Before LED lights hit the scene, tungsten was the only affordable option. And even then, it wasn’t all that affordable. The specialized cinema equipment cost money and electricity.
But this is 2023, and LED has paved the way for affordable lighting. For our Deals of the Week, we found three brands to get your scene lit and gripped.
The amaran series from Aputure has been a boon for budget creatives all over the world. Not only are its lights powerful, but they cost a fraction of what other companies (even Aputure) are charging. What makes Aputure lights stand out from the competition is the Sidus Link app. This connects every light they make with your smartphone or tablet. While other companies also have apps like this, Sidus Link has been a hit with creatives, giving Aputure the edge and putting them at the top of our list.
he amaran 200x Bi-Color Monolight is a perfect example. It pumps out 51,600 lux at 3.3′ when using the included reflector all while offering 2700 to 6500K and a CRI/TLCI rating of 95. The monolight line also comes in daylight only with a bit more output and is a cheaper, less powerful option with the 100x and 100D. While there were some sacrifices made to keep the price low, such as build quality, the light you get for the price is unmatched in the LED world.
If you want something even cheaper that can fit into any nook and cranny, the amaran 60d Monolight is a must. Not only is it extremely compact, but pumps out 45,100 lux at 3.3′ when using the included reflector. The amaran COB 60x bi-color version provides an expansive color temperature of 2700 to 6500K with an impressive CRI rating of 96. If there’s one light you need in your kit, it’s this one. Especially if you’re working in tight spaces.
A competitor to Aputure, Nanlite has also put out some great lights at an affordable price. The company also has a monolight-style fixture, but it pumps out a bit more light than Aputure’s amaran series. You must look into Aputure’s LS line to get equivalent output.
The Nanlite Forza 720 is a beast of a light. The 720D is a daylight-only fixture that pumps out 124,000 lux when using the included reflector. For bi-color, the 720B is reduced to 84,460 lux but offers a nice color temp range of 2700-6500K. It’s also well-built and should handle most production environments.
While Aputure has now ventured into tube light, Nanlite has been doing it for a bit longer. The Nanlite PavoTube II runs on an internal, rechargeable battery that gives you 1.5 hours of runtime at full power while being completely untethered. The PavoTube II 30x comes in a length of 4′ and has T12 compatibility, making it an efficient solution for both photo and video lighting. If you need to fit into smaller spaces, the PavoTube II 15x comes in at 2′.
To get all these lights gripped and ready to shoot, you need some stands. While there are many types of stands, the two you absolutely need for your production are a standard light stand and a C-Stand.
The Avenger Turtle Base C-Stand with Grip Arm comes in at 9.8′ and features a detachable “turtle” base that can be removed for easier transport. A 3-section column with 2 risers gives you a maximum height of 9.8′, while the detachable “turtle” base is easily removed for ease of transport. For added versatility, a light head can be mounted to the base directly with the aid of a stand adapter.
When a C-stand isn’t right for the job, this 8′ Avenger Roller Stand 17 with a folding base is your answer. It’s heavy-duty with chrome-plated, steel, and aluminum alloy support and features a low base for extra stability, braking wheels, two risers, and a 5/8″ Baby stud. It will support up to 26.5 lb and fold up for transport and storage.