Color Temperature King: Lowel Blender 3 Light LED Kit Review

Shot of three videos lights from the Lowel Blender light kit

Dealing with mixed lighting situations on location can be a real head scratcher. Doing so as an individual, or very small crew, only compounds the difficulty. Find out how a set of Blenders may be the answer to your mixed lighting mysteries.

If you’re a run-n-gun shooter, you’ve surely faced some pretty tough challenges in the field. You have to achieve top quality results while remaining lightweight and portable. One of the great unknowns of this type of shooting is lighting; will the color temperature be mixed or the same? Do you need full-on three-point lighting or will a single light or two suffice? When you go from one location to the next, what lighting challenges are you likely to face and how do you carry along enough of the right equipment to overcome them?

Closeup of one Lowel Blender LED light

It was exactly for these types of situations that the Lowel Blender 3 Light LED Kit was developed. Lightweight, highly portable and able to blend any mixed color temperature situation with ease, the Blender kit is likely to become a favorite of all sorts of shooting aficionados.

What You Get

The kit measures less than two feet long, weighs 17lb. and is packed into a very handy, zippered, padded and compartmentalized bag with zip up storage in the lid portion, dual carrying handles and shoulder strap. Tucked safely away in their compartments are three Lowel Uni-stands and three Blenders, each with their own AC adapter, power cord and three different diffusion panels. Also included are three 2-pin Euro plug cables.

Impressions

Each Blender consists primarily of lightweight metal construction. It feels solid, durable and well suited for portable location lighting. Power is provided by either the included AC adapter and power cord or battery power using the optional D-tap cable. The connector for the AC adapter has two pins that line up with slots in the receptacle. Insert and twist to lock the power cable in place. Connection is made on the underside, also home to the stand attachment unit. This consists of the stand fitting and locking knob, the tilt release/lock knob and the accessory slot with locking knob. The accessory slot is handy for attaching gel frames, umbrellas and flags. The On/Off switch resides on one side.

Back of the Lowel Blender LED light with fader dials

The rear of the Blender has eight very efficient heat sink fins with a bright yellow protective rubber cover guarding their edges. Placed between the fins, with four on either side, are two vertically aligned dials for dialing in just the right color temperature mix.

Dual slots at the front of the Blender accept the included diffusion panels or a protective clear panel.

Lowel Blender LED light with diffusion screen
Diffusion may be placed in front of the clear panel or the panel may be removed to allow two diffusers to be used together for blended effects. Three different panels are included for each Blender, each with a different degree of diffusion. A yellow plastic locking tab on the top of each Blender locks the panels in place.

Behind the panels, a dual array of 12 closely spaced LED lamps sit in a honeycomb-like arrangement. Each lamp is encased in a hexagonal housing with a clear center and diffused edges. The center portion directs the greatest intensity of light straight ahead while the diffused part softens it around the edges. The color temperature of the lower bank of six LEDs is set to tungsten while the upper bank's color temperature is set to daylight. The dials on the rear are color coded, yellow for tungsten, blue for daylight, and will adjust the intensity of their respective LEDs from off to very, very bright. Perfect as singles or as three-point lighting, you can carefully adjust each dial, a little warmer here, a little cooler there, to perfectly match any mixed lighting situation.

Utility

One of the great mysteries of run-n-gun location lighting is not knowing what lighting challenges to expect. It may be all daylight, all tungsten or the dreaded mixture of both. An interview with a CEO in a typical office is likely to have fluorescents overhead and daylight streaming through a window, with an incandescent desk lamp thrown in for good measure. You can haul in rolls of color temperature gels for the window, with more for the lights, or start moving lights around, turning them on or off, closing blinds, and on and on. Or you can break out the Blenders, set them up on their lightweight stands and dial in just the right mix of color to match the available light.

You can even use them to suggest a lighting scenario that may not exist, but suits the scene well. For example, with our talent seated at a desk in our fake office scene, we can set up a three-point lighting arrangement using a Blender adjusted to daylight, as our key light, to suggest there is light coming through an open window. A second Blender set to tungsten, as our fill, will imply there is a desk lamp nearby. Setting the third Blender high above our talent as a hair light, dialed in to daylight, will suggest a second window or skylight above and behind them.

For a truly portable, cool running, highly effective, three-point lighting solution to your mixed location-lighting challenges; try out the Lowel Blender 3 Light LED Kit. It is fast, efficient, looks natural and will suit just about any lighting situation you will encounter.

Lowel Light, Inc.
www.lowel.com
$2,050

 

Tech Specs

Kit: Blender LED lights with AC adapters and power cords (3); UNI-stands (3)

Each Blender

Weight: 1.2lb. (544g)
Input Voltage: 7.2–15 VDC
Operating Amps: 1.25, 3A depending on input voltage
Wattage: 16-watt
Beam Control: Twin rotary controls for daylight and tungsten blend
Mount: 5/8” stands
Materials: primarily aluminum and plastic
Diffusion: set of three panels per light: Lite Frost, Cracked Ice, Prismatic

Each Uni-Stand

Max. Height: 7’11” (241.3cm)
Folded Length: 21.5” (54.61cm)
Max. Base Diameter: 43” (109.2cm)
Weight: 2.4lb. (1,090g)
Construction: aluminum

Strengths

  • Variable intensity
  • Ability to mix color temperatures
  • Excellent three-point lighting
  • Lightweight, compact, portable
  • Power options and low requirements
  • Nominal heat generation (may be handheld)

Weaknesses

  • Cost

 

Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

Issue: 

Mark
Holder
Thu, 11/07/2013 - 2:15pm