Lighting

bitLighter 2 Review: Flashlight/Torch for Video and Photo

How can you make higher contrast, more dramatic lighting for your video and photo projects? Hard light! In this episode, we demonstrate a few different dramatic lighting setups with the bitLighter 2, a very small, hard light designed for video and photography. It is super portable and renders colors well.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses at the Learn Light and Sound school including processing dialogue audio, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

bitLighter 2 - LED Flashlight/Torch for Video and Photography

Aputure COB120t - Key light for the talking head portions of this video

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30 - RGBW 1x1 panel light for the funky background colors

LED GO E268C Bi-color Edge-lit LED Pad - super thin and light, making it a great soft light source for tight spaces

Vistek Canada (also ship to USA)

Holdan UK

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sennheiser MKH 8050 - This is the boom mic used to record this episode

Panasonic GH5 Camera - Used for all of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Aputure COB120dII: LED Light for Video and Photo

For a couple of years now, the Aputure C120d and C120t have been my main lights for almost all of my video jobs. They’ve been super reliable and I love their flexibility to work as hard or soft light sources. The updated C120dII takes some very nice steps forward in terms of build quality, output, and overall usefulness. Let’s take a closer look now that I’ve had a copy for about 3 or 4 months.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses at my school including processing dialogue audio, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

Aputure COB120d II LED Light

Aputure COB120d - Original version, $100 cheaper. My take is that the mark 2 version is worth the additional $100. But if you’re on a tight budget, the original has been great for me for a couple of years.

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Aputure Light Dome - Deep, big softbox for incredibly beautiful, soft light (original version)

Aputure Fresnel Lens - Original focusing fresnel lens to push a strong shaft of light. Great for effects. I’d wait for the new version coming soon if you don’t need it right away

Aputure Barn Doors - Great for cutting hard lines in your light. I love using this for product shots to add a bit of mystery to the feel.

Sekonic C-700U Spectrometer - This is what we used to measure the light output and color quality

Sennheiser MKH 8050 - This is the boom mic used to record this episode

Panasonic GH5 Camera - Used for all of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

3 LED Lights: Lupo, bitLighter, & LED GO

New LED Lights for video and filmmaking are hitting the market so quickly that I cannot possibly review them all. But here is an overview of three fairly unique lights I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the last couple of months. The first is the Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30, an RGBW light which effectively serves as a key or effect light with equal agility. It even includes special effects such as police car lights.

The second is called the bitLighter which is essentially a large flashlight (or torch for our British friends) that is specifically designed for video and photography lighting. It has a focusable beam which ranges between 10 and 56 degrees making it very useful for hard effects. You can also swap out the LED head to a variety of color temperatures between 2700K and 5700K.

And finally, we have a look at the LED GO E268C, and edge-lit LED pad about the size of the larger iPad Pro. This makes a very nice soft light to use as a key light or rim light. Because it is so thin, it is easy to use this light in places where traditional soft light sources (such as lights with soft boxes) could never fit.

Full Disclosure: Each of these lights was given to me free of charge from their respective manufacturers. None of them paid me beyond providing the light and they did not review this video before I posted it. All opinions shared here are my own.

Links to gear used in this episode:

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30 RGBW LED Panel - my new favorite background and effect light that also works as a key

bitLighter LED Flashlight/Torch - Incredibly small form factor for a lot of hard light

LED GO E268C Bi-color Edge-lit LED Pad - super thin and light, making it a great soft light source for tight spaces

Vistek Canada (also ship to USA)

Holdan UK

Deity D3-Pro Shotgun Microphone - this was recorded in my car with the D3-Pro

Zoom F8n Audio Recorder

Panasonic GH5s Camera - my favorite small camera for video

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Amazon: http://geni.us/uMsKam

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd, Used with Permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Get a Grip - Filmmaking Discussion on Light & Sound

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down for a discussion with my new friends Felipe Baez and Gabriel Spaulding to talk light and sound for film. Had a great time and I'm impressed with the quality of their production! These guys have years of experience in the video production world. Our hour-long conversation felt more like 15 minutes. Thanks for Felipe and Gabriel for inviting me on their show.

In this episode we cover the need to re-allocate filmmaking budgets to include lighting and sound gear rather than just cameras - the most common mistake people make when getting started in filmmaking.

Oh, and they shoot at true 24fps. These guys mean business!

Falcon Eyes RX-718 RGB Light Review

RGB LED lights for video and film were one of the big themes at the National Association of Broadcasters show in 2018. Here’s my first experience with an RGB mat light from Falcon Eyes, the RX-718. The mat measures approximately 24 by 18 inches and is only a few millimeters thick. But this light can do more than just put out crazy saturated colors across the spectrum, it is also produces color quality good enough to use as a key light where rendering skin tones faithfully is the goal.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

Falcon Eyes RX-718 RGB Mat Light

Falcon Eyes RX-718TD LED Mat Light (Bi Color)

Panasonic GH5s Camera - my favorite small camera for video

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Boom Microphone

Sound Devices 633 Audio Field Mixer/Recorder

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA - Copyright 2017 by Cary Judd, used with permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Barn Doors & Hard Light: Aputure Barn Doors for COB Lights

What is hard light and when would you want to use it when shooting video? What are barn doors? In this episode, we have a look at creating hard light with barn doors and when you might want to put this hard light to use to make more cinematic looking film.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

Aputure Barn Doors for COB120 and 300 Lights - Coming Soon

Aputure COB 120d - This is one of my main workhorse lights. Not a week passes where I don’t use it for at least one shoot. this is the daylight version.

Aputure COB 120t - When I don’t have to match existing light, I prefer to use this as my key light. Really nice, warm skin tones with it's tungsten colored light output.

Aputure COB300d - This is the big one. I don’t use this often, but when I need a lot of light, this is the instrument of choice

Aputure Fresnel Lens - This is the original focusing lens for the COB lights. If you need one right away, this’ll do the job. If you can wait a bit, Aputure announced at NAB last month that they’ll have an improved version available this year (fewer light leaks, sturdier build).

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - When I need a nice, soft light on the face of the talent in an interview or talking head video, this goes on the COB120 key light

Black Wrap Cinefoil - this is basically black aluminum foil that you can use to further shape light and block light leaks. Super useful to have on hand.

Soft Frost Gel - subtle way to soften the light just a touch

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Iexzxu

Lupo DayLED Fresnel Light with Barn Doors - These are useful when I need hard light as well. I don’t have soft boxes for them so they’re not quite as versatile as the Aputure COBs, but really great lights with a super durable build. Comes in various sizes - 650, 1000, & 2000 - and color temps: Daylight, tungsten, or bi-color.

Blackmagic design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - used for the talking head shots in this episode

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount)

Panasonic GH5 - Used for some of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Which Gear Should We Review - NAB 2018

Which gear should we review next? At the 2018 National Association of Broadcaster’s Show, we saw some interesting new audio, lighting, and camera gear. Here’s a quick look at the highlights. Let us know which of these you’d like us to review!

This episode shot with the following gear:

Sennheiser MKH8050 Microphone

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - Used for the talking head clips

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount)

Panasonic GH5 - Used on the NAB show floor

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5S most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Aputure F7 LED Light - 7" LED Light for On/Off Camera Video Lighting

Aputure announced their new F7 on-camera LED light for video and filmmakers today, March 30, 2018. This affordable, compact LED light has been a part of my lighting kit for the last 2 months and I’ve found it more useful than I had originally anticipated. I don’t use on-camera lights very often, but when I need to in the future, I now have a great option. But I found it especially useful for off-camera use as an accent light with it’s wide color temp tuning capability, or even as a key light shot through a silk/scrim or bounced off of a reflector. There are three ways to power the F7 making it incredibly flexible. And of course the color quality is very good as well. Let’s take a closer look!

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:

Aputure F7 On-Camera 7” LED Light for video

Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C Battery Bank - This one powered the F7 while some other USB battery banks would not. I think the bank must supply a higher current. Yes, it is expensive for a USB battery bank, but the quality is top notch. Conveniently, the included bag makes it easy to hang the battery on the light stand so it is easy to use with the F7.

Westcott 40" 5 in 1 Reflector for bouncing or diffusing the light to make it softer

Sony NP-F970 Battery - much more expensive and mine has been very reliable in constant use over the last 14 months. You will also need a charger (the F7 does not charge batteries).

NP-F970 compatible battery - much less expensive. I’ve had decent luck with Wasabi power and Watson, but they do seem to wear out a bit faster than the OEM batteries.

Sekonic C-700U Spectrometer - used for all of the color quality measurements

Sound Devices 633 Audio Mixer & Recorder

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Super-cardioid Boom Microphone

Panasonic GH5S - My current favorite small camera

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5S most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

IKEA LED Bulbs: Good Enough for Video Lighting?

If you’re shooting video on a really tight budget and you cannot afford an expensive, pro-grade lighting instrument, can you get away with using consumer grade LED bulbs from IKEA? Let’s take a look and see whether these bulbs can produce decent quality light for your video projects and consider the “down-sides.”

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:
IKEA RYET LED Bulbs (not recommended for video use)

IKEA LEDARE LED Bulbs (usable for tiny budget, non-color critical video lighting)

Shop/Clamp Lamp - the aluminum lamp you’ll want to concentrate the light and mount it on a light stand

Westcott 5 in 1 Reflector (I use the middle section to soften the light - it is a scrim/silk)

Sekonic C-700-U Spectrometer (for measuring CRI, color casts, spectral light output, etc.)

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Super-cardioid Boom Microphone

Panasonic GH5S Camera (My current favorite small camera)

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5S most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Aputure COB300d - Updated Color Filter Review

If you already own the COB300d and have not yet received the replacement color filter, fill out this form.

We reviewed the Aputure COB300d LED light for video and photography a few months ago and found it to be a very good, big light with lots of light output and *good* but not stellar color quality. Aputure received feedback on the green color fringe and color quality issues and have come up with a nice solution. For those who have purchased a COB300d, they are offering a free replacement color filter that addresses both of those problems.

My original COB 300d review:

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:

Aputure COB 300d LED Light

Aputure COB120d Light

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - I use this for almost every interview/talking head shot

Aputure Fresnel Lens - when you need to focus the light beam and throw the light farther

Photo Basics Barn Doors - nice way to cut the light for dramatic light and shadow

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Super-cardioid Condenser Microphone

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 OS ART Lens

Music licensed from Artlist: Call on Me by Kick Lee. Artlist provides high quality music tracks for your film and video projects. You can receive two months off an Artlist account by using our link.

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!