Litepanels gives us gloveless, scrimless and wireless LED lighting. It revolutionizes the way sets and locations can be lit.
I tested the new Sola 4 from Litepanels for several weeks with Alexa, RED, Canon and Nikon cameras. I was mostly interested in how the light looked. (The quality of illumination was excellent: even, balanced, consistent, color-correct.) Then one day I (ahem) saw the light: this one was changing the way we worked. A Sola 4 was left on while sitting directly upon the priceless Persian carpet in a “don’t worry, we’ll be as careful as if it were our home” location. With traditional hot lights, the carpet would have been billowing smoke and so would the owner. But the Sola 4 was totally cool.
Like the other fixtures in the Litepanels line, Sola 4 is cool to the touch. It is truly a gloveless light, as our gaffer ably demonstrated, above. Dimensions: 186.7mm W x 156mm H x 218.9mm D (6.14” W x 7.35” H x 8.62” D).
Sola 4 is also feather-light, at 22 ounces (.62 kg). This saves time when rigging. It fits in tight places, against walls, near precious objects d’art that normally would be incinerated by such proximity. A silent internal fan keeps things so cool that the front fresnel lens is actually made of holographically etched plastic. Gels will not fade, and you can remove the barndoors without gloves, pliers or clothespins.
New York gaffer Jerry DeBlau always scared me by pulling scrims from tungsten lights with his bare hands, calloused fingers sizzling, but he never flinched.
Another breakthrough of the Sola 4 is wireless lighting: you can run it without wires, without the need to plug it into the wall or distribution boxes. Well, actually, there is a wire: from the Sola to your battery.
An industry-standard 4-pin XLR connector on the back accepts 12-28.8 VDC, which means you can power this unit up with your standard camera batteries for several hours. (Average draw of about 30 W.)
Sola 4 has a small onboard 120-240 VAC to 18 VDC power supply when you want to plug directly into AC.
The unit fires up immediately with 5600°K daylight balanced LED illumination. The 4” Fresnel provides a very even spread when you dial the electronic focus knob from 70 to 10 coverage. Shadows are sharp, crisp and free of fuzziness. There are no double shadows.
Onboard dimming takes the Sola 4 from 0 to 100% with no discernible color shift—no need for single or double scrims.
Focus and dimming can also be DMX controlled by plugging into the onboard DMX standard ethernet-looking connectors. You set DMX address with three digit pushbuttons.
Light output is equivalent to a 500 W tungsten fresnel unit gelled to daylight with Full Blue, or a 125 W HMI. As mentioned earlier, it draws a mere 30 Watts.