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Old September 18th, 2017, 03:42 PM   #1
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LED Softbox vs LED Panel for interview key light?

Hi Guys,

I have LED Fresnel light (Kinotehnik Practilite 602) and LED Panel Light (LED Go). (Links below).
One is a Fresnel light and the other is a Panel light.
If I want to do interviews, would I be better off using the LED panel lights as key light or should I buy a softbox and put on top of my Fresnel light?

I guess my question is whats better for video key light for interviews, LED Panel or LED Fresnel with Softbox?
As per my observation LED Panel has very wide light spread while sofbox still gives soft light but without as much light spray all over the area?

Fresnel light link
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...smart_led.html

LED Panel link
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...two_light.html

Last edited by Hakob Hakobyan; September 18th, 2017 at 03:43 PM. Reason: typo
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Old September 19th, 2017, 12:35 PM   #2
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Re: LED Softbox vs LED Panel for interview key light?

In lighting, there really isn't a wrong or right, it's more a matter of what look you're trying to achieve and the tools you have to achieve them. Personally, my preference is a soft key, which is flattering for the majority of us who aren't sculpted like an underfed runway model. Older faces are served even better with a large soft source and gentle falloff. Your panel light is the best tool for that, but you might still want to soften it even further with a softbox or diffusion. A cheap/versatile solution is to get a pop-up 5 in One type diffusor/reflector. 24" to 42". The larger the better (if you want a softer key). You'll then need a reflector arm and another stand...so your kit will get a bit bigger. The issue you'll face is spill control. Short of large flags, your light will go everywhere and could hinder your efforts to get a moodier or low-key look.
That is where a softbox and grid come in handy, as it will be more self-contained than an external diffusion and still provide a degree of control.

Of course, you can use a softbox on your hard light, but that only leaves you with one soft light. So your fill light/hair light will be soft by default. If you want a harder edged separation light, then the Practilite would be the better option to leave undiffused.

I just did a recent interview setup "Behind the Scenes" video, which will show you how I incorporated a diffused hard key light (Alzo 3200), a soft fill light (Aputure 672 with softbox), and some harder sources to get a pleasing corporate interview look.
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Old September 19th, 2017, 05:18 PM   #3
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Re: LED Softbox vs LED Panel for interview key light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
In lighting, there really isn't a wrong or right, it's more a matter of what look you're trying to achieve and the tools you have to achieve them. Personally, my preference is a soft key, which is flattering for the majority of us who aren't sculpted like an underfed runway model. Older faces are served even better with a large soft source and gentle falloff. Your panel light is the best tool for that, but you might still want to soften it even further with a softbox or diffusion. A cheap/versatile solution is to get a pop-up 5 in One type diffusor/reflector. 24" to 42". The larger the better (if you want a softer key). You'll then need a reflector arm and another stand...so your kit will get a bit bigger. The issue you'll face is spill control. Short of large flags, your light will go everywhere and could hinder your efforts to get a moodier or low-key look.
That is where a softbox and grid come in handy, as it will be more self-contained than an external diffusion and still provide a degree of control.

Of course, you can use a softbox on your hard light, but that only leaves you with one soft light. So your fill light/hair light will be soft by default. If you want a harder edged separation light, then the Practilite would be the better option to leave undiffused.

I just did a recent interview setup "Behind the Scenes" video, which will show you how I incorporated a diffused hard key light (Alzo 3200), a soft fill light (Aputure 672 with softbox), and some harder sources to get a pleasing corporate interview look. Corporate interview lighting - BTS - YouTube
Hi Oren,

Thanks a lot for the reply!
Watched your video too, very helpful!
The only thing I didn't mention is that I actually have 2 practilite 602's so I could put soft-box on one and use other as hair light.

I think you confirmed what I have been thinking, that the difference between using my LED panel and Fernel with softbox is basically spill control.

My LED light panel is actually pretty big (580 x 580 x 20mm) and also comes with a diffusion fabric that goes around the light, so the light is actually very soft!
The only advantage I see of getting a softbox for my Practlite LED Fernel is the fact that there will be less light spill for dramatic looking shots as you mentioned and that is something quite desirable by me as I like that look!

I will get a softbox for my LED spotlight Kinotehnik Practilite eventually, just not in a rush to spend another $300 for speedring/softbox/grid haha.
For now I will use my LED panel for main key light and 1 602 for hair light and maybe the other as background light for walls/etc...
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Old September 25th, 2017, 05:57 AM   #4
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Re: LED Softbox vs LED Panel for interview key light?

Another way of thinking about this is to separate the kind of light you need for a specific set and how you want to build your kit for flexibility and cost efficiency.

As others replied, for interviews you definitely want a diffused large source. But there are many ways to arrive at that type of light on the subject. You can work with what is already a larger diffused source (panel) or you can start with a point source (fresnel) and diffuse it. The end result is somewhat similar.

If you start with a point source you can get a softbox or some other pre-made solution, or you can assemble something on set. In simple cases that can be a roll of 216 hung from a c-stand or the diffusion part of a photo reflector. In slightly more elaborate cases you can build what some refer as a book light, where the point source is bounced of a bigger reflector and then goes through a diffusion sheet yielding a much bigger soft light source. In some ways it comes down to how big your soft source should be, which in part depends on your framing.

Now if 99% of what you do are interviews of people and you need to travel light, setup fast, etc. then the panels are hard to beat. Many of them can also be powered from a battery in a pinch.

Using a fresnel and diffusion on set has the advantage of a more versatile light. You cannot turn a panel into a point source, but you can always turn a point source into a soft light. So a point source is much more flexible. But it has downsides too - a point source with diffusion needs a bit of room, so if you are in very tight spaces there may not be enough. And anytime you use diffusion you lose some light. As LEDs generally are still on the lower end of the output range and we often fight with not having enough light unless you are in an interior dark room, that can be a concern.

That said, if you get used to point source and diffusion, that is a setup you can easily scale up for larger sets. You can always swap out a LED fresnel against a larger HMI, and your roll of 216 against a 12x12 or larger frame in case you need to light a large group. If you have LED panels, you are limited to smaller one or two people sets.

Since interviews are only part of my work, I have opted for mostly fresnels and various forms of diffusion.
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