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Filming With The Manfrotto LYKOS LED Lights In The Shard

The Manfrotto LYKOS LED lights are the latest light fixtures in my arsenal, much smaller than, and just as powerful as their 1x1 models that I've used in the past. Surface mount LEDs have increased the power output and reduced the size, meaning you can easily carry a 3 point lighting setup and nano stands in a backpack or grip bag.

They run off conventional NP-F batteries, D-tap or AC power. Using widely available batteries (rather than only mains or AA batteries) make using the lights much easier on location. They'll run for 1 hour 25 minutes continuously on an NP-F750 before the battery shows as empty on the display. I powered the light back up and continued timing to see how much more juice could be used, I only got another 5 minutes max. They don't have a hot swapping battery option so if a battery runs out, the light powers down while the battery is replaced.

Manfrotto LYKOS lights

A killer feature is the Bluetooth control via an app, which can adjust the power, brightness and colour temperature. This works by using the Bluetooth dongle and pairing the lights to an iPhone through the LYKOS app, and can control from 1 to 16 units for larger remote setups.

I used the LYKOS lights on a recent video shoot in the shard for Surrey Scout Media. On the 22nd floor I set up two LYKOS on nano stands in an office with a glorious London skyline in the background. With golden hour approaching, the summer sun beamed through the huge Windows. I had a wonderful back light, wonderful view, but would the lights hold up against the sunlight?

Positioned close to the subject and composing the shot on a 35mm prime, it was easy to adjust the light intensity for the desired exposure. Combating the bright setting sun was difficult and I could have done with a reflector, but live and learn!

The lights have a wide beam angle (50 degrees) but give off a soft, wrapping wash around the subject. The high CRI (93) also gave pleasant skin tones without a green shift in the tint, which is sometimes apparent in other LED lights.

At the end of the shoot the lights and stands were packed quickly away into the Off Road Backpack, ready to navigate rush hour underground in London.

Here's the final video, promoting a Surrey Scouts event in 2017 -

The Manfrotto LYKOS LED lights performed above my expectation for lights of their size. Being able to add in soft key lights against bright sunlight confirmed those expectations. If I had another light, I would have banked the two together for a stronger light source, but I only had two on me at the time. For a portable lighting kit you can't go wrong with a set, the bi-colour model offers more flexibility with adjusting to a number of locations too.

BVE 2016 from the show floor (a very late post)

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I've been going to BVE since 2010 when it was held in Earls Court, and it's still a great place to be to meet up with friends, network with other producers and manufacturers, and to get hands on with new kit.

This years BVE had a different feel to it, maybe it was the new layout, a much improved press area but also some of the big names didn't have a stand. This was certainly beneficial for WTS Broadcast who had the only new Sony PXW-Z150 at the show, and from talking to their team, on the opening day there was a queue around the show bar just to take a look at the video camera. The video and article can be seen here on Cinema5D.

I was glad I arrived as the doors were opening, as after a quick press area pit stop I had a walk around the show floor to gauge where interesting stands would be. It was then, when I walked up to the Intro2020 stand and saw the new Samyang XEEN Cine lenses on show. Luckily enough, the two new models; 14mm T/3.1 and 35mm T/1.5 arrived so I grabbed a scoop with them.

The build quality of the lenses is similar to the Schneider cine optics, and I was very surprised that the weight of the 35mm was lighter than my Tamron 24-70! The lenses are available at around £1600 each, and just over £7000 for a set of 5 in a hard case, so it bridges the gap between their VDSLR lenses and the more expensive cine lenses like the Zeiss CP2's or Schneiders. I had a very quick play with the 35mm T/1.5 and the optical quality surpasses its original cine lens range, and also comes in a PL mount.

There is also another lens in the range due to be released in the Summer, which will most likely be a 135mm lens. when I talked to James from Intro2020 there was no sign of cine-zooms which is a shame. For more info on the Samyang XEEN lenses check out the site here.

I was also giving the Sennheiser AVX system a trial run at the show while filming interviews. It's the new wireless microphone system that's the upgrade from the ENG-100 G3 wireless system, with many great benefits.

You'll notice the audio receiver is much smaller than the transmitter which is very convenient for a compact setup, especially if you use a camera cage like myself. Also, no wired aerials is a bonus as they are often the most fragile part of the unit.

The kit also includes a new ME2 lavalier microphone which has an improved housing and design, it also comes with extra clips and capsule covers for when some light maintenance is needed.

The resulting audio quality is much better than the previous included microphone, while filming interviews at BVE the improved quality was evident with the mic eliminating plenty of 'room noise' while capturing the subjects voice. I'll be doing a further comparison between the originan ME2, the Rode Lavalier and the new ME2 microphone in this set.

An overwhelming bonus to this new system is it's internal battery, which charges via USB. Many new products are incorporating an internal battery which takes away the reliance on AA or AAA batteries which can fluctuate in charge. After fully charging both transmitter and receiver fully, they indicated a whopping 17 hours battery life!

The kit also includes an XLR to TRS adapter cable which allows you to go straight out via XLR from the receiver into the camera's microphone input. Of course, this is optional depending on your setup, but it was ideal for running and gunning around BVE as I didn't need to use an audio recorder like the H1 or H6!

For more info on the AVX systems check out Sennheiser here

Check out the Sony Z150 video here -

Check out the Samyang XEEN Lens video here -