Have you ever asked an LED manufacturer “how does your LED light compare to a traditional 1K tungsten light?” What answer did you get? Probably something along the lines of “marketing speak” that promised you their fixture could “light the world!” I don’t know about you, but what I really need is a frame of reference for how their LED technology relates to what I’m used to. Because I’ve been working with the Rosco Silk LED Soft Lights so much, I wanted to know the answer to this simple question: How does my Rosco Silk 210 compare to the 1K lights I’m used to working with?
To answer this question, I decided to put together my own real-world test and set up a true apples-to-apples comparison. For much of my career, I’ve used either an Arri or Mole Richardson 1K tungsten fresnel pushed through some sort of diffusion as my key light – so I set up an Arri 1K for this comparison.
I figured many of my interview setups take place on-location and are usually 5-6 feet away from my talent. I attached a medium Chimera softbox to the Arri 1K and placed it 6 feet away from myself. Here is the result:
Using this as my control, I wanted to see if I simply substituted my 1K light with Rosco’s Silk 210 LED soft light (which is already pre-diffused) in the same position, how close would the resulting image be? Well you tell me:
I feel these are pretty much spot on. If you notice the shadow and light on my face you can see it is pretty seamless.
Conversely, check out the shadow on the back wall. The shape, intensity and behavior is almost identical.
Before I did this test, I would never have thought that the Silk 210 would be a real-world replacement for my 1K tungsten fixtures. Discoveries like this are why I wanted to do the real-world test. A big surprise for me was how we we got such matching results despite the fact that the face of the Silk 210 is so much smaller than the Chimera softbox.
I find these results to be very useful. I learned that I could get the same light output needed for my key light from the Silk 210, which – when compared to the 1K – has a smaller footprint, lower power draw, MUCH less heat generation, the ability to switch between color temps and can be battery-powered. What this all means to me is that I get to work faster. Many of my jobs are seeing smaller crews (hello one-man-bands), more coverage needed in a day (hello running from location to location) and no location scouts (um, do we even have power?). This is why tools like Rosco’s Silk 210 LED soft light have become an essential part of my kit.