LED lighting is the new wave in studio and location lighting. With this technology, we no longer have to worry about the heat on the set, having to wait until the lights cooled before striking them, changing color temperature when diming, replacing bulbs frequently and high energy consumption. Litepanels Gemini Bi-color LED Soft Panel could be the perfect light to use on the set or take to your location—it is that versatile.
Considered a portable LED unit, the 22 pound Gemini Bi-Color 2x1 light is truly 2 feet across (actually 25 inches) by 1 foot high (12.5 inches). Powered by AC or DC (more on that later), you may mix daylight and tungsten color temperatures by dialing in a specific Kelvin temperature; add any Rosco or Lee gels internally without physically attaching them to the light; dim the fixture from 100 percent down to 0 percent; change the hue, saturation and intensity of a specific color; control the greens by addition or subtraction; add a fire, flashing light or strobe effect; utilize six presets for user-defined color control; and operate the unit through its built in DMX or Bluetooth control.
My students used a daylight color with a grey background for Alex.
The first thing notable about the light is its solid construction. Aluminum rather than inexpensive plastic means the Gemini is built to last. The yoke is adjustable and attaches with a female junior pin than may be converted to a baby pin for C-Stand usage rather than on a lighting grid. Drawing merely 325 W, the user has ultimate control over the light’s output.
The rear of the Gemini allows you to control all of the magic. Directly below the quiet, centralized cooling fan and slightly to the right are the Gemini’s inputs: “Mains In” and Through ports, a three pin 28-volt DC input, a male five pin DMX in and female output, and an Ethernet DMX in and out. Directly across from the Litepanels logo is a 2-inch LCD display screen that indicates: which mode you’re in; the color temperature source; the level of brightness listed as a percentage; the gel manufacturer, number and name; how the unit is controlled; the fan’s status; and AC or DC power indicator.
A row of six presets with an A/B switch allows you to activate six color temperatures (2700K, 3200K, 4000K, 5000K, 5600K and 6000K) as well as preset your own settings. Three rotary dials give you total control of: Plus or minus green and hue (push for menu access), Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) and saturation, and dimmer respectively. A green LED illuminates when the power is on when activated by the adjacent power switch.
The Litepanels Gemini was put to immediate use in our university’s TV studio. While wanting to mount it on our ceiling grid, the students preferred to have it on their level on the floor in front of one of our many backdrops.
Arriving with a yoke and junior pin meant for grid use, we adapted it for placement on a C-Stand with a junior to baby adapter. Sandbagged and powered through AC, we placed the Gemini 5 feet to the right of our talent and used a Mole-Richardson 650 W Tungsten Tweeny as her backlight to further enhance her naturally red hair. Color balanced to tungsten, we dimming the light to 35.6 percent and utilizing a Lee 147 Apricot gel, we had the desired look. Having control over the intensity of the light, as well as adding filters internally, kept our set time to a minimum and gave Nikki (our talent) the look she was after. You can see the final result here. Having access to gels greatly aids in selecting one that will flatter the talent’s skin tone.
Moving on to Alex, a student with blonde hair, we selected a cooler daylight color temperature, dimmed the light to 89.3 percent and utilized a Lee 103 Straw gel. Alex’s lighter skin tone was enhanced with the daylight balance and the addition of the slight warmth of a straw gel. Having designed the black dress, Alex wanted to showcase the design by posing against a gray backdrop. The end result may be seen here.
The Gemini may be powered by AC or DC. In the near future, the units will be available to accept either Gold or V-mount batteries. Effects like fire and flashing lights may be programmed in if those effects are desired.
LED light panels, by their design, still have a more rapid light falloff than Fresnels. Although the Gemini is extremely bright, the farther you move from your subject, the more dramatic the light loss. In our initial set-up, I used our foot-candle meter and the specifications were similar to those Litepanels publishes. Because no heat is expelled from the front of the panels, they may be moved in very close to the talent without discomfort. In our situation at 5 feet, we had to drastically lower the output. Adaptable to any situation, the Gemini would be a welcome addition to your lighting arsenal.
Summary: One light that can do anything several different lights and gels could do—but in one package. No AC, no problem.
Application: Grid mount in a studio, use it on a set, take it to your location—even if it is where no AC power is available. Programmable, so it would be indispensable to your production.
Key Features: Modular; may be grid or stand mounted; DMX and Bluetooth capable; Bi-color; dimmable, full color control over hue and saturation; built in gel mode; programmable; AC or DC operation.
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Chuck Gloman is an Associate Professor and Chair of the TV/Film Department at DeSales University. He may be reached email@example.com.