ikan Revisits its 508 Studio LED Lights

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If the words “Studio Lights” conjure images of large, heavy fixtures permanently installed in a grid and pumping out enough heat to melt your talent, then ikan's ID508-v2 and IB508-v2 Studio Lights might just change that picture. These portable lights are at home in a studio, as well as part of a location light kit, and produce little to no heat while being powered by the included batteries or AC adapter. While the light units are similar to many on-camera lights, weighing about three pounds each, they may be a bit heavy for most operators to use on their cameras, and this probably explains why ikan designates them as studio lights.

However, even though you may wish to mount either of these lights on a camera, it is when mounted on a light stand (with the included adapter), that these lighting units really shine. Relatively small for such powerful lights, the units are simply designed, with useful features that can help you get through your production day. The units feature a sixty-degree beam spread, and analog control knob(s) for dimming. Eschewing DMX or wireless control to save on weight and size allows the units to be about an inch thick, making it easier to get close to a wall in tight quarters. The units’ light weight, for studio lights, also allows you to mount the lights in places where a large heavy fixture couldn't go, or fly the lights on a boom—great for illuminating walking shots or bringing light to unscripted action.

There are two different units in the series, the daylight-balanced ID508-v2 (D for daylight, 5600K), and the bi-color IB508-v2 (daylight/tungsten, 3200 to 5600K); however, each fixture shares the same physical dimensions and essentially the same features, with the bi-color unit featuring a color temperature adjustment knob that the daylight fixture lacks. Changes to color temperature and brightness are made by twisting knobs on the back of the lights. A built-in LCD panel displays a digital readout of the color temperature, brightness/dimming setting, and a battery gauge. This allows you to confirm the color temperature, in the case of the bi-color unit, your dimming setting, and the approximate amount of battery life remaining, so you can install fresh batteries before the light loses power during your shot. 

The digital readout of the brightness setting allows you to match the levels of multiple units, roughing in your setup, or if you take note of the dimming setting, you can go back and recreate that look if you need to do so. The light can be safely dimmed from 100% (full brightness) to 10% without flickering, and is flicker free at normal frame rates. With the bi-color units, the digital readout of the color temperature allows you to quickly and closely match multiple units without dragging out a color-temperature meter, although for precise color temperature adjustments, you might consider reading the light using either ikan's MK-350 or MK-350S meters, which are specifically designed to evaluate light emitted by LED fixtures, providing color temperature information and a whole lot more.

You can power the units by using one or two Sony-L type batteries, which are great for location use, allowing quick lighting tweaks or location changes without having to drag extension cords with you, and can be a shoot saver when filming in locations such as hotel rooms that have limited power or no access to the circuit-breaker box. You can also power the lights using the included AC adapter, which is rated for 120 volts and pulls only three and a third amps, allowing you to use four of these lights safely on a 15-amp circuit, provided nothing else is plugged into the circuit.

Each light includes adjustable intensifying barn doors, with the dimpled reflective interior surface, for spill control, and a magnetically attached diffuser screen. The ID508-v2 also includes a CTO (Color Temperature Orange) that converts the light’s output from daylight to tungsten. Note that the IB508-v2 does not include the CTO filter, as it is bi-color. 

The ID508-v2 and IB508-v2 fixtures are available as single units, or combined as a variety of two- or three-light kits in daylight or bi-color, with stands and a case, allowing you to light a studio interview space, or take your same setup with you on location. So don't let the word “studio” fool you—the lightweight design, features, and functionality of the ikan 508 Studio LED lights make them so much more useful than just hanging them in a grid. You may find them to be your go-to lights for many different projects.