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Old April 8th, 2012, 11:59 PM   #16
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Well said, Craig. Time is indeed $. I'd imagine setting up a nice LED for an interview might take half the time. Although, Rifas go up super-quick. No cords would be lovely indeed. Once prices come down (assuming the do), I'll certainly consider them.

Personally, I shoot 1 - 3 times a week, and then spend the rest of the time in the edit bay. 85% of the time, single headshot interviews. So, I'm a good candidate for LEDs. I just keep thinking of the extra camera, lighting, or sound kit I could purchase with the $.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #17
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Re: LEDs for interviews

OK, I'm an amateur, retired teacher, who does a number of interviews for some local non-profits for YouTube and their websites. I too would love to jump into LEDs - so many advantages. I could even deal with the color issues. But what I never see discussed is simply the quality of the light. It just seems too harsh for people to me - this is judging by what I've seen online. And the diffusion filters that come with them seem pretty ineffective.

Are there easy ways to really diffuse these? I want a directional light with very soft shadows, but my interviews are very informal, in the subjects' homes, and there is no time for lengthy soft box assembly, etc. Or is the style just trending for a harder look these days? I have a 2x2 Coollights flo, and I clip a Rosco diffusion sheet in front of the barn doors on that. Is it possible to get that level of diffusion that simply with LEDs? I'm not being dense here, I really hope the answer is yes.

By the way, I know it's a different situation in many ways, but I have a former student who works in lighting for TV, Vegas shows, etc. He told me recently that oh no, he would never use LEDs to light a person. He just feels that currently the light is just too unflattering.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 10:12 AM   #18
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

David, since there's no danger of heat or fire, you can try just about any "bootstrap" solution to diffuse an LED panel. Wax paper, fabrics, seamless paper, thin vinyl shower curtain liners, or anything else you see at your local hardware store. I would do a series of tests on a very patient model (kid, grandkid, spouse, etc.) and reward them with candy (or shopping sprees). Document each material from wide to close-up, and see which look(s) you prefer.

Even though I've purchased the LED DVD, I think I'll stick with my Lowel Rifa until the LED price$ come down and quality comes up a bit. Unlike most other hot softboxes, where "speed ring" is an oxymoron, the Rifa opens up as fast as an umbrella and renders beautiful skin tones. It didn't hurt that I found a used 66 model without its diffusion panel for $150 either.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 10:30 AM   #19
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Interesting to read all the comments I've missed over the past month.

@ David, here are some excerpts from an interview I shot this past Monday using only 4 Litepanels lights, no extra soft boxes, diffusion or other grip equipment was used except one cookie pattern. Follwoing the principles I talk about in my DVD, it took me about 25 minutes to set up the lighting by myself. I'm happy with it, but more importantly, the client was very happy with it. My advice to your student who says you can't get good results with LEDs would be to go get some decent LED lights. That's why I bought quality instruments. Saving a few bucks just isn't worth it.



@ Brian
As I say in my DVD, if cost is your primary concern you can't beat tungsten for bang for the buck. Stay with tungsten. I do not discuss the cost of a light kit in my DVD for two reasons: 1) Prices are coming down and I don't want to date the video by talking about cost. 2) This DVD is aimed at busy professionals who can appreciate the unique advantages the LED lights offer over other types of lights -- cost to most of them is a secondary concern. Time and convenience is money. For other people who are working on smaller budgets or who don't need to shoot interviews very often, then I recommend they stay with tungsten. I have a DVD for that too. :-)

@ Craig
Loved hearing your comments and you have done a great job of summing up my philosophy. Thanks.
I just want to correct one thing you said. Lowel Pro lights are not Fresnels so it isn't fair to compare their price to a Sola ENG or Sola 4.

@ Ian
If you don't like the quality of light from your LEDs, you may have bought the wrong brand. As I said earlier, that is why I chose Litepanels. More expensive? Yes. But worth every penny. Don't damn all LEDs just because some look like crap.

@ Charles
The quality of my lights has not suffered at all by switching to LEDs and I can work faster and better than ever before. I would not be using LEDs at all if I felt I was sacrificing quality.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #20
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Brian,
Thanks for the suggestions. I did realize that all kinds of diffusers, however home-grown, are capable of being used on LEDs, but I just never see an example of what that can look like. So are you saying that using those types of diffusers on LEDs can produce a softer look?


Doug,
That is a beautiful example of lighting, and I think it's very dramatic. I highly respect your well-earned reputation and expertise, and your XF300 DVD set has been invaluable in learning to use my XF100. So, I agree that beautiful lighting is possible from LEDs. However, as you mentioned, the lighting there was undiffused LEDs, and for my purposes, the shadows were not soft enough.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 12:44 PM   #21
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

For those on a budget and shooting in very confined spaces this Lightpanels Sola ENG Flight Kit looks interesting.

http://www.litepanels.com/language/i...sheet_info.pdf
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New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?-litepanelsflightkit.jpg  
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Old May 17th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #22
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

David, thanks for the compliments, and I agree that sometimes softer is better.

As you know, just putting some diffusion over the front of any light doesn't help much because it doesn't significantly increase the size of the light source. Softness comes from being bigger and closer. In fact, I have a Chimera soft box that goes on the face of my 1x1 Litepanels, and even though it increases the surface area 50%, it doesn't make the light very much softer. For $250 is was pretty much a waste of money.

A technique that I'll be demonstrating at my lighting class at Maine Media Workshops in August (The Art of Lighting and Shooting Interviews | Cinematography Workshops | Maine Media) is to take a 40" flexfill that has a thin translucent material and blast a Litepanels Sola 4 Fresnel into it. The light isn't terribly strong once it goes through the material, but it's still good enough for an interview and it has a beautiful soft appearance to it. I could never use the Flexfill with a hot tungsten or it would burn up. The Sola 4 is nice because it puts out a circle of light that matches the shape of the flexfill perfectly. I can dim it and adjust the flood/spot of beam to get the look I want. A 1x1 panel can be used put it doesn't fill the circle as well. A Sola 6 would be even better because it is much more powerful, but I don't have one of those.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 04:42 AM   #23
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Thx For the reviews
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Old June 13th, 2012, 12:41 AM   #24
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Hmm, I can't imagine a tungsten burning up a 40" diffusion when placed far enough back to cover the whole panel, unless it's a 2k+. But I agree that it's so nice not to have to worry about gloves or burning things up when working with LED.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 01:18 AM   #25
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
just putting some diffusion over the front of any light doesn't help much because it doesn't significantly increase the size of the light source.
True about the size of the source, but it does "help" in the sense that it can make the source more uniform from edge to edge, which is relevant with many types of units, from open face to those with funky lenses to LED's. In the case of the latter, there is an argument that panels made of an array of LED's such as the Litepanel 1x1's are simply a series of point/hard sources, but it's my experience that the number and distance between the elements blend together into a single soft source unless the subject is extremely close to the unit. Diffusion has a much greater effect on a unit like a par or open face, where there is a tendency for a hot spot in the center that quickly falls off towards the edges, or a Source 4 where the edges may demonstrate the rainbow pattern typical of chromatic aberration.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 05:59 AM   #26
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Charles, that is all true. I should not have said "any light", because obviously some types of lamps do benefit from the simplest kind of diffusion material even if it doesn't significantly increase the surface area. Thanks for clarifying. My comments were really directed towards the Litepanels 1x1. I can't speak for other LEDs, but on those lights, a simple diffusion panel, or the special Chimera that is made for just them, makes almost no visible difference whatsoever on faces.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 08:18 AM   #27
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

I feel the same way Doug, but tell that to the Zacuto guys, (eye roll):

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Old July 14th, 2012, 08:09 AM   #28
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Would I be correct in saying that if I was on a budget I was better off avoiding this DVD and looking at something like the original version of this?

Maybe How to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews ?

I'm looking to start doing some documentary style interviews I want to take very seriously, so I want to get the lighting right. I have had some suggestions on how to do it, and read a bit on here, but I like the idea of a video tutorial.
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Old July 14th, 2012, 08:32 AM   #29
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Ryan, as the producer of both of these DVDs, I would strongly suggest that anyone who has a limited budget for lighting stay with tungsten. It's possible put together a pretty effective 4-light tungsten kit for under $1500 including lights, stands, gels, dimmers, WarmCards, etc. Tungsten has always looked great for interviews when they are used properly, and always will -- no matter what new fangled technology comes along.

Of course, LEDs offer quite a few advantages over tungsten that allow me to work faster, more effiently, and achieve looks that I could never do with tungsten lighting and that is why I am now 100% LED. I have not used any tungsten lights for over a year. But as I said, I don't recommend LED for someone without the $ to get quality instruments -- and the right types of LED lights. I've tried a few of the bargain LED lights, and I would rather use no lights at all than settle for the results they provide.

I hope that answers your question.
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Old July 14th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #30
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Thanks for that Doug. I sometimes have to appreciate that while the dollar is at parity, the AU and US markets are not, so it's not necessarily possible to do the same in both markets.

If you're convinced the other DVD (How to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews) will be better I might take a look. Hopefully it'll at least give a good background/grounding which will give me more ideas moving towards the transition to an LED world.
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