In recent years, the industry has adjusted to a seismic change in lighting technology, with lighting directors and gaffers becoming less reliant on HMI’s & fluorescent’s – instead embracing the benefits of LED.

Barcelona-based TheLight redefined expectations for LED lighting with their innovative articulating panels, a trend which has continued with their popular VELVET range.

VELVET lights produce a ‘super-soft’ output, reducing the presence of shadows on the talent’s face whilst delivering an energetic wraparound characteristic that’s highly-desirable for documentaries, commercials and interviews.

The biggest advantage of LED over existing technology centres on a LEDs ability to alter the brightness and colour at the press of a button. In the past, gaffers have had to endure the pains of changing gels to alter the light output. With VELVET, using the digital readout as a reference, operators can adjust dimming levels between 0% and 100% in single percentage steps. In the same way, colour temperature can be set from 2700°K to 6500°K – adjustable in 100°K steps.

Every panel is tested to ensure consistency between units, guaranteeing uniformed output when multiple panels are used together. All VELVET’s use high-quality OSRAM LEDs, rated for over 50,000 hours of operation.

Built-in DMX enables remote adjustment of brightness and colour temperature settings. VELVET’s can integrate directly within a studio environment, working seamlessly with DMX lighting decks. DMX operation in the field is often more complicated, as the necessary remote control infrastructure is not present. As one solution, users can purchase TheLight’s bespoke portable DMX controller, directly replicating the screen and button layout on a separate, tethered device. However, the VELVET’s trick up its sleeve is the ‘master-slave’ function. By designating one unit as the master, all subsequent VELVET’s in the DMX chain can be controlled in-sync with the master.

TheLight offer VELVET’s in multiple common sizes – 1’x1’, 1’x2’, 1’x4’ & 2’x2’ – providing a solution for all budgets and applications, on-location or in a studio. VELVET 1 (1’x1’) and VELVET 2 models are tested to an IP54 rain & dustproof standard, enabling operation in some of the world’s harshest weather conditions. Larger VELVET 2×2 and VELVET 4 models are ideally-suited for long-term studio assignments, meeting the requirements for an IP51 dustproof rating.

All models benefit from a passive cooling system – an inherent advantage of being crafted from a 100% aluminium chassis. Employing a large heat sink removes the need for an electronic cooling fan, making the VELVET operationally silent. The all-aluminium body exceeds the level expected by rental houses for durability and robustness, adjudged by the number of rental companies around the world that have invested in the VELVET light.

TheLight also produce the VELVET Power, a variant of the VELVET delivering a long-throw, concentrated, 30º beam. Power versions are designed to flood an area with dimmable, colour adjustable light.

All models of VELVET score highly in both CRI (Colour Rendering Index) and TLCI (Television Lighting Consistency Index) tests; ensuring lit subjects will reproduce accurately on-camera.

Through its pledge of continual improvement, TheLight have recently unveiled all-new 2016 versions of the VELVET, featuring a number of usability improvements. A new yoke has been designed which has a single locking handle, rather than the previous two positions of adjustment. The tactile control panel has also been updated to include a shortcut “tungsten/daylight” button, for quickly setting the colour temperature at 3200°K and 5600°K. Lastly, the side panels of the light are now extended to cover the metal fins of the heatsink, improving comfort when handling the panels.

Despite the influx of new lighting manufacturers in recent years, gaffers, camera operators, rental houses and broadcasters continue to favour trusted brands, whilst also acknowledging the benefit of local stock, support and service. In all respects, the VELVET lights should be at the top of the wishlist for anyone wanting to take LED lighting to a professional level.