FEATURE | L IGHT I NG UPDATE
LITEGEAR With the exception of Hive and Fiilex’s products, everything we’ve talked about so far has been a soft light. Some manufacturers offer accessories designed to rig their lights into larger, more powerful arrays, and gaffers find themselves building similar arrangements using parts from the truck. What’s being emulated here is a larger soft light source, something that even now is often done with a big light and diffusion or bounce. A more direct solution to that – and a crafty bit of lateral thinking – is offered by very thin, lightweight panel lights such as Litegear’s LiteMat. It’s one of a few things light enough to be rigged into a frame without needing a light to drive it, becoming almost a self-emissive diffusion or bounce. It has the sort of output that would normally require a huge motivating light source on conventional diffusion. Back in March, Litegear announced the Spectrum version of its ultra-lightweight panel, and at the time of writing was offering reservations. Available in five versions of various shapes and sizes, with the largest at 200W currently reserving for a down payment of US$500 on the $4500 (£3440) price tag. If £17.20 a watt seems steep, consider that it’s naturally more difficult to cool LEDs that aren’t mounted
on a sheet of metal, which limits power density compared to conventional soft light panels. Either way, the power and time saving over a conventional diffused HMI set-up is huge. Finally, consider one of the most traditional lights in filmmaking. Spacelights are often used in vast numbers and with the tungsten-halogen version pulling 6KW apiece, they are expensive to run, both in terms of electricity and the resulting air conditioning load, the generators and the tons (literally) of heavy cabling, and the crew and time to lay it. LED spacelights are a huge time and cost saver, and Sumolight’s 500W Sumospace, at around £3863, is designed to take the load – well, 11/12 of the load – off the electricity network. At £7.72 a watt, it’s well-priced, and flexible - the name is perhaps a little misleading because the same hexagonal lighting unit works just as well with its interchangeable lenses as a large-aperture spotlight. It has even been rigged in groups of seven to create a super- powered version of that projecting soft light we first saw at the dawn of the LED age. At 3500W, Sumo’s seven-segment array is, even if only in gestalt, the most powerful LED light we’ve considered; possibly the most powerful LED on the
LEFT The LiteDimmer Plus from LiteGear is the perfect companion to the LiteMat
planet. The whole industry’s gains in sheer power perhaps represents something of a coming-of-age for LED. Big numbers are also available from manufacturers such as Lightstar, whose Dino-style arrays reach up to 2160W and at under £3 a watt are hugely cost-competitive. Not only does it make upscale shoots cheaper, it makes smaller shoots possible, and so helps out productions of every scale which, in the end, is why LED technology is a good idea to begin with. Now much of it can often be controlled from a cellphone, and now colour quality is largely a won war, it’s getting really hard to argue with.
The whole industry’s gain in sheer power represents a coming-of-age for LED
64 DEF I N I T ION | JUNE 20 1 9
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