Cinematographer & Filmmaker
Corey Steib
SoftPanels LED Lights
by Corey Steib on May 8th, 2016

Via SoftPanels 
So by now I am sure that the majority of everyone has heard of the new kickstarter campaign for SoftPanels LED Lights from Kevin Baxter and presented by Ryan Avery. The project kicked off on April 8, 2016 and with more then 117 backers with only 17 hours to go, the project has already surpassed it's goal of $30,00 to raise $319,692. Now before I get into the good stuff here is a quick bio on one of the creator of this light.

Bio

​With dozens of awards for LED lighting innovation, including two primetime  Emmy awards "for fundamentally changing the recording of Television", Kevin Baxter [SoftPanels' chief tech guru] is the recognized expert in LED lighting for film and video. He's engineered, built and delivered tens of thousands of LED lighting fixtures to cinematographers, videographers, and photographers.

Video Introduction 

​WE CALL IT SOFTPANELS. YOU'LL CALL IT A REVOLUTION IN LIGHTING.

​In short, SoftPanels are a completely new approach to LED lighting utilizing a built-in color meter and intelligent color management technology in every light, thereby providing unprecedented color precision and smart control over the emitted light. In other words, by utilizing the built-in integrated digital color meter along with the proprietary Auto color matching technology, these new innovative fixtures can instantly read the current ambient color conditions, and then exactly color-balance their LED color output to match that of the scene’s ambient conditions:
​With this new level of control, you can instantly color-match other lights, as well as ambient conditions, thereby enjoying far more color consistency in a variety of studio and location applications. Furthermore, with the provided Skin Tone Enhance feature you can improve skin tones with a push of a button to give a warmer and more cinematic feel thus substantially decrease the time required to do primary color corrections in post:
​Importantly, many times video produces unhealthy looking skin tone, but with SoftPanels new Skin Enhance feature this is easy solved. These new lights also offer a new breakthrough Precise Manual Color Mode with verified color temperature accuracy, a feature that even today’s highest-end professional production LED lights lack.

Specifically, conventional variable-color LED lighting fixtures often provide a numerical readout of the color temperature that the fixture is supposedly producing. In addition, these traditional LED lights can also provide pre-set buttons to ‘approximate’ a fixed color temperature [e.g., 5500ºK, 3200ºk, etc.]. In either case, these are only estimates, which are often off by as much as 1000º to 2,000º degrees Kelvin, which introduces substantial color errors that can greatly affect the quality of your work:
​Although the preset indicates 5500K, the actual light output is 6615K – a blue color-shift error of over 1000K
​These color errors are only magnified when you mix multiple legacy LED lights on the same scene [each having a different color temperature]. This lack of color precision using multiple conventional LED fixtures greatly increases the time required to color correct in post, and further creates a problem when correcting for one portion of the image, other areas of the image go undesirably in the opposite direction [i.e., color crossover due to multiple color mismatched conventional LED lights].

​Conversely, SoftPanels enables precision on-set color workflow where you can instantly dial-in one or more SoftPanels to a precise and verified fixed color temperature, anywhere between 2700ºK and 6500ºK using its built-in LED/ambient color metering system. Thus you completely avoid the color mismatch issues found with conventional LED lights, and can rest assured that the color you've manually set, will actually match the color coming out of the fixture. This real-time verified color system gives you far more color-consistency from scene to scene.
​As for the SoftPanels specifications, each unit provides a variable color adjustment from 2700K to 6500K, along with true full-range 100% ~ 1% dimming, and a 95 CRI using high color fidelity LEDs that have extended red color spectrum range coverage for great skin tones.
​SoftPanels brings you a breakthrough level of lighting precision and new features, all at a fraction of the price of legacy soft lights. SoftPanels with Autocolor technology are the culmination of over 30 years experience  designing and building lighting fixtures for Film and Television industry, including dozens of industry awards for LED lighting innovations.

So what is the price?

​The price is a dream come true are at a fraction of the price of the price from other manufacturers! That's like finding the perfect LED light for less than half price... (which is, actually, exactly what you are doing by backing this campaign).

Final Thoughts

When I first heard that my friend ryan avery was backing this I had to see it for myself. so when I saw that it was kevin baxter (the father of LED lighting as you would for the last 15 years) I was just in ahhh when I saw not only the price of the lights but also the ability to auto color. Which means that I could go into a crappy room and calibrate my lights without having to use CTO and or CTB to correct for existing lights. And I did not have to worry about a green tent on my subject that I was interviewing. 

But the one other thing I love about this light is that you can have it enhance the skin tone on your subject which is mmmm good as it now makes there skin feel more real and true which has been very hard to do with LED lighting. You maybe asking yourself if I am being paid to say all these wonderful things about the product. Well sorry to disappoint you but  any product that I have did a review on has been from hands on with it in the field. Have I gotten my hands on these lights?

No I have not but if you are a shooter like me then you know as well as I do that this type of light with all it's features and most of all price tag is a dream come true for most of us. Yes I have backed this project and yes I would totally love to get my hands on this innovative light because I love new toys :). With that being said I wish you all happy shooting. 


Posted in Gear Review, General, News    Tagged with VideoLights, www.videolights.com, SoftPanels LED Lights, SoftPanels, LED Lights, LED, Ryan Avery, Kickstarter


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