortunate things about the FACIAL highlight. It hits her right on the fleshiest part of her cheek. It DRAGS your eye to the very area that many women are sensitive about.

Now imagine that someone took a moment to re-set the lighting plot so that the face and arm fell into shadow in the very places where this rim light POPS the shape out. THAT would be like slimming makeup applied to the shape of her arm and face.

Same story with her hips. How hard would it have been to tuck her dress in on the key light side to provide a slimmer shape to her lower body? Or, again, with REAL lighting control, to leave her hips in shadow to keep the audience focused on her attractive face and figure.

Lighting tools are just that. TOOLS. Buying tools is the BEGINNING. Learning to use them properly is the lifelong challenge. And if you buy only hammers - OR only saws - you're going to have a tough time building a wide variety of projects.

And you have to look beyond the overall "is this scene lit OK" standard. To learn to see the details like those I've mentioned above and see if there's a fast and affordable way to make things even better.

AND, (and this is the most critical point in this thread) when you learn that a type of fixture is making it hard to fix something you don't like (e.g. the glowing lip sore) you need to be FLEXIBLE enough in your thinking to consider CHANGING from using LEDs as un-difused frontal keylights on models with lots of lip gloss.

Again, this lighting is NOT incompetent or terrible. It's just limited in it's effectiveness in making the subjects look not just OK - but GREAT.

And I see a LOT of lighting like this today. It's lighting by folks who know their limited equipment's strengths and how those can be used to mimic the 3 point lighting paradigm - but who haven't learned to look deeply at the scenes and analyze the small stuff that pushes lighting from OK to Great.

It's in that spirit that I'm being critical. So that everyone can better understand what to look for when assessing a picture AND the equipment used to make it.

Peace.

End of story.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #20
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Lots of new choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
I'm curious if anyone's tried the ePhoto lights that were referred to on Amazon. $229 for the 500LED seems like a good deal.
First of all, great thread. I'd love to expand this and make it a sticky.

I bought two 500 LED panels from ephotodiscounter. I measured color temp with a calibrated color meter. It was way high. 7,000 plus. I measured the light output with a Sekonic 758 Cine - both spot and incident. I got 60 fc at 5 feet. That's pretty close to the Lishuai panel (Cool light's testing) and slightly less than the Cool Lights 256 Spot (5600) which is 74fc at 5 feet.

Speaking of the Cool Lights 256 spot, I bought two "barely used" off of Ebay. They really were brand-spanking like new. Measured color temp at 8,000 and 9,000K!!!! Called Cool Lights. They said that was well outside of their tolerance (which makes me wonder what their tolerance really is). I returned them to the seller and suggested that he get a warranty replacement, as they were purchased last April.

Also, barn doors are worthless on LED panels. As soon as you start to pinch them, you get patterns developing due to the multiple light emitters. Probably true of most LED panels, not just Cool lights

I have also found what appears to be the direct source for the Cool Lights 256 (albeit there is no cool bag)
Wholesale LED camera light

A bit less, especially in bulk.

Here is what looks to be the Cool Lights 600:

Wholesale LED camera light

I also found that new 1200 model that was mentioned earlier in the thread. Photometrics seem nice. Question to me is color temp.

Pro 1200 LED Video Light lamp for Studio Lighting Canon - eBay (item 200502889777 end time Nov-26-10 15:36:26 PST)


Here is another 1200 model. It is made by Taiyang, which is most likely the Cool Lights manufacturer (as they also have a 150 HID model that even has Cool lights in the name of the model here: 150W Coolightspotlight for professional ? 150W Coolightspotlight for professional photography,small studio . My guess is that Cool Lights will soon officially announce a 1200 LED model.

led camera light studio lighting equipment TY ? led camera light --studio lighting equipment TY-LED1200

In fact, here is the Taiyang web site. Its in Mandarin, but you can see the pix. Pretty much right down the Cool Lights product line: 提词器,LED冷光灯 - 郑州泰阳声光电设备工程有限公司

Here is the new Comer LED model:
studio light CM-LED5500K - Detailed info for studio light CM-LED5500K,studio light,studio light CM-LED5500K,CM-LED5500K/R on Alibaba.com

I have tracked down the Bi-color models that appear to be the same or almost the same as the new Litepanel bi-color models

They are made by this company, which was at NAB, so its no secret:

2010 NAB Show: Beijing Feiyashi Technology Development Co., Ltd: Profile

Here is a link that has a pair of them mounted together:

Google Image Result for http://img.tradeindia.com/tradeleads/1/2356256.jpg

Search on your own. Just plug the model # (300 X 600 Bi-Color LED) into google.

There is probably a way to buy these bi-color (or any of these models noted above) direct from China and save hundreds if not thousands (A group buy, peerhaps)?




Finally, has anybody bought and tested any of these? If you have one and want it tested, I am in the Wash DC area. I have meters and would love to test yours.

Thanks, Mike
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Old November 9th, 2010, 10:03 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Speace View Post
This is the light that I am selling. Here it is on ebay.... Grip-LED light by DZP Video - eBay (item 290485515563 end time Nov-07-10 12:57:21 PST).

As for color temperature... it is 5500 K and is uniformly white
Dave: thanks for sharing. I just tonight sent you a question via Ebay about color temp. So please ignore. Glad to know that it is 5500, spot on. Have you measured lux or fc at a measured distance?. The manufacturer says 3,000 lumens, which is not much of a guide for filmmaking.

Also, have you thought about adding a dimming feature, or a way to connect 4 of your units together?

Thanks
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Old November 10th, 2010, 03:47 AM   #22
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Cool Lights manufactures its own products in China and those particular products are not available anywhere else. We have no affiliation with "Taiyang" whatsoever. Please do not mislead people into thinking they are buying Cool Lights products "direct" from somewhere else in China. Its not particularly hard for someone to use "cool lights", "coollights", etc. in their webpages to improve their chances of hits with search terms. In other words, they're simply "spamming" on our hard earned position in both brand and search. Nothing new in that, certain eBay sellers have been doing that since they started and we've had that issue for 4 years now. You can see "cool lights" terms all over video/film lighting on ebay even though we sell absolutely nothing on eBay.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 04:20 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Sigh,

Where to start.

(Please understand I'm NOT trying to be hyper-critical here - it's just that with so many people buying lights and trying so hard to teach themselves - without ever going through any sort of true training or apprenticeship programs - it stands to reason that many will look at a picture like the one posted here and never even know what a professional eye would look for and try to correct. In that spirit, I'll point out a few obvious (to me at least) flaws in the lighting of this picture. I'm NOT saying it's incompetent OR even poorly executed. I'm saying that there are areas where it does NOT meet my individual standards for portrait lighting. Those standards are debatable. Judge for yourselves whether or not my comments are worthy - AND ask yourself whether some of these issues MIGHT be the result of the TYPE of lights being used.)

<snip>

AND, (and this is the most critical point in this thread) when you learn that a type of fixture is making it hard to fix something you don't like (e.g. the glowing lip sore) you need to be FLEXIBLE enough in your thinking to consider CHANGING from using LEDs as un-difused frontal keylights on models with lots of lip gloss.

<snip>
Peace.

End of story.
A most informative post. On the other hand reading it I was starting to recall the old "a bad craftsman blames his tools" saying. All of your comments about how well or not that shot it lit are true enough however I fail to see any issue that could not be addressed or avoided with LED or any other source of photons for that matter.

Certainly LED instruments bring new challenges but they also bring new opportunities. Surely a good craftsman finds a way to deal with the challenges and welcomes the opportunites to solve problems that were previously unsolvable. The core issue is not the tool used but having the critical eye to see the problem and address it....or not. Resources today are limited by time and budget. The lower cost and ease of use of LED instruments should make better lighting easier to achieve not harder. No longer is heat, power consumption and weight a significant factor holding us back from creating great lighting. Of course as you rightly alluded to, if you don't see the problem then you'll never even think about trying to fix it.

Directly addressing your comment about using undiffused LEDs as frontal keylights I haven't had a problem adding diffusion to LED lights. One of my LED lights includes quite functional barn doors and does not cast multiple shadows. I can use a wide range of tools to control the light from LED light sources and do so very easily because there is no heat to deal with. BluTack, gaffe tape, paper, aluminium foil, anything at hand can be safely used. I can pull another LED light out of the kit bag and add another light to the scene in seconds, no need to worry about finding power for it, batteries are included :) I can use cheap mic boom stands to hold it or put it on the camera's cold shoe.

My apologies to the OP for adding further to the drift in this thread.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 08:33 PM   #24
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Not sure there's much wrong with drift if it's drift in a direction you wish to go...

That said, for those following the thread - let me delve just a bit further into the issue.

One of my criticisms was for the way the light in the exemplar still caused an unflattering highlight on the models' lip. Everyone probably looked at it and said - yeah, that doesn't look very nice, now that you mention it.

So the next step is to UNDERSTAND how to make it go away. Someone here has mentioned perhaps adding diffusion to the LED. But will that change things significantly? The answer to that is pretty complex actually. Remember, no matter HOW large or small a light is - at distance, everything (including the SUN for heaven's sake) becomes a point source. So if you're faced with a specular hightlight as in this case, the traditional solution of choice is to SPREAD the light source out as much as possible so that the lip gets hit NOT with a chance to reflect a bright LED - but a chance to reflect light coming to it from as wide as possible an array of "angles of incidence" which will SPREAD out the highlight and make it appear like part of a smoothly highlit area rather than a glowing blemish.

In this quest, the issue is that all the affordable LED lights I know of are limited to about a foot square. That's no problem in a whole lot of circumstances. But compared to, for example, a Lowel Tota in a 4x4 chimera - is about 1/12 the the light emitting surface. Even one or Richard's excellent value Fluorescent Cool lights has a better than 3' x 2' light emitting surface if you use the mirror barn doors. Tha'ts 6 square feet of emitting surface compared to the 1 sq ft of the LED panel.

Those are SIGNIFICANT practical differences. And the way that LEDS shoot light in a fixed direction with a modest spread - they are NOT typically a particularly good choice in filling up a regular softbox.

My point is NOT that LED lights aren't wonderful. They are. But they are NOT a universal solution for lighting anymore than any other single technology. You've GOT to look at what you're lighting - how far you need to be away from it - the surface and texture of it and HOW YOU WISH IT TO APPEAR in order to begin to reach for the proper gear to get the result you want.

Sorry, but with that lip glow spot to combat I'd MUCH rather have a bigger light surface array than a smaller one - and right now, LEDs aren't really the best answer for that.

Next shoot - that might not be important at all.

That's all I'm saying here.

You constrain yourself to working with and mastering just ONE lighting technology - you're limiting your thinking AND the potential for the best consistent results.

FWIW.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 07:17 AM   #25
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Those are SIGNIFICANT practical differences. And the way that LEDS shoot light in a fixed direction with a modest spread - they are NOT typically a particularly good choice in filling up a regular softbox.
You don't need a softbox with LEDs, you just keep adding panels to make a light source of any size you need. Add a little diffusion and the job is done. The largest light sources I've seen used are LED, around 50 square feet of light to top light a car. For avoiding specular highlights LEDs are king.

I only have 4x Z96s at the moment. I tried them in a 2x2 array with the supplied diffusers and I have a moderate size soft light source. I have another 10 on order. A 14x1 strip of them will be good for blacklight. Clipped together into a 5x3 array should make for a reasonable sized large, diffused light source.

There are lighting scenarios that LEDs are just too expensive for most to use at the moment. None of them are the subject of the current discussion. You want a powerful spot then there's the Komet, at around US $6,000 they're more expensive than HMI at the moment.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 07:58 PM   #26
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Bob,

I agree as far as that goes.

But practically, a 3x4 foot array of, for example, LightPanels will cost you around $18,000.00 - $20,000 (depending on the stands and mounts you require)

Yes A Lowel Tota light in a Chimera Medium will burn up more electricity and isn't battery friendly.

OTOH, get you the same quality, wrap and spread of light for a total of about $550.

1/40th the price for the same effect is pretty compelling.

FWIW.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 08:54 PM   #27
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Sorry, dup post
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Old November 15th, 2010, 01:19 PM   #28
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I think that comparing a single tota and a softbox to 12 1x1 Litepanels is perhaps not an even match. I might be more inclined to compare a tota and a softbox to ONE 1x1 Litepanel. Who would win is up to you and your eye, but the cost and footcandles would be roughly (very roughly) equal, perhaps with the $/ftcandle edge going to the tota.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 04:12 PM   #29
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Mike,

In point of fact, the "softness" of any source is directly related to the SURFACE AREA that is producing the light. This is precisely WHY we put small lights in translucent bags - to SPREAD the emitting surface area. So a 4' x 3' Chimera illuminated by a single Total light would produce EXACTLY the same "spread and wrap" as 12 lightpanels arrayed in a 4 panels x 3 panels configuration.

In this case, lighting reflects GEOMETRY. (that old high school "angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection" stuff.

To make your "comparison" have value, you'd need to compare the lightpanel 1x1 light to a 1' x 1' softbox. Which is pretty hard to find.

Simple as that.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 06:17 AM   #30
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By my crude calculations I can get 4'x3' of LED light from 100x Z96 units at a cost of US $6,000. Sure not cheap but way cheaper than the figures quoted using Lightpanels. That's around 700W of LED light which would equate to say 4KW of tungsten inside a softbox. Not that one could put 4KW of heat inside a softbox, not for very long.
Clearly 700W of LED light is more than a bit over the top, our Creamsource is around 200W of LED light and that is more light than one would need in a room, 700W is plain insane. So less light spread out a bit more would more than suffice with some thin diffusion. Such a light doesn't seem to exit and I'm pretty certain there's no technical reason why not. I strongly suspect it gets back to a point I made quite a while back in this thread. The majority of people using these cheap LED lights don't see the problems they create and therefore they're not trying to fix the problem(s) which leads to no one making affordable solutions, there just isn't the demand.
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