What happens in Vegas… stays on the Expressway blog! After 3 years away, we were lucky enough to attend NAB 2022 to talk shop with some of our favorite vendors and explore all of the newest film industry tech. Check out the lighting gear that caught our attention, and stay tuned for some of the gear that will be available at Expressway!
LiteGear Auroris X
The Litegear Auroris system was one of our most anticipated products to see at NAB and it did not disappoint. For years we have been working with customers developing softboxes with all types of different fixtures and constantly running into the same few issues with grid height and allowable prep time. While Litegear’s offerings have always pushed the envelope of what is possible, the Auroris system brings things to the next level.
This 10×10 blanket made of essentially, twenty-four Litemat 1 Spectrums, is a turnkey solution for your soft overhead lighting. Unlike earlier Litegear releases (looking at you Litemat S1, S2), Auroris X feels well thought out, designed in a way that makes it ready to use. The 10×10 blanket folds into a mere 2 foot cube for storage. It is equipped with robust straps and buckles that can extend to strap the light to a standard 12×12 frame, while also squeezing down to fit Litegear’s 10×10 ladder truss softbox system.
The fixture runs off of their new ballast, the Spectrum AC600. Featuring a new 28 pin out to control the Auroris and all of its features as well as a PDX out to power up to 3 Litemat Spectrum 4’s if you prefer that instead. The AC600 is the next generation of Litegear controller adding a powercon through to daisy chain, removing the clunky antenna in favor of an internal one, and network in/out ports.
Through DMX, the Auroris X becomes a powerful tool for effects and pixel mapping video to support virtual production environments. When combining multiple units together a team can quickly create a large format fixture capable of rendering super accurate colors that putting an LED wall overhead could not. With growing integrations in Unreal Engine, productions will easily be able to stretch their virtual environment to extend onto fixtures like Auroris X to continue improving virtual production workflows.
From a rental house perspective, Litegear seems to have made the right choices as well. Each panel is removable from the back of the fixture by way of a velcro cover (and yes – this part is the only velcro on the fixture so you won’t have to fight with it every day) and user replaceable. There is an indicator on each panel’s board to set its place in the sequence (i.e. this panel is column C row 3), and they are all wired together with locking connectors so servicing a damaged panel should be a breeze.
As for how I see it working in smaller markets, the formula is simple – this new fixture (and soon its 5×10 little brother the Auroris V) will enable small crews to quickly assemble a large format softlight that will be easy to control once rigged to a frame with a significant amount of light output in a small footprint. Studio jobs will quickly adopt this fixture for soft overhead light, and I think we will see it brought on location more often than anticipated.
While the Auroris V has no delivery date yet, pre orders on the Auroris X (10×10) are due to deliver early this summer and we are looking forward to putting the fixture through its paces. If LiteTile and Spectrum are any indication, we are expecting a quick adoption of this innovative system from Litegear.
DeSisti Muses of Light
Something I haven’t been too sure about since their release was the new series of fixtures from DeSisti developed with Vittorio Storaro: The Muses of Light. These large format, flat LED panels are a mysterious bunch (you can see what I mean on their website) of 10 fixtures named after Greek mythological muses. There are a number of shapes and sizes available from about 24” up to 48” which all feature the same innovation – incredibly designed optics truly harnessing the power of the LEDs behind them.
All coming in under about 2,000w the Muses of light are impressively bright. Due to many of their slim beam angles such as the 11 degree on the Aurea the fixtures maintain a significant output even at distances of 200’ plus. While massive in aperture (about 4’x4’) the Tersicore measured in at only 960w and at a 16 degree beam angle still managed to make a splash far across the Las Vegas Convention Center floor. If your appetite is for something a little more manageable size wise, the Clio was about the size of a Skypanel S120 and still managed to carry a ton of light with its 17 degree beam angle. These fixtures are definitely the kind that DeSisti’s trade show neighbors do not like having tilted down too far as they are likely to blind a whole booth.
All 10 of these fixtures were unfortunately not on display, but from what we have seen DeSisti and Storaro seem to have come up with an impressive new optic to harness the full potential of LEDs, and they have not sacrificed the color quality that the newer variable white line of DeSisti LED fresnels have showcased so well. Additionally, they offer standard CRMX and the controllers are removable and able to be extended up to 150’ by way of header cable extensions.
While pricing and availability is vague, we were told that DeSisti is working hard at creating more availability of these fixtures soon and we are working with their lead sales rep in the northeast to host a demo day for some of the Muses after Cinegear this year at our Philadelphia location. We are looking forward to getting a more hands on experience with some of the fixtures in a controlled environment instead of a show floor and will have more to report after that.
Aputure 600c Pro
It is nearly impossible to be in the field these days without running across one or two fixtures from Aputure lighting. What a few short years ago was a brand deemed to be for entry level users has very quickly taken a share of the mid range professional market. With the introduction of their “Pro” level fixtures, we have seen Aputure products be quickly adopted by many of Expressway’s customers, and whether you think that is for better or worse, the fact is this company has rolled out a lineup of affordable, highly functional fixtures in an extremely short amount of time and harnessed the power of social media to reinforce their user base.
Enter Aputure’s new light, the 600c Pro. Built off of their successful bowens mount COB platform, the 600c pro takes the same emitters from their bi-color 600x fixture, and expands them with the addition of RGB emitters. While this expands the size of the COB it also means that the fixture does not sacrifice the white light output we are used to with the 600x and adds color on top. The larger COB size means the light should be optimized to work with the bigger reflectors that come with the 1200d and should really show an impressive output when using the narrow version.
Like all of Apture’s pro series, the controller includes CRMX as well as bluetooth connection and is compatible with any of your favorite DMX controllers, while also being super user friendly with the Sidus Link app (which coincidentally can now control other DMX fixtures as well). It features all of the flashy effects we have come to expect from RGB fixtures.
Other than that there isn’t a ton new to report on this fixture. It offers everything we are familiar with from Aputure, just adds RGB. It will likely become a workhorse light on many smaller productions, especially if Aputure will hurry up and release a spotlight mount that is optimized for the larger COB size. Until then, I think this fixture will be successful as a budget option for productions that need some punch out of a colored unit but it still likely won’t hold up to the Arri Orbiter when combined with the new docking ring and an ETC Source Four lens. Ultimately my opinion on the Aputure fixtures is that for a budget option, they have managed to scooch into the professional space, but when cost allows most users will choose something from a more legacy brand still.
However, with more new releases on the horizon (an MC Pro, and a new “Pro” series battery powered tube light in beta) Aputure is sure to continue expanding its user base quickly and by the end of 2022 will offer a seriously robust line of fixtures that I expect we will see in more and more trucks. They still have a long way to go in terms of build quality, support, and availability if we are going to see their products adopted by major productions and offered en masse to the rental market. Nonetheless, other manufacturers should be looking at this as a serious wake up call that their 10 year shelf life of a product will be constantly challenged moving forward and the time from announcement to delivery may need to speed up to keep with the pace set by Aputure’s development team.
Interested in reading more about NAB? Check out our blog featuring the camera gear at NAB.