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LED Video Lights

12th July 2018. I was out today using the Aputure Amaran 198C to help improve a single person portrait with some fill light.There is no doubt that this light will put out enough light in a dark situation for a perfect exposure however it took some time to learn how to use it best in broad and bright day light so here are my insights.

The day was recovering from light drizzle but it was still heavily overcast when I went out with my model. I had hoped that the cloud would be a great diffuser and that the Aputure Amaran 198c would be all that I needed for fill however the weather improved significantly as we approached the Gold Coast beach side.

I decided to shoot the model contrary to the norm, with her back to the sunlight so I was faced with a very bright background. I took a meter reading of the scene without her. At f/2.8 ISO 100 was looking at a 1/4000 second shutter speed. Setting the Canon 80d on manual at those settings had the background perfectly exposured BUT the model was in relative darkness with shadow on her face. So bring in the Aputure Amaran 198C thought I. Why not the pop up flash, well the flash then forced the camera to 1/250 exposure which as a disaster. The 198C was very close to her face but alas at 1/4000 second the LED simply didn't have time to add enough light. Changing the aperture would help so long as I changed the shutter speed and yes that would assist the 198C but still there was too many stops of light to allow the Aputure Amaran to do it's trick even on full power and at 3200K for the most output.

The problem was the shutter speed that wasn't slow enough for the power output of the 198C to fill in her face sooooo... The decision was made to put the sun at my back .. still not happy ... sooo then we asked her to move to a fully shaded area. I was still not happy with the result, so I had her face south so her back was to a fully shaded play area with a shade cover offering a darker background. This time the shutter speed with an aperture of f2.8 was 1/400 of a second. To assist the Aputure 198c, even on full power, I blew out the background exposure by 2/3rds of a stop and held the LED close to the side of the lens (a Canon 24mm Pancake Lens at f2.8) and hey presto, success.

I hadn't factored into the calculations that the LED is a constant light and not a flash. I hadn't considered that the power of a flash is 4 stops plus more than the LED and so the flash needs a much slower shutter speed to have an impact. In fact the Aputure Amaran is really a video light and not a daylight fill light. Lesson learned. At 1/400 of slower the Amaran (with the background 2/3rds + over) was a great alternative.

For more advice on the right LED light and how to use it in your application, come in or give us a call for practical, real life situations.

LED video lights have a come a VERY long way over the past 2-3 years, forced on by the sheer demand for better quality video content. Brands that love include, NEO with their range of Rotolights, Lume Cube with their tiny but powerful LED's, Amaran with their LED range including the compact 198C and 528C LED Lights.

By volume of sales, Lume Cube leads the way. The small size and cheap price (relative to other options) is winning over videographers and vloggers. The Lume Cube suits itself to use along side a GoPro or say a DJI Osmo Mobile. The are also used with DSLR's on video frames / rigs. Have a look at the Joby Gorillapod Rigs for instance.

There is no doubt that the Lume Cube is an amazing LED Video Light. The following video goes over a bunch of the features. Sorry but it doesn't show the Lume Cube actually in use on a job.

So now onto another brand of LED Video Lights, this time made by Amaran Aputure. Long name, great product.

Their are three LED lights of the Amaran range that outsell the others by a country mile. The smallest we offer is the Amaran Aputure 198C. The C meaning colour temperature control which is massively helpful. The next is the Amaran Aputure 528C (again, colour temperature) where the difference between the 198C and 528C is size and that the 528C can be powered with 240v mains power. Lastly of the popular Amaran LED's is the HC100 and HN100 LED Ring Lights, arguably not a Video Light but hey you could use it for that in certain circumstances.

So next is a quick video showing you how to use the 198C but alas not in a real video environment.

The third of our current favourite Video LED Lights is from Neo. Now Neo had a go at making their Rotolight but well, they didn't do such a great job to start with. Now that the Neo Rotolight 2 is out, we have been selling out, regularly.

Again we have a video for you to watch, this review is real life shooting environment but we WARNED, you will probably be reaching for your credit card after you have seen it.


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