Using new energy efficient technology in non-profit video production with LED Fresnel lights

Last week, PPG co-produced and co-DOP’d a public service announcement for Athletics for Kids, a non-profit located in North Vancouver that puts underprivileged kids into sports programs. One of the tools we used was a new 200 watt LED Fresnel light from Lumahawk, a Canadian distributor of lights manufactured in China.

For the shoot, we demo’d Lumahawk’s new VMX-LDDY200, which was supplied generously by Lorne Lapham Sales & Rentals in Burnaby. As opposed to more common LED panels, a Fresnel light has a front-end lens with stepped edges that gathers light rays into a narrower beam and can be focused (from spot to flood). Additionally, Lumahawk’s fresnel also boasts the ability to shift colour temperature, from around 3200K (tungsten colour) to 5600K (daylight colour). Changing the colour of a traditional incandescent lights require the use of coloured sheets (called “gels”) that also reduce the output of light; LED lights with colour-shifting ability don’t sacrifice output. Both colour-shift and lens focusing are done from a handheld remote or from controls on a direct-connect ballast. Our only issue with the focusing on this unit is that it is electronically controlled, and so is more prone to malfunction with continued use than a standard mechanical focusing knob.

The 200 watt draw outputs a similar amount of lumens that a 1500 to 2000 watt incandescent fixture would output, so the efficiency is quite high. Efficiency is important when shooting on a limited number of circuits. The average household circuit is between 15 and 20 amps (1500 to 2000 watts). When shooting a large space with traditional incandescent lighting fixtures, the power draw often exceeds what’s available, and so generators are used. LED lights that draw 1/10th of the power not only cost less to operate, they also eliminate the need for a generator. An added bonus is that traditional tungsten lights get hot very quickly, whereas LED lights generate a negligible amount of heat. The cooler operating temperature results in quicker and easier movement and re-packaging of equipment.

We also used Lumahawk’s 1000-series Bi-Colour light panel, which can be battery powered. This was extremely useful when filming outdoors later in the day at the BARAGA community garden in South Burnaby. AC power was not available, so we ended up using a DC-powered 12” Kino single, a Litepanels mini-plus (all hidden behind flowers), the Lumahawk 1000, and a reflector. The 1000-series panel draws only 60 watts, and it is also more omni-directional, so much of the light throw is lost when the distance to the subject is greater than 6 feet. We were shooting in overcast conditions; the advantage to an overcast sky is that lighting is flat, producing no shadows. The only tradeoff in our situation is that a white sky can blow out and look “hot” within a camera’s given dynamic range; the Canon C300 we were shooting on, though, handled it well (see shot samples below).

Using LED lights on your next video shoot can save you time and money; if you’re in the Vancouver area and are looking for guidance and professional solutions on your next shoot, fire off an email or give us a call at 604-374-5242.

Indoor Soccer - wide

Lumahawk's LED Fresnel provides key lighting, and matched well with a Kino Flo 4' 4-Bank and the space's existing fluorescent light (daylight coloured).

A4K - Dean CU

In this shot, we used the same indoor soccer field, but lit it to look like a night-time outdoor setting. Key light was a 1K Strand frensel (tungsten), with Lumahawk's LED fresnel providing backlight. You can see the wide look below. A Kino Flo 4' 4-bank was used as a fill / eye light, with only one lamp on. 

© 2013 SNS Pacific Producers Group. No content of this site may be used without the prior permission of Pacific Producers Group.