I’m a bit obsessive. I read a lot of books, blogs, articles and interviews looking for the best lighting techniques and the lights needed to create beautiful images. I want to learn techniques from skilled DPs and shooters, as well as see what gear they are using to create images that will capture my imagination. I do all of this research so that I can determine the best possible options available to me for my jobs. I wrote this article because I’ve found a light that helps me create magic on every production I do – from the biggest budgets to the smallest one-man-band shoots – it’s Rosco’s new LitePad Vector LED light.
Light is what drives our ideas. Light is what we spend our lives trying to recreate, create or transcend for our productions. Lighting is what makes our work art. There are artists like David Lean who has waited days for the perfect sunset or the perfect moment. There are many ASC cinematographers that have the budget and crew to re-create any lighting setup you can dream of. Then – there’s the rest of us.
I don’t know about you, but I never have the luxury to wait for the perfect moment on most of the productions I work on. As a matter of fact, time is the one thing I never have enough of. Because of that, choosing what lights to put in my kit is critical for me. I have worked with just about every type of light on the market and, depending on the project, I’ve used certain lights more than others. My gold standard when I’m buying or using a light now is – can the light to be used on a variety of different kinds of production? I want the Swiss Army Knife of lighting.
LitePad Vector working on a green screen set
For me, that light is Rosco’s new LitePad Vector. This light is truly amazing and has all the things I need to create a beautiful image as well as get it fast. First of all, it is smaller than the typical 1x1 LED panels – it measures 8 inches by 8 inches. Because I travel for 80% of my work, the smaller footprint is important. The Vector is also very well built (metal vs plastic), it’s thin and portable, it’s bi-color and dimmable, it has the option of being battery-powered and it throws a lot of light for its size. All of these features allow me to use it on any job I get hired for – from the biggest of my productions down to the one-man shoots where I need to be fast and portable.
Unlike all the other 1x1 LED panels I have used, the light produced from the Vector is already diffused. This allows me to use the light directly on talent when I don’t have the crew or time to set up additional diffusion, and it allows me to use the full output of the light vs losing output when pushing the light through extra diffusion. Better yet, when I do have the crew and/or time, the Vector kicks out enough output that I’m able to bounce or diffuse the beam and still have enough light left to execute a variety of setups.
Barry’s team mounted several LitePad Vectors into the ceiling to light a feature film
I have found myself using my LitePad Vectors on pretty much every set since I first laid my hands on them. In fact, my team and I recently lit an entire feature film almost exclusively with the Vectors. We were shooting on location in a basement with low light, standing water and we had limited places to hide our light fixtures. The Vectors were small enough that we were able to hide them in the rafters of the ceiling and, even with the short throw distance, they worked naturally in just about every setup - allowing us to shoot fast.
LitePad Vector working on an interview set
I also love how well the LitePad Vector works as an interview light. It has enough power to be used exclusively to light an interview, yet its soft, diffused output makes it very comfortable for my subjects – most of which are not used to being lit for camera.
A LitePad Vector from Barry’s 2-Head Backpack Kit working in the Arizona desert
I own both of Rosco’s LitePad Vector Kits - the 2-Head Backpack Kit and their 3-Head Location Lighting Kit. I’ve configured the Vectors inside the Backpack Kit with V-Mount batteries so I can easily take them on the run. I use the 3-Head Kit in the studio because it lets me easily roll in a small, three-point setup with lights, egg crates and stands – and be ready to shoot in no time flat.
LitePad Vector 2-Head Backpack Kit (L) & 3-Head Location Lighting Kit (R)
The price point is very good and I can promise that if you get a couple of these lights you won’t be disappointed. Check out the fixture for yourself and, if you end up using a Vector, please feel free to drop me a note with any questions you might have or share your favorite use of the light on your last production. Like I said, I’m a bit obsessive – I love to see and share the creativity of other users. Happy shooting.
To see and share Barry Andersson’s creativity, be sure to visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram. You can also learn more of Barry’s LED lighting techniques by watching his Moviola webinar: “Shedding Some Light on LED Lighting.” To learn more about the fixture Barry’s come to know and love – visit the LitePad Vector web page.