A Large, Portable LED That You Can Carry Anywhere? Heck yeah.
Once upon a time owning large video lights was only possible for a select few who could afford and house them, but today with cost-effective, portable and powerful LED lights pretty much anyone can have them in their filmmaking gear arsenal.
LED lighting is now ubiquitous on every sized production whether that's a Hollywood feature film or a DIY YouTube video. And a large reason for that are that smaller companies like Falcon Eyes, Aputure and others have really democratized buying and owning these lights.
To put it another way, now everyone has access to high-end lighting at low-budget costs.
Now of course this can be relative to your resources and needs, but these lights are in the hundreds of dollar range versus similar high-end lights costing thousands of dollars.
Case in point... I have been testing the updated 24" Roll-Flex LED from Falcon Eyes. It's the RX-24TDX II and it's a great LED. I mention it's updated and it is from the light with the same name minus the II. I did a review of it a few years ago and I still use that light all the time.
Here is the review of the first version of the light (much of it is still the same, but there are differences which I'll get to in a moment)...
And here is my overview (it's not really a review) of the new and improved version II of the light (btw, this is not your typical review video - it's an "ASMR style" overview focusing on the natural sounds only as I setup and use the light - it has no voiceover or music)...
So both of these lights are great and I do recommend either, but here are the main differences:
The great thing about this light is how portable it is and that now includes the bag. Everything just rolls up (or drops in) and and fits perfectly in a small bag that you could easily carry on a plane or toss in your trunk. The original light came with a soft case that was much larger and not as well-made. It also didn't have a great fit for everything once it was originally taken out. In other words, it felt like a suitcase you pack on a trip that everything fits fine on the way there... But when you come home the same stuff doesn't fit anymore. This new bag is excellent and makes the entire setup much more user-friendly.
The new version has a better build quality. It feels more robust and adds IPX8 waterproofing to the LED panel. Nice touch if you're working outside and it starts to rain or just better for wear & tear, but of course always be careful mixing electricity and water.
The control box has been redesigned and adds DMX compatibility (for controlling or programming the light remotely). The new look and feel is nicer and slimmer and the controls are simpler to use, too.
The new light adds Lighting Effects, which is nice even if I don't use these very often, but great to have nonetheless. These include: Lightning, TV screen, Candle, Paparazzi, Strobe, High/Low Beam (headlights), Hazard Lights & Breathing.
Both of the models are bi-color & dimmable and they both come with a softbox and grid, which are great and I routinely use. And they're both very portable as the LED panel actually rolls up and can be used like that or flattened out depending on what you're shooting.
So why should you get one of these instead of say an Aputure 120d II? Well, that ends up being a subjective call in some respects as they can both serve very well as soft key lights, but for me the Aputure is really more of a "studio" light. Meaning I would leave that setup versus carrying it around on jobs. Can you carry it? Sure. And I've carried large and heavy lights a lot - in the past especially (think tungsten ARRI kits).
But today I much prefer using smaller setups and less gear (depending on the job of course) and so these lighter, portable Falcon Eyes systems are more appealing to me, especially when I'm traveling.
However, even in my studio I prefer these too and here's why... Like many folks who do YouTube I have a home studio setup with limited space (mine is actually in a shed), and so not only are these LEDs lighter, buy they're also very thin even with the softbox attached (which is what I recommend for shooting on-camera style shots for sure). The Aputure softbox setups are huge and can be very bulky often requiring lots of room. This setup is sleek by comparison and I actually hang it on a rail I mounted to the wall (see image below).
Don't get me wrong, the Aputure lights are very popular for a reason - they're great and I use them. But the Falcon Eyes are excellent too - and if you're like me and have limited space AND you want a very portable setup - then I think they are in many ways the better option.
If interested, you can get one from Amazon here.
But what do you think? Let me know if the comments below or hit me up on YouTube or Twitter.
Also, what did you think of the "ASMR style" overview of the new light? I enjoyed making that and will likely do more in the future (and incorporate recording it in stereo too). Just something different as I can get bored making the same old style review videos. :)