SoftPanels: Kickstarting LED lights with automatic colour adjustment and skin tone optimisation

SoftPanels are a new range of soft light with ‘Autocolor’ – automatic color temperature adjustment. A light meter built into each lighting fixture reads the ambient color temperature mix and tunes the output to match. SoftPanels are made by a new company called VideoLights.com, formed by Ken Fisher, Kevin Baxter and Fred Homs – all formerly of Litepanels. They’ve engineered, built and delivered tens of thousands of LED light fixtures and between them they have numerous awards for LED lighting innovation.

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The Softpanels have variable colour adjustment from 2700K to 6500K, 0 to 100% dimming, and a claimed 95 CRI using high colour fidelity LEDs. According to the company, Softpanels’ output can be dimmed from 100% to zero with no color shift. The company is also hoping that two features can set them apart from other LED fixtures – Autocolor and Skin Tone Enhance.

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The Autocolor feature works by measuring the ambient color conditions, and automatically setting the light output to match. This gives you the ability to light a scene faster with more consistent color results. According to the company, Softpanels offers far more accuracy via its integrated color meter, as it continuously measures and displays the current color temperature as you dial in the exact color that you would like. Such a feature is critical when dealing with multiple LED lights on the same set.

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Skin Tone Enhance, is a push button feature that according to Videolights, enhances skin tones to give a warmer, more cinematic feel [eg., skin tone sweetening at the capture stage, along with Autocolor produces great imagery out of the gate, saving many hours in post production.

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The SoftPanels range will come in three sizes: 3x4ft [90x120cm], 2x3ft [60x90cm] 300w output, and 1x2ft [30x60cm] 100W output. The 3x4ft version is 600 watts, which according to Softpanels is equivalent to the output of a 5,000-watt tungsten soft light. According to the company the light are flicker free, run silently and the 2x3ft and 1x2ft can both be run off a camera battery. This can be done by using a V-Mount or A/B mount battery on the integrated battery plate.

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All the lights come with a honeycomb grid and gel frame and can be mounted either vertically or horizontally. DMX is also built into every light for remote control of color and dimming. There is no mention of how much the lights weigh, or any information about their photometrics apart from the listed CRI.

The project is still active on Kickstarter and the prices look to be very reasonable – the 1x2ft is listed at $1199 US. (although there’s no indication yet of prices for the two larger models.) Lights ordered during the SoftPanels Kickstarter campaign are scheduled to start delivery in May.

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On paper the Autocolor and Skin Tone Enhance features look like great ideas, and if they works as claimed, then the light looks to be a very good alternative to lights such as the Ushio Pro-panelV2 1×2 Dual Colour LED panel and Kino Flo Celeb 201. Newsshooter will be sure to check the lights out at NAB.

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Specifications

1×2 ft [30x60cm] LED Light, including honeycomb grid and gel frame accessories
Soft Case
Built-in digital LED Color Meter
AUTOCOLOR matching feature
SKIN ENHANCE Feature
Variable Color: 2700K to 6500K
Full range ultra smooth 100% to 0 Dimming
Absolutely silent operation [no fan]
95 CRI Ultra High Color Fidelity LEDs
100 Watts – Runs on AC or one high-current Battery [chose either V-mount or Gold integrated battery mounting plate]
Universal AC input 90-260 volts
20 ft. AC Power Cord – choose USA, UK, or Euro plug [or bare wire]
Light mounts in both Vertical or Horizontal position
DMX built into every light for remote control of color and dimming
Soft wrap around light quality – great for HD imagery
2×3 LED SOFTPANELS [all-in-one package]

2×3 ft [60x90cm] LED Light, including honeycomb grid and gel frame accessories
Soft Case
Built-in digital LED Color Meter
AUTOCOLOR matching feature
SKIN ENHANCE Feature
Variable Color: 2700K to 6500K
Full range ultra smooth 100% to 0 Dimming
Absolutely silent operation [no fan]
95 CRI Ultra High Color Fidelity LEDs
300 Watts – Runs on AC or two high-current Battery [chose either V-mount or Gold integrated battery mounting plates]
Universal AC input 90-260 volts
20 ft. AC Power Cord – choose USA, UK, or Euro plug [or bare wire]
Light mounts in both Vertical or Horizontal position DMX built into every light for remote control of color and dimming
Soft wrap around light quality – great for HD imagery
3×4 LED SOFTPANELS [all-in-one package]

3×4 ft [90x120cm] LED Light, including honeycomb grid and gel frame accessories
Soft Case
Built-in digital LED Color Meter
AUTOCOLOR matching feature
SKIN ENHANCE Feature
Variable Color: 2700K to 6500K
Full range ultra smooth 100% to 0 Dimming
Absolutely silent operation [no fan]
95 CRI Ultra High Color Fidelity LEDs
600 Watts – Runs on AC
Universal AC input 90-260 volts
20 ft. AC Power Cord – choose USA, UK, or Euro plug [or bare wire]
Light mounts in both Vertical or Horizontal position
DMX built into every light for remote control of color and dimming
Soft wrap around light quality – great for HD imagery

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