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knotawake

Best video lights for travel?

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Hello

Getting back to air travel hopefully soon. Was wondering what the best video lights are out there for travel. Highest power/lightest. I just found a old set of MLS 400 watt lights with canister lead acid batteries. LOL. I have others, but I don’t think that would be an upgrade. Also need to be able to go deep.

also found a AUL one too.

 

thanks mike

 

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Everything is LED and Li-Ion batteries these days, so anything that's brighter with the same battery will have a shorter runtime, and anything with more runtime will be heavier. If some manufacturer is claiming brightness/runtime figures well above the competition, they're either lying or not telling the whole story - for example, they may be using cheap linear drivers that cause the brightness to drop off as the batteries discharge. Sure, this extends runtime, but you'll only get the advertised output (assuming they hadn't lied on that either, which many do) during the first few minutes of operation.

Keldan is pretty much the highest quality currently available, but they're priced to match. SUPE/Scubalamp is a popular budget choice; I see their V6K/V6K Pro quite a lot. Big Blue is heavily advertised, but test show them not quite reaching claimed performance figures, especially as the batteries discharge. Cheap Chinese no-name lights from Aliexpress/Ebay are hit or miss - they may perform decently, or may die quickly. Don't pay any mind to the brightness numbers quoted on those; they have a very tenuous relationship with reality.

Just about everything sold these days is rated for 100m depth. If you need to go deeper than that then you may need specialized gear.

Keep in mind that for air travel, maximum size battery pack allowed on a plane is 99Wh. You can carry multiple packs or loose batteries exceeding that total capacity, but not any single pack that is larger. All Li-Ion batteries must be carried in the plane's cabin, you cannot check them in.

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Don't know what the MLS lights are, if you are talking watts they are probably quartz-halogen.  LEDs have well surpassed the older quartz halogen lights.  The equivalent of a 50 watt downlight in QH draws about 8-9 watts - about 20% or less of the current draw.  You would be looking for 8-15,000 lumen range lights to have enough light for video. The better quality lights will also often have better CRI and potentially wider or more even beams.

As far as batteries go, Li-ion is your lightest option for any given power.  The other difference will be in controls with available brightness levels and how easy it is to set the level you want..  Some lights are easy others require you to remember button push sequences.

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Posted (edited)

I agree with Chris.  8,000 lumen would be the minimum, and that’s 2 of them. I recently purchased a pair of Kraken Sports Hydra 8000 WRGBU Video Lights and they are great lights, but only light the reef about 1-2 meters in front of the camera at full power. Don’t get me wrong, I love these lights but 2x8,000 lumen is just not enough light without lots of ambient light and good color balance. If I were to buy video lights again I would buy the most powerful and highest quality light I could afford. 

Edited by UWPics

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Keldan 4x without question. You can also get the cyan "Spectrum" filters for them which, when used with Keldan's "Ambient" filters on your lens, can produce beautiful ambient color. The idea is that you hate balance through the red filter, then convert your light source to something similar to the ambient light color underwater. Keldan is the only company I'm aware of that offers a light filter and camera filter that are designed to work in combination.

Here's a really good rundown of the mixed light issue from Florian Fischer.
 

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On 3/31/2022 at 10:15 PM, UWPics said:

I agree with Chris.  8,000 lumen would be the minimum, and that’s 2 of them. I recently purchased a pair of Kraken Sports Hydra 8000 WRGBU Video Lights and they are great lights, but only light the reef about 1-2 meters in front of the camera at full power. Don’t get me wrong, I love these lights but 2x8,000 lumen is just not enough light without lots of ambient light and good color balance. If I were to buy video lights again I would buy the most powerful and highest quality light I could afford. 

Kraken has the 15k lumen version and it's only $200-300 more per light, but appear to be twice as heavy/big.  And you still won't have enough juice to light a reef in bright conditions.  I've been making 2m distance reef videos with a few 4k lumen lights for a while and it's good enough for amateur video.  None of us can realistically carry around the kind of lighting that a pro filmmaker crew would use.

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