LED movie lighting maker Rotolight and light meter maker Sekonic recently revealed a major secret behind the amazing LEDs in Rotolight’s Neo LED lights. Sekonic’s new C-700 SpectroMaster color temperature meter, it seems, played a crucial role in the development of the Neo’s LED light emitters.
When shooting movie footage under the usual mix of dreadful, non-full-spectrum, industrial light fittings recently, I was immediately taken back to the era when I worked in corporate photography.
Back then, at no time did I ever have any control over the lighting available where I needed to shoot. In the absence of a lighting truck, assistants and rolls of filters and frames to hold them, my solution was simple enough. I shielded my human subjects from the worst of the available light and lit them with heavily barn-doored electronic flash units.
First get the flash lighting right and then apply fast shutter speeds to my camera’s leaf shutter lenses to minimise the effect of all the weird industrial lighting. Those lights had anything but a full and balanced spectrum, often leaning heavily into the blue, the green or the yellow.
My solution worked well enough then for my flash lights but now, shooting video under all-continuous light has its own set of problems. I can’t use shutter speed in the same way – I am stuck with the closest to 1/48th of a second when shooting 24fps – so I need to find a whole new way of solving the problem of weird mixed lighting.
My solution recently was to mount a Rotolight Neo on my Panasonic GH4’s cage via compact ball head, watch the way the mixed daylight, spiky old LED down-lights, ancient tungsten lights and fluorescent flood lights fell on my human subjects, then twist the Neo on its mount to dominate the available light while best illuminating the people who needed to be the center of attention.
The Neo’s beautiful color spectrum and its high TLCI was a real blessing. My footage came out far better than I had expected when I first walked into the venue and clapped eyes on the awful mix of lighting there. I will add a few refinements when grading my footage soon and I should be able to get away with it well enough.
Twisting and bending my Neo on its mount was a challenge at times, making me look forward to the arrival soon of Rotolight’s Neo barn doors for better control of the beam. I shot the footage as a favor for a friend but if I were doing it for money then I would be toting my Neo 3 Light Kit, a couple of barn doors, a few flags and C-stands and dream of the perfect color temperature meter to help me get the color balance just so.
And now, it appears, the perfect color temperature meter is here in the shape of Sekonic’s C-700 SpectroMaster.
The Rotolight folks have done such an impressive job with getting the Neo’s light color just right that I guessed they had a secret weapon at their disposal. I was right – they used the Sekonic C-700 SpectroMaster during the Neo’s development process.
Time to drop by the local importer/retailer for Sekonic methinks. I have used some decent color temperature meters in the past, but never owned one nor was tempted to do so. Older color meters could not handle industrial pulsed light sources satisfactorily. I am looking forward to seeing how the C-700 stands up to the task.
If the challenges of mixed lighting, especially situations involving industrial lights, are unfamiliar may I suggest obtaining the handy little Rotolight Spectrascope. Point it directly at a range of light sources and note how some have parts of the spectrum missing while others really overdo it in certain colors.
It will be a great day indeed when well-made daylight LEDs will be the default artificial light source, but until then tools like the Sekonic C-700 SpectroMaster and the Rotolight Spectrascope will come in handy, or be essential if needing full control over your lighting. [bctt tweet=”Solve the challenges of contemporary light color with the Sekonic Spectromaster C-700.”]
Rotolight and Sekonic collaborate to break new ground on LED colour accuracy
Via Press Release:
Tokyo, Japan – July 29, 2015 – SEKONIC Corporation, Light Meter International Sales Department, shared news today of a unique collaboration with UK based manufacturer, Rotolight. A world leader in studio and on-location LED lighting solutions, Rotolight set out earlier this year to create a new advanced on-camera LED system called NEO. Using the new SEKONIC C-700 SpectroMaster extensively in their phosphor chemistry design process, Rotolight was able to develop an advanced formulation, which delivers exceptional color rendering results (AccuColour™ LED lighting technology) in the award winning Rotolight ANOVA and the latest NEO LED luminaires.
SEKONIC Corporation, global specialists in engineering and manufacturing of precision design and advanced technology metering systems, recently launched the sophisticated C-700 SpectroMaster series gaining immediate worldwide interest. Optimized to measure LED lighting in addition to all types of light sources, the C-700 measures, analyzes and reports the true color temperature and specular characteristics of a given light source including LED, HMI, Tungsten, Florescent, Electronic flash and Natural light spectrums.
When Rod Gammons (Chairman and Inventor of the Rotolight Products) discovered the Sekonic C-700, he knew he had finally found the tool he needed to accurately measure and monitor his development of the AccuColor™ LED Lighting System. In a recent online video interview Rod stated “NEO achieves outstanding color reproduction with an overall CRI (color rendering index) of Ra=95.6, skin tones at CRI=99 and TLCI of 91 (Television Lighting Consistency Index). NEO’s exceptional performance has been designed for today’s Cinematographers, DOP’s and Photographers who are capturing both HD and 4K, and who demand the greatest control and accuracy of color. Now this type of control is possible with great tools like the Rotolight NEO and the Sekonic C-700”.
Color reproduction is paramount for both photographers and videographers and with today’s emerging new light sources, the ability to measure them and accurately control them is more critical than ever. Utilizing lighting systems that offer true color results enables photographers and videographers to focus more on the art and less on the technical side of the business. However, with so many claims from lighting manufacturers, that their light sources are the best it’s a daunting task to separate fact from fiction. Now, with the release of the Sekonic C-700, and working with color accurate lights like Rotolight NEO, it is possible to achieve true color results on set, quickly and accurately, with ease.
Stefan Lange, DP and Visual FX Artist (credits include: Batman / Notting Hill / 7x Bond Movies) was recently interviewed whilst on set at Sony's Digital Motion Picture Centre in Pinewood Studios London, and said :-
”Throughout my career I have measured light with Sekonic equipment. The new Sekonic C-700 SpectroMaster takes the guesswork out of measuring colour temperature on set. Using the clever graphic interface of the C-700 I can easily read and manage the array of hues in a scene and then dial in the colour to my Rotolight NEOs and ANOVAs, it’s a great combination. The C-700 is really valuable in a controlled studio environment – priceless on a ‘run & gun’ location when the camera just can’t tell you everything you need to know.”
“Rotolight NEO is my new ‘go-to’ choice of lighting. Small enough for tight spaces but powerful enough for a multitude of situations. With the built in CineSFX functions, it can replace otherwise time and budget consuming equipment and bring to the set sophisticated lighting effects which would often have been unaffordable. Cable-free, cool to the touch and light enough to easily hang or hold, the Rotolight NEO really speeds up lighting on-set or on location.”
Rotolight and Sekonic are collaborating on mutual sales & marketing to develop a wider awareness of the importance and need for color control and accuracy. Yasuko Kuroi (Sekonic Product Manager) was quoted at a recent trade show “We are very excited to work with Rotolight and we are honored to be an important part of helping to create better lighting systems”. Sekonic is focused on developing future Photo/CINE/Video products including the recently released C-7000 SpectroMaster for industrial color analysis and monitoring.
For over 60 years, Sekonic Corporation, Tokyo, Japan has designed and manufactured the most innovative and sophisticated light measuring instruments in the photographic and Cine/Video industry. From our first meter in 1951 to our most recent release of the C-700 spectrometer, Sekonic has been on space shuttle missions and in studios around the world helping to create amazing images. Our commitment to meet and exceed the demands of the professional and their expectations continues with vigorous passion today. Visit us at www.sekonic.com
Rotolight, based in Pinewood Studios, UK, are a leading manufacturer of award winning on-camera, studio and location LED lighting systems for photography, broadcast and cinematography. Rotolight’s products are regularly used on blockbuster motion pictures and are in high demand by discerning professionals worldwide. Together, our passion for innovation and excellence plus our relentless quest for accurate color, quality and consistent performance, is what sets us apart. Rotolight has recently created some of the most talked about products in the Industry, and we intend to keep delivering inspirational products that help our customers’ creativity blossom, …products that will change the industry forever. Visit us at www.rotolight.com
(cover photo credit: snap from Rotolight)