Harnessing all of the benefits of LEDs, the latest Astra and Sola lights from Litepanels are designed for both studio and on-location shoots, especially since both product lines can be powered by professional camera batteries.
By Alan Ipakchian
As modern video production continues to evolve, lighting requirements are getting more demanding by the year. A majority of studios are starting to shoot at a higher ISO and capturing images based on low light output and position relative to the camera and talent positions — soft key light and reflective light, for example.
So whether it is outdoors on location or setting up in the studio, the need for flexible yet powerful lighting that can give you as much light as possible has become a basic necessity for a crew.
Since winning the first-ever Emmy statue for lighting in 2009, Litepanels has continued to lead the LED lighting revolution that has made such a huge statement throughout the industry. By recognising trends and talking to customers, Litepanels has responded to those changing needs by building on the quality and popularity of the innovative Astra 1×1 panel and releasing the next-generation Astra 3X and 6X LED panels — the former being three times brighter than the original, while the latter is six times brighter.
Besides capitalising on these panels, Litepanels has also launched the daylight-balanced Sola 4+ LED Fresnel, which offers a greater-than-120% increase in output; and the new Sola 6+, which, compared to its predecessor, offers an incredible 50% increase in output.
Harnessing all of the benefits of LEDs, the latest Astra and Sola lights are ideal for both studio and on-location shoots, especially as both product lines can be powered by professional camera batteries.
Versatility is key when it comes to lighting, so the fact that users have the option for either static or battery power means they can get light virtually anywhere they need it. In addition, all models offer up to 50% more intensity while drawing less power, which allows for longer battery runtime and helps users save power and reduce costs.
And the versatility does not stop there. Users can adjust the intensity and bounce the lighting off a wall, essentially creating a regular 1ft x 1ft Astra into a giant wall light source — the applications are endless.
Pat Grosswendt, co-founder of Litepanels and professional gaffer, said: “Filmmakers, broadcast studios, and content producers alike have commented on how our Sola and Astra lines continuously outperform other LED lights on the market today.
“And now, with their improved output, these lights can be used in a variety of applications with the added benefit of being able to go fully mobile with battery power. Users can take these upgraded lighting solutions into remote locations without being tethered to a wall outlet, which ultimately saves them time and money on set. It’s the multi-tool of lighting specialist everywhere.”
For 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) broadcast of sharp images, both of these new lighting series feature high colour rendering index (CRI) and television lighting consistency index (TLCl), yielding exceptional reproduction of the complete colour spectrum. For example, the Astra bicolour models allow for transitional colour tuning from daylight to tungsten to accommodate interior or exterior shots, a range of different skin tones, and all production situations, in general.
Moreover, with smooth dimming from 100% to 0% and no colour shift throughout the entire range, colour and intensity can be quickly adjusted, either manually or remotely, via the available optional Bluetooth and DMX communications modules. With these modules, studios can also control the lights with a variety of third-party remote controls over their IP network for a more flexible and convenient workflow.
In addition to the Astras, the Sola line, especially the Sola 4+, packs much more of a punch than before. With its incredible 125% brighter output on top of its great daylight colour spectrum, the Sola 4+ is a definite contender to traditional backlight, key light or edge light.
Producing full-spectrum, directional illumination, the new Sola 4+ and Sola 6+ offer the controllability and light-shaping properties inherent in Fresnel lights, but at a small fraction of the power draw of conventional Fresnel lighting.
The custom Fresnel lenses emit an even collimated light source that can be focused and controlled for maximum flexibility. The Sola range of LEDs provides cool daylight illumination with the unique ability to control both focus and intensity via standard DMX 512 protocol and without the heat generation of a traditional Fresnel.
For a faster break down, the lights’ cool-to-the-touch operation means that users will not have to wait for them to cool off, unlike traditional Fresnel lighting. Additionally, the colour temperature of the Solas is designed to match existing daylight-balanced Fresnel fixtures, so they can be easily installed for side-by-side use either in the studio or on location.
As the smallest DMX-controllable LED Fresnel on the market, the Sola 4+’s footprint, lighter weight and battery operation make it easier to hide or put in plain sight for tight and/or on-location sets. It is also low power, drawing up to 53W from the outlet — perfect for rigging and travel.
Likewise, the incredibly energy-efficient Sola 6+ draws only 104W, which greatly reduces heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) costs in studios. In short, these new Sola lights are the answer to lighting professionals who want more output than they need.
Every gaffer knows that it is always better to have more lighting than not having enough, which is why these new upgrades to Litepanel’s professional product lines are just what the doctor, or in this case, the producer needs. It fits in perfectly for those difficult on-location shoots, especially with the higher output and battery operation.
You will be able to see their output for yourselves at IBC2017 this September at the Vitec Group booth!
Alan Ipakchian is Global Product Marketing Manager, Litepanels.