Home Camera Large Sensor Cameras – Economical Lighting

Large Sensor Cameras – Economical Lighting

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC

The new wave of Large sensor cameras with their high ISO range and light sensitivity are changing the way cinematographers approach lighting. This means smaller lighting packages, smaller sources, less power consumption, and a smaller footprint. Advances in one technology influence another and this is apparent with some of these new LED and Fluorescent lights. They’re smaller, produce less heat, draw less power, and are opening new creative possibilities for filmmakers.

Tegra 4Bank from Kino Flo

The new Tegra 4Bank from Kino Flo takes the features of the 4ft 4Bank and adds the onboard controls you would find on the Diva-Lite 401. This includes onboard dimming, onboard switching, and remote hand-held dimming. It produces as much light as a 1,000 Watt tungsten softlight, using only one tenth the amount of power. High output, flicker-free, and dead quiet. It also has built-in barndoors with new hinges, honeycomb louver and center mount system that is lightweight and useful for handheld shots, and rigging in tight locations. I love Kino Flo lights because they’re small, easy to rig and hide, and the onboard controls are perfect for dialing in your light.

Full specifications and product information can be found here on KinoFlo.com.


PRIME LED from Lowel

LED lighting has been around for a while, but recently has greatly improved for film production use. The Lowel Prime LED is a testament to that. With a 70+ foot candles at nine feet, 50 degree beam angle and a high Color Rendering Index of 91+ it solves the issues of the past with LED lighting. It has both tungsten and daylight balanced bulbs and is ideal for run and gun shooting without a large lighting crew and generators to support it. These lights are where it is at in LED technology.  Never loved the feel of LED in HD before using the Lowel PRIME.  They always seemed magenta and not organic. Very excited about this product.

Full specifications and information can be found here on Lowel.com.


Croma from Litepanels

The Croma is a small camera-mounted LED lighting fixture that provides a softlight with variable color temperature output. It has a 9 watt draw and produced light comparable to a 40-90 watt fixture. It can be powered off of 6 AA batteries or can be used with a 2-pin to D-tap power cable and powered off of Anton Bauer batteries for extended periods of time. These work great as handheld lights or stashing them in tight spaces where other lights can’t fit. These work great for a little extra kick or fill.

Full specifications and information can be found here on Litepanels.com.

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Jim January 31, 2012 at 8:46 AM

While I know these lights, compared to what was once required for similar lighting capability, are quite cheap, I’m still really looking forward to seeing the prices of these coming down.

Baron January 31, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Hi Shane, it’s great to see you start posting after a long spell.

I only just watched your The Greatest Game Ever Played with Bill Paxton… I guess the way you handled that gorgeous warm lighting there would be much different today, seeing LEDS have relatively cooler colors?

Mike January 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM

@Baron: Gels.

Baron February 5, 2012 at 4:04 AM

Thanks Mike. How do you feel about some the LEDs that let you change color temperature? They any good compared to gels?

KahL January 31, 2012 at 5:15 PM

I completely agree with this article.
I’m finding the smaller, handheld LED lights perfect for giving fill or a hair light for interviews. Just recently I used a 5500k day LED as a kicker and then again to open up the shadows on the fill side of our model’s face during a make up scene.

I still have a strong love for fresnels though. But this tech is rapidly catching up every day I see.

JimB January 31, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Speaking of prices coming down there ARE alternatives to Kinoflo…

alex January 3, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Check out coollights. They have some cheaper kino style lights and you can always put Kino bulbs in them.

Jay Windland January 31, 2012 at 7:23 PM

My understanding has been that this new generation of small LED lights is inherently soft light with a short throw. Is that correct? If so, it would seem to limit their use to fill and back lights or documentary work, rather than hard or directional keys for dramatic work. Aside from the new LED fresnels coming out (which are far from inexpensive) is that how these non-focusing LEDs are being used by most people?

N.K.Osborne January 31, 2012 at 7:40 PM

I love LED lights. I’m a fan of the z96 lights, and the 500, 600, 900, 1000, and 1200 led lights found via Amazon. They’re awesome and are very cheap in price.

The ability to use them with batteries really helps here in New York. NY is very strict and the process of getting permits and such is crazy. No generator allows you to film without permits in some areas.

I would love to try out the new LED light from Alexa, but I most likely won’t be able to afford that any time soon.

Richard Allen Crook January 31, 2012 at 9:29 PM

I’ve been using one of these LED lights since I picked one up at NAB this year. One of the only ones that are completely portable, battery powered, variable temp (3300-5600), dimmer. Prob my favorite light in the kit. Stick it anywhere and dial in e temp and strength. http://www.ikancorp.com/productInfo.php?id=297&FamilyID=68&CategoryID=82

Pierre Huot February 1, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Heu ??? $1,759.95 ? That’s what you call economical lighting ? Come on !

David Eger February 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

those new Arri LED Fresnel lights look pretty rockin’ Just wondering why anyone would not get the variable CT version

josua February 3, 2012 at 4:40 AM

@Pierre compared to having to rent a huge 300amp trailer generator, yes

Pierre Huot February 5, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Think outside the box dear friend. Nobody need a 300 amp trailer generator(well, maybe if you shooting Star Wars 14 without a green screen at Niagara Falls at four am).

N.K.Osborne February 12, 2012 at 2:28 PM

My 500 Led light only cost $150 and works like a champ :/

Trust me, just search for the 500, 600, 900, or 1200 LED light on Amazon. Cheap in price and work great.

Satva Leung November 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM

I have some LED lights with V mount battery plates but I have been using cheaper power bricks instead of the vmount batteries. I now want to buy some v mount batteries for my lights.

Does anyone have any recommendations on v mount batteries with charger?

I would only use the batteries for lighting as my main camera is the FS100 and the sony batteries last forever.


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