Portable Lighting with the Rosco LitePad Kit
- June 18, 2012
- Shane Hurlbut, ASC
I am always in pursuit of new lighting technology, and this Rosco LitePad kit knocked me out with its size, versatility, color and punch. This light is LED technology, but used in a very different way than all the other lights on the market. It requires no heat syncs like a LitePanel light and is 3/8 of an inch thick. The big difference is that it does not fire the LED directly at you. It fires them sideways onto a white source that becomes your light. This is a very big deal. We are always looking for soft sources, and these are very creamy without diffusion added. I took the light and moved it around our subject to show you the quality of it without diffusion.
The main reason I was attracted to this kit is the light quality. Period. You can also purchase egg crates with the kit to control the source or use black wrap like I did to control the light in the taxi cab in The Ticket. We had the actress hold the light that kissed the underside of her cheek perfectly, while also lighting Vince in the center of the back seat. This was done with a single 6″ x 12″.
When we turned around on the scene, I turned to the 12” x 12” LitePad and filled the actors in from the front, creating the feel like the light was coming from the front window. We dialed it down with the dimmer. This was essential so that the outside lights of Sunset Blvd. that were playing inside the car were not overpowered.
The kit comes with 12 lights (6 Tungsten and 6 Daylight) in a rolling Pelican case. Recently, I have used these lights on two commercial campaigns. Their small profile, the fact that they don’t generate much heat, and the different ways to power them have allowed me to utilize them in a lot of different scenarios. In the cockpit of a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, they cast Deep Golden Amber light to mimic it coming from the dials in a night flight.
I also used them on a DWI PSA called “Aftermath” in New Mexico. We had a totaled vehicle that we purchased from a junk yard. All of its electrical systems failed to work. We wanted to show that the car had just gotten into a wreck, so we ripped the tail lights and headlights out of the vehicle and inserted our LitePads to give us the glow of the red tail lights as well as the blinding nature of the headlights. It worked like a champ.
This was lit only with a 12W Rosco LitePad and exterior lighting.
On the Boeing campaign, we used gaffers tape to affix them to the ceiling of these drone piloting mobile stations. We placed some medium red color on them, and all of a sudden, we were in battle station mode. An actress hand holding it in the back of a car, filling a jet’s cockpit with golden amber light, using it as a tail light gag in the back of a junked car – I love the versatility!
Here is some example footage we shot with the LitePad kit being used in an interview style setup to show how it looks on camera. We used the daylight and tungsten balanced pads and compared to a different style led light.
This was a basic three point lighting interview style setup. We had a wash of sunlight coming from a rear skylight used to backlight our actor. For the key, we shot two LitePads though a light grid cloth. Lastly, right above the camera was a small dimmed down pad used as a fill/eye light.
Compared to the older style LED lights, we noticed the LitePads achieved a very soft quality to them because the LEDs are bouncing off of a white pad. They’re not blasting straight on.
The lights held up well competing with the strong daylight source. The wrapping quality of the lights was quite nice as well, especially paired with diffusion. There was a slight green shift when we switched to the tungsten balanced lights, but we were able to dial it out easily by adding a little bit of magenta on the custom white balance option of the Canon 5D.
Love to see what you have been using in LED technology. What is in your kit?