Control and Creativity ‘On the Go’ with the Latest LED Fixtures

Mike Mayers uses Litepanels 1X1 on the set of Mixology

Remote live productions make for amongst the most fraught experiences in the broadcast sector, therefore it’s important to eliminate any potential stress factors before you even arrive on location. It starts with selecting the right equipment; this should be quick and easy to set up, offer the highest quality performance, and whenever possible offer the same control that you enjoy in the studio. Lighting puts particular demands on production teams, for example maintaining the colour temperature or securing adequate power, which can make location shoots particularly challenging.

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Product preferences differ from person to person, genre to genre, and for specific situations, so it’s virtually impossible to create a ‘one size fits all’ fixture. Anyone working in lighting, on a set, in a studio or on the go, needs a full box of tools that will perform whether it is night, day, indoors or outdoors.

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Regardless of the application, whether it is a major live production or a videographer running and gunning, the latest LED fixtures are becoming increasingly commonplace on live productions.

In the broadcast industry, modern LED technology has kick-started a revolution in lighting. The fixtures available on today’s market have significantly expanded the options in a lighting professional’s armoury, however what has not changed are the basic principles of good quality lighting. Operators will often rely on the time-tested fundamentals of a key, a fill and a backlight, which means they tend to only migrate to new lights if they offer a significant advantage.

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The benefits of the latest high quality LED fixtures have been well documented, and for live productions these are significant. Portability is crucial in this context and LED lamps weigh significantly less than their tungsten equivalents. In terms of practicality, they are cool to the touch which makes them easy to position while lit and strike times are significantly reduced. This means the fixtures are easier to rig and are far quicker to set up.

Litepanels Croma Flight Kit , Inca & Sola 12

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The fact that the latest LED fixtures consume less power is also a particular bonus in the field. On camera lights add very little to the battery burden, and even larger products, including many of Litepanels’ Fresnels, can be battery powered. The power savings have translated to financial benefits for many production houses around the world. Gone are the days where a generator truck or a tie is required, since multiple fixtures can now be plugged into standard power outlets, or run off batteries.

Today’s high quality LEDs are an attractive option for lighting professionals working to achieve a particular look in the field. Lighting the interior of a car, for instance, used to be a herculean task that was reserved for larger budget productions. Now small battery powered LED fixtures are available for any budget. The new LED technology also allows for greater flexibility, as many of these small fixtures are powerful enough to be used off camera and mounted on stands, or even be used hand-held for creative effects.

The result of LED technology combined with more sensitive camera imagers has resulted in more creative options for lighting professionals. The trend in many applications has moved more towards painting with small strokes of light rather than large swathes, a process that is ideal for compact LED fixtures.

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Although LED lighting is by no means a new phenomenon, historically the early LED products on the market had a relatively weak output and underperformed in terms of colour temperature. Unfortunately, there are still some low end fixtures available that lack the quality and consistency of light required for professional use.

Accurate colour rendition is key regardless of whether you are on set or on location. The lighting situation in a live environment can change rapidly with varying colour temperatures, and is vital to select fixtures which provide the full spectrum output and consistent colour to match the existing environment.  The high quality LED fixtures on the market offer much better rendition of colour temperature and a higher output, providing a performance level that more than meets the demands of lighting technicians.

The Litepanels range of fixtures offers operators the ultimate colour control, as their soft, yet high output lights enable users to quickly dial up any colour - from cool white daylight to warm white tungsten. Some of the most popular on-camera LED lighting products available today are the Litepanels Croma, or in situations where more output is required, the 1x1 Bi-Color. Both allow colour temperature settings to be adjusted instantly to adapt to different shooting conditions and skin tones on the fly.

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Advancements in lighting technology have made quality lighting tools much more accessible for applications outside the studio. To summarise, today’s battery powered LED fixtures, which are both dimmable and offer adjustable colour temperature, pave the way for operators to be more creative in the field, enabling them to work quicker while still generating the highest quality content.

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