Monday, 9 August 2010

Rosco Litepads

My apologies if the blog has been quiet for the last week or so but I'm working on new projects which really need some serious input on my behalf. One of these projects involves the new Rosco Litepads, an innovative range of LED light sources for stills, video and cinematography.

Big light from a battery powered source!

In my long photography career I have worked with any number of continuous light sources, the majority of  them "hot" lights, i.e. lights that generate heat as a by-product of emitting light. Over the last few years there have been innovations in lighting technology such as HMI lights and lights that use daylight corrected flicker-free fluorescent tubes. The down side of all these lights is they need mains electricity or a generator to provide the power to run.

Over the last year or two LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology has matured to the extent that these little solid-state electronic devices now produce sufficient light output to be made into viable alternatives for hot incandescent/tungsten light sources and bulky fluorescent tube based lights.

LED lights use less power than conventional lights, bulbs never need replacing as there is no filament to break or tube to deteriorate with age and best of all they are compact and run from low-energy light sources such as a car battery or even AA batteries - yes that's right, the humble torch and MP3 player battery! And emit little or no heat.

Rosco Labs have introduced a new range of light weight and thin (currently 3/8th inch approx.) daylight balanced LED lights called Litepads - these range in size from a 3 inch disc to a 24 inch soft light; all run from the supplied AC mains mains to 12v DC transformer or alternative 12v DC car accessory plug or 8 x AA batteries.

I've been lucky enough to have a set of these lights to play with (sorry "work" with) for the last few weeks and am very impressed. The basic kit I have comprises a 12 x 12 inch Litepad and 2 x 12 x 6 inch Litepads with T brackets for fixing to standard lighting stands and grip gear, spigot adaptors, AC to DC and battery power supplies, plus an inline dimmer. Yes, these lights can be dimmed without any change in colour temperature, unlike hot incandescent/tungsten lights which when dimmed the colour temperature generally lowered or warmed up.

Currently I am using these lights for both studio and location portrait and product photography, and can see innumerable applications for both stills and video photography, especially when working away from civilisation i.e. mains power and where weight and volume are a major consideration.

Voice Activated Light Stand in use
Notice the AA battery pack taped to the top of the VAL pole

In addition to the set mentioned above I also have a 24 inch Litepad which I took on location last week for a tutorial at a beach location. The shot at the top of this article was lit with the Rosco 24" Litepad with a California Sunbounce Micro Mini as a below chin fill light.

24 inch Rosco Litpad - the skinny latte of lighting

Because I decided to travel light I went the VAL route and used Voice Activated Light stands in order to work quickly in the fading dusk light. Below are a few shots from the session, including some created before the sun set.

Over the coming weeks I'll be using the Rosco Litepads whenever I can to give you an insight to the versatility of this range of lights.

Wide stop, drag the shutter, big light in close

A very effective light source just out of frame to camera left

24 inch Litepad on the pebbles with a 12 x 6 inch at camera left to separate the dark top from the dark sky!


Creating mood with good composition and a little post-production


Inspired by Bruce Weber's work for Hollister

3 comments:

  1. You Know, I never could get into continous light "flashes", theres just something comforting, or satisfying of the pop you get from a good ole fashion flash :D. Thats just my preference though!

    By the way! Never got to thank you for an amazing photowalk! thanks! My fiance and I really enjoyed it! Thanks a Tonne!

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  2. Ian, hi, a certain Joel Rosco suggested that I look at your blog for more illustrations on the LitePads. I have two quick questions if you have time: (1) Are the LitePads powerful? For example, could I use a relatively fast shutter speed at ISO 200 at about 8 - 10 feet? I have no clue what the equivalent guide number would be and (2) You worked with a 12 x 12; I am an amateur, do you think a 6 x 12 would cover some casual shooting? Thanks. Marcelo Salup - www.dailycamera.blogspot.com and www.flickr.com/msalup

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  3. Hi Ian

    3 words...'An Eye Opener'.

    Have never thought about continuous light sources, but seeing the 'softer' and very well balanced effects youve achieved, i think its time i did

    look forward to catching up next week

    cheers

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