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Thread: Light for onboard use

  1. #1
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    Default Light for onboard use

    Hi all,

    I wondered if anybody had any experience or advice about on-board lights for camcorders?

    My Panasonic HMC41e is a great camera, but it isn't great in low-light situations, and I was wondering how much of a difference an on board camera might make.

    I have seen them from £50 to £500, and I dare say if I look a little closer I'd find more expensive ones as well. I coan probably only afford to spend about £100 at the moment, but I donít want to do that if the difference it will make is negligible.

    Hope somebody can help.

    Best wishes,

    Mike

  2. #2
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    It all depends on what you want to do.

    I've got four on-camera lights, none of which does everything.

    Two leds, a tungsten and a fluorescent. Each is suitable for a particular purpose.

    My favourite is the Hyperlight 471 from Photon Beard. It gives a soft(ish) light, it's sort-of dimmable and fairly strong but doesn't overpower the ambient light. It gives the most natural look.
    The tungsten is harsh, great for "run and gun" but eats batteries and gives a "rabbit caught in the headlights look".
    Of the two Leds on is from Ianiro (very expensive, actually mega-frigging-expensive) which gives a great light, adjustable colour temp, dimmable and costs more than a consumer HD camcorder.
    The last ( "about time" I hear you sigh) is a cheapo Led from some Chinese firm on ebay which cost less than £50.

    (ebay > photography and do a search on "96 led" )

    The cheapo-china-copy is okay for most things if you bung magenta gel in front of it and a bit of diffuser. It runs off AA batteries and lasts for about four hours per set of batteries. It is VERY harsh if you don't diffuse it and makes skin tones look awful if you don't put a minus-green gel in front of it but does a very reasonable job if you play about a bit.

    Much though I normally hate to suggest buying anything Cheapo-chinese, the 96 led is not bad value for money at all!

  3. #3
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    Hi Rob,

    Thanks very much for your detailed response. Excuse my ignorance, but in terms of the amount of light they kick out, are we talking just adding a little light to a gloomy setting, or could they light up a person in the pitch black for instance?

    Hyperlight 471 sounds good, but at £340 it would break the bank for me at the moment. Maybe I'll save up ... or, my impetuous nature might make me invest in the cheapo-chinese 96 Led

    Thanks again!

    Mike

  4. #4
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    You're asking the wrong person since I hate the look of on-camera lights!

    In my opinion the best on-camera light is one where you hardly notice it. I like to see the background and have it a similar colour balance to the presenter, which is why I bought the Ianiled 7 (mega-bucks) which you can adjust electronically to suite any situation.

    The Cheapo-chinese will kick out a fair amount of light, enough to illuminate a small room if you're not too concerned about the colour balance. Certainly, even with minus-green and diffusion gel in front of it, with no other ambient light, you can easily illuminate a person ten feet away from the camera sufficiently to avoid having to use gain. If you want more oomph, then they do a 160 led version.

    With Leds, it is absolutely essential to use diffusion though.

  5. #5
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    Thanks again, Rob.

    Think I might go for the cheapo, with diffusion, as a starter-light. It is obvioulsy going to be far better than nothing, and I can aim towards your mega-bucks version in time!

  6. #6
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    PM your address to me and I'll post you some minus-green gel and diffuser. There's no point in getting a whole roll for a few square centimetres.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rembrandt Rob View Post
    PM your address to me and I'll post you some minus-green gel and diffuser. There's no point in getting a whole roll for a few square centimetres.
    Ahh Rob, you're a gentleman! Are you sure? Many thanks mate, that is a very kind offer.

    Anyone would think it was Christmas! :o)

  8. #8

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    He's ike that even when it's not Christmas.

    If this light was a consideration for your interview stuff I'm not sure it's really right for you, unless you will be doing run and gun stuff like vox pops in the street etc. Did you get the other lighting kit ?

  9. #9

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    I don't have much experience with them. I only have this one which I recently got. It's a 70 watt Bescor.

    It's a white light that works off LEDS and it comes with a 4300įK Correction Filter if you want the yellow light look as well. It's also dimmable. Its best use is probably for outdorr nighttime interviews.

    Also look at this thread concerning adapters to use with shoe mounted lights.

    And this will give you an idea of how well it lights a subject in total darness.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    He's ike that even when it's not Christmas.

    If this light was a consideration for your interview stuff I'm not sure it's really right for you, unless you will be doing run and gun stuff like vox pops in the street etc. Did you get the other lighting kit ?
    Hi Midnight, thanks for your note. The on-board light isn't for the interviews mate - I am planning to buy a three light kit for that in the new year. It's more for everything else. It seems that whenever I try and shoot anything in winter, even if it's just my kids around the house, it is too dark to do so. Hopefully an on-board light will go some way to rectifying that problem

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