Photon Beard Highlight 440 Review
Reel 9 recently specified and arranged the supply of eight highlight 440s for a creative agency fashion shoot. Reel 9 were commissioned to act as consultants to the agency, fully equip their studio with professional video lighting, and conduct test shoots and video compression techniques for a forthcoming online retail fashion campaign.
The agency had previously used Kino Flo Vistabeam 600 units on a hire basis, and we were asked to produce an equivalent solution, but on a limited budget. After much hunting and research on the internet, we found the Highlight 440's.
The sales team at Photon Beard were very helpful and answered all our questions quickly and efficiently. The most important question though was could the Highlights match up to the light output of the Kinos? The guys at Photon Beard quoted the output from the 440 at 1370 Lux @ 3 metres. This is with the optional intensifier (barn doors). They quoted the Vistabeams at 1453 Lux @ 3 Metres, so the difference didn't seem too great. Eventually we decided on purchasing eight of the highlight 440s along with a couple of spots for detail. The rrp. of the Highlight 440s is around £899.00 + vat for the locally dimmed version, including the "intensifier". The Vistabeams work out at around £3000 a piece so we'll let you do the mathematics. Another good point to mention is that the Highlight 440s come complete with the 8 55W daylight tubes that are required to power the unit. You may of course fit tungsten colour temperature tubes should you wish.
Out of the box the lights were well packaged and arrived at the shoot in perfect condition. Build quality seemed perfectly adequate and the only "building" that needed to be done was quickly screw on the spigot to enable attachment to a stand. We used fairly light Manfrotto pneumatic stands that coped with the 10 KG weight of the 440s quite adequately. It is also worth mentioning the dimensions of the 400s, 637mmW, 723mmH, and 135mmD. That's a lot of fluorescent light output for a rather small and manageable size.
The power cable fits neatly
and securely to the bottom of the unit, near to the (somewhat small)
power switch, which is a little difficult to locate with just your
fingers, but this is no major problem.
On power up, the highlights
are basically silent. Of course they run cool, although some heat is
generated when you fire up eight at a time! Light output is excellent,
although I have not had the opportunity to directly compare the unit
with the vistabeams. Now I don't think that they are a direct
replacement for the Kinos, but they certainly are a great alternative
for those on a smaller budget.
The colour reproduction from the units was excellent, and with the correct camera white balance setting, virtually no adjustment in post is required.
These units are great value for money, well made, good size, quiet, good light output, and a great price. Even better value if you can do without the barn doors.
Home | Services | Team | Portfolio | Testimonials | Contact | Sitemap | Links | AV Presentation | CD Format Conversion | CD Format Duplication | Corporate Video Production | DVD Format Conversion | DVD Format Duplication | Promotional Video Production | Showreel Production | Training Video Production