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Old November 24th, 2012, 08:05 AM   #46
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Hey Doug:

Slip me some information when the schedule gets firmed up for Maine, if you have a chance.

Regarding HMI for keys: The ballast box and cables can be a pain, especially when one is moving from room to room in a b-roll situation. But they put out a lot of light when you need to compete with windows. In an interview setting, I use HMIs and Chimeras with the deepest diffusion panel (and sometimes the interior diffusion as well) and nearly always use the fabric grids to contain the spill of light. Having the key off axis a bit and back an extra 5 or 6 feet keeps it from being much of an issue for the talent. In most cases, I'm trying to light with the key just enough to be slightly less than wide open.

One advantage the HMI has over an LED panel, it seems, is the ability to also have some utility outside as a fill, using the frosted fresnel or a piece of diffusion on the barn doors. But that's another story. Ultimately, I'd mostly like to have an LED kit to go with the HMI and ARRI kit, and then I'd mostly have the bases covered.

Regarding the LED quality: because I also know several good shooters who use the less expensive LEDs and like them a lot...I had been hoping to see at least a montage of side by side LED color quality across a number of fixtures, even if you didn't identify them by name.

But, as you noted, rather outside the scope of your DVD, and didn't really detract from its utility as a teaching tool.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 01:35 PM   #47
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Honestly, you are the only person I've ever heard of that uses HMI lighting indoors for regular sit-down interviews.
Guess you can add me to that list too, Doug. Although I don't know if by "regular" you mean, as a standard one-size-fits-all procedure, or just when needed.

A few years ago I did a corporate job with Vincent Laforet that involved a series of highly stylized interviews. Vincent was doing promo work with Litepanels and he had a case full of 1x1 units with us, and wanted to use them as the primary light source for the interviews. In many cases we were able to make this work. However we had one location that was adjacent to a sunlit atrium. We used that as a background but I needed to light to a higher level than a controlled environment would allow. We had the frame to build four Litepanels into a grid which I used as the primary source. The picture below shows the rather ugly setup. You can see that I actually needed to add a fifth Litepanel into the diffusion frame to get enough "poop". It was, frankly, something of a cluster-you-know-what. We had a 1200w HMI with us but Vincent really wanted to use the Litepanels.

We got through it, but later in that job we did an interview in a small living room using a background window behind the talent. This time I pulled out the 1200 and bounced it into the wall adjacent to the subject. While it was obviously a high light level compared to the Litepanels, it wasn't hard to look at. We were able to retain value outside the window and it was a simple setup.

That's just one story but I would say that over the years of doing an interview here and there, I have used HMI a small but significant portion of the time (admittedly the ones I do are not generally "TV style", more doc or corporate, which may have a different aesthetic and expectation and commensurately larger crew and equipment package). But bottom line for me is: not all interviews take place in controlled environments where one can define the light level. Sometimes you have to accomodate existing backgrounds and work up to a specific stop.

The shoot I described above took place three years ago, but since then a few high-power LED units have come on the market (Nila for one) that could have subbed for the 1200 HMI.
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New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?-interv.jpg  
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Old November 24th, 2012, 02:30 PM   #48
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Doug,
Thanks for following this thread. As you can see there's many more concerns about LED than Tungsten lighting. Your DVD does an excellent job showing how to use a diversity of LED lights from Fresnel to Panels, it's the "unsaid" stuff that leaves viewers a bit uneasy.

While product comparisons might be outside the purview of the LED DVD, you brought up a preference. You did do a comparison between LED panels and Tungsten complete with chip chart showing color rendering.

Compare Litepanels to "Brand X"
Perhaps you might include one of the "poor quality" LED in that comparison without mentioning the brand. Another good real world test is simply to show a test with a real subject with Litepanel compared to "Brand X." It would inform the viewer what to look for. It's of major importance and probably why there's so much concern. It would be good to educated the viewer in how to judge LED light quality

Perhaps toss the above online. If you do an email blast or some other outreach to people who bought the LED DVD you may get a lot of views. Of course you could take marketing advantage of that in some form. It's obviously a hot topic.
_________
Pricing issues
I've used a separator for this since Doug already responded to pricing issues.
I'd agree that you really can't go into this on the DVD without making product comparisons and, yes, that would be risky territory for a tutorial DVD in which pricing and products change frequently as you point out in this thread.

This very comment, is a big concern with LEDs. It's still appears to be a technology in development, unlike Tungsten lighting. An excellent and expensive purchase today may be eclipsed in short order either in quality or pricing or both. For many, it makes the ROI (Return On Investment) much harder to calculate.

That Litepanels is using the legal system to protect patents may well mean they see the challenge that other companies are using the same technology (and possibly at lower prices). There are even other companies coming out with LED Fresnels (ironically none seem to be less expensive than Litepanels in that category).

Last edited by Craig Seeman; November 24th, 2012 at 03:04 PM.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 02:54 PM   #49
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Some price breakouts

Litepanels themselves are responding to price issues and that's a good thing.
For example:
I believe Doug may have used the following in your DVD w/ B&H Prices.

1x1 Mono LED Daylight Spot Light $1795.50
Since the DVD came out, Litetpanels came out with a version sans DMX control
1x1 LS Daylight Spot LED Panel $1255.50
So there's a big savings right there even staying within the same manufacturer.
I believe you also use
1X1 Bi-Color Variable Color Temperature LED Flood Light $2695.50
Unfortunately there's no LP LS non DMX series equivalent.
Of course if one can live with a daylight flood there's
1x1 LS Daylight Flood LED Panel $1255.50

So Doug's two panels are $4491
but you can drop that to $2511
for a savings of $1980 while staying with Litepanels

If you really wanted to go "budget" there's
Flolight MicroBeam 1024 High Powered Video Light (5600K) Spot $799
Flolight MicroBeam 1024 High Powered Video Light (5600K) Flood $899
That's $1698. That's a drop of $813 below the two Litepanels LS series.

So the tiers from Doug's to "untested" are:
$4491 - Doug's Litepanels panels
$2511 - Litepanels LS series
$1698 - Flolight panels


The other lights
Sola ENG $715
I see no competing LED Fresnel in that class.
Sola 4 LED Fresnel Light $1345
The few other LED Fresnels in that class seem to be more expensive.
Croma $584 but has a $100 discount through Dec 15 so it's currently $484
Lowel Blender is $494
So no major price difference there.

So Doug's kit (not including stands and accesories)
$1795.50 1x1 Spot
$2695.50 1x1 BiColor Flood
$1345 Sola 4
$715 Sola ENG
$584 Croma


Total $7135

By going with LS series you can drop that to
$5155
By going with Flolight you can drop that a litter further to
$4342
savings of $2793 if you dare.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 08:22 PM   #50
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Here's an HMI-enabled interview setup for Doug. Two 400 par HMIs, two ARRI 150s and a reflector. Look...the subject is smiling, not grimacing!
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 08:09 AM   #51
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Yeah, she seems happy enough with the HMIs. But my setup time and strike time will be a fraction of the time with LEDs. :-)

The shot looks good . . . but I'd get rid of the plant (it's as sharp as she is) and I'd want to see more seperation between the subject and the background via lighting changes and shallower DoF. Sorry couldn't resist making suggestions. :-)
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 10:24 AM   #52
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
By going with LS series you can drop that to
$5155
If I was building my Litepanels kit today, and wanted to save a few bucks, I would go with the LS series, I would not get a bi-color 1x1, and I would get a Luma instead of a Croma.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 11:04 AM   #53
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
If I was building my Litepanels kit today, and wanted to save a few bucks, I would go with the LS series, I would not get a bi-color 1x1, and I would get a Luma instead of a Croma.
Hi Doug,

Does this mean when you run into mixed lighting you'd just use gels sans bi-color and Croma?

Given the Luma is brighter, even with the light lose using a gel, I guess it's a reasonable trade off for having more lumens the rest of the time.

Would you replace the Bi-Color with LS Flood (or Bi-Focus which has no LS equivalent...yet) or do you find the second panel not needed in most setups?

BTW I've wondered why not get a 2nd Sola ENG rather than Croma/Luma series as it would seem having another small fresnel like source would be more control. That because the Luma is 50 spread which just seems wide for hair/kicker/side situations.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 04:13 PM   #54
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Doug, I bought your LED lighting video, it was very good. Thanks for all you do. I couldn't see spending the money on LED just yet, and bought the Lowell RIFA softbox outfits, a small and midsized, both with the interchangeable heads. So I have fluorescent, and I can add the whole thing to my existing ancient Lowell Tota's and light a larger room, if needed.

For field interviews, I do see a need for LED, and have actually used my small Flo Light to punch in on overcast days. Makes all the difference in the world.

It's good to hear that you would now go with a slightly less expensive and less flexible LED from them. That makes me feel that maybe I'll add one with a battery mount for those field interviews where there is no electricity, and I need to pop the subject.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 07:42 AM   #55
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Hi Doug,

Does this mean when you run into mixed lighting you'd just use gels sans bi-color and Croma?

Given the Luma is brighter, even with the light lose using a gel, I guess it's a reasonable trade off for having more lumens the rest of the time.

Would you replace the Bi-Color with LS Flood (or Bi-Focus which has no LS equivalent...yet) or do you find the second panel not needed in most setups?

BTW I've wondered why not get a 2nd Sola ENG rather than Croma/Luma series as it would seem having another small fresnel like source would be more control. That because the Luma is 50 spread which just seems wide for hair/kicker/side situations.
Craig,
I guess you'd have to define what you mean by "mixed lighting" because I very rarely ever find myself shooting in a location where I have uncontrollable tungsten around me. Usually, if I have uncontrollable light, it is daylight, and that's why it is so much better to have daylight balanced lights today. I don't think I've lit an interview since 2011 that wasn't daylight balanced. One of the best things about LED is leaving 3200 color temperatures in the trash can.

If I was buying 1x1 panels today, I'd get one LS flood and one LS spot. Or maybe two spots, but definately not two floods.

Somebody could certainly substitute a Croma for a 2nd Sola ENG, but the Croma is a very versatile light and I to have it in my kit. There are things I can do with the Croma I cannot do with the Sola. Plus the Croma is so much easier to power than the Sola.
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Last edited by Doug Jensen; December 4th, 2012 at 05:18 AM. Reason: fixed some typos
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 07:44 AM   #56
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Bergstein View Post
Doug, I bought your LED lighting video, it was very good.
Al, thanks for the feedback. It's great to hear that you liked the DVD!
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 10:25 AM   #57
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
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Yeah, she seems happy enough with the HMIs. But my setup time and strike time will be a fraction of the time with LEDs. :-)
Maybe...I can rig a chimera pretty fast, and I put them away pretty hot. What killed us was getting the background light just right. There was a frosted glass window to the conference room back wall. I ran a 400 par HMI outside, with barn doors on the JokerBug reflector, and a doubled up full blue gel on the barn doors. Moving the light an inch or two this way or that made the difference between a really cool pattern, or almost no color at all. Still, I would have liked to see you duplicate the intensity of that look with an LED fresnel! ;}

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
The shot looks good . . . but I'd get rid of the plant (it's as sharp as she is) and I'd want to see more seperation between the subject and the background via lighting changes and shallower DoF. Sorry couldn't resist making suggestions. :-)
Har. We are in agreement. I will say that this still grab is significantly wider than what we were actually using during the interview, so the DoF is much deeper. When I zoomed in a bit during the actual shoot, it rolled the plant and background much softer...as did dialing down the light level so I was within a stop of wide open.

For all you kids keeping score at home: the conference room was about 20 feet long, maybe shorter. We placed the subject about 6-8 feet in front of the glass background, and crammed the camera as far back as I could go. The plant was as close to the back wall as we could get it without a lot of blue light leaking onto the leaves. The camera was an XDCam HD, but with only 1/2 chips...so a competitive DoF disadvantage to Doug's F3 sensor, which is roughly the size of NJ. WB was done with just the unfiltered HMI key light, and then adjusted with a Vortex Media set of warm cards at 1/4 Warm, which raised the color temp about 400 degrees. If you don't have a set of the Warm Cards, order one today. Seriously.

I'm not always a big fan of plant background elements, because in many cases the plants can get out of control and spread all over the image. In this case, I liked the color contrast of the flowers against the super-blue background splash.
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Old September 8th, 2013, 10:50 AM   #58
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Got an Ikan IFD576-S 2-Point Light Kit before reading this thread and watching the DVD on line. Wondering what I can do with what I've got. It has been suggested using one panel for a key, the second for a backlight and using a foam core board for a fill. I also have a couple of Comer 10LED lights
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Old September 8th, 2013, 07:22 PM   #59
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald McPherson View Post
Will this DVD still be relevant to us hobby guys that can only afford cheap 160 leds?
I'm interested in this too.

I've been looking at various LED lights on Ebay. 600 LED panels can be purchased for around $150 USD each. They're powered by the cheap Sony NP-F batteries, which make them a great choice for outdoor interviews.

The build quality may be nowhere near as good as the Litepanels LEDs, but they're also many many times less expensive.

So for hobby work and those with small/no budget, is it really worth paying thousands for Litepanels LEDs? Are the cheap Ebay LEDs better than nothing?
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Old September 8th, 2013, 07:44 PM   #60
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Hi Jody,

I can't say whether a certain brand of lights will get the job done or not because I have never tried them. I can only vouch for the equipment that I own and enjoy using every day. Too bad there's not a Consumer Reports article on professional LED video lights. :-)

Here's something I posted in another thread, but I'm going to post it here too because I think it is relevant :

The lights I choose to use in my own business, and were featured in my LED Interview Lighting DVD, did cost me about $6K. But to me the cost was worth it and was a much better value than cheaper lights that might not perform as well or hold up to the rigors of daily production. But that doesn't mean there aren't less expensive options that will work good enough for other people's needs. For example, if I use a BMW to teach you how to drive, that doesn't mean you can't take what you learn and drive a Chevy instead if that fits your budget better. In my DVD and workshops I try to focus on the overall principles of lighting, camera setup, depth-of-field, and other factors that have nothing to with the brand or cost of LED lights being used. I simply used the lights in the DVD that I like best and already own.

However, with that said, even the least expensive LED light kit that would be sufficient for lighting interviews, will cost more than an equivalent tungsten kit. And if you can't afford to put together a decent LED kit, you are better off staying with tungsten for the time being.

By the way, I know it is short short notice, but in case anyone is really interested in some hardcore hands-on training with tungsten and LED lighting, there are still openings for the "The Art of Interview Lighting Class" I'm teaching the week of September 15-20 at Maine Media Workshops.

The Art of Lighting and Shooting Interviews | Maine Media

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