GEAR REVIEW: GVM 480 LS & 520 S LED Light Kits

Why LED Lights?

LED (Light Emitting Diode ) lights are no longer niche, inaccurate color-casting second-rate light sources. These amazing pieces of technology rival their Tungsten, HMI, and other traditional lighting-source competitors in almost ever category from power output, energy use, color accuracy, and even price. Now, that doesn't mean there aren't still advantages to traditional lights namely the years of accessories, systems, and reliability that result from incumbent industries. Still, the big reasons to have LED lights as an essential part of your video production and photography kit boils down to:

  1. Power Requirements - LEDs use substantially less power-per-watt of output. They still don't rival your huge 20k HMIs in intensity, but they're getting there. 

  2. Portability - Because the power requirements are so low, and the nature of the technology (arrays of small diodes vs giant single sources) allows companies to reimagine how lights are designed. Good luck finding a battery powered 5K tungstend fresnel that you can roll up and pack away in your backpack.

  3. Customization - The ability to more easily dial-in intensity, color temperature, and other characteristics makes for some extremely versatile products that can make themselves useful as your main lighting source, to ambient sources to create the correct atmosphere.

  4. Longevity & Value - LEDs last forever (unless you have some sort of circuitry failure). You'll never have to replace a bulb, and the lights themselves are extremely durable, especially when the manufacturer does more than wrap the LEDs in cheap plastic housing. 

How Can These Help My Video Production/Photography Work?

We touch on it in the video a bit, as well as in the points above, but the real value of these lights is there portability, and flexibility. They provide enough power output to serve as an interview kit, and have the benefit of being extremely portable. When you're on location at a client's office, or place of work, you don't always have the luxury of having ample power to push 650 watt fresnels, let alone a 2k. Not too mention LEDs run cool and help prevent handling injuries and cool-down time. 

The biggest benefits we've seen include:

  1. Increasing Prep and On-Set efficiency - Their reduced size, weight, and power requirements make our production days less stressful, make us more nimble, and less of a pain to our client's when we're on location. Plus, they have ability to sync settings and adjustments wirelessly through a master/slave functionality. It really is liberating to be able to adjust the color-temperature of one light and have your entire setup follow-suit.  

  2. Creative Freedom - Some LEDs limitations are their greatest strengths. They're easily hidden, don't draw a ton of power, and an help increase the creativity of your lighting setups for minimal cost.

  3. Repeatable Studio Setups - For our photography work, especially our small scale product work, these LEDs provide an extremely easy way to create table-top lighting setups with minimal adjustment. 

How We Use Them

Our biggest use for these LEDs is as our go-to interview kit. We know their limitations, and know their strengths, but we haven't really found an interview scenario where we haven't used them in our 6-8 weeks putting them through the ringer. 

Worth the Money?

The short answer? Yes.

The long answer? It depends on what your priorities are. We believe any studio, or videographer/creator should have at least one kit of LEDs in their arsenal, if for no other reason than as create fill/hair/rim lights for interviews. 

You can find our more about GVMs LED lights here!