NAB 2015 was certainly flush with new releases as just about any year, with new 4K cameras coming in left and right, however new lighting solutions especially utilising LED technology made quite the impact as well. Litepanels have been a driving force in LED adoption in the last few years and with their Astra 1×1 LED panel, introduced last year, they really solidified the presence of LED lights in professional video productions from corporate jobs, to music videos, documentaries and broadcast work.
The original Astra 1×1 Bi-Colour has been a very popular LED light, and this year Litepanels expanded their 1×1 Astra family with the addition of the EP and E series.
In the video below, Steve Gladstone from B&H Photo & Video, talked to Alan Ipakchian from Litepanles about the company’s new Astra series of LED lights, which has been expanded from the original 1×1 panel to now include a total of seven lights that offer different light output and price points to satisfy just about any budget.
In addition to the original Astra 1×1 Bi-Colour model, there are now daylight-only and tungsten-only versions that offer four times the brightness. There are also E and EP 1×1 models, with the E as bright as the original Astra and the EP twice as bright. Both the E and EP are available in bi-color or daylight-only versions. All of the Astra-series lights feature full dimming control, flicker-free operation, and can take advantage of a host of available accessories, including battery plates and filters that can bend and shape the native 45-degree beam angle from 30 to 60 degrees.
“The response the filmmaking community had to the launch of the ASTRA 1×1 Bi-Color panel last year exceeded our expectations,” said Alan Ipakchian, Product Marketing Manager for Litepanels. “The time, effort, research and development of the ASTRA has produced a panel that once again revolutionizes the use of LED fixtures for the creation of professional content. We’ve created expansions to the line that offer a variety of intensity levels and price points, making the ASTRA available to everyone. Whatever your requirement, Litepanels has the perfect fixture to fit your needs and budget. And with the modular approach we’ve taken, your gear, accessories and lighting style can grow with you.”
All of the ASTRA panels are designed with select premium quality surface mount LEDs that are paired with custom designed TIR (total internal reflection) optics. Both the new 1×1 EP and 1×1 E series offer a Bi-Color fixture, allowing users to adjust color from daylight to tungsten as needed. An internal microprocessor monitors the temperature and delivers smooth dimming from 100 percent to zero with no noticeable color shift, as well as ensuring a completely flicker-free performance at any frame rate or shutter angle.
The new ASTRA series employ a modern, modular design. The manual controls are ergonomically designed to allow for ease of use in the field, ensuring easy identification and manipulation of dimming controls, color controls, and power status. The panels are all produced with aluminium I-beam core construction to provide maximum durability and superior thermal management, and also feature strong, integrated aluminium accessory mounting points and lens/filter rails.
All ASTRA fixtures offer an extensive list of features, including a curved yoke design with a wide tilt range, dual integrated cable guides, and a combination yoke mounted power supply with a 3-pin XLR locking power connector and optional Gold Mount or V-Mount battery plates. The yoke also features a removable TVMP connector and additional ¼-20 mounting points.
Here’s a more in-depth video about the benefits of the Litepanels 1×1 Astra Bi-Colour
“At Litepanels, we’re always striving to deliver to filmmakers,” noted Ipakchian. “With the introduction of the new ASTRAs, Litepanels is now bringing the most advanced LED technology to content creators in all segments of the industry. Once people get their hands on these fixtures – which are sturdy, high-output fixtures packaged in a lightweight, flexible form factor – they’re not going to want to light without them.”
The ASTRA 1×1, ASTRA 1×1 EP and ASTRA 1×1 E series have taken the place of Litepanels’ original 1×1 panels, introduced almost a decade ago, and are now available worldwide. A good LED 1×1 light makes for a great key light in interview situations and for documentaries and corporate work where an interview is a key component of the job, having at least one decent LED 1×1 in your kit will not only make your life a bit easier, but also get you portable, efficient, cool and dependable light source.
The original Astra 1×1 is expensive and may not be suited to a smaller one-man band operation, but the new EP and E series are here to solve that. I am definitely considering picking up one of the more budget friendly Astra options for my kit.