why to use led video lights

 An LED light produces almost no heat at all making it comfortable for you and your subject. They produce an excellent color balance for either 3200k or 5600k temperatures and, at the same time, they are dimmable without affecting the color temperature.

Another advantage is that most LEDs have an exceptionally long lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. Depending upon their placement, they are excellent for close up interviews without creating hard or distracting shadows, especially when using a diffuser.

F & V has produced a light weight, camera mountable LED light in the Z96. The HDV-Z96 is fairly small at 5" x 1.77" x 3" and weighs only 6 ounces without the 5 AA regular or rechargeable batteries that power it. Without the white diffusion or yellow color filters that come with it the Z96 light produces a very clean and natural color at 5600k.

All LED lights are fairly directionless; their light tends to have an even throw, preventing shadows and harsh contrasts. This characteristic, however, is not always what you may want as there may be times when shadows are an important part of the ambience you are trying to create. Thus, LED lights are wonderful to have but are not necessarily the type of light you will need for all occasions. Additionally, there is a greater light 'fall off' as you move the light further away from your subject. The diffused nature of any LED light shortens the throw of the light itself. With a shortened throw comes the need for even more power output. The rule of thumb here is that you need to literally double the light output when moving the light from a distance of 3 feet from your subject to 6 feet and quadruple the light output from 6 to 12 feet. Clearly, a small cam mounted LED like the Z96 will not have the power output to satisfy your lighting needs in this type of situation.

However, for run and gun filming, close up interviews and hidden fill light needs, I found the Z96 to be superior to other small LED lights I have used. You can use the Z96 almost all day without the batteries going dead on you, they run cool, maintain a consistent color and will deliver that softness to your subject's facial features that makes for a good interview. It's build quality feels sturdy to hold, the two diffusers are solid, and even the back power dimmer knob is built in to the rear side for easy adjustments. What's more is that the F&V Z96 is both compact and lightweight and won't take up too much room in your gear bag. There is no tool that will fit all needs, however, you will find that the Z96 LED light will fit many of them just as you hoped it would.

(from Steve Douglas)