17 Jul 2016

Reliable and affordable studio backlighting

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Flanders Scientific MediaLight Flanders Scientific MediaLight Flanders Scientific / RedShark News

Flanders Scientific has released a budget-friendly option for lighting your colour grading suite.

A few years ago, the Australian-based television hardware manufacturer Blackmagic Design bought one of the world's most revered and expensive colour correction packages, then released its DaVinci Resolve colour grading software as a free download. Not only did this move completely floor the establishment, Blackmagic's bold move meant that every kid with a laptop and a DSLR which could record HD video suddenly became an amateur Colorist.

Now, assuming you have 20/20 vision and you're not colour blind, assuming you have a modern, powerful workstation with one or more GPUs, plus a Decklink card installed, feeding an accurate and properly calibrated monitor, and assuming you have the experience, skill and clients willing to pay you, then maybe, just maybe you can call yourself a Colorist.

So as a qualified Colorist, you'll have a roomy suite with a comfortable client lounge and of course, a large 4K 'hero' display that you call a 'client monitor', but what about the walls of your grading room?  What colour are they? Bright orange or chartreuse? No, 18% neutral grey is popular among Colorists. Painted? Mostly, but carpet is also very popular, as it helps with sound dampening and preventing spurious reflections.

Now, what about lighting for your grading suite? For years, this has been a vexing question and popular Hollywood opinion prefers subdued daylight balanced backlighting. Fluorescent striplighting or incandescent bulbs? Well, yes, if you can find them. How about LED backlighting? I thought you'd never ask...

Finally, we have a convenient and affordable studio lighting solution, from a company that is highly respected in the industry for its very popular reference monitors, Flanders Scientific.

FSI offers a pair of 500mm long, peel & stick 6500K LED striplighting, which simply plugs into any spare USB port on the back of your monitor or TV. The FSI MediaLight also comes with an AC adapter, if USB power is not available. The twin 50cm LED strips even feature a high frequency, PWM brightness adjustment. PWM or Pulse Width Modulation is where the 'duty cycle' of the alternating current is varied, rather than the voltage amplitude, so as the LEDs dim, their colour balance does not change. At under US$40 for the MediaLight pair and boasting a CRI of 90+, they are sure to be very popular with Colorists of every caliber.


Craig Marshall

Retired freelance TV commercial and documentory producer/director/camera/editor

Website: www.HDvideo4K.com

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