acquisition page three of three


As I walked past the booth of a company called Silicon Imaging, the gentleman on the left made a personal appeal that I attend a demo of the Silicon Imaging camera (shown on his shoulder in the photo to the left). Turns out, this is the camera that was used to shoot Slumdog Millionaire. The camera in its mini configuration was used to get all those high speed shots running through the alleyways of Mumbai.

It’s a very interesting 2K camera that records in Cineform RAW. Video is recorded as RAW to disk with no color processing at all. The image that hits the chip is not electronically manipulated in any way. Color balance information is recorded but as a separate file and only as a reference to be use in post color correction.

The camera can also be used in the full configuration shown right or taken apart to become a much more mobile unit. All camera settings are adjusted via an on-camera touch screen monitor or, when the camera is in the mini configuration, a laptop.

Each year at NAB, a German company called HandsfreeTransporter shows their combination SteadyCam and Segway.

The operation of which, I can only imagine is like trying to play the drums while driving a car. HandsfreeTransporter is kind of a dull name but the basic idea is a really good one.

I am still fascinated by these little wonders. The Zylight is an LED based light, which uses clusters of red, blue and green primary color LED’s. This allows for the creation of any color in the spectrum simply by turning a dial on the back of the instrument, or switch between daylight and tungsten without using a gel. Zylight uses a wide angle LED that puts out a soft beam. Zylights can be controlled wirelessly. With the remote control you can wirelessly control both intensity and color. They can also be linked as clusters to synchronize color output. The newest Zylight product announced at NAB is the IS3. The IS3 is a cluster of zylights placed on one panel. To the three primary color LEDs has been added a fourth channel of amber.

The Zylight uses a very bright LED. Placing the LEDs in a cluster on the panel provides output comparable to a 300 watt incandescent light but the light is presented as a wide, soft source. When in white mode, controls on the back of the unit allow the operator to dial in any desired kelvin temperature. When in color mode any color can be attained.

I could say that LitePanels are the future of lighting but the units have become as ubiquitous as well . . .  Kleenex. You see them in use everywhere.

So . . .  the future is now.

Made up of scores of LED’s placed in a grid, LitePanels give off a soft, directionless light. They are thin and efficient, burn with little heat, are daylight balanced and can be dimmed without a change of color temperature. LitePanels has now done a number of studio installations and users immediately reap the power benefits of using low wattage, cool burning lighting units.

LitePanels engineers have been busy making the instruments even more versatile. They have developed a panel that can be diffused or spotted much as a fresnel lighting instrument can be softened or focused. LEDs can be made with different lens configurations depending on the quality of light desired (soft or hard).  By making a panel where a certain proportion of the LEDs in a panel have spotted lenses and the other portion of the LEDs have flood producing lenses, it is simply a matter of dissolving between the two sets of LEDs to achieve the desired soft or spotted light.

As we all know, the art of lighting design is based largely upon choices.

Choices in how we arrange general (soft/diffused) and specific (hard/spotted) lighting sources.

The middle photo above shows a litepanel mini in an on-camera application. The mini is recommended for on-camera use as it has more punch than the smaller micro and also throws a wider beam that will wrap around closely-shot talking heads.

The final innovation from LitePanels this year is the development of their Bi-Color unit. See right above. In the past all units used daylight (5600) color temperature LEDs. If the user needed a tungsten (3200) balanced light a gel was added. The Bi-Color unit contains both tungsten and daylight LEDs and allows for 3200 or 5600 degree kelvin output and everything in between.