One of my new favorite lights to have on set is a 2′ Quasar Science LED tube lamp. DPs have been waiting for units like this for years: a simple light that can be switched accurately from 3000ºk to 5600ºk, takes almost no power, it can be dimmed up and down without changing color temperature, and most importantly it’s soft and lightweight. It’s quite literally my lightsaber.
Obviously, there are a lot of LED companies out there building a bunch of cool new lighting systems and even coming up with new ways to update and retrofit older lights we love, but when it comes to good quality and consistent color temperature LED tubes, these guys got it figured out. I always have at least one on set. I grab a kino-clip and a hand dimmer and I can stick it anywhere to add an eyelight or a kick in a tight space. Unlike LiteRibbon, you don’t have to deal with making your own casing or power adapters. But even more than that, you don’t have to worry about makeshifting any diffusion options. The milk-glass sheathing on the Quasar tube is great and sends off a similar effect to 250 diffusion.
It’s funny, 3 years ago I would have told you I’d never use LEDs in my main lighting package and certainly never when shooting film! Well, I have definitely gotten over that “old school” purist mentality after using some of the great LED systems that have come out in recent years, i.e. Arri, TheLite, Cineo and more. And yes, I’ve even used them on film (and it worked out great). Never say never? LED technology has advanced in both color rendition and output intensity over the years and from what I’ve seen, it’s not stopping any time soon.
I have the original version of the Quasar lamp so the only switch I have is a toggle that changes the lamp from the Tungsten strip to the Daylight strip. The updated models now have a fader built into the housing, allowing mixture of the color temps as well as an overall dimmer for intensity, and it comes with its own hardware.
I shot a little music video for a friend using just the Quasar tubes. I think we had three 2’ tubes total.