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Old March 22nd, 2012, 09:20 PM   #1
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New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

I have been lighting several interviews, mostly through the training given on the Vortex DVD - "How to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews. I've achieved great results following their training.

I have several of the Vortex training DVD's, relating to a few cameras I own and shoot with - and they've been fantastic at getting me up-and-running with great results - fast.

When I visited the Vortex Media Website (How to Set up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights), I see that they are offering a new lighting DVD. This time, instead of training for using tungsten, it's all about LED interview lighting.

Has anyone bought it and seen the LED DVD? I just ordered my copy of "How to Setup and Shoot Awesome Looking Interviews with LED Lights"t, since I am looking to replace my tungsten lighting kit with LED's. The big issue for me -- is WHAT LED's should one buy for interviews? It's a whole new ball-of-wax . . . and I don't want to make the mistake of buying a bunch of crap that doesn't work for my needs.

If the disc is anything like Vortex Media's original lighting DVD, I'll get the scoop on the best lights to buy for lighting my interviews - and how I'll get the best results with my new LED kit.

For $60.00 bucks it's cheap - especially if it steers me clear of expensive mistakes when purchasing new gear - plus it should save a ton of time by seeing exactly how Vortex sets up LED's for interviews.

If anyone has already seen the DVD, I'd love your feedback.

Thanks.

Ian
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 11:56 PM   #2
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Ian, thanks for posting this. I am currently using three LitePanels lights for my interview kit. [1x1spot, 1x1 flood, SOLA ENG]
Please post a review of your thoughts about the DVD.
I might be interested in acquiring it as well.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 08:07 AM   #3
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Ed,

My copy of "How to Setup and Shoot Awesome Looking Interviews with LED Lights" just came in today's mail. Can't wait to watch it.

And yes, I would be happy to write a review of the disc. I should have some time this a.m. to watch it. If I have time later today or tomorrow, I'll send you some thoughts.

First off, the disc was shipped FAST - and it was well packaged and protected (much better than when I've ordered movies, etc. from other vendors).

Well, I had better run . . . I've got me a new LED interview lighting training video to watch!

Ian
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Old March 27th, 2012, 11:30 AM   #4
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Looking forward to your review... thanks Ian!
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Old March 28th, 2012, 06:54 PM   #5
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My review - New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media

Hey, Ed and Chris . . .

I got my DVD copy of "How to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews" in yesterday's mail. I've now watched the DVD twice, and I made some notes and wrote a review of sorts. Here goes:

I bought the first lighting DVD Vortex offered a couple of years ago - "Hot to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews". The first thing I noticed is that the new LED lighting disc offers 90 minutes or training vs. the 60 minutes of training found on the their first lighting DVD. Nice! And as with the other Vortex discs I own, they are beautiful to look at. The folks at Vortex care about the look of their product. The high quality of their productions plus the great training Vortex offers is why I'm a happy repeat customer. The ONLY thing that didn't work for me were the audio "tones" or "beeps" that were used (instead of music) to usher in each new chapter on the DVD. Maybe I was tired when watching, but I like the music Vortex usually uses instead of tones. Hey, I know I'm really "sweating the small stuff" here since this really is only a minor "gripe".

I completely trusted the training as offered in the first DVD, so I promptly bought all of the lights and accessories that are recommended by Vortex for achieving television network style interview lighting for under $1,500.00. And guess what . . . the kit I assembled as recommended by Vortex worked great! I didn't doubt that it would. I was delighted that the training that was so simple to follow offered me fantastic results the very first time I used the lights according to Doug Jensen's recommendations. In fact, I've had several compliments about the "look" or my videos - leading to repeat bookings from clients. This first disc is all about lighting with tungsten lights.

The brand-new "Hot to Set Up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights" is just what the Dr. ordered. I haven't made the leap into the world of LED just yet - except for some LED on-camera lights that I own and love. I mainly purchased "How to Set Up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights" because the first Vortex lighting DVD was so good that I wanted to "mine" any additional tips-and-tricks that I might benefit from by viewing this new training disc. In addition, I wanted to have a good idea of what NOT to buy when going LED. At some point soon, I'll be making the jump to LED. Doug Jensen, in his first lighting DVD (tungsten lighting), takes his viewer through all of the best choices to build a lighting kit where you get the most bang for their buck. Jensen thankfully offers similar advices pertaining to LED choices here. Most lighting companies sell kits that load the buyer up with items that cost big bucks that you'll likely never use. So, at-the-end-of-the-day, the first lighting DVD saved me a ton of money in terms of how to build a great lighting kit while avoiding costly mistakes. And Jensen's training is so good, it makes good interview lighting do-able for anyone wanting great results - quickly, easily and essentially without compromise.

If you don't yet have LED lights but are considering them - get this DVD! Don't make the mistake of buying costly LED lights that you might not need or use - especially when they are more costly than their tungsten "cousins". Doug Jensen's suggestions will likely save you big bucks if you see this disc before you go shopping. Jensen's philosophy is the same for LED lighting as was his advice for tungsten on his first lighting DVD - "less is more". He shows you how to build a an LED light kit with as few lights (and stands) as you'll need to do interview lighting with beauty and artistry.

I really like the fact that the video talks to the viewer on a professional level - but it it should be easy for anyone wanting great results to comprehend. First, Doug Jensen doesn't assume that you already have LED lights, which is great. He starts from scratch and makes the case for both tungsten and LED. He presents a good argument for both. But after watching the DVD, it's clear that anyone doing interviews will clearly benefit from making the move to LED sooner-than-later. I was convinced when Jensen showed how LED lights co-operate much more than tungsten when it comes to "tweaking" the lighting and getting the exposure right more quickly - without as much work this requires with tungsten. It's apparent that lights which remain much cooler to the touch and are faster setting up and faster packing away (not having to wait for them to cool) is the way to go. And, they mix much better with daylight from a window than tungsten. What's not to like?

"Hot to Set Up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights" is smart . . . it goes well beyond the choice of (and the setting up of) the lights. You get great advice on choosing an ideal location. And then, there's useful advice on what to do when an interview location is far from ideal. In addition, there are chapters offering excellent pointers on how to work with on-camera talent - and how to make them look their best in-front-of-the-camera.

Doug Jensen announces on the new DVD that his company, Vortex Media, is offering full LED lighting workshops which run for a single day - and more advanced training is offered over several days. These workshops will take those interested in advanced techniques beyond what can be offered in a 90 minute training DVD. I didn't find there were things left unaddressed in Jensen's "Hot to Set Up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights. I can only assume - and hope - that the Vortex LED lighting workshops might cover more advanced setups that would include the lighting of several on-camera subjects for a two (or more camera) shoot. There is a Vortex Workshop page up, for anyone interested in their workshop series. Here's a link: Vortex Media Workshops for TV/Film Professionals.

One of the my favorite things about "Hot to Set Up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights" are the multiple samples of great interview lighting in contrast to samples of mediocre and awful interview setups. Jensen shows examples of several Network news interview setups and points out where they have either excelled or have fallen "flat". This was really wise to include. As Jensen suggests, it's often difficult to explain "why" exactly a certain interview lighting setup looks artful - but when an interview is nicely lit and well composed it's something an audience will recognize as superior immediately. I agree.

I highly recommend "Hot to Set Up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights". If good video lighting is important to you, then it's quite likely you'll be revisiting this disc as a resource to rely on for many years to come.

Ian
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Old March 28th, 2012, 08:47 PM   #6
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Excellent review, Ian!

Published at Review: “Hot to Set Up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights” DVD from Vortex Media at DVInfo.net
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Old March 28th, 2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

A wonderful review, Ian. Thanks. I also own Doug's original DVD on lighting interviews with tungsten, and it's been an invaluable resource through the years. I also like Doug's style... very congenial and conversational.

I, too am intrigued by the LED revolution coming to video, and will likely buy this DVD. I realize that it's a "moving target", but does Doug put a price point on the LED "kit" that he assembles for the viewer on the DVD thew way he did for on the tungsten one? Or at least a range of budget? Thanks!
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Old April 6th, 2012, 10:04 AM   #8
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Hi What kind of back light they recommend on the new DVD? I have an Ikan 1000 for Key and Ikan 500 for fill. I was thinking in a Sony HVLLBPB. what do you think?
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Old April 6th, 2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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Re: My review - New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Campbell View Post
What's not to like?
Strictly speaking, what's not to like about LED's is that most of the products on the market (especially "budget" units) fall short in reproducing the complete spectrum, so the results will be less flattering skin tones. I qualified this with "strictly speaking" because one can certainly turn out headshots that are likely to be considered acceptable by all involved, and with the advantages of light and cool fixtures, it's worth it for most people doing this kind of shooting.

I've spent the last couple of years trying to love the results of using LED's (including the rather expensive ones I own) but finally couldn't deny that there was something "off" and I now use them as fill, at best.

No comment on Doug's video which I'm sure is solid. It's just that I would fall short of saying that LED's trump tungsten in every way at this time. A few color-accurate units are finally on the market but at a high price point and not likely to be used by the average shooter.
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Old April 7th, 2012, 03:11 AM   #10
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

If you were to create a light kit using nearly full spectrum LEDs such as Lightpanels, wouldn't you have to spend at least $4000?
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Old April 7th, 2012, 12:11 PM   #11
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Sure. But the point is, you can make a kit with full spectrum incandescent lighting for a fraction of that. So regardless of all of the functional advantages of budget LED kits, the final result (the footage itself) may suffer. To what degree of compromise this represents is up to the user to determine.

Obviously the best way to illustrate this is with side-by-side examples of the same setup under tungsten vs LED units, carefully shot to maintain equal levels and light quality. It would be tricky to pull off--attempting to match color temperatures exactly between mixed sources can be tough, especially when dealing with the broken spectrum units.
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Old April 7th, 2012, 06:05 PM   #12
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

i have to agree with you charles
although i have a few leds in my kit i am not a big fan of their
light. they just dont look right but i cant really explain what is wrong. its just not right

as a gaffer i advise my dp's to only use them as a little fill or eyelight in a scene already lit by tungstan flouro or other source, some listen and some dont.

the damm things are so cheap and convenient they tend to be overused.

no one wants to use tungstan because they get hot and make the talent sweat.......suck it up
thats the price you pay for nice light.

cheers
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Old April 8th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #13
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

I just bought and viewed Doug's LED Lights video. I don't want to give a way too much because, after all, Doug wants you to buy the DVD to get those details.

Looking at his light kit and B&H pricing I'd say his kit (5 lights) is probably just north of $6000.

He does do a comparison between Tungsten and LED, weighing advantages and disadvantages of each and obviously, given the DVD, you know which side he comes down own when you include overall use not just aesthetics of the light. I'd add that given he's a working professional with paying clients that include broadcast, one might guess the aesthetics are not a serious detraction for most interview situations (the focus of this DVD).

He does talk about Fluorescents as well. Obviously he feels LED wins over those in overall use as well. I mention this because some might wonder if he considers that in his comparisons.

It's interesting that his approach to cost has changed from the previous Tungsten DVD to this LED DVD. Under $1500 light kit was a key marketing point for the former I believe. He doesn't mention kit cost in the LED DVD so the above pricing I mention was based on looking at the light in his kit on B&H site.

My own thought about aesthetics though is that in an interview situation, heat can be a factor depending on the subject. How does a hot sweaty subject impact the performance especially for someone not used to being under lights?

Doug talks about the importance of having a diverse light kit but, to me, this is where cost can weigh heavy. If you do have a specific shoot that demands more than one of a specific light, it's not going to break the bank if you need to buy one more of something if it's Tungsten. On the other hand, with LED, that becomes a much heavier expense. Since Doug talks about LED Fresnels such as Sola ENG for example, I might point out that you can get 4 Lowel Pro Lights for a little less than the price of one Sola ENG.

There are certainly lots of advantages to LEDs but when you factor in cost it also can impact diversity (and expansion) of kit as well. LED might win on the convenience factor though if cost is not a big objection. I suspect Doug might argue that with a diverse LED kit, you can work through most interview situations without a big concern about kit expansion. Also one might think about the relative cost compared to other things. When you compare the under $1500 kit to the $6000+ kit the price comparison is similar to a higher end consumer camera to a lower end pro camera (think top of the line Canon Vixia vs Sony EX1r or EX3) it's not prohibitive for many working professionals.

BTW I should mention that I thought the DVD was very good. It answered a lot of my questions about a variety of LED type lights.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 04:40 PM   #14
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Yes, I bought the DVD, too. While very informative, I'm disappointed that Doug's exclusively recommending Lite Panels. $6k for an interview kit doesn't really intrigue me. I've invested maybe $800 in a used Rifa 66, two Omnis, and a Pro. Lowel stands, a C-stand, reflectors, and other grip, I'm maybe $1,200 into my very versatile, 100CRI interview kit. Sure, they get hot, sure you have to replace bulbs, and deal with mixed light. But I don't think the benefits of LEDs are 3-4x better than what I've got.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #15
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Brian, I'm of similar mindset but I can see the arguments for it and why Doug is specific to Litepanels given the features.

Litepanels have Fresnel type LEDs. I think that's critical because it overcomes control/shaping issues of the light. That they all have dimmers means one doesn't have to deal with ND gels or having to move them back (not always possible in some confined spaces. There's no longer the major risk of blowing circuit breakers in somebody's office. That even the 1x1s have have controls to widen or narrow within some range. There's the ability to dial in color temp which can be much faster than dealing with gels. The ability to run on batteries when you're either too far from an outlet or the power cords pose a safety risk.

The question is whether all that is "worth it." If it saves you half an hour or more on a shoot once in a while it may not be. If it's saving you that much time several times a week it may be. If it saves you 100 hours a year, depending on what your time is worth, that's a considerable amount of time you've gotten back.

Basically it may depend on whether you're a nearly full time shooter vs someone who does a lot of post work. If a typical project is a day or three of shoots followed by a week or more of post, the shoot time savings may not be quite as much.
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