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Old 05-14-2010, 05:39 PM
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Default LED lighting

Anyone pulled the trigger on a high wattage stand mounted LED light recently? I was discussing the recent NAB releases with someone at work and it sounds like they're encroaching a HMI territory rapidly.
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Old 05-14-2010, 07:34 PM
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Haven't yet but its only a matter of time until the cost comes down and the technology gets a little bit better. I'm actually avoiding HMI purchase for now specifically because of what I see happening with the led development.
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:24 AM
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LED lights are not even close to encroach anything yet and there’s very little on the horizon to indicate that they will anytime soon. I own six LED lights and will be getting some more soon, plus 2 Zylight 90 on camera lights.

LED is not a replacement, is a new tool. If you are looking for convenience is the right tool, if you are looking for quality, versatility and control it's not.

Zylight is probably the only light that has some innovative color adjustment technology very useful in many situations, yet it is not a substitute for my on camera HMI light.

Most benefits of LED lights are in what I consider “backstage benefits”. They run cool, take very little power and can run on batteries. These are unique and very useful benefits in many situations and I’m taking full advantage of them, in those situations. But as far as what goes on in front of the camera no LED even come close to the quality and versatility of existing lights, not to mention the price.

Let me give you an example, when I want a soft light I put up a 6x6 diffuser with one or two Arri open face 1K light, this gives me a beautiful soft light and I can adjust the diffusion depending how far I position the light from the diffuser. The entire rig costs me about $1K. Or I could put up a cluster of Litepanel to make a 6x6 light source for about $30K, and it wouldn’t be as versatile as the $1K diffuser.

At this year NAB show LED light manufactures were everywhere and in force. The leaders remains the same but there were dozens of chinese imports, some very cheap imports. I tried to look at as many as I could and some of these are so cheaply built that probably wouldn’t last a day in an ENG environment, in fact many of them didn't even worked right on the floor. There also was a language barrier at NAB and I couldn’t get any technical answer from most of these manufacturers so after awhile I gave up, I could have downloaded a chinese translator app for my iPhone but I felt that they should make an effort to communicate in English. Also most of these manufacturers have no US distribution or dealers, if you want to buy something you can get it directly from china.

You would quit looking at these lights too after seeing that a heat sink on a LED light consisted of a lot of holes drilled on the chassis.

If you need a HMI light buy it now because by the time, if ever, there will be a LED to put out enough light to be effective outdoor you will have a lot of clients with badly lit outdoor videos.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:37 AM
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Nino, correct me if I'm wrong, but a HUGE difference between LED & HMI is that HMI is a hard light (which can be softened) & LED is a soft light. So until LED can give off a hard light, then there is no chance it will ever be able to take the place of HMI.

Though Nino I disagree with you & think that LEDs will be getting a much larger market share in the near future. Quality has to keep going up & price has to keep going down for this to happen, but I don't think we've hit that critical mass yet.

HDTVs I think have hit that critical mass where we won't see much more price drop & quality increase. But if you look at the prices of LCD & Plasma HDTVs from 2000 to 2010, I think a similar thing is going to happen to LED fixtures in the next 5-10 years. (I could be wrong & only time will tell.)

I would say that just because they are a bunch of cheap hacks out on the floors of NAB, doesn't mean that there are some experienced pros with a good craft. (I think that statement is true for freelancers & manufactures.)

Bottom line is still if you need an HMI today, get one today b/c there won't be something on the streets this summer. I think it is like buying a hard drive, get what you need today, because tomorrow it will be cheaper, but you'll have trouble if you delete something you need while waiting for the price drop.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:36 AM
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It seems that the Lightpanels Sola 12 is definitely stepping into the HMI territory. I've only seen the sales sheet on it, but I could see it competing with some of the 400 and 800 watt HMI options out there if the price comes down. It has a spreadable and dimmable beam and draws just 250 watts, that's attractive.
I have to assume there was one on display at NAB, did you get a chance to peek at it?

http://www.litepanels.com/lp/product...d_fresnel.html
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam View Post
It seems that the Lightpanels Sola 12 is definitely stepping into the HMI territory. I've only seen the sales sheet on it, but I could see it competing with some of the 400 and 800 watt HMI options out there if the price comes down. It has a spreadable and dimmable beam and draws just 250 watts, that's attractive.
I have to assume there was one on display at NAB, did you get a chance to peek at it?

http://www.litepanels.com/lp/product...d_fresnel.html
Wow. I haven't seen those before, but look very close to what I've imagined.

What I really dream of, though I'm not sure if it is possible, is a LED bulb that fits into existing Arri Fresnels.

If that dream comes true at an affordable price sticker, that could be a game changer in how people light in the field if you can get the same light output with 1/10 the heat & power draw, there is much less risk of blowing a standard fuse or heating up a small room. We could all shoot in front of windows with only drawing a few hundred watts of power, that would be crazy.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:48 PM
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Funny you mention that because from what I understand the one of the barriers they are working on right now is heat mitigation. While it is say less than a tungsten light it is still there and when you array the high wattage led's the problem becomes worse.

http://blog.abelcine.com/category/lighting/

That said this could become another option when the price drops. While it is a soft bank type fixture a friend that went to nab said that they could point it to the sealing and it still had enough punch to hit it pretty effectively. Cheap chinese outfits aside there are some fascinating things going on in the led market.
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:57 AM
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I talked with a sales guy at Glazers (a big photo rental and sales shop in Seattle) and he said that the Solas line isn't being mass produced yet, apparently they're all one-offs at this point. I'd love to demo one once they're getting shipped.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:20 AM
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My clients don’t hire me for my convenience of saving batteries or reducing heat, they hire me for the quality of the work that they can take back with them. To do this I invest in the best equipment that allows me to do the best job. How much it costs has never been a concern, if it does the job that I need to do I get it. No LED lights can yet provide me with the quality, versatility and control that allows me to do all that. When I use LED lights I’m restricted to work within the lights limitation, and I don’t like pieces of hardware to limit what I can do.

I want my equipment to do what I want them to do and not to dictate to me what I can and can not do.

As I said, LED is a new tool that allows me to work in areas that were considerably more difficult and time consuming to do with conventional lights; because of these advantages I own six of the larger LED lights and have more coming. So I work and test the systems every day. I also own just about every other light available on the market today.

I have full confidence that in small steps the smarter LED manufacturers will redesign, modify or add accessories in order to become more “creative useful”. But manufacturers will not do it unless we tell them what we need or we don’t buy these lights unless they start listening, instead of us just bending over. I can tell you by talking to them that over half of all LED salesman on the NAB floor had no clue of what lighting for photography is all about it, never mind knowing what we need to do our jobs.

The Cool Lights LED manufacturer started listening to us and have designed a soft box that goes with their larger light, and I bought 2 of those. It's a start and I consider this a major step forward in the LED lighting field. A soft box triple the size of the light and provide the so important wraparound that is missed from smaller lights, and all LED made today are small lights. Wraparound creates soft light on subjects, thus minimizing skin imperfections that people hate, especially in the HD environment.

As far as the Litepanel Sola goes I played with it at NAB and the reason that I walked away with a negative opinion was mainly that Litepanel had a lousy display to promote such innovative light. Intentionally or unintentionally their display did not show any advantage of their new light or comparison to any existing lights like they’ve been claiming. If you say that your light will replace something else then you have to show it or is just salesman talk. I’m a buyer, show me don’t tell me. That's why I attend NAB every year, to see real demonstrations, Litepanel didn't do that; I could stay home and listen to salesmen.

From what I’ve seen at NAB the beam of light generated by these lights did not even match my 650 Arri, never mind a HMI. The Sola main purpose is to fill the missing Fresnel gap in the LED line of lights. The focusing wasn’t nearly as defined as any fresnel that I use, and I have two dozen of fresnels from 150 to 2Kw. When I pointed the light about about 20 feet away it was barely noticeable. The focusing mechanism is powered by an internal motor and controlled by a small touch LED panel that did not work very well and did not give a very accurate focusing control. For the gadget freak that I am the touch panel war really cool, but for the practical side of me it’s a big waste, if you have big fingers you are out of luck. Why going thru all that expense to eliminate a knob that have been working extremely well and accurately for decades I have no clue.

Of course the Sola was competing with many other lights in the Litepanel booth but with a price tag starting at $2500 I was expecting a much better demonstration. The Sola also have a cooling fan that I could hear it on the convention floor so basically it would be unusable in a critical audio situation such as the everyday interviews.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:19 AM
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Thanks for the insight on the Sola Nino. I would have been surprised if there was a LED fresnel ready to ship that could take on an Arri 650. The fan sounds horrible & might be a reason why they're not close to going into production.


I see your point that your clients don't mind paying for the extra electricity, but that is a means to an end. Your job is to make good pictures & you need lots of wattage to do that.

For anyone that is working in news, we should all have a good idea that energy consumption is something we should be conscious about. We don't run the A/C on max w/ the windows open in our homes & we don't use lights that pull 10x the power when something else can do the job.

But like you said Nino, no LED light out there today can do the job. But I think that if & when that happens, we should push for an industry shift to energy efficient lights, even if our clients don't mind the extra power bill.


(I'm sure you agree with this Nino, but wanted to state it for someone who doesn't realize that every tool has limitations.)

Now you say that you're restricted when you use LED lights. But I've seen photos on your site of lighting in a single family house & (unless they've got special wiring in their outlets) I assume that you have to be conscious of the wattage that you're pulling. In situations like that, high watt tungsten lights are restricting you too, just in a different way than LED lights.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:11 AM
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One other problem in the local ENG world is striking a setup with blazing hot lights. Im less likely to put lights up if I need to get out in a hurry and on to another interview or shoot. In that sense LEDs would make a big difference in my work flow.
Thanks for the Sola input.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:26 AM
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I have been using LED lights in addition to my conventional lights for several month and based on my experience here are the advantages and disadvantages that I found with LEDs

ADVANTAGES, in my order of priority.

Battery power and low consumption There are many situations where finding power is difficult or impossible. Basketball arenas court-side in one that I have to do deal with it often. Also I used LED lights for many interviews where we have an ideal location but power is far away or we knew that the electrical system would not handle the additional load of conventional lights.

As I said before, the only reason that I use LED lights for interviews is because Cool Lights designed a softbox for their lights. If wasn’t for that softbox and the grid that goes with it I would never consider using LED for interviews.

Running cool. We are still producing a series of programs that we started in February where we have to keep the lights on for several hours and the lights are hung from the ceiling. The heat generated from conventional lights could cause problems and even fire hazards.

Quick set ups. Thanks to the battery power I can set up LED in minutes and although I don’t like being rushed and I have the luxury of being able to avoid rush jobs, but every so often speed supersede quality and I have to do it, this is when LED lights shine above the rest.

DISADVANTAGES in my order of importance.

When it comes to lighting I’m a control freak. I might use as many as 16 lights on an interview and I need each light to hit exactly where I want it to hit with no spills; I also want to control how harsh or diffused each light will be. LED lights are uncontrollable and manufactures have done absolutely nothing to resolve this problem. I’ve been testing and working on remedies myself with some limited success. The problem with LED fixtures is that there’s isn’t one single light to control, there are often hundreds of little lights all basically projecting independently.


NO SELECTION

I have and use at least a dozen of different size softboxes from the XXsmall to the very large. I have 3 different sizes of Chimera lanterns; 2 dozen of fresnels, several fluorescents, who knows how many open faces, and a lot more. Each of these lights serve a distinctively different purpose. The LED selections of lights consist of “ONE” type of light, that’s all. Some manufacturer just now started experimenting with the so important fresnel or focusing light and the results that I’ve seen are somehow disappointing, not to mention that the price is almost ten times higher that an equivalent fresnel tungsten.

NO PROJECTION. LED lights have a very limited reach, however, depending on the use this could be an advantage.

Inconsistent colors temperature. Just imagine being in a gang bang presser situation and everyone has a LED light on the camera from different manufacturers, now try to color balance to that.

Mixing LED to other existing lights is a challenge, even for equally rated color temperature. While you can mix fluorescents with 3200K tubes with tungsten lights without any noticeable difference, try doing this with LEDs. Even the rated color will not work well with other lights with the same K temperature. Even between LED models you can see noticeable color variation.

In summary LED had been the most significant innovation in lighting in decades. What surprises me is that with such innovation manufacturers are following each other like a flock of sheep, they are all making exactly the same thing with few variations and different pricing instead of expanding the line of LED technology. There are at least ten times the number of manufacturers that make LED lights versus those who make conventional fresnels, softboxes or fluorescent lights; NAB floor was filled with LED companies all basically making the same thing.

LED is no longer a new product, is an established product that has been around for at least five years, yet, I know of very few shooters who bought LED lights. At the best I know some that bought one or two, never mind a complete LED kit. The reason for this is poor marketing, failing to listen to the end users. This is typical of an industry that force their product on the users with the “take it or leave it” attitude instead of listen to what the users really need.
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Old 05-30-2010, 12:16 AM
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Nino.

How would you compare the The Cool Lights LED lights with a soft box on, to a Kino Flo type light? I've been thinking about getting a couple and skipping the fluorescent "stage" because I'm hoping the LEDs will be tougher and travel well.

Which ones did you get? I was thinking of getting the spotted daylight ones, and then using gels and the soft box when I want to balance them for tungsten.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:37 AM
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I don’t think its fair to compare the two. For quality and versatility you can’t beat fluorescent. I have 4 Kino Bar Fly 200 and one 4ft plus two Lowel Caselights. Fluorescent are heavy, cost much more and are bulkier but they give a much better light.

If I had to buy and could afford only one light kit it would be LED. The only problem with LED is that there are no LED fresnels so there a lot of gelling experimentation needed. I would not mix light sources on the subject but it’s okay to use different light on the background.

My choice of Cool Lights would be the spot, they diffuse nicely with the softboxes or gels. Keep in mind that they are coming out with new ones sometime at the end of the Summer. The new lights should be more powerful and be color convertible 3200/5600K
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:10 PM
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The Cream Source light from Outsight is unbelievably bright. I saw it at NAB this year. The designer Tama Berkeljon demonstrated the light for me. Tama said the light is the equivalent to a 575 watt HMI. It could provide a nice daylight fill even outside. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm thinking it would be a softer source than a par HMI with glass in it. Problem is the $7000 price tag.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:21 PM
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to a page about LED lighting and CBC

https://io.cbc.ca/io/content/content...13&locale=4105
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:32 PM
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I got a log in page.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:26 AM
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Brad Dickson, senior lighting director, was recently awarded a President’s Award for his ground-breaking work with LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting. But, it turns out that CBC/Radio-Canada has been at the cutting edge when it comes to lighting innovation for quite some time.
“If you look at CBC Toronto, we developed a computer assisted system that allows you to see what the lighting will look like before the set is built. And we did that years ahead of when it became available on the market,” says Brad. “It’s just that we don’t typically do a lot of flag waving here about our achievements.” Well, this time, there’s definitely some flag-waving happening. And it all has to do with taking LED lighting in a new way that makes sense financially and environmentally.

According to Brad, LED lighting has been widely accepted by the entertainment industry and has been used for lighting effects and set lighting, mainly because of its flexibility. Out of a single light source you can get a variety of colours.

So what did Brad and his team do that is so innovative? It all has to do with lighting faces. “The big difference is we started using LED lighting to light people, something that had never been done before. I had done some camera tests and I knew we could do it; it was just a matter of time before the right opportunity came along.”

That opportunity presented itself when Brad was brought into a project to design new studios for French news in Toronto. He pitched the idea to use LED lighting throughout the studio as a means to avoid the need for extra air conditioning and a lot more electrical power, plus, all those bulb replacements. “Although I knew it was going to work, it was a bit of a gamble. In the end it was Marc Chartrand, the project manager at the time, that took the risk by saying yes, let’s try this out.”

Luckily for everyone, the project was a success and the French news studio became the first one in the world lit by LED lights. And while CBC/Radio-Canada continued to implement this new technology in it’s studios (including the Beijing Olympic studios), Brad’s still getting calls from people in the industry who are just starting to do the research for this, and are still questioning its viability. And it’s been copied by a number of other broadcasters, including the CTV studios for the Vancouver Olympics.

Mixing finances, the environment and production

Brad has worked on lighting for both the Nature of Things and The Dragon’s Den and equates the use of LED lighting in CBC/Radio-Canada studios to Kevin O’Leary and David Suzuki shaking hands. For Kevin its all about the money and for David its all about the planet. “Beyond saving on power and disposing of fewer light bulbs, LED lighting let’s us move away from fluorescents, which still have mercury in them.”

While it’s important to recognize that this initiative does much to reduce the Corporation’s environmental footprint, the important thing to consider is that it also solves some infrastructure problems and money at the same time. “LED lighting means that we don’t need the kind of infrastructure to support conventional lighting. It means that we can put studios where we couldn’t before because the demand for power and space was so high. This technology gives us much more flexibility which just adds to the appeal.”

This flexibility means that light colours can be changed quickly, as each bulb includes a mix of colours. This translates into huge timesavings for productions. It also means lighting directors can move away from arc lights, which put out UV rays, providing a safer environment for on air talent.

Next steps

When Brad looks to the future, he sees the move to LED lighting to all of CBC/Radio-Canada’s buildings. “When we started looking at lighting with LED, I got the fixtures I needed from the architectural world. So, it just makes sense to look at the value of switching our buildings to LED.”

In terms of this initiative, the next steps include looking at where retrofitting studios to LED makes sense and getting that done. “It’s exciting to be able to go out an talk to manufactures with an actual budget, rather than having to simply speculate about what we could be doing.”

From a lighting perspective, LED technology is constantly evolving. LEDs are considered a wash light, which means they cover a large area. The one down side is that sometimes something more controlled is needed. According to Brad, that technology isn’t far off. “I often get calls from the industry to go look at new prototypes and I think it’s safe to say that the industry is responding. It’s great, and it means that it will give us a larger range of tools to work with.”
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:54 AM
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Hello all.
I happened upon this forum from Google searches on led lighting and noticed the post relating to our work at CBC with LED lighting. We have many studios across Canada, and cover the wide range of Productions from News, Drama, Variety, Sports, Awards shows etc. We also have a Radio division. Our lighting inventory covers tungsten fixtures, HMI fixtures, florescent fixtures and many automated fixtures.

I agree with many of the posts here as LED lighting is another tool that has its own qualities. There really is a wide variety of LED fixtures and I agree our voice needs to be heard to get units that fit our needs.

At CBC we currently have approx 6 studios that are lit all LED, while our two main news studios sets, in Toronto, are currently lit with all led. We will be converting our on air host lighting to LED fixtures in these studios.

We have been using the IW LED unit from color kinetics for allot of our on air host lighting. It is a variable color temperature unit. Here is a link to a YouTube video I posted showing how it looks on a DSC labs chart on a vector scope. I used an EX 3 camera to shoot the video not one of our 900 units but the video gives and idea of the IW LED unit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N9Mxqh7KGQ

I don't use the frosted lens on the unit I use the clear lens and put diffusion on the barn doors to spread the light as I desire. In regards to throw distance the IW LED unit has great throw with a clear lens much like a red head at full spot. Yes there is punch from this unit with a clear lens.
There are also holographic lenses that allow for specific spread of the light but I just go with the diffusion. I have also had these units in a Chimera to get a wider softer look. I used the Tota lite ring to mount the IW LED unit into the Chimera. It would be nice for Chimera to make a specific ring for these units. City Theatrical makes barn doors etc for the IW LED unit.

In regards to a controlled unit there is now an LED leko style of fixture by Robert Juliat called the ALEDIN unit. It is a profile spot unit that allows shutter cuts and zoom and is an 85 watt unit coming in two color temps.
When I first started to light people with LEDs, many years ago, I was using RGB units that had the same vectors as the RGB of the camera. So I simply did a color mix on the vector scope to match the light I wanted to match with. I moved to the IW LED as they came out but the RGB or RGBA works also. We have one studio lighting on air talent with RGBA units.

I have also tried out the Chauvet Colorado VW unit in one studio as the VW unit is a self contained unit with power supply built in.

For us the move to LED makes a great cost savings for our applications and in many instances the savings pay for the units in a few years.

Our EFP unit is getting some custom IW LED units for their specific needs.

With such a large group of companies making led units, you need to do a lot of on camera testing. I agree that many manufacturers are not making products that really meet our needs and this has been what I have been telling them for years. Demand will make them change. We need to educate the manufacturers about our needs and they need to understand how the camera sees light.

I know changes are happening with LED units and the profile LED unit from Robert Juliat is a good example considering I have wanted a profile LED units for a while and now it exists. It’s not an LED versus everything else, LED is another lighting tool. You choose your fixture based on needs of the look and the limitations of the shoot. LEDs give another option to meet those needs. I am not endorsing one fixture over another I am saying what we have used up to now but I am always looking at new fixtures. I want fixtures that work well on camera.

Last edited by bradCBC; 07-09-2010 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:44 PM
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Just saw this:

http://blog.digitalcontentproducer.c...t-environment/
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