C360 LEDs Raise the Bar for RevZilla Video Team
If you ride a motorcycle, chances are you’ve heard of RevZilla, the premier online retailer for motorcycle gear, parts, and accessories. With a professionally curated web store, an abundance of top-notch video content, and excellent customer service, RevZilla truly leaves their competition in the dust. After years of working primarily with hot lights, the RevZilla video team is beginning to make the transition to LED with Fiilex. Read on to find out how the C360 LED fixtures have quickly become integral to RevZilla’s production process, both in their cyclorama studio and throughout the impressive RevZilla facilities.
The following text is a lightly edited transcription of remarks from Revzilla’s Video Production Manager Dustin Carpio and Director of Photography Aly Spengler.
At Revzilla we produce a very diverse array of content. We began with product reviews, branched off into how-to content, then started creating “gear guides” every year. If you want to know the best things to wear – if you’re a sport rider, an ATV rider, a dirt rider – whatever you are, we do that yearly guide. And more recently in the last few years we expanded into original content like motorcycle reviews and racing content. We bring you inside both Revzilla and the world of motorcycling.
So we’ve been using a lot of incandescent and tungsten lighting, which can give us problems from time to time especially with matching color. More recently we’ve been jumping over to the world of LED, which has been great. LED really gets us out of a lot of the jams we’ve had with incandescent lights over the years. We don’t have to replace bulbs. there’s not a lot of heat issues. We can match anything to anything, and the coolest thing is that you can just replace one fixture at a time, or batches at a time like we have.
We originally intended our C360s to be on the cyc wall that we’re building out, but we quickly realized that they had so many other uses.
We originally intended our C360s to be on the cyc wall that we’re building out, but we quickly realized that they had so many other uses – especially for our new gear guide series. We have a showroom which is beautiful, but lit with all kinds of color temperatures and lights. We had fluorescent, we had halogen, we had incandescent lighting, and with the C360, having that dial on the back gave us the opportunity to dial in specific color temperatures to match. And also with these lights being so small we were able to put them in places that we couldn’t fit other lights, so that was a plus.
In a recent shot that I know was really tough from an execution perspective, we had this big helmet wall that we had to walk a host down. Being able to have small lights that were able to go up on stands that weren’t taking up a lot of space was awesome. We also had a big window right behind us that was just bringing in all kinds of daylight source that we weren’t going to be able to stop from coming in. So with just a flick of the wrist being able to dial in that daylight temperature was huge, and it let our DP pay attention to the image more than the mixture of light that you normally would have to deal with in a situation like that.
Typically we just throw as many C360s as we can on our cart so there are these small, versatile lights that we can use in so many different ways. This isn’t something we’ve had in the past, and it allows us to be more self-reliant, especially as a small crew, and not have to worry as much about technical issues keeping us from getting a nice image.
[The C360s] let our DP pay attention to the image more than the mixture of light that you normally…deal with.
So the primary use of our C360s is on our cyc wall. As you can see they do a great job of being a key. We control the DMX with this extremely convenient iPad controller. It’s just as simple as touching the setting you want. If I want it to be 3200K, there’s 3200K. If I want it to be 5600K, there’s 5600K. They’re connected to all of our cyc wall lights and the overheads. There’s no lag, in terms of adjusting intensity and color correction.
With the C360s it feels nice and cool in [the studio], which is great.
And one of the great things is that we use these so much, and I don’t feel any heat coming off anything on this set. Again the biggest complaint that we have using normal production lights is that people get hot, they sweat. With the C360s it feels nice and cool in here, which is fantastic. The other great thing is – no expensive DMX cables – it’s all ethernet controlled. They’re just daisy-chained together with ethernet that you can get from anywhere. All you have to do is use a little adapter – 2, 3 or 5 pin DMX to ethernet and bam all of a sudden anything ethernet is ready to go on the C360s.
The unique thing about our configuration especially with the cyc wall, is because we’re using them as keys we want them to be nice and soft, so we went out got the medium softboxes. I’m not throwing shadows anywhere. Obviously I’m on a cyc wall, so I’m meant to have no shadows, but these softboxes work really great.
All in all I think upgrading to LEDs has made a huge difference in our workflow. We use a lot less power – that’s a huge goal of ours over the next 24 months. But it’s also going to save us on stress. We’re not replacing bulbs all the time. We’re not worried about color temperature. We can control that remotely. We don’t have to get up on ladders as much. Obviously they’re great in their softbox form here, but as you saw earlier we were able to use them as a fresnel light – use them in all kinds of different locations where a normal panel softlight probably wouldn’t work. A few little accessories here and there make this little light really versatile for everything we do at Revzilla.