Q8 Travel Tech Overview with Jem Schofield of theC47
I have a long history with Fiilex fixtures. I use their P360s all of the time. For kicker lights, for specials, and all kinds of situations where I need smaller, color-tunable light sources. But the Q-series is a little bit different, and I also have a history with those. In fact we used the Q1000 on my cinematic video lighting course with lynda.com, and the Q8 Travel is really part of that family. And what we have with the Q8 Travel is something that is, to me, a big jump in terms of what we’re getting in the Q-series. The light output is tremendous: a 340 watt draw—which means we’re getting a lot of punch out of this unit.
So of course we have the light fixture, which we’ll be talking about in more detail in a moment, as well as its kit. Fiilex offers a lot of kit options. The particular kit I have here is the H181 single Q8 Travel kit. The kit comes with proper barn doors, which I always appreciate, and Fiilex does those correctly. It also comes with two magnetic rings, which can be used to hold gels and filters. The brackets on the fixture leave room for using both the gel holder and barn doors simultaneously. Also there’s the power supply, which comes with a super clamp so you can attach it to your light stand. So, it’s well thought out, and the cabling is long enough for your standard setups.
Additionally we have the case itself, which is super durable, and has both wheels and an extending handle so it’s easy to roll around. And the complete kit comes in at just under 50 lbs, so you can check it if you are traveling by air, which is essential. Now we’re going to talk a little bit more about the light fixture itself, and some of the things that I think will make it attractive to people in all-around production.
So what makes this thing special? Well, it’s a Fresnel-based unit with an 8 inch lens, hence the Q8 name—custom-designed by Fiilex, as is everything Fiilex makes. So they don’t get parts off-the-shelf, and I know this because I’ve been using their lights for a long time. The Q8 Travel has a 340 watt power draw, so it is a beast, by which I mean this fixture is bright. And it uses Dense Matrix LED technology. Fiilex designs and manufactures these arrays themselves, and they are packing these LEDs really tightly, so the light that’s coming out of a Dense Matrix reads as a very compact, almost point-source. Combined with the fresnel lens, what we’re getting is a beautiful, well-defined fall-off at the edge of the beam.
This also is a huge jump in terms of spot to flood range. It’s goes all the way from 12 to 60°, which is incredible, and even though this thing is built like a tank, it’s relatively compact, so to be able to go from that 12 to 60° is fantastic.
And then there are the controls for the light. The tunable color temperature ranges from 2800 all the way up to 6500 Kelvin, with an average of 97 CRI across those settings. And while this is not a scientific overview of the fixture, from what I’m seeing it is extremely accurate in terms of color. For hue, we can do a plus/minus 0.25 on the green and magenta shift, which is great for matching other fixtures, or the environment. This will really save you from post-production headaches where subtle color mismatches can be a real hassle to correct.
The Q8 Travel also has fantastic dimming. I can turn it all the way down to 0.1% intensity, so this really is a dim-to-0 LED unit. And all of these settings can be controlled via DMX512 through either XLR or RJ45 DMX ports. Lastly, there’s the mini-USB port, which is used for both firmware updates and powering wireless DMX antennas.
Another thing that I really like about the Fiilex lights, is that you can actually adjust settings while the fixtures are receiving power but switched off, so that as soon as you hit the on button, the light will be whatever preset color and intensity you selected. This remains true for the Q8 Travel.
So to best illustrate the quality of the Q8’s Fresnel performance, I’m going to compare it with a different LED Fresnel. This comparison is not about intensity or color. I’ve actually dimmed down the Q8 Travel a bit to bring it closer to the comparison fixture, which is lower wattage. This is really about looking at what sort of light distribution these LED Fresnels are putting out when focused down to full spot.
Notice the tightness of the the Q8 Travel’s beam. It’s just amazing how well-defined that is. It still feathers off nicely at the edges, but there’s a relatively short distance from the bright, evenly lit center to almost zero exposure. That level of control is not something I’ve seen before in an LED Fresnel. On the comparison fixture you can see that brighter center, but it tapers off over a pretty large area, creating a lot of variable exposure within that beam.
So there you have it. That is the preview of the Q8 Travel from Fiilex. I’m definitely looking forward to taking this light out and using it on productions. I’m also excited about the evolution that we’re seeing with LED lighting right now, and the fact that we have, in a relatively compact unit here, the ability to set all of these different color temperatures, to have a plus / minus green shift that can actually compensate tonal variability with ambient light and other fixtures. And also the really tight 12° spot all the way to that 60° flood makes me feel pretty good about this LED Fresnel.
Learn more at the Q8 Travel web page.
Jem Schofield’s home page for theC47.