Westscott Skylux LED Video Lights

Posted May. 30th, 2014 by Daniel J. Cox

I recently had the opportunity to try a new set of Westscott Skylux LED video lights that I was really impressed with. Marshall Lewis from Bozeman Camera suggested I give these a try. To oblige, Colter and I put them to good use for a couple of videos we’re producing.

The one that’s already done and can be seen above isn’t all that exciting unless you’re Jim Edwards who won the $250.00 Bose gift card. But it does show the beautiful even illumination these units can produce and shows the gorgeous video files of the Lumix GH3.

Colter behind the camera gets set to shoot the video announcing the winner of the Bose gift certificate. Yes, he's i his bare feet, on location at Locati Architects in Bozeman, Montana

Colter behind the camera gets set to shoot the video announcing the winner of the Bose gift certificate. Two Skylux lights with warming filters to light the location set. Yes, he’s in his bare feet, on location at Locati Architects in Bozeman, MT.

The absolute number one benefit to these new technological advanced LED lights is the fact they don’t get hot. I’ve shot a couple of other videos recently with the very old technology Lowel Tota-Light Tungsten Flood Lights. These were great little lights in their time. I actually used them when I worked for Grandmaison Studios clear back in 1981.

Here I'm setting up the Skylux led lights. I've removed the front reflector so the umbrella attaches more easily.  location at Locati Architects, Bozeman, Montana

Here I’m setting up the Skylux LED lights. I’ve removed the front reflector so the umbrella attaches more easily. Location at Locati Architects, Bozeman, Montana

Now you know I wasn’t kidding when I said old technology. Bounce the Lowel Tota’s into an umbrella and they put out beautiful warm, even lighting. However, don’t even think about picking them up for at least thirty minutes after you shut them down. Grab on to them any sooner and you’ll be taking a trip to the ER for third degree burns. I’m not joking. This type of light gets exceptionally hot. Not only does it get hot to the touch but when working in front of them you sweat a great deal as well. Nobody likes a sweaty model or moist looking host. Cool to the touch and no sweat work environment. You can’s beat that.

The SkyLux fired with an umbrella has a warming filter attached to the front of the light to better match the ambient  lighting in the room we were working under. Locati Architects, Bozeman, Montana

The SkyLux fitted with an umbrella has a warming filter attached to the front of the light to better match the ambient lighting in the room we were working under. Locati Architects, Bozeman, Montana

One downside to these cool running lights is price. Unfortunately the SlyLux LED’s cost over five times more than the Lowel Tota’s. Even so, I have to say if I were in the need of a good set of lights, I certainly think the extra cost of the much cooler LED’s is worthwhile. Just the safety factor alone is a worth the extra cost. I’m hopeful that as time goes on the LED’s will get more reasonable. I’m sure that’s going to happen. All LED’s are so new they really haven’t been subjected to the pressures of mass production yet. Time will help.

Westcott SkyLux LED Light Specs 

  • 5,600K Daylight Balance
  • 30 -100% Dimming
  • Multi-Voltage
  • Separate Flicker-free Ballast
  • 1,200W Tungsten Equivalent
  • 60 Degree Beam Angle
  • 50,000 Hour Lamp Life
  • High CRI of 94
  • Includes Umbrella Reflector
  • All Metal Construction

These lights can also be used for still photography but I’m not a big fan of this type of light for still photo situations. The reason is due to output/intensity of light. Yes, there are more and more people using lights of this kind for shooting still pictures. However, these lights, though fairly bright, don’t put out anywhere near the light intensity of a strobe/flash system. Flash has a lot more power that gives you the ability to shoot at very fast shutter speeds and also has the ability to stop motion due to the very quick light pulse that turns off and on so quickly. As cameras have become more able to shoot at high ISO’s, these lights are being used more frequently. They have the added benefit of giving you “what you see is what you get” type of results. Flash on the other hand is more difficult to predict.

Overall I was very pleased with these lights. With a slight filter they gave me the warmth we like to have in our videos. The quality of light was perfect from an anti-flicker perspective which is not always the case for LED’s used for video lighting. The lights themselves are fairly lightweight yet very sturdy and well constructed. I’m seriously thinking of buying at least two of the SkyLux models although that’s going to depend on how many videos we continue to do. Based on how well things area going on that front, Marshall will be renting these to me for sure and most likely getting an order for a pair in the not too distant future. Let me know if you have any questions I can answer.

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