Lowel Prime Location LED light
Lowel, one of the most trusted names in lighting, has entered the LED arena with two versions of the Prime Location LED light―tungsten and daylight. Whichever model you choose, you have the dependability and longevity of the Light Emitting Diode.
Packaged in a 10.5-pound unit, the Lowel Prime Location is one well-made unit. With a list price of $2,150, you have dimmable heatless control of a daylight or tungsten source. The benefits of LED technology is that it generates almost no heat, so an LED can be in close proximity to the talent without causing discomfort; it may be dimmed without changing the color temperature; the lifespan is estimated at 50,000 plus hours; and you still have the bright output without a large power draw. Reviewing the daylight model, the unit produces roughly 6,000 lumens (358 foot-candles) of light and only draws 82 Watts of power.
Another plus is that DC also powers the Lowel Prime Location. Choose either the V-Lock or the Gold Mount battery plate and use your Anton/Bauer batteries to provide DC- powered illumination on location.
Because of Lowel’s IP-65 weather rating, the lights can now be in the same unpleasant environment as most cameras. Reasonable exposure to dust, dirt, humidity and drizzle are no problem, although it’s hard to imagine leaving any production equipment out in a slashing rain storm.
These noiseless lights (no fan is needed) can be tilted to provide illumination in the right places with only a 12 x 16-inch footprint. The tilt frame has a socket to mount the light on a standard light stand or other standard mounting fixture.
The back of the unit has a large LED display with soft, touch-sensitive up/down arrow icons to raise or lower the illumination percentage. The battery plate rests in the middle, and power switch is on the immediate right. Directly below is the AC input, as well as an additional input for bridging lights.
DeSales University student Mariette Aungst adjusts the Lowel Prime Location LED Light on a location shoot.
As I have mentioned before, LED lighting is the future. You now have the power, punch and output of an incandescent lamp with cool operation and a very small energy demand. The only downside to an LED light is its falloff.
Close to the subject you have a perfect light, the farther you move away, the lower the illumination on the talent. LED panels such as the Lowel Prime Location were meant to be close-proximity lights.
Wanting to see if I can shoot an entire project with just LED lighting, I chose Lowel’s Prime Location Daylight LED light. Whether indoors or out, daylight lighting is more controllable, as you can always fit the unit with a color temperature orange (CTO) gel if you desire a little warmth. To make life easier, a built-in gel holder comes with the light.
Our first test before the location shoot was to see exactly how fast the light did fall off as the fixture was moved farther from the talent. Armed with a foot-candle meter, I wanted to see if the specifications chart was the same as real world usage.
At a distance of three feet from the talent, setting the LED at 100 percent output, the specs chart had the output at 358 foot-candles―pretty bright. Moving the light to six feet lowered the number to 91 fc, 44 fc at nine feet, and 30 fc at 12 feet.
Jessica Brotherton, a student at DeSales University, poses under the light on a location shoot.
Duplicating the set-up in a restaurant, with the Lowell Location Prime as the only source of illumination, I got the following numbers: 420 foot-candles at three feet, 285 fc at six, 190 fc at nine, and 175 fc at 12 feet. Much brighter at the three-foot mark, and the falloff was not as sharp as I expected. At 12 feet, I still had 175 foot-candles, whereas the specs had it at 30. Plus, there will be ambient light in the restaurant.
As an aside, I have used the same restaurant for several of my class shoots and they always get a little nervous when I bring in the big HMIs or the larger tungsten Fresnels. To the bystander they look more interesting, but to the restaurant owner they produce a lot of heat, consume too much power, and take forever to cool. Building owners much prefer LED lights.
In our scenario, the key light was placed to the talent’s right and dimmed to 74 percent to mimic the ambient restaurant illumination. A white piece of foam core was placed to her immediate left acting as a bounce source for fill lighting. Needing a backlight to separate the talent from the background, I chose an LED Fresnel light to illuminate her hair. All our lighting requirements pulled 125 Watts, generated no heat, and looked great.
With a short allotted time in the restaurant, we needed to be packed up and out quickly. Not having to wait for the lights to cool immediately after the shoot, we packed everything up right away. Don’t you love technology?
Some may also say that LED lighting is flat. It can be, if you place the unit directly in front and flood it at 100 percent. Simply moving the light off center to the right or left provides modeled illumination that is less flat and more flattering.
MORE INFO MODEL: Lowel Prime Location LED Light
LIST PRICE: $2,150
In several different environments throughout the project, the Location Prime LED did an outstanding job providing cool illumination with a miserly power consumption. Dimmed to simulate candlelight or used as a fill source in the bright outdoors, the light lived up to its promise.
As with any light, it is a tool to use to achieve your desired effect. It still takes talent and knowledge, and the “look” of a flat LED light is slightly different than a Fresnel. But for close, soft lighting, the Lowel Location Prime would be hard to beat.
This is a very versatile light that exudes the benefits of LED technology. Sharp lighting falloff, and the initial price are the only obstacles.
On the positive side, once the light is purchased, you won’t be replacing the LEDs for quite a while. In addition, the saving on energy consumption may make the power company a little jealous.