by Douglas Jackson
On previous shoots I’ve found LED light panel kits to be underpowered, lacking color accuracy, or too fragile for any serious travel. In short, I felt nostalgic for the old school Arri Fresnel Light Kit. But then I would remember what it is like to travel with them (they are big and heavy), that they’re tungsten balanced and need to be gelled for outdoor use, and that while using them, you’re tethered to a power cable. In short, they’re great for studio use but are not the best choice for for most location shoots. I was left wondering, “If only someone could pair the ruggedness and dependability of Arri Fresnel Light Kits with the promise of LED panels…” That’s when I decided to give the Ikan Mylo Bi-Color LED 3 Light Kit a try.
One of the most challenging aspects of being a freelance videographer is traveling with the right gear. Especially when I’m flying without an assistant to shoot photo or video of a client on location, I need my gear to be
- mobile: battery powered and lightweight
- flexible: adjusts to a variety of lighting situations
- powerful: it needs to be just as effective indoors as well as outdoors.
As I found out on my latest shoot, the Ikan Mylo Kit hits everything check on my checklist. It allowed me to stay mobile, flexible, all while still having enough power. Now let’s take a closer look at just how the Ikan Mylos made my shoot a breeze.
With the Ikan Mylos, I have enough power to use LED panels outdoors in the shade, without being tethered to a power cable. That is certainly a first for me. Arriving on location, I didn’t expect to shoot outside but I was prepared for it. Standing in for a test you can see how much green/reflected light fell on me – all of this was coming from direct sunlight bouncing off grass in the front yard with additional light coming in from the trees. With a quick 3 point setup (key, fill, hair light) you can see how easy it is to knock down the green light and hit the subject with a clean white light (5600K) that separates me from the background and allows us to see an accurate skin tone and hair texture.
Here’s a test shot before setting up the lighting:
And after the Mylos were set up:
The Mylo’s color can easily be changed with the turn of a dial allowing me to able to set the lights for daylight—a very accurate daylight at that. This accuracy is measured in Color Rendering Index (CRI) of which the Mylos are rated at 96—very high. Below you can see a spectral graph of a high CRI LED compared with the CRI of a typical compact fluorescent light (CFL). For comparison purposes, CFLs are a type of bulb most people now use in their home light fixtures. If using a poor quality light source like a compact fluorescent with a low CRI, your color will never be right. A lot of people choose to use white balance or color correction, but that still won’t achieve the same effect as a proper lighting setup. The reality is that you’re never going to see the true color of a subject’s clothing or accurate skin tones unless you start with a light source that has a high CRI rating. Don’t take a chance with cheap CFLs. Use a light source with a high CRI, like the Ikan Mylo Bi-Color LED 3 Light Kit instead.
The light stands come in a soft case small enough to use as a carry on bag. The thin, travel friendly stands are made sturdy via wide legs, and this is a good thing. The stands that typically come with other kits tend have a narrow base making them easy to knock over while being too flimsy to sandbag. But with the Mylo kit I felt comfortable enough to use the lights outdoors even without a sandbag.
All in all the Ikan Mylo is a great kit for traveling, even if shooting in the shade with midday sun as I was. I shot for several hours on one charge with lights at nearly full output. All of this is far beyond what I would have expected of LEDs years ago, but here we are. Give them a chance for your next 3 point setup, you won’t be disappointed.
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