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Top Lighting Designer tests new AREA 48 Soft LED lights from BBS Lighting
Lighting Designer Todd Heater is often called upon to light up to 100 setups a day when he’s working on commercials or music videos such as the currently running Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Rolling Stones videos, where the musicians’ time is gold. So when he tested the new AREA 48 LED lights from BBS Lighting, it was a real-world trial run.
“Not only is the color rendering of the Area 48 LED spot-on, but it’s powerful, lightweight, compact, and can run off a battery,”
- Todd Heater, Lighting Designer
“Say you’re filming in the streets of downtown Los Angeles, and your generator’s far away, you just put it on a battery pack and go. Up until recently, battery powered lights were like oversized flashlights, but this is a real lighting tool.”
Heater also utilized the AREA 48 LED lights on car commercials. “When we go out on the road with cars, we usually tow a car behind a generator truck and light it up that way. But with these lights, we’re able to mount battery packs right on the fixture and film it without having to put a generator power source on it.”
AREA 48 Soft LED fixtures are available with V-lock or Gold Mount (AB) battery plates, and can also be powered with a 4 pin xlr 160W external AC power supply.
When asked about the color fidelity of the AREA 48s he’s tested, Heater said: “The color match to daylight was as close to daylight as I’ve seen on the market, and probably better than all the other LEDs that I’ve seen out there. I have a more artistic approach to lighting than a technical one, but to my eye and to the camera,
“the color is right on the money.”
One thing that Heater said he tries to avoid is mixing light sources. “When you mix light sources, there’s a strange phenomenon that happens. You can always tell that there’s difference. Even though a camera or a color temperature meter cannot, the eye can. So when I’m doing lighting I prefer to work with only one kind of source.
“But working with the AREA 48 LED and HMIs at the same time, the difference was practically unnoticeable, which is great. HMIs are big, hot, heavy, non-dimmable lights, and I can substitute the AREA 48 where I need a small, compact, and very powerful light.”
The power of the light coming from Area 48 LED fixtures is a function of the interchangeable phosphor technology employed. Since the phosphor coatings are not put on the LED bulbs themselves but on a phosphor panel placed in front of the LEDs, the same amount of light is generated no matter what the color balance of the particular phosphor panel being used: daylight (5600K), tungsten (3200K), or any of the other panels (2700K, 4300K, 6500K, and Chroma Green) available as accessories for Area 48s.
Heater much prefers BBS’s interchangeable panel approach to changing color temperature. “When you try to blend tungsten and daylight bulbs, it takes away lighting power because you have half and half. With this light there’s a daylight balance that puts out the same amount of light as a tungsten balance, and the same for the other color temperatures available.”
In addition to the difference of weight, size and power draw, Heater also noted the lack dimmability with HMI lighting fixtures. “The AREA 48 LED is a very resourceful working tool on a set, because you can dim them down without changing color temperature. Now we can work at really, really low levels while remaining locked on in terms of color temperature.”
Todd Heater is a Los Angeles-based lighting designer.
For more information on the AREA 48 LED for BBS, click here