‘Select’ is a new range of variable colour LED lights from Kino Flo, and there can’t be many cameramen who don’t get excited by a new light from Kino Flo!
The Select 30 DMX is a 3ft version, which should be available to buy from February, and we’re told a smaller 2ft model, the Select 20 DMX, will be launched soon after. Hopefully everyone will get to see and try both models at the forthcoming BVE show in February. Recently, we had the larger Select 30 DMX to test, and were able to work with it on ‘real world’ interviews during an awards ceremony. The light was kindly provided by Cirro Lite, who are European distributors and close Kino Flo partners in the UK.
Many cameramen will be pleased to see that these new LEDs look surprisingly similar to the traditional Kino Flo fixtures we all know and love. With the ballast mounted onto the rear of the lamp, you’d be forgiven to think this was a Diva 400, which is no bad thing, as anyone with Diva lights will testify. As you’d expect, the light looks very well made and we’d have no worries that it would survive being thrown about in the back of a crew vehicle. The Select 30 is light (at about 5.5Kg) and quick to set up. We were told that the removable ball mount has been upgraded, but as we’d never had any issues with the old one, we didn’t really notice. However, they’ve now cut a groove in the ball socket so that the panel can hang tighter to a traditional stand.
The 150LED controller/ballast is the same unit on both the Select 30 and the smaller Select 20. You can unclip this controller from the back of the light fixture and operate it separately on an extension cable. Both lighting kits come complete with a 25ft extension cable which makes for a very flexible set-up in tight spaces, especially as operated like this, the lamp head is only 3 inches wide. For anyone who travels, the good news is that the controller will run on anything from 100-240VAC and even 24V DC… so 2x V-Lock batteries should keep the larger Select 30 running on full power for around an hour, which considering the light output, is very impressive. Both DMX and Lumen radio receivers are built into the 150LED controller so it’s easy to use these lights with remote dimmers / colour control, even wirelessly. However, this is probably aimed at a different market than the solo cameraman.
What is of interest to all of us, is the quality of light… and this is one of the Kino Flo Select’s real strengths. As well as full variable colour control from 2700K to 6500K the light also has and independent green/magenta control. This allows you to match the particular colour sensitivities of individual camera sensors. Anyone who’s struggled with skin tones on some of the newer large sensor cameras will find this function particularly useful. Being able to look at your monitor, while easily dialling out the green or magenta, is quite magical.
LED technology has clearly improved over the last couple of years. Apart from the colour accuracy, the Select lights are very very bright. We used the 30 as a key on our interviews and dialled in no more than 20%. We also found no colour shifts when dimming the Select, a well known problem on many LED lights. There’s coarse and fine adjustment of the dimmer control from 100% to 0.2% and the light remains soft and white throughout the whole range.
Surprisingly, on a light this bright, there was virtually no spill. Is this the holy grail of a directional soft light? The black honeycombe louver worked really well, with almost nothing radiating from the sides… a common problem for those used to florescent tubes, black wrap and flags. It’s a delight to be able to effectively just point this soft light at your source.
The Select has a lovely quality of light, it folds beautifully around the subject. It’s soft and flattering to the interviewees we filmed. In many ways, the quality of the light output reminded us of the more expensive Kino Flo Celeb… and that’s very impressive in a lamp fixture more familiar to owner operators than studio installations.
The Select 30 DMX model should be available from February for around £2,500, which some may feel is a little bit on the pricey side, however, if the light is going to be in your kit for the next 10 or 20 years, it could turn out to be a great investment. If the Select 20 sells for a little less, then it’ll probably be a very popular choice for many owner operators.
Steve’s verdict: A well built, versatile light that will make your clients very pleased when they see the results. Price is at the top end. 4 out of 5 coffee cups
Paul’s verdict: I really love the soft quality of this white light. Personally, I think two of the smaller Select 20’s would be more useful to me than one large Select 30, but I’ll certainly be buying one of them! 5 out of 5 coffee cups.