Aputure seems to have had quite a busy time recently, as they didn’t just release the DEC VariND lens adapter, but also some very bright and indestructible lights. Meet the Amaran Tri-8 lineup of compact LED lights. The Amaran Tri-8 LED light There are times when you just need that extra punch of light, no matter what. If you happen to be in some rough terrain or on a fast paced run-and-gun type of shoot, this new Aputure Tri-8 LED might just be the right tool for you. It’s super bright, yet quite compact at the same time, around the size of an iPad. It outputs the equivalent of a conventional 500 – 550 W tungsten light and has a massive 888 LED array. That’s why it is called Tri-8, obviously. The Amaran Tri-8 LED can take a beating! Another feature is its upgraded build quality, as its actually now built like a tank. Unlike the old 672 version made out of plastic, this new Tri-8 is made out of aluminum and features a pure PVC front. As Ted Sim from Aputure puts it: “Beat it up, kick it, play hockey, you can do whatever you want with it!” That’s a rare statement, but one I could get used to hearing from other manufacturers. Very nice! There are three versions of the Amaran LED available: 25° degree beam angle version 40° degree beam angle version bi-color version All of these LED fixtures, like older models, are controllable via a dedicated remote to switch the light on and off as well as dim the output from a minimum of 10% all the way up to 100%. As earlier versions of the Aputure’s LED range, the Amaran Tri-8 is mains powered, but also accepts NP-F style batteries. As an optional accessory, you can buy a diffusor called the EZ Box, which will double the size of the light. As it is foldable, it won’t take much space when packed away. Also, there is a 35° degree grid available. It will be priced at around $350 to $400 and will be available in about two months from now.Read more
D-Fuse has expanded its line-up to now feature 6 products. The new fuss-free pop-up white softbox now comes in 3 different sizes with a recent addition of all-white-sided versions to allow additional spill. We posted about the original D-Fuse a couple of months ago: it’s a neat little pop-up softbox designed for standard sized 1×1 LED panels. This release was quickly followed by two others: a larger one for panels like the Litepanels Astra/Aputure Lightstorm, and a smaller one specifically for the popular & affordable Aputure Amaran panel. As an owner of all three sizes of the D-Fuse, I’ve been relatively happy with them. Very quick to setup, offering an additional level of softness by diffusing & enlarging the light source, all without the addition of another lighting modifier on another stand. The new D-Fuse boxes arrive with all white sides as opposed to the black ones found in the originals. This creates spill from the light that travels in multiple directions. This extra spill can help you with ambient levels in low light environments. Since the light is less focused, you may lose a small amount of stop from the front, but depending on the situation it can be more effective at disguising the direction of the source more. This makes it a great tool for replicating practical lighting, or lighting subjects in dim studio setups. The D-Fuse softboxes are a great alternative to conventional softboxes, much easier to build/pack down and much smaller when travelling. They attach using a set of 4 elasticated velcro tabs, making them fairly universal fitting to a variety of LED panels: just match the front face of your light with the opening of each D-Fuse box. I would still not pick these over traditional flags, silks and frames, however. The general nature of a softbox is a softer but un-modifiable source. The former options allow you to enlarge in size, pull away or move closer to the light source or subject, and therefore offer much more control over lighting. However, for compact, run n’ gun situations where another stand and modifier is not possible, these are a great option. I use the Aputure Amaran D-Fuse box a fair bit for hair light setups. Flying a compact flag in small spaces is not always possible, so it’s nice to have a fuss-free lightweight option to bolt onto the front of the light itself. The White-Sided D-Fuse boxes come in the same three sizes as the original line.Read more
Kamerar has released an interesting product for getting a softer cast of light from your LED panels. The D-Fuse Softbox is a universal fitting pop-up diffusion box, currently suitable for 1X1 sized panels. Introducing the D-Fuse Softbox LED panels lights are great; they’re reasonably soft, cheap, light, cool running and variable in colour temperature. With a bit of modification, they make a great key light; my Litepanels Astra 1×1 is my go-to quick setup key light with a silk flag in front. Lighting modifiers like silk flags are fantastic; you have complete control over how it affects your light source by altering the distance/angle in relation to your lighting and subject. However, it’s another bit of kit. Another light stand, meaning another spare hand required to move from location to location. When you’re working quickly, under the cosh and with a small/no crew, that extra bit of kit to lug will likely be the first thing you leave at home. Enter the D-Fuse Softbox; it’s designed to be a fuss free lighting modifier that universally attaches to the front of your light, offering a decent off-the-lens-but-not-off-the-light diffusion to soften your light. Resembling a reflector packed down, the D-Fuse Softbox is very compact when storing; you can just chuck it in your 1×1 bag without it adding much of a footprint to your kit bag. It pops out in seconds, with a magnet hinge per corner adding to the quick setup. You then strap it to your light around the back with a few Velcro tabs. Why Soft Light Soft lights are much more pleasing on the face, blurring contrast lines as your cast wraps around the subject. The larger the light source, the softer your light; therefore the closer your lighting modifier can be to your subject, the better*. (*better when seeking a soft light) That’s a reason why an independent lighting modifier (like a silk) works so well, but in situations where the additional kit is not feasible, something quick and bolt-on like this is an excellent substitute. It also works better than just attaching diffusion directly to the lens of your light, as sitting off the glass gives the light space to disperse, plus the added surface area. Please note, the original D-fuse does not fit the Litepanels Astra. For this light (or similar sized LED fixtures) seek the larger version, all sizes found below. Via photographyandcinema & CheesycamRead more
Litepanels has announced the latest panel in the Astra family. The Astra 1X1 Bi-Color Soft takes the portable, high intensity, mixed-temperature goodness of the original panel and adds a diffusion face to allow a much softer light cast. The Litepanels Astra is fast becoming an industry standard when considering a 1X1 panel. It provides an accurate high intensity bi-color light that can be both battery and AC powered. It’s just got better with inclusion of a diffused new face creating a fantastic soft portable key light solution. I’ve owned and used the original Litepanel 1X1 Bi-Color for close to a year now, it’s become my number 1 go-to key light due to its no fuss AC/batt powering options, high power output and fantastic color accuracy that is well maintained throughout the zoom and kelvin temperature range. When I’m using the Astra 1X1 as a key light, 90% of the time it’s through a 1 or 2 stop silk flag. The remaining 10% of the time it’s used on its own as I don’t have the time/space/free hands to carry a silk modifier. The new Astra 1X1 Bi-Color Soft gives you soft-light results right out of the bag; there is now less of a requirement to take a flag kit with you to soften you key light. Of course, a silk flag setup gives you much more control over the quality of the light. You can alter the distance of the flag to subject and light source to get different results; a flag is generally bigger in surface area than a 1X1 panel also so at face value the flag setup will be softer. However having a soft face built in is a fantastic solution for where you require a quick and/or compact setup, one that leaves you no time or space to add additional modifiers. Of course heavy diffusion comes with reduced light output. I’ll update this article with information on whether the Astra 1X1 Bi-Color Soft has an increase in power compared to the original Astra to compensate for the extra diffusion. Either way, you can take comfort in the fact that the Astra is four times the power of the original Litepanels 1X1. EDIT: I caught up with Litepanels today at BVE and the Astra Bi-Color Soft is the same power as the original. When powered via AC it really packs a punch. It does a great job on batteries too (power output on batteries less than AC); make sure you’re equipped with high draw V-locks (look for 110W+ max discharge figures) to ensure the light doesn’t cut out at high brightness. The Astra 1X1 Bi-Color Soft will make a great key light for corporate talking heads as well as news & events filmmakers and even documentary and narrative. Anywhere that requires soft, accurate light with the ability to alter brightness and temperature, the Litepanels Astra B-Colour Soft would be a good consideration.Read more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! In episode 25 of ON THE COUCH, I was happy to welcome filmmaker O’Connor Hartnett and Mark-André Voss from F&V Lighting. We started off by talking about how lighting for film has changed with technology over the past 10 years or so. O’Connor mentioned that LED lights became a standard in his lighting kit for smaller and medium-sized productions. Especially daylight balanced lights were only available in huge sizes like HMIs, with added ballast, huge power consumption and flicker issues – albeit with an enormous output of light. Now with LEDs, O’Connor said we are more flexible. Mark said that there is an obsession with CRT values when measuring light quality, however that is only one aspect of the quality of light – it depends on many different factors that cannot be reduced to one denominator. He recommends assessing the quality of light always in the circumstance it’s used for. He said it also depends on the digital camera used, because every sensor type (like CCD or CMOS) sees light differently, and even among those sensors there are huge differences. We then moved on to the product range of F&V with the various lights they produce in the LED range, which they focus on. According to Mark, LEDs will tremendously develop in the future, and there will be much brighter and stronger LED lights in the future. We also compared the Kinoflo type of light with LED lights and how the “multiple shadows issue” with 1×1 lights can be overcome. In the next segment of this episode of ON THE COUCH, we talk about the increasing light sensitivity of cameras and what that means for shaping light and shadows on-screen. Please visit our sponsors’ websites to keep new episodes of ON THE COUCH coming! Thanks to G-Technology, Røde Microphones, Movidiam, FilmConvert & F&V.Read more
Litepanels has announced a new 1X1 LED panel. The Litepanels Astra is a bi-color modular design providing light up to 4 times brighter than its predecessor. In an upcoming episode of our talk show “ON THE COUCH“, my colleague Nino Leitner hosted Ali Ahmadi from Litepanels (along with other Vitec Videocom representatives) who presented the new 1×1 in person. (The episode will be posted within a week.) The Litepanels Astra takes on quite a sleek appearance, with the power supply relocated to the yoke making room for a user switchable fan and modular control panel. The fan can be turned on and off, and is key to achieving its 4 times brighter status (with the fan turned off, the Astra can provide up to x2 times its predecessor). The light is bi-color providing both tungsten and daylight LEDs, Fading either up and down provides any temperature in between. Unfortunately Litepanels do not provide an exact CRI rating, but is quoted to have “Superior color reproduction” with a “High color rendition (CRI)”. The yoke is has been re-designed so that it is curved. This is nice as it gives the light more flexibility; you have a greater angle of adjustment before the yoke gets in the way of your light beam and casts a shadow. The modular control panel can be inserted quickly. Litepanels state that this is designed to offer the user with a selection of control panels, presumably enabling the user to save costs if they don’t want certain features. The current optional control modules offers DMX in/out control and a digital interface to monitor information such as brightness and color values. Key features of the Litepanel Astra: – Aluminum I-beam core construction – Higher intensity = Longer throw = Wider effective beam spread – High color rendition (CRI) – Adjustable (daylight to tungsten), accurate color temperatures – Completely silent passive cooling mode – Ultra-quiet active cooling mode with double light output – No noticeable color shift throughout the entire range – Flicker-free at any frame rate or shutter angle – Optional communications module allows the brightness, color temperature, and cooling mode to be controlled via DMX512 protocol (Additional module options under development) – Optional yoke mounted Gold Mount® or V-Mount battery plates – Field replaceable fan module and external power supply – Aluminum accessory mounting points and lens/filter rails – Durable, industry standard 3-pin XLR locking power connector – x2 ¼-20 mounting points on Yoke And the Specification: Size: 17.7 x 16.3 x 5.3” / 45 x 41.3 x 13.4cm Weight: 7 lbs. / 3.2kg Maximum Power Draw: 110W Power Supply: 24V DC via AC Adapter Power Requirements 13-24V DC / 100-240VAC DMX via RJ45 (Optional Communications Module)Read more
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