Let there be light!
Climbing up a hill to get some wide shots of a valley are the moments when I really start to embrace this little camera. Thinking about how arduous this ascent would’ve been with my (heavy) Sony F5 and the accompanying (heavy) Sachtler tripod makes me forget all the little FS5-related problems. I happily filmed my UHD pans and tilts across the valley in Cine1 instead of S-Log3 and hiked down the hill on that steep, muddy, icy path. Well balanced with my Miller tripod in one hand and the camera in the other, I didn’t slip or fall. Yeah, I was shooting another news report yesterday…
One of the tools that I tried out for the very first time is my new micro-headlight, the Aladdin Eye-Lite Bi-Color. I have to admit, the first time that I heard about this little gadget was on the blog newsshooter.com. Unfortunately, the they didn’t go much into detail about the Eye-Lite, so I thought I might share my experience as it’s pretty hard to find some useful information online about it.
Clear to see, it’s really tiny, which makes it fit the FS5 so well:
Usually, I am working with the powerful Litepanels Croma, but it makes this tiny camera feel so clunky when mounted on the hot-shoe. It was about time to search for an alternative for all of those “field ENG” shoots where a proper light setup is out of the question, yet a “torch” to cast some glow into the eyes or light up those dark corner comes in handy.
The Aladdin Eye-Lite Bi consists of 20 LED elements. Two dials on the side enable us to set the color temperature anywhere between 3000 and 6000 Kelvin (hence “Bi”) and to power on / set the intensity of the light output. An on-board li-ion battery, which can be charged via USB, keeps the Eye-Lite running for about 2 hour, and the respectable CRI (Color Rendering Index) value of 97 Ra proofs that we’re dealing with a high quality product.
What really surprised me was how incredibly well the Eye-Lite fits on the FS5:
When mounted via a standard cold-shoe adapter screwed into the convenient 1/4″ thread on the bottom of the light (the previous fixed-color temperature models required a clamp) it is small enough to allow unhindered adjustments of the (front-mount) LCD screen.
In case you need a light source without sacrificing the hot-shoe mount, other solutions to mount the lil’ fella can be found.
With a runtime of up to 2 hours, the built-in battery definitely won’t “keep the bonfire burning” for a long day of shooting, which is why I had to find an alternative source of power. As mentioned in earlier blog posts, I only run my FS5 with batteries that offer an external power out. Both the Sony BP-U60T and my beloved Hawk Woods BP-75UX have Hirose outs. Another Hawk Woods product, the i-PW2, conveniently converts 14.4V down to 5V regulated USB out, which is ideal for plugging in the Eye-Lite Bi via a standard USB>MicroUSB cable.
To demonstrate how powerful this little light source can be, here’s a quick comparative shot taken in a dimly lit cellar:
Relative to its size and power requirements, the Aladdin Eye-Lite Bi-Color is an increbly capable contender for news-gathering jobs under uncontrolled light conditions. I was definitely happy to have it with me on yesterday’s job, from now on it belongs into my camera bag. Doesn’t take up much space anyway…