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Old April 7th, 2011, 09:50 PM   #1
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NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

Well it’s off to Vegas on Monday for the NAB pilgrimage. Gonna be a nice change of scenery considering we just got an 8”dump of snow on Monday here in the Great White North. I’ve been ruminating about illuminating from NAB for a while now and have finally decided to pull the trigger and go for my Great LED Crusade at NAB. I plan to visit and review, in detail, every LED fixture and manufacturer on the show floor and post my observations at www.thecolouroflight.com directly from their booths via my trusty Blackberry and laptop.

Drop over to the blog and check out my plans and give your input. See you at NAB.

Last edited by Chris Ficek; April 8th, 2011 at 09:16 AM.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 05:49 AM   #2
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

What's great about NAB is that you get to have hands-on experience with a very, very wide array of products. Enjoy!
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Old April 8th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #3
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

I'm particularly jazzed about seeing the new Arri LED fresnel and hoping that Kinoflo might be unveiling their new LED product. If I see them I will have a post up ASAP.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 12:53 PM   #4
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

Make sure to visit Zylight. The IS3 is a fantastic unit, and the active diffusion is like a magic trick.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

Don't forget the little guys. Last year there were a handful of 1-booth wonders hidden in the back of the 2nd floor with basically no signage and some cool stuff. Would love to see some of it evaluated by others.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 08:47 PM   #6
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

Gonna do my best to hit every LED vendor. I’ve always wondered how some of the small vendors stay in existence and why some of the big boys never seem to breakout. Here on dvInfo we see a lot of chat about Richard and his Coollight products and the low-end Ebay stuff, but a total void of much talk about some other great lights out there. According to Richard, here on the forums recently, he can’t keep his Coollight products in stock..good for him, but I’m curious how these other guys on the “second floor” make the payroll every two weeks. The class leader in sales/marketing clearly looks like Litepanels but their products are often maligned for not being good value so then why do we all seem to buy one (me included)? Part of my “LED Crusade” is to shine a light on some of these other lesser known products and maybe find a gem out there that I haven’t seen and maybe add a new toy or two to the case. I’ll let you know what I find.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 09:39 PM   #7
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

Ok, I might be a little slow to get this news but I just got the word of a new LED panel from Litepanels. The H2 high output light uses 72 1 watt LEDS and that will put it firmly in then territory of the Creamsource panel in terms of light power and coverage. Add to my list of MUST see at NAB next week including the Arri LED Fresnel, maybe the Kinoflo LED and of course now the H2 from Litepanels. If this thing in under $4000 it might be a game changer.
Without a doubt I’ll have output readings and pics at The Colour of Light - Home as soon as I hit NAB.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 11:23 PM   #8
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Make sure to visit Zylight. The IS3 is a fantastic unit, and the active diffusion is like a magic trick.
It's been a year since they showed the active diffusion and it's still not listed for sale on their web site.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 01:12 PM   #9
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

That's true Kirk, and as we have seen many manufacturers go through these kinds of issues. Obviously the product works, as we saw it at NAB last year.

The huge advantage of the Zylight systems is their ability to not only mix color temps from 3200 to 5600 but from 2500 to 10,000K in precise 50K intervals, as well as providing green/magenta shift (so you can match those inexpensive off-color LED lights!) and even full spectrum color mode to duplicate any "party gel" look. On top of that, every parameter is adjustable via a clip-on pocket remote which can control up to 11 different units.

I really don't like the term "game-changer" because the tech in this industry is moving so fast, the game keeps changing every six months, so why label it as such. What I do consider relevant is tools that shift how you approach the craft, achieve what was previously unachievable or simply increase your efficiency notably. The Zylights represent the latter for me. I'm now able to stand at the monitor and remotely tweak the color and intensity of multiple units which saves an incredible amount of time--in fact it allows me to make adjustments that I may have had to "live with" in the past because I couldn't take the time to bring in a ladder and tweak. Every gaffer I've worked with has been blown away by the IS3 and its capabilities.

Consider shooting a basic three light interview setup as a one or two man band, with multiple subjects being brought in one after another. With an IS3 key and two Z90's as backlight and fill (via diffusion or softbox), you can, say, crank up the key and compensate for ruddy complexion, dial down the fill, warm up the backlight or shut it off for a bald subject, all within 30-45 seconds. Prior to this, those types of adjustments might take 5 minutes at least with a flurry of activity (rustling gel, ladders) around the subject. With the Zylights, I can do it all virtually invisibly. The usual response from producers after I call "ready" that quickly is "wow--really?"

I mention the interview scenario because it's one that many people here are familiar with. But even on large scale production, it's still an amazing tool. On narrative work, I like to have the IS3 headed-up near camera so I can use it as a last-minute fill, especially when the blocking changes slightly and I need to compensate. Recently I shot in a bar that had existing fluorescent practicals with amber plastic covers; I could easily dial in the exact color represented as an edge light on the actors (which would have otherwise required a specific gel to be ordered in advance--and we would probably have had to try a number of different versions to find the one that matched best).

The price for the IS3 is comparable to the Litepanel 1x1 bicolors, but they can't be used battery powered as easily (48 vs 12v) and are much heavier. The softbox is still a work in progress, and the active diffusion is, as Kirk noted, not yet available (but will be an incredible addition when it is). I still use Litepanels for what they are good at: being low-profile, handholdable and battery-operated.

My other favorite LED source: Literibbon.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #10
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

I completely understand the advantage of the Zylight products. I'm just anxious for the active diffusion to become available.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 01:14 AM   #11
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Color Temperature Spectrum

1. One thing I'm having a problem with is the color temperature spectrum, especially the green part.
When editing there is more than one peak and it's hard to correct for.

2. One more thing I'd like to know is, does the color temperature shift as the LEDs heat up over time? It almost seems like in the beginning a 1/4 + 1/8 works okay but after 15 or 20 minutes it doesn't seem to be as good anymore. Or am I becoming too critical?

Besides just looking at the units and getting their specs, is there a way you can do some testing of their color spectrum at the same time?

Another note: while LEDs run cooler than halogen or tungsten, by the time you gel them, depending on the design, the gel can block air flow and the fixture can wind up getting pretty warm.

A good LED spot/key light would be nice too.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 02:33 PM   #12
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Ficek View Post
Gonna do my best to hit every LED vendor. I’ve always wondered how some of the small vendors stay in existence and why some of the big boys never seem to breakout. Here on dvInfo we see a lot of chat about Richard and his Coollight products and the low-end Ebay stuff, but a total void of much talk about some other great lights out there. According to Richard, here on the forums recently, he can’t keep his Coollight products in stock..good for him, but I’m curious how these other guys on the “second floor” make the payroll every two weeks.
Richard and Taky both make a presence on this board. I suspect there are other boards like this one that are frequented by some of the other smaller vendors. Yet more smaller vendors might subside on those traveling photo shows or google adwords or the like.

I get the impression you can build one of the LED lights for about half what you can sell them for. So for a $500 light, you make $250. You would not have to sell 10,000 units to make a living... you could quite easily sell 3-4/week and make ~$50k, which is a living wage in most of america (and would put you solidly upper class in most of the flyover states).

Also, a lot of the smaller guys (Taky, Richard, et al) are selling LEDs and Flos at half or less than the big boys, for a very similar and sometimes superior quality. It would be an easy sell.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 03:01 PM   #13
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I really don't like the term "game-changer"
Yeah, that and "space-age technology" are my pet peeves. We've been In the space-age since the 1960's.

gb
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Old April 13th, 2011, 02:54 AM   #14
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

OMG!
Active Diffusion!!! Why didn't I ever hear of that???

For people like me, who have apparently been living under a rock for the past year, here's a link to what Charles referred to:
Zylight Active Diffusion at NAB 2010 Video

Charles, I understand you use their products and have been keeping an eye on them for a while now, so even though I understand Zylight hasn't announced availibility of these products yet, do you still have any idea of how much these are likely to sell for?
Also, I wonder about reliability in the field... I mean an 'electronically controlled', 'probably expensive' filter... That's gotta require 'some ' caretaking, huh?
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Old April 13th, 2011, 03:22 AM   #15
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Re: NAB 2011, the Great LED Crusade

I have a meet with Zylite tomorrow. The scoop will be forthcoming I hope.
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