Over the years I’ve seen and used a lot of different lights when filming, but the TruColor Series Foton light from PRG is special — it has no bulb and is tungsten color-accurate as well as lightweight and waterproof. This is truly the next generation of digital lighting. In place of a bulb, the Foton uses a direct-drive array, which means that you’ll get no flicker at any frame rate. It’s been optimized for film, video and still photography and, with its high-quality color rendering and a cri>95, you won’t find any weird color shifts when you post your footage. Basically, what you see is what you get.
A lot has been written lately about how LED lights all have a discontinuous spectrum, which leaves out some wavelengths of light. A shoot with LEDs will look good on your monitor but turn out to be problematic with color-shifts that can’t be fixed in post — and this issue can lead to missed deadlines and re-shoots. The Foton light is a great replacement for LED lights, as it virtually eliminates the challenges faced when lighting with LEDs. The Foton’s completely natural-looking light is generated using remote phosphor technology, requiring no color correction while correlating perfectly with professional light and color meters. In my lighting tests, the both the color and light control were great. The Foton uses Variable beam angle, quick-connect reflectors for creating light-beam angles from 10 to 120 degrees. To change a reflector, you just pop off the front part of the fixture by giving it a twist, pop off the retaining clip, and then switch out the reflector. And since the fixture runs really cool, heat isn’t a problem.
The Foton light’s built-in dimmer works very well, dimming smoothly from 0 to 100 percent with no color shift. The dimmer, along with the reflectors, barn doors and gel frame, allow you to tightly control this light. The Foton is environmentally green, producing a 1,000 lumen output that uses less than 30 watts of power. It’s also very quiet with passive cooling instead of fans so there’s no noise, which is really great when shooting scenes with quiet dialogue. The Foton is available in AC and DC versions, which means that you can use it anywhere, and it’s waterproof, so it can get wet without shorting out.
Discovering new technology is always cool, especially when it solves problems. The Foton light is a great problem-solver that costs under $1,000, and, with an estimated life of 50,000 hours, no bulbs to replace, and the cost savings achieved by avoiding re-shoots, it’s well worth it.
David Hurd operates David Hurd Productions in Tampa, Fla. More of his reviews are available at www.dhpvideo.com.