Lighting Gear

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!

Lupo Dayled and Superpanel Lights for Video: Overview

What is unique about professional level LED lights for video? In this episode we take a look at the professional grade Lupo Dayled fresnel and Superpanel LED lights.

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:
Lupo Lights now available in the USA from B&H:

Dayled 650 5600K
Dayled 650 Dual Color
Dayled 1000 5600K
Dayled 1000 Dual Color
Dayled 2000 5600K
Superpanel 5600K, No DMX
Superpanel Dual Color, No DMX

Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - my main camera

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 OS ART Lens - my main all-around lens

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Supercardioid Boom Microphone

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Rosco 1/2 Soft Frost Diffusion

5 in 1 Reflector (with scrim) - this is the very first piece of gear that any photographer or filmmaker should buy. Well, maybe right after a basic camera and good microphone.

Copyright 2017 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!

Light Meters, Luxi, Cinemeter II: How Accurate is Luxi and Cinemeter II?

What are light meters and why would you want one for shooting video? Don’t most cameras have good built-in light meters these days? How accurate is the Luxi (attachment for your smartphone to make it act like an incident light meter) along with the Cinemeter II app (for iOS)?

Let’s have a look!

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:

Luxi for All Incident Meter Dome for smartphones:

Luxi App (Free)

iOS/Apple

Android

Cinemeter II App ($25 - iOS only)

iOS/Apple

Lastolite EzyBalance Gray Card (Foldable)

Sekonic L-308S-U (Typical basic incident light meter - Minolta is not longer in business but sold to Sony who does not make light meters)

Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U Light Meter (top of the line exposure meter)

Sekonic C-700-U Spectrometer (Color Meter, NOT an exposure meter)

Panasonic GH5 Hybrid Camera

Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 OIS Lens (My go-to lens with the GH5)

Sound Devices MixPre-10T Audio Recorder

Sigma ART 24-70 f/2.8 Lens for Canon EF Mount

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jFUlim

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Supercardioid Boom Microphone

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera (This is my main camera for corporate video work)

Copyright 2017 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!

Affordable Soft LED Light for Video: Linkstar RL-24VC

Producing soft light for interview and talking head style video traditionally requires you to use a big softbox or umbrella to diffuse the light. But edge-lit LED lights, like the Linkstar RL-24VC produce soft light while taking up a LOT less space. Let’s have a closer look at the Linkstar to see how well it does in terms of color quality, build, and most importantly, overall light quality.

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:
Linkstar RL-24VC Bi-Color Edge-lit LED Light (temporarily out of stock, standby for updates)

Linkstar RL-18V Daylight Color Edge-lit LED Light (Smaller, 18 watt version - temporarily out of stock, standby for updates)

NP-F970 Type Batteries

This episode shot with the following:

Sound Devices MixPre-10T Audio Recorder - been working with this for about a month now, review coming soon. Here are my first impressions:

Sigma ART 24-70 f/2.8 Lens for Canon EF Mount - My new "all-purpose" lens for the Ursa Mini Pro

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Supercardioid Boom Microphone - featured in this comparison of indoor super and hyper-cardioid boom microphones (it's the little one and I love it):

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera (This is my main camera for corporate video work)

Copyright 2017 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!

LED Light Color Quality: Aputure, Falcon Eyes, Kamerar BrightCast, Linkstar

LED lights have several obvious advantages when it comes to video lighting: They don’t use nearly as much power so they can often be battery powered and they run cooler. But are LEDs as good as the sun or tungsten lights in terms of color quality? In this episode we answer each of these questions and measure the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for each of the LED lights I have reviewed over the last three years.

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:

Review of the Kamerar BrightCast Flexible LED Light:

Review of Falcon Eyes RX-18 Flexible LED Panel Light:

Linkstar RL-24VC LED Edge-Lit Soft LED Light (Review Coming Soon)

Falcon Eyes FELUX 160 LED Fresnel Light (Review coming soon: Big, Powerful, wide color temp range)

Aputure LS1s Daylight LED Panel Light Review:

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box Review: 

Sekonic C-700U Color Meter/Spectrometer - used to make the CRI measurements

Copyright 2017 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 BIG LED Light for Film & Video

Since Aputure announced the new Light Storm COB 300d at NAB earlier this year, I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on it! The 300d is a daylight balance single point LED light which draws about 320 watts which is a ton for an LED. They say this is a 2K tungsten equivalent - if that really means anything, but it is a much more powerful LED light than I’ve ever worked with before. In this episode we run it through its paces and look at its build quality, included accessories, features, color quality and light output. I hope you find this helpful!

Thanks to Aputure for providing the COB300d for this review. They have not paid me beyond providing the light and previously provided accessories. All of the opinions shared here are my own.

Links to Gear Discussed and used to shoot this review:
Aputure COB 300d LED Light

Aputure COB120d LED Light - The little brother

Aputure COB120t LED Light - The other little brother with tungsten color balance. I use this one as a key light in studio in most cases.

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

Aputure Fresnel Lens - great 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 - Review/comparison coming.

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Lens

Copyright 2017 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!