Spekular LED Photography Lights / What is CRI / Part 2 of the LED Continuous Lighting LED Series

Spekular LED Photography Lights / What is CRI / Part 2 of the LED Continuous Lighting LED Series

This is Spekular and this is Spekular and
this is Spekular and this is Spekular and this is part two of my LED lighting series. Spekular is a new modular led lighting system
that is being referred to as the Swiss army knife for lighting. In this video I am going to put Spekular to
the test and I am going to do my best to demystify those three letters that keep popping up when
people talk about lighting… CRI. Stay tuned! Hey gang! My name is Joe Edelman and my mission is to
help photographers like YOU to develop a solid understanding of the HOWS & WHYS behind great
photography so that you can achieve your goals as a photographer. The Swiss Army knife for lighting is a great
reference for this new LED lighting system from Spiffy Gear. In case you don’t remember – Spiffy Gear
is the company the brought us the Light Blaster that I showed you in this video. Spekular is a modular lighting system that
can take on all kinds of shapes depending on your needs and this can save you money
and the time needed to pack and set-up light modifiers especially when you are working
on location. Each of these sections uses only 14.5 watts
of energy which means just 58 watts for a kit of four sections. Each section puts out 1,500 lumens of light
which is about the same brightness as a 150watt light bulb. That means 6000 lumens for a kit of 4 sections
or a brightness similar to a 600watt light bulb . Unlike fluorescent lights – there is
no flicker with Spekular. They are daylight balanced at 5600k with a
CRI of 94+. We will talk more about that CRI stuff at
the end of the video. They can be dimmed from 100% all the way down
to 10% and they output light at a beam angle of 120 degrees. And they are small – just 1.5” or 4 centimeters
square and 12 inches or 30 centimeters in length. Spekular comes comes as a kit of 4 LED sections. Each section is built with aluminum and ABS
plastic for a total per-section weight of about three quarters of a pound of which is
335grams. One section in each kit has the power switch,
dimmer switch and plug for the power supply. Also in the the case are 4 of these cool hinged
connecters, a 1/4-20” mount, eight gel holders, the AC Power Supply and Instructions. To use Spekular, start with a control section
and add a stand mount. Then depending on the configuration you want
to make – in this case I am going to make a simple panel – you just slip a hinged connector
on one end and keep adding pieces. They just slide right in and then you tighten
them in place so that the unit is not going to come apart while you use it. The hinged connectors also flip in the opposite
direction so that you can create triangles and hexagons. Let me say right now that I think this lighting
system is brilliant, but please don’t lose sight of the fact that they are small. So if you are like me and you tend to use
large light modifiers – you will need to take a different approach to your lighting. That doesn’t make it bad – but it does make
it different and it definitely helps if you are comfortable and confident with your lighting
skills. To prove my point – I wanted to use Spekular
to create the same lighting styles that I normally do with my big modifiers. The folks at Spiffy Gear were kind enough
to give me two sets to test out, so I started with a simple headshot. You can see here that I have one set of four
above the camera as my main light and one set of four behind my subject to light the
white wall. I was able to shoot this at ISO200 with a
shutter speed of 1/100th of a second at f/4. Then I moved both lights in front of my subject
for a simple clamshell lighting effect. This one was also at ISO200 – 1/100th of a
second at f/4 Next I switched to a #62 Purple Seamless Paper
Background by Savage Universal and used just four of the Spekular Panels arranged in a
square. With my subject seated just in front of my
background and the Spekular light placed about two feet in front of her – I was able to shoot
this at ISO200 with a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second at f/4 Next up a different subject in front of a
#24 Orange Seamless from Savage, still with the square arrangement, but this time I have
used three additional Spekular panels behind my subject – one is creating a nice glow on
the orange background and the other two are placed camera right and camera left as rim
lights. For the three lights behind my subject – I
have one main bar from the second kit and the two additional ones are attached using
the expansion extension accessory kit. The expansion kit comes with two additional
mounting pieces for light stands, two section to section extension cords and two straight
connectors. So now I have a four light set-up and a shot
that was done at ISO 200 with a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second at f/4 Next I switched to a #20 Black Seamless from
Savage and used the same square as my main light and just the two rims on camera left
and right. Shooting at the same ISO 200 with a shutter
speed of 1/125th of a second at f/4 I was able to get this series of portraits. Spiffy Gear also has a cool accessory called
the Star Adapter. This adaptor lets you attach 8 of the LED
bars to a central ring. This arrangement gives you a really sweet
broad light source and a very cool catchlight. This shot was done with my subject sitting
in front of a #27 Thunder Gray Savage backdrop. I shot at ISO 200 with a shutter speed of
1/125th of a second at f/4 Here is the same arrangement on the purple
background. If I add a fan – back the Spekular star up
to about 4 feet from the subject you will notice the catchlight becomes much smaller
and I can shoot a beauty shot like this with an ISO of 400, an aperture of f/4 and an intentionally
slow shutter speed of 1/80th of a second to get some blur on the ends of the blowing hair. Ok – so mission accomplished – I was able
to recreate quite a few of my favorite lighting styles with Spekular – but how about having
some fun with color? This three quarter length shot was done with
just one Spekular kit. My model is standing in front of a #01 Super
white backdrop with two bars on camera left – unfiltered and at full power. On camera right, I have two more bars with
a blue gel placed over them. This shot was done at ISO400, 1/80th of a
second at f/3.5 The filtered blue light on camera right is just bright enough to add
color to the shadows created from the main light on camera left. Next I went back to the black background and
placed two bars on camera left as my main light. Two bars on camera right with a blue gel and
then used two bars with a pink gel behind my model on camera right and one bar with
a pink gel behind my model on camera left. The pink gels light up her blonde hair and
the blue gel is coloring the shadowed side of her face. This shot was done at ISO400 and 1/80th of
a second at f/4. For my last set-up I used the same lights
and gels but moved the blue set behind my model on camera left so that it was creating
a bit of a rim light – but not filling in shadows on the face. At the same settings, I was able to create
this series of shots. In addition to the Spekular Kit, the Expansion
Kit and the Star Adapter. Spiffy Gear also has a Battery Adapter that
will allow you to use any DTAP-enabled V-mount battery. The Spekular Core Kit sells for $650.00. The accessory are each priced at $130.00. Now I know what some of you are thinking…
you think this is expensive and that you can by a few speedlights for the same price. You could buy a few speedlights for the same
price, but you can’t match the versatility that Spekular provides at this price. Certainly Spekular is not going to be for
everyone, but as you have heard me say before – there is no one light that will meet all
of your needs as a photographer. While I have proven to you that it works great
with people, I also think that Spekular is perfectly suited for shooting products and
I have no doubt that cinematographers and videographers will fall in love with this
system. Just to give you a comparison… a Wescott
Ice Light which so many of you GEARtographers oohed and ahhed over – the Ice Light sells
for $500 dollars and has a much narrower beam output of 72.6 degrees and outputs only 1,740
lumens of light. In other words its only slightly brighter
than 1 Spekular bar – with a narrower angle and costs almost as much as a whole Spekular
kit, so like most Wescott products – it’s overpriced for what it offers. Be sure to follow the rest of the videos that
I will be doing in this LED light series because I will finish with some hybrid lighting arrangements
using Spekular in combination with strobes and ambient light. You can purchase Spekular online at spiffygear.com
and it is currently available at Adorama and BHPhoto with more retailers to come. Oh…. one last tip about Spekular… remember
the gel clips that I mentioned…. they also serve another awesome purpose. If you buy a role of Rosco Cine Foil – which
every photographer should have in their studio anyway… cut a 12” piece and wrap it around
the back of the Spekualr bar – then attach a gel clip from the back – one at either end
and you now have a shapeable set of barn doors for the Spekular lights. You could even do the same thing with regular
aluminum foil to make a reflector that will give you a slightly broader right coming from
one bar. So whats the big deal about CRI? CRI stands for Color Rendering Index. This is not the same as color temperature
that is measured in degrees kelvin. The simple explanation is that CRI is a measure
that shows us how well a light source makes the color of an object appear to the human
eye and how “realistically” or “naturally” the light source makes different shades appear
in relationship to each other. In other words, CRI explains how accurately
a light source is rendering any color in comparison to daylight. Is CRI important? Yes, well not really – well yeah – well let
me explain. It really depends on what you are photographing
and how accurate you want or need your colors to be. If you are reproducing artwork for cataloguing
purposes – you need to work with lights that have a very high CRI because you need to colors
to reproduce accurately and in the proper relationship to each other. This would be the same if you were photographing
products for advertising or clothing for a catalog. If you are doing something that is subjective
like a creative shot of a model lit by neon signs on a city street at night…. you probably
don’t need to care about CRI as you are not likely to be concerned about having an
exact color match. The same could be said for a simple portrait. The bigger the number the better. CRI is measured on a scale that uses 100 as
the best. Incandescent bulbs have a CRI of 100 because
they don’t have any color discrimination. But we all know that incandescent bulbs aren’t
very efficient. When it comes to LED’s the bulbs are considered
good if they have a CRI of 85 to 90, but light sources which have a CRI of 90 or higher are
known as excellent and are the most appropriate for tasks that require the most accurate color. Just like any other aspect of science I could
dig much deeper into this, the problem is I would get a headache before you do. So in short – Higher the CRI – better the
color match. Regardless of the type of work you want to
do – keep your CRI above 85 and you will have acceptable results unless you need that perfect
color match – then you need 95 or higher. Next up in the LED lighting series I am going
to take a look at some sweet lighting panels called Edge Lit Pro from Savage Universal
and I am going to put them to use in the studio AND on location. Until then, I hope you found this useful. Please hit that thumbs up and subscribe so
that you don’t miss any videos and until next time go pick up that camera and shoot
something because your BEST shot – it’s your NEXT shot, so keep learning, keep thinking,
keep shooting. Adios!

45 thoughts on “Spekular LED Photography Lights / What is CRI / Part 2 of the LED Continuous Lighting LED Series

  1. WOW!!! Cool lighting system and as usual awesome video. It really doesn't seem overpriced to me. I think it is very reasonable. Thanks again Joe!

  2. Very interesting, but to get the full use out of this, I would need two kits and both expansion packs. Then it is getting quite pricey.

  3. What I know currently for the money that I have spent… my money. Starting from the cheapest strobes long ago after some crappy other lighting, having and knowing how to use powerful strobes is the best. Maybe the best part is being able to have ambient, but being able to kill the ambient. Sure, in places like weddings one normally can only work with the crappy lighting that is there, but elsewhere, places other than the income to stay alive such as the whore of weddings, photography can be quite satisfying by being quite beautiful.

    LEDs are not there yet imho.

    In any way, it all takes time and work. Work it!

  4. Yet another excellent video with great pointers.
    And I'm sorry I must say this;
    Beautiful new model with a very docile expression… that make spectacular photos from 6:40 on.
    Thanks once again for all your work!

  5. Stunning Models. Fantastic review. I like simplicity & adaptation, so this sold me something I wouldn't normally consider. Thank you.

  6. I always read the instructions after I assemble something and can't get it to work.
    As far as price goes, like everything else, the more people buy it, the more saturated the market gets, the lower the price gets. Also, there is durability and life expectancy. How well do LEDs hold up to being knocked over compared to strobes or a speedlite? Maybe a future video? πŸ™‚ Thanks for another great video!

  7. Hmmm…I think I could find these useful for studio product photography but for portraiture I couldn't see me using these. My biggest issue is the inability to remove ambient light. The shutter speeds I'd need to use these LEDs ( or any LED based lighting) are too slow. I'd also struggle to use higher f stops. They may emit sufficient light in a light controlled studio but outdoor shooting would be out of the question. Lastly the inability to use fast shutter speeds could result in motion blur and of course freezing moving action is out of the question. I do applaud the modular aspect of the system however.

  8. How do these compare to the DIY LED lighting setup you created? The Spekular is about double the price and a smaller source of light (1 foot vs 4 foot) compared to the DIY LED Setup. Does the beam angle negate the smaller light size? Being able to dim the lights and the smaller size for travel would help to justify the higher cost. However, if I'd need two Spekular core kits + the expansion it would be getting pretty pricey. My goal is to shoot headshots similar to you and Peter Hurley. Thanks for the great video series! Much appreciated!

  9. Hi Joe, Thanx for this video tutorial on the Spekular lighting gear. Awesome presentation definitely a worthwhile buy! 😎 πŸ‘ great job! it's value for money for any new comer to add a cost effective set up to their gear aquisition! 😎 πŸ‘

  10. Thanks for this review. These have been on my radar for a few months now. It was super helpful seeing your setups and settings. I must be getting old though… whereas in the past I obsessed over shooting wide aperture in the studio, now part of me cringes at the idea like "OMG no F/8?!" Love the flexibility of the system. Hopefully they will keep expanding as I think Im already done with that whole star catchlight thing. Great video as always Joe!

  11. Great Video. Always informative. I have been looking at these since they came out but still wanting till i have play money to get them.

  12. Very informative, as usual, Joe. Thank you! Probably won't be in my repertoire for a bit, but that just gives me something to work towards. πŸ™‚

  13. Hi! Thx for sharing your knowledge! Very simply, but very interesting and useful. What do you thinking about new Profoto A1? May be short review? Thank you again for your work! Best regard, Yury

  14. Too expensive, forget versatility. Money is money. With this amount I buy two big flash and modifiers (traditional style) This a infor-commercial, not a tutorial. This people pay you for this . . . Your first videos are good, and now this.

  15. Great video. But it's very packed. You should brake these types of videos in two parts. e.x. One talking about the light and the other for what's CRI.

  16. Nice job Joe. What is the background setup you have there. I have a smaller studio and need some inter-changeable backdrop.

  17. Before I knew about CRI, I was getting a green tinge in my shots that absolutely irked me. I modified my camera presets, was doing a lot of post production color correcting. Then realized it was the danged expensive fluorescent lights I was using. DEFINITELY, take your lights out for a whirl before committing.

  18. Hi Joe, love the video and all the information you shared. I have been looking at this setup and almost pulled the trigger on the basic kit and expansion pack, but had a thought. Even though the expansion pack allows you to separate the lights into a typical three light portrait shot, all the lights still have to be at the same power level…correct? Since only one of the light bars has an intensity switch, how do you lower the hair or rim lights to a lower level than the key light? If I'm correct, you would have to purchase three of the basic kits to get that functionality or diffuse the lights you want at a lower level. That seems a bit more pricey than the original setup. If I'm wrong, please set me straight. Thanks!

  19. I am interested to see the backdrop setup you did in this room in the background, can you show us more details about it??

  20. Great video and super interesting lighting rig. I think it would make a great DIY project, with some of the LED strip lights I`ve seen.
    My only negative comment about your video – your models are so gorgeous I constantly lost track of what you`re talking about !

  21. Absolut Great Light System, Thank you Jet for your presentation, you are a great creative photographer, God bless you.
    your Fan and admiration Lou πŸ˜ƒ

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