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Westcott Ice Light 2 (reply moved by request)

David Bowsky
 

Hi Robert/CML,

(Reply moved at moderator request, pasted the rest of the previous messages below)

I just had a pair of these on location for a docu-series in Liberia for a little over 2 weeks.  One for each of our FS7 kits, also shooting slog3/cine3. I can't speak heavily to the their response in the specific color space, but will speak more generally about their pros/cons in the field.

They are great little lights but I found that we did not end up taking them out of the bag as often as I had thought we would.  That was likely as much a function of our small crew size and hectic pace as it was the lights themselves. I would like to have used them in more instances (like in the cast's pass van for example), but with only two of us out there and a couple of local students lacking lighting experience (but who were absolutely excellent in other areas) most of the time we just had to go with what the sun gave us.

While they are quite versatile in many ways, we found that their relatively short throw limited their usability for us in many locations.  If you watch their demo video with the ballet dancer you'll notice what I mean about the short throw.  Also, many photographers have taken to them; watch those demos and you'll notice just how close the assistants are holding them to talent. They definitely don't throw quite enough to bounce in most settings and should be used direct 9 times out of 10.

They are lightweight and easy to Hollywood or mount in inconspicuous places with little to no grip.  IMHO, this is their biggest selling point.  For example, I used one as a small fill mounted to my Joby "gorilla pod" which was wrapped around the back of a chair at one point. I also mounted one to a monopod which I then taped into the corner of a room for a little bit of kick light behind of a row of folks in a meeting. Their shape/weight lends them to all sorts of positioning that would not be as easy with a traditionally shaped instrument.

When we split teams I kept one strapped to the backpack I was using for a run bag and barely noticed the added weight. It is possible (if somewhat exhausting) to shoulder the FS7 and hold one of these in your off hand if necessary. Or throw one on the floor behind and interview setup for a quick up-light on the background if warranted.  While it is possible to even mount them above camera, I wouldn't do so with any regularity, especially for handheld.  They're just too wide and unwieldy when mounted horizontally for that to work everyday.

Build quality is excellent.  They are durable, easy to clean, and I did not have any concerns for the plastic diffusion panel over the lights themselves.  My only quibble here would be the power switch and the dimmer buttons.  They are what I would call semi-dimmable, in that their output setting is stepped rather than a full dial.  A truly minor detail, but I would prefer something more analog than picking between 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, etc.  Our instruments had power switches that were easily slid to the "on" position when slipping them into their tube case, so we had to be aware of that when putting them away with a battery in place.

I found their battery life to be woefully short when running them on higher outputs, but that can be mitigated easily enough if/when AC power is available, or perhaps p-tap them to a brick which I never tried.  We ran our LiteMats (1x1 Westcotts) on p-tap, so I don't see why the Icelights wouldn't work that way as well. Might need to step the voltage down, don't recall if they are 12v or 9v, or ???  The batteries themselves are small, light, easy to pack, and charge quickly.  They are also, unfortunately, a hassle to pull from the unit if you are like me and keep your nails very short. Of course this keeps them firmly locked in place, which I suppose is more important. :)

The light quality is fairly good, throws wide without doors, and is acceptably soft for an LED instrument. In a more controlled setting I would probably frost them a little down a little more, but for run/gun they're just soft enough to pass. When dialed down and backed off slightly they make a very nice catch light with a less obvious shape in the eye than something like a ring light. It feels like there is an extremely minor green shift to my eye, but others will know more accurately just how much, if any there really is.  I could be experiencing confirmation bias or placebo effect, or whatever the right term would be in thinking I am seeing that, heh. I could also be confusing that memory with the Litra Torch lights I used as OBs from time to time. Those definitely need some -green permanently hung behind that diffusion bubble for any realistic use, but that's a different thread. :)

It's great that there are barn-doors available for them; however, they are quite a hassle for run & gun work.  Their bulk defeats the purpose of the light's design, their metal is easily bent in a soft case, and the clamps on the ones we had never quite held tightly to the instrument itself. (could have just been normal wear over time, we rented them)  For real run/gun I would almost rather just leave some cine foil taped and wrapped on the light, then shape it as needed and replace the foil when it's been shaped too many times.

All in all, knowing their limitations (some of which were unique to this specific show), I would still make the purchase without hesitation (and at $100 off I just might!) as their versatility in mounting without grip outweighs their downsides for me personally.  Even in a run and gun setting with no crew probably could have used them more often that I did.  I would definitely spec them again for a similar show.  They have many interesting possibilities for unique uses though, and could even make interesting props or pseudo-practicals for the right show (music videos, etc).

I would love to hear a more analytical review of them from someone who's been able to put them on meters for color fidelity and output.  I didn't notice the flicker (mentioned by Jeff G) at 23.98 in the viewfinder the few times we used them, but now I want to review that footage to see if I just happened to miss it.

Hope that helps!

Best,

-- d

P.S. Geoff - hope this is the proper way to get the discussion to the right place!

(double signature just in case the automated one doesn't translate on the list)

David Bowsky
cinematechnomancer
aka DP, Operator, 360/VR/Streaming Technologist
Los Angeles, CA

On Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 2:22 PM Robert A. Ober <robob@...> wrote:
    Hey Folks,

Westcott has $100 off the Ice Light 2.  The Ice2 has been on my radar for some time. 

Any of you folks have experience with it and if so, what do you think?

I normally shoot slog3/cine3 on a FS7.

Thanks,
Robert

Robert A. Ober
IT Consultant, Vidcaster, & Freelance Preditor(Producer/Editor)
www.infohou.com
Houston, TX

On Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 7:40 PM Jeff Gatesman <jeff@...> wrote:
I’ve had the Icelight 1 and my impression is based on that light. I found it handy to have in my kit but the battery didn’t last that long and as it’s charge got down to about half, the light had a noticeable flicker at 24 FPS. I passed it off as a light that was made by a still photo company and sold it. Honestly I think the Quasar Science crossfade tubes at 125 each are a far better light and better value than the icelight, at 399. 

Gatesman.comJeff Gatesman: Director of Photography
Gatesman Photography
email • ph: 310.480.5907  •  IMDB  •  online reel


--
David Bowsky
(510) 282-5854
dbowsky@...

Billy McCreary
 

I’ve used these a few times now and would agree with much of what David says.

They are relatively short throw (although much better than the previous).

They are REALLY compact and functional to setup so they are great to travel with.

I haven’t used them outdoors but am guessing they would only be useful on a very cloudy day or under heavy shade at close distance. I did an interview mid afternoon with clear skies and sun about 20 degrees or so off the western facing windows which spanned the length of the room we were in. Was able to use them to just overcome ambient at approx 4 to 5’ at F5.6.

The light quality has been great although during a shoot with a c100 they looked overly green in one monitor. Actual footage didn’t show this.

As an eye light at a distance it doesn’t show as vertical or horizontal as you might expect. With some types of glasses the reflection appears green. But I really liked the reflection in when used close horizontally.

I thought the battery did pretty great considering size and output light. I had one unit on and off through the day then at an 8 for two hours solid with a bit of charge to spare.

Jeff mentioned the price point and I have to agree they are likely still pricey at $399. But when considering build quality, form factor and functionality built in to each unit they aren’t far off.

bMac
DP | EDIT | VFX | TAMPA


On Oct 24, 2018, at 12:00 AM, David Bowsky <dbowsky@...> wrote:

I just had a pair of these on location for a docu-series in Liberia for a little over 2 weeks.  

Bryant Mock
 

On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 11:37 AM Billy McCreary via Cml.News <bmacmail=icloud.com@...> wrote:
I’ve used these a few times now and would agree with much of what David says.

They are relatively short throw (although much better than the previous).

They are REALLY compact and functional to setup so they are great to travel with.

I haven’t used them outdoors but am guessing they would only be useful on a very cloudy day or under heavy shade at close distance. I did an interview mid afternoon with clear skies and sun about 20 degrees or so off the western facing windows which spanned the length of the room we were in. Was able to use them to just overcome ambient at approx 4 to 5’ at F5.6.

The light quality has been great although during a shoot with a c100 they looked overly green in one monitor. Actual footage didn’t show this.

As an eye light at a distance it doesn’t show as vertical or horizontal as you might expect. With some types of glasses the reflection appears green. But I really liked the reflection in when used close horizontally.

I thought the battery did pretty great considering size and output light. I had one unit on and off through the day then at an 8 for two hours solid with a bit of charge to spare.

Jeff mentioned the price point and I have to agree they are likely still pricey at $399. But when considering build quality, form factor and functionality built in to each unit they aren’t far off.

bMac
DP | EDIT | VFX | TAMPA


On Oct 24, 2018, at 12:00 AM, David Bowsky <dbowsky@...> wrote:

I just had a pair of these on location for a docu-series in Liberia for a little over 2 weeks.