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TCC & Shift 4 Kit Review – Lighting

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Light panels have become the go to light for on location. They provide flood style, wide beams of light and are low power, lightweight and portable. Shift 4 put forward 3 different models for us to review, all of a similar size but with varying specifications, outputs and price points.

Litepanels Astra 1×1 Bi-colour LED Panel Light
The Astra is a powerful LED panel light that's dimmable and has controllable white balance. It's the lightest of this pick of 3 and can be battery or mains powered.

Neill Francis – "I've used this panel on a recent shoot and it is perfect for fill light. This model is incredibly portable and can be battery powered which is very handy for a small set. It comes with a fantastic soft box and you can put on different types of diffusion to get the ideal look, including a quarter, half and full trace. I think it's a little bit disappointing that you don't get so much on the battery power (only about an hour) but you do get the punch. Overall it is a very versatile and flexible light."

Peter Cartwright – "The Astra is a great quality, mid to upper range light. Even being bi-colour its output is tremendous, which makes it versatile in what role you need it to play when lighting, the fact that it is dimmable adds to this. Shadows from it can be severe but are easily eradicated with the soft box with different traces. Although it's fan-operated, the noise levels are not really an issue."

BBS Area 48 Soft Bi-colour LED Light Panel
The Area 48 is a powerful light panel that's different to the other 2 under review as it uses LED remote phosphor interchangeable panels for changing colour temperature (there's a 3200K, 5600K and chroma blue panel available). It's fully dimmable and can be battery or mains operated.

Neill Francis – "The Area 48 seems heavier than the Astra but I like the fact that it's one big soft light (as it is remote phosphor) unlike having a lot of individual LEDs, which makes it more balanced and efficient. It also has a good set of detachable barn doors which shape the light well. This is much more punchy than the Astra and I also liked the fact you could add a blue panel for chroma key lighting."

Peter Cartwright – "I like the Area 48's interchangeable panels although if breakages occur this means it can be expensive to repair. Ultimately, they give good control over colour and temperature which is very important. The dial system is very simple to use; instead of an on-fixture dial like the Astra, the Area 48 has a more precise digital dial providing accurate output. It also has excellent shadow rendering and the silent operation means it is much quieter than other light panels."

ARRI SkyPanel S30-C
ARRI's SkyPanel series of LED soft lights are compact, ultra-bright and high quality. Colour temperature is adjustable between 2800L and 10000K and they offer plus and minus green correction, CCT control, colour selection and saturation adjustment. They're available in 30, 60 and 120 sizes, all available to hire from Shift 4. We looked at the 30.

Peter Cartwright – "The ARRI SkyPanel really shows how far the industry has come in terms of lighting technology and the panels available. The 120 is so big and powerful, yet you have immense control over the type of light it gives out. From saturation to hue, the amount of options you can choose from the digital menu at the back of it is huge."

Neill Francis – "This is not just a light, it's a super cool light! The control and punch you get from the SkyPanel is impressive which means you can get some fantastic lighting that's exactly what you envision. It is very versatile in terms of situation usage ranging from recreating daylight to an interview setup. The range of panels you have to choose from is fantastic and it is fully DMX controllable so you can control the colour and intensity all from an app on your phone. You can also use the Master/Slave mode to have one panel that controls the others and link them all up. Overall the SkyPanel delivers an incredibly professional result. Love the RGB+W feature that allows you to dial in lots of different vibrant colours."
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