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High-CRI video light

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by 0dBm, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    What is liked for our tiny cameras?

    I just received a request to work a family birthday party during the Christmas season this year.

    I am NOT using that awkward multi-LED box again and I am not renting a video camera so it's the GH2 and whatever light I find to my liking.

    I want a small, lightweight, high-CRI LED light and I am considering this. It has a 80-degree spill beam, 103 lumens for two hours or 189 lumens for just under an hour.
  2. ibcj

    ibcj Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    I've owned a few Zebralights in the past. The one you mention is a pretty decent light. I'm not sure what you intended distance is, but this light is all flood and will drop off rather quickly. Be careful when comparing lights based upon stated lumens ratings. They are basing them upon led output ratings and the current at which the led is driven. The actual light/reflector design plays a role in lumen output too. Most are not testing the lights in an integrated light sphere to get a true measurement.

    For the price point, Zebralights are pretty good.

  3. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Please elaborate on this.

    If you are referring to the decreased illumination of the subject as the light source is moved further away, that is true of any light source.

    If you speak of the decrease of the actual light output with sustained operation, I believe that the Zebralights use constant-current electronic circuitry to maintain a steady light output from their products. This technology is a vast improvement over the "direct drive," battery and light source circuits used in the past wherein the actual light output is solely dependent on the current output of the power cell (ne' battery) to regulate the light output. As the battery gradually dies, so does the the light output.

    Distance will likely be 5-12 feet from lens to subject. It will be in the home of the birthday celebrant. Largest room in the house is 14x16 feet.

    I'm not so much concerned about the lumen rating as I am about the sheer size of the light and the color rendition. Those multi-5mm LED video lights tend to be large, boxy monoliths that output at the upper end of the light spectrum that invariably gravitate to the bluish tint.

    What those boxy LED light do well is provide a soft dispersed light output that is more favorable to the subjects by minimizing the hot spots that the incandescent (light bulb) video lights of years past had a distinct propensity to do.

    LEDs as a light source also run much more efficiently and, therefore, are cooler (to the touch) vice incandescent light sources.

    The problem with those 5mm LEDs is that they don't output very much light so many of them need to be used. That is the advantage of the high-power (ne' output) Cree XP-G LED. Only one is needed to provide the same output as perhaps 30-40 of those 5mm variants so the sheer physical size of the housing can be much smaller dimensionally.

    Since that Zebralight that I referenced has a 80-degree optic, it has the desirable dispersion of light that the 5mm LED does.

    Moreover, the Cree LED used in that Zebralight has a 4200 Kelvin color temperature rating; much closer to the reference 4800-5000 Kelvin (the sun). That LED is considered "neutral" with respect to the how the human eye sees color juxtaposed to the "cooler" lights sources such as fluorescents that tend to be greenish and LEDs that tend to be bluish and washes out colors vice incandescent sources such as tungsten and halogen that tend to gravitate towards the "warmer," red end of the visible light spectrum and blanket other colors with a yellowish tint.
  4. ibcj

    ibcj Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    Yes, I was referring
    Yes, this is what I was referring to. While it is true of any light source, the reflector or lack of one is going to determine how far the light travels. Flood lights in general fall off pretty quickly and sometimes people see a 100 lumens flood beam and are disappointed in the amount light.

    High CRI is definitely the way to go and not the 5mm leds.

    It sounds like you have done your research. If you haven't already, check out Candlepower Forums where you will get a bunch of info on users of Zebralights.
    My personal edc is a McGizmo titanium Haiku High CRI. :thumbup:
  5. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    I have one of those cheaply made 126 LED lights. Puts out a decent amount of light but the mount itself stinks.

    Those flashlights look pretty cool but I'm skeptical that they'll give you enough light. Look at the Comer 900 and Comer 1800 for examples of on-camera LEDs that use 5 powerful bulbs instead of a massive array of small bulbs. Remember that you'll probably need to gel the lights to match the house lighting, which will reduce its output by around a stop.
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