When you're shooting a short film, commercial or interview, there is a likely possibility that you'll have plenty of room to set up lights. You may even have a crew that can help out! In the case that you don't have room, or when you're traveling on foot to the location, bringing tons of lights and gear with you isn't an option.
In this post, we talk about our 5 favorite small video lights that are perfect for travel and small shooting locations, and can stay in your bag no matter where you go.
1. Westcott 1x1 Bi-Color Flex Light
The Westcott 1x1 Bi-Color Flex Light is, hands down, our favorite small video light. We don't go anywhere without them. With adjustable color temperature from 2800K to 6000K, CRI's of 95 and 98 and the ability to run off of battery there isn't a reason to not have one of these in your bag at all times.
They are extremely portable and can be used literally anywhere. We actually dare you to find a place you can't use them. As a rental, they come with a Scrim Jim frame so you can mount it to a light stand. Don't have a light stand? Don't worry. Gaff tape one to a wall, clamp one to a railing, bend into a circle and attach to a table leg or place on the dashboard of a car. The possibilities are endless.
As Ryan Connolly of Film Riot says "I want to grind these into a smoothie and consume them for health reasons".
The capability to power them via a wall outlet or by battery makes them even more flexible. The Flex Portable Battery weights under 3 lbs and makes this already portable solution a no brainer to throw in a bag.
Thanks to the technology that Westcott uses, the lights do not emit any green or magenta spikes meaning that the time spent in post processing on color is next to none. Did we also mention that these lights can sustain rain? We'd rather not see you get stuck in it, but if you did everything would be okay! Want to learn more about these lights? Check out our video review!
2. FIILEX P360EX 400W LED Light
At just under 2 lbs the Fiilex P360 light is another go to in our studio. It features variable color temperature between 3000K and 5600K in a tiny package. The light itself is 4" in diameter and just 4.7" long. About the same size as a Canon 24-105 lens, this light will fit in any camera bag comfortably.
With a CRI of 92, it gives off an amazing quality of light with the full spectrum of color and no spikes. Though you can't gaff tape this light to a wall, you can easily mount it to a stand. Also included are a few additional accessories that make this light even more versatile such as the barn doors and a dome diffuser.
3. DEDOLIGHT DLH-4 SPOTLIGHT
An oldie but a goodie. When it comes to compact hot lights for filmmakers, the Dedolight DLH-4 is a great choice. A 150-watt tungsten balanced bulb combined with a dimmable power supply make it super well rounded. Some may say that the downfall of this light is not being able to change the color temperature, but that has never stopped us from throwing a gel on the front, clipped to the barn doors!
With a simple turn of the wrist, this light transforms from a flood to a spot in no time. Perfect for wedding filmmakers who face dark reception lighting or those run ins with staff members who tend to turn off lights. Packing two of these can ensure a good lighting balance on the dance floor.
Looking to shoot interviews? Turn it from flood to spot with a flick of the wrist and use as a hair light.
There are many benefits to having this light in your bag. Our one word of caution is remembering that it's a hot light which means it'll get... hot. We suggest packing a pair of gloves in your bag to handle it if it's been on for a period of time.
4. LiTEPanels Croma
There hasn't been a show that we've taken this to where someone hasn't remarked on how the shape looks like a flask. That said, it should give you an idea of how small the LitePanels Croma On-Camera LED light is. Compare it to an iPhone 7 Plus and your pocket needs to be just a tad larger to fit this compact light (see below).
What makes us grab this light off the shelf is that you don't need to plug it in. With the ability to run off of 6 AA batteries, you can easily grab your rechargables and enjoy 1.5 hours of full power light. If you're in a space that has a wall outlet, you can simply plug in the AC adapter and run it all day. With a twist of the knob, you can also adjust color temperature from daylight to tungsten and back.
Rounding out the details of why we enjoy using this light is that it always stays cool to the touch and that it is flicker free at any frame rate. Though this light isn't made to light 2 people sitting down for an interview, it is the perfect on-camera light for run and gun situations and makes for an awesome fill or kicker.
5. WESTCOTT ICE LIGHT 2
We may seem slightly obsessed with Westcott products but how can we not be when they build products with CRI ratings of 97! The Westcott Ice Light 2 isn't your typical form factor light. Being long and skinny (many call it a light saber) it casts a wide spread, soft light, over a large area. Adding barn doors allows for better control of the light, too!
One of the top things that we love about the Westcott Ice Light 2 is the displayed dimming capabilities from 5% to 100%. While they may not seem like too big of a deal, seeing the digital display and what power setting you are at means that you can replicate that same lighting setup over and over again by setting the light at the same power.
The removable Li-ion battery means, with a few additional on hand, you can shoot for long periods of time. Even more impressive is the ability to control the light via Bluetooth from your phone! Download the iOS app here and control the power levels of each individual light as well as rename up to 10 lights at once making the experience hands off, after setup of course!
Whether you are starting out and need a good quality light that doesn't break the bank or are searching for the perfect, travel friendly, light to keep in your bag, you can't go wrong with the lights mentioned above. Click the Add To Cart buttons below to add these products to your cart and be sure to check out some of the prebuilt packages we've created to make your shoots a breeze.