K5600's New Light
K5600's new LED light is being demoed and is now available for purchase. K5600 is more known for its joker series (Joker 400 and Joker 800), with a versatile option to accessorize the light with chimeras, and a joker barrel. The joker series have been a staple in main shooting electric packages and provide the brightest compact daylight spotlight.
Move to LED
With LED lights dominating the movie industry (Arri's Skypanel series, Litegear's Litemat and Litetile series), the company is slowly keeping up to the evolving technology.
The Joker 300 LED, seen here, is one of their new line of lights. The light comes with bi-color dial (Tungsten to Daylight), wireless DMX capabilities, and magnetic snap on lenses. I compare its brightness just under the joker 400. It doesn't have the focus punch of the joker 400. It does, however, have very smooth shadows, similar to a tungsten unit.. With my experience using other spot LED lights (Arri's Orbiter, Arri L series, Commar's LED leko, Mole 20K and 10K, and Lustr LED Leko), the Joker 300 is the most promising with its identical light and color accuracy to a tungsten or a Joker HMI unit. One main technological advantage of this LED design is the placement of the heatsink in the back. There is no heat being emitted towards the front of the LED, which makes it a comfortable light for the talent and the subject.
Here is the spec video from the company.
The other LED line in K5600's arsenal is the Joker Panel. The unique characteristic about this light is its ability to attach to multiples of the same unit. You can create a 2x4 or 4x4 unit with four of the similar light. All four units can be powered with one power supply with dual splitters. It is a little brighter than the Litemat 4 because there are more diodes packed closer together. (Disclaimer: I did not have a light meter during the demo, so my inference could be inaccurate). It has a magnetic snap-on diffusion and honey grid attachment. It also has a customizable back-plate baby pin adapter. There is virtually no heat on the LED surface with heat sinks placed in the back.
The Joker LED 300 has the most promising future among the new lights in Joker's new LED lineup. I have not seen the Joker LED 800 but I assume it has the same characteristics as the Joker LED 300. The Joker LED 300 has virtually no heat, very smooth shadow, even lighting, and powerful for such a small LED light. It has a strong magnetic lens attachment mechanism and carries the same attachment to the very successful Joker HMI series. The only downside to this light is the same downside to all LED Fresnel lights, which is its performance with external elements. Rain or any outdoor elements can damage the light easily. Unlike normal HMI units which can be fixed electrically or the ability to change bulbs, the LED Fresnel has no possible fix from water damage. The whole head unit is damaged with rain or other external elements. But if used indoors, its ergonomics is very useful.
The Joker panel, is a doomed light. The weight alone can be a deal breaker. There is a big flaw in the back-plate attachment mechanism making the attachment to the light almost impossible. It has too many cables coming out of the light and with four units, you need two splitters. It is a very bright light, but the ergonomics will be unkind to the technicians on set. I'd rather have minimalist light with a subpar brightness than the brightest LED panel. The magnetic diffusion is so close to the unit that it's only purpose is to reduce the shadows of each diode and provide some diffusion. Litegear's Litemat is still the winner in the slim LED lighting. The litemat series have less cables, more reliable attachments (black skirt and hard grid), and comes with a variety of diffusions that is placed slightly away from the LED diodes. The Joker panel is also overpriced, starting at $13,000. Compared that to Litemat 4's $2,300, there is more value in the Litemat regardless of the price. You can buy FIVE litemat 4s with the price of a 4x4 Joker Panel with its unreliable attachments.
The future of these lights in the film industry is grim. I hope the best for the Joker 300 LED for its innovation of making LED fresnel almost identical to tungsten units. However, LED fresnel have not gained traction in the film industry since its conception. Even the biggest light manufacturers, ARRI and Mole Richardson with their LED fresnel light, they are not being used as commonly as the manufacturer intends it to. I believe that the industry sees the benefits of LED with its color effects (Skypanel), and light-weight/ power efficiency (Litemat/Litetile). I do hope that Joker keeps innovating and improving what is working best for industry technicians.
Level Nine Productions