Evaluating New Video Lighting

//Evaluating New Video Lighting

Evaluating New Video Lighting

By | 2018-04-03T23:35:36+00:00 February 20th, 2018|Categories: Video Production|Tags: , |

Lighting for photo and video has dramatically changed. Our fluorescent lights are old technology and not very portable. So we’re looking at LED panels priced under $200.

Must haves:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Can be powered from our Sony batteries for on-location shoots
  • High color accuracy (CRI 95 or higher)

GVM GVM-520LS-R

Price: $105 on Amazon

Good

  • You can dial in the exact number for brightness and color temperature. Makes it easy to get the same look each time you set them up.
  • The panel is larger meaning softer light.
  • Comes with power adapter and can use the kind Sony video camera batteries we have for our FS100 camera.
  • Throws enough light without the diffuser panel to light subject 6 feet away at 400 ISO f5.6 aperture. This is important to us because we film interviews and we need to set up our cameras to keep people in focus while being properly lit.
  • No cooling fans. Silent.
  • CRI rating of 96

Bad

  • Not powerful enough to work with add-on softbox.
  • No barn doors to control the direction light is pointed. Not ideal for small rooms.
  • If set to all daylight light, 50% of light output is lost.
  • Build quality issues. Our unit arrived with a bent support bracket. Silica gel pack broke, spilling beads all over the floor when we opened the box.

Neewer NL-660

Price: $105 on Amazon

Neweer NL-660 LED Panel

Good

  • You can dial in the exact number for brightness and color temperature. Makes it easy to get the same look each time you set them up.
  • The panel is larger meaning softer light.
  • Comes with power adapter and can use the kind Sony video camera batteries we have for our FS100 camera.
  • If set to all daylight light, 50% of light output is lost.
  • No cooling fans. Silent.
  • CRI rating of 96

Bad

  • Not powerful enough to work with add-on softbox.
  • No barn doors to control the direction light is pointed. Not ideal for small rooms.
  • If set to all daylight light, 40% of light output is lost. Most bright at 4500 kelvin. Which makes this less versatile
  • No number readout for output and color temperature. Harder to set up consistently.

Does it put out enough light with a diffuser softbox?

We love silky soft light for interviews and filming people. So we wanted to try these out with the Kamerar D-Fuse. However we hit a few snags:

  • Loss of 2x of the light output when we paired it with the D-Fuse
  • Light leaks out of the back because the D-Fuse doesn’t fit these light panels well

Any attachment that softens light also eats light. To use the D-Fuse it looks like we’re going to need more watttage.

Bottom line for these two LED panels?

We’re sending both back to Amazon because we can’t get the light output we need and without the D-Fuse softbox attachment, light is a bit too harsh. Plus like most bi-color panels, light output is cut by 50%. In the end, we’re just not getting the light output we need to capture clean images.

OK, What else are you considering?

The Yongnuo YN-900. The major detractor according to internet reviews, is a whiny fan that kicks on randomly. The fan noise is impossible to filter out while recording sound. We’ll get a test unit and see for ourselves how bad this fan is. If we can live with it, the YN-900 might be the best choice. Also it comes with a wireless remote which makes changing settings super easy when the light panel is high up on a light stand.

We’ll keep you updated with more reviews as we try out more LED light panels for our video production.

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