3903 Stoney Brook Dr.
Houston, TX 77063
I Kan Light your World
Ikan Use a Fluorescent
Having a variety of lighting options is always a good thing in video production. Most videographers have experienced the burned pinkie owie, from blistering hot incandescent light instruments. So being able to extract a couple of relatively cool fluorescent fixtures is a welcome addition to any videographer’s arsenal.
The Ikan S200D is a small two 55-watt fluorescent bulb fixture that has a variety of features to make lighting in the studio or field a pleasure for the video professional.
Easy to carry and rugged aluminum construction make the Ikan S200D a great field tool. The Ikan line has foldable barndoors that have a highly reflective textured silver inner surface to intensify the source. Each flap of the doors has a strip of Velcro on the matte finish at its outside corners and is used to attach scrims to reduce spill and add to the reflective focus of the element, although the S200D we reviewed did not have these scrims.
The Ikan S200D, as all the lights in their line, is mounted on an adjustable yoke attached at each end length wise to the body. The mount has holes opposed at 90 degrees to allow horizontal or vertical attachment to a standard light stand. A heavy-duty light stand would be best suited to pairing with the S200D. A standard removable 110VAC EIA power cord, just like those that power home computers, printers, etc., supplies the power. In addition, each light has a female AC socket letting the user distribute power to other lights in series; nice feature.
Dial It In
Dimming is the best feature that any lighting instrument can have for our time and money, and the Ikan line has it at the push of a button –with numeric readout. The dimmer button system Ikan uses is especially useful for the controlled environment of the studio. Documenting dimmer settings in an Ikan equipped studio can help you quickly return to lighting setups from prior sessions –provided warm up time and bulb life are taken in to consideration. Although we did not have occasion to use it, the S200D we reviewed also came with DMX capability and I/O connectors on the body for series hook up and valuable automation control. If you don't need this feature, the standard S200 will run you about $50 less.
We used the S200D in a studio equipped with a mixture of Kino Flo fluorescents and traditional Bardwell McAlister Fresnels on the grid. Shooting a handsome, yet aging Country star from the 50's for a CD promotion, the availability to cast soft adjustable up light key and fill was a must. The talent had a few square yards of area that could be used so even light disbursement while controlling spill was important. We had the Ikan S200D as well as a Kino Flo Diva 200 diffused with medium frost gels. Both lights have adjustable dimmers; the Ikan with its graduated digital readout and the Diva with its rotary potentiometer. Since the shoot lasted several days, with the Diva taking periodic trips to the field, getting back to as close a lighting setup as possible was made much easier by balancing the returning Diva to the preset of the Ikan S200D. Kind of made us all say, "huh, that's nice to have". One observation though, the Ikan returns to its full setting when powered up after shut down, so the settings must be documented or lost. There is also quite a bit of spill from the back and sides of the barn doors. While there are scrims available that attach to the front ends of the doors (which we did not have to review), they would not reduce the significant amount of spill from the back edge of the barn doors. We did also notice that at the lowest digital dimmer setting the Ikan S200D showed significant oscillation of light intensity (which may have been a function of the electrical and electronics present in the studio) and turned off if left at this lowest point. The light source did, however, become stable a few cents above zero of the 100 increment scale. All in all we very much liked the performance of the Ikan S200D and would welcome it as a permanent resident in the studio.
Cloudy day outdoor commercial production is in many ways easier than shooting in harsh full sun. But late afternoon and low diffused light can be problematic as well. We used the S200D to augment available light on a cloudy day shooting talent for a factory spa commercial. The S200D with proper white balance performed as a nice warm key without any color correction. Mixing light temps? Whatever works. The S200D had to be very close to the subject to create the intensity and do its job but looked great and did not fluster the amateur talent overly with its brightness. Plus, when the shoot ended and rain looked likely, the S200D was in the vehicle in minutes, not scorching the upholstery. Sure, keep those Fresnels handy, but add an Ikan fluorescent and you won't be sorry.
Bulb Types; 2 x 55W Single Ended Fluorescent Tubes – included (55/32-930)
Accessory Mount; Velcro strips
Mounting; 1-1/8″ Junior Pin, 5/8″ Baby Socket, adjustable yoke
Total Weight; 12.2 lbs.
Sturdy construction and a great adjustable fluorescent light source
Bruce Coykendall is an Audio/Video Production