Sabyasachi Patra

BBS Area 48 Light for filming

Area 48 BBS Lighting

Photography as they say is painting with light. If there is no light there there is no art. Even with my Canon Cinema C300 camera, which is a low light champion, I need light my subjects to expose correctly. So I am going to throw some light (pun intended) on the light that I use to light up my subjects in independent feature films, documentaries and corporate shoots. This light named Area 48 is from a company called BBS and has a new Remote Phosphor technology and I have been using this for nearly a year.

BBS Area 48 Remote Phosphor Light

BBS Area 48 Remote Phosphor Light

 

Remote Phosphor Technology:

The Area 48 light of BBS has a new remote phosphor technology where the remote phosphor coating is away from the LED light. There are 48 blue diodes which when powered up emits energy which in turn excite the phosphor diffuser coating and that emits the soft bright white light. This technology increases the colour rendering as well as consistency and output.

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The 48 diodes of the BBS Area 48 Remote Phosphor light

The design is clever as one can change the phosphor diffuser panels in front to change the colour temperature from daylight to tungsten to chroma for green screen work within seconds. Ofcourse, that means you need to buy the phosphor panels separately. These remote phosphor panels are basically polycarbonate panels with phosphor coating and the panels are flexible.

The phosphor panel acts like a diffuser so unlike traditional lights you dont need to add diffusion to the BBS Area 48 remote phosphor light to soften it. So you dont lose light in the process either.

Remote Phosophor vis--vis LED light technology:

This remote phosphor light is much better than the LED lights because LED lights are individually coated with phosphor so that they emit a white light. Since the phosphor coating is on the LED bulbs in traditional LED lights, they degrade over time resulting in change in colour temperature. Traditional LED lights also dont have good spectral response and give green spikes. The lighting is also not so consistent and has lower CRI than the remote phosphor lights. That is why the remote phosphor light is a much better option that the LED lights.

Brightness:

According to the manufacturer the BBS Area 48 light has got a CRI of 97 which is pretty high and good. This is also comparable to a 1K traditional soft light.

It is said to output 10000 lumens at 5600K ie. daylight remote phosphor panel.

Area 48 Light Weight, Battery power and mobility:

The BBS Area 48 light weighs 3.6kgs. As compared to its output which is equivalent to 1K softlight, the weight is much less. So one can handhold it.

BBS Area 48 light on battery power

BBS Area 48 light on battery power

This light also comes with either a V mount battery plate or an AB mount battery plate. I have bought the V mount plate option and use V lock batteries with it. So one can handhold this light and move with the talent while shooting. In a recent shoot where I had to handhold the camera and move along with the actors, one of the crew members was holding this light all the time and moving along with me. I bounced it from the roof to get an even lighting as per the scene requirements.

Because of the battery option, I could avoid using a noisy generator, which would have killed the location sound recording for the project.

Max current draw at 12V (from battery) is 10.5 amps. However as a word of caution, one should realise that this light is a lightweight as compared to existing lights of similar outputs. As the shoot progresses after each passing hour, handholding this light continuously is tiring. 3.6kgs even though perfectly fine for our shoots, one needs to place it somewhere when not shooting. So tell your assistant to place it on a light stand or on a table when there is a break in shooting.

Colour rendering of Area 48 Light:

The daylight 5600K light was accurate and mixed well with the daylight. The light emitted is full spectrum and there are no ugly green spikes.

BBS AREA48 Light 5600K

BBS Area 48 Light at 5600K colour consistency

Integrated Barn doors: Since the BBS Area 48 light has got integrated barn doors, I keep the barn doors closed and the remote phosphor panel remains safely enclosed. Due to the integrated barn doors, you can also shape the light that is direct the light. They now have a version where Barn doors can be removed.

BBS Area 48 Flicker free:

This light is flicker free even at very high frame rates. So if you want to shoot some slow motion stuff, then this is the light that you need to use.

Shadow rendering of Area 48 Light:

The shadow rendering is nice and it appears as the light nicely wraps the subject.

External Power & Heat:

It can also be externally powered if you are in a room with power supply.

At 100% this light draws 145w from the mains power supply.

This light doesnt produce heat. So there is no chance of a person getting burnt unlike the traditional hot lights. No need to use gloves etc while handling this light. So all in all it is people friendly.

The actors wont sweat when infront of this light. Studios wont need more ACs when they use this light. Multiple units of this light can be assembled in fixtures of two or four and act like light banks. So this light is eminently suitable for small as well as large productions.

Dimensions of Area 48 Light with closed barn doors:

W: 356mm/13.97
H: 275mm/10.82
D: 115mm/ 4.53
Weight: 3.6 kg / 7.94 lbs
The Area 48 light comes with an angled yoke. You can handhold the light by holding on to the yoke or place it on a regular light stand as the yoke comes with a 5/8 female baby pin.

Life span:

According to BBS the Area 48 light has got a life of 50,000 hours.

Scalability:

Another advantage of this light is that if a production or studio wants that it can scale up the use of the Area 48 light by stacking multiple units to create a much brighter source. This light can be stacked to create units of two or four and fixture for the same is available. All the units can be dimmable by using DMX512.

Not Weather Proof:

A word of caution to all who may get swayed by this small size and start using it in any condition. This light is not weather proof so don’t soak it in rain. While using it one needs to atleast hold an umbrella over it if it is drizzling.

Benefits of BBS Area 48 light:

  • Light weight
  • Powered by a V mount battery
  • Mobile
  • Small and can be handheld
  • Dimmable and multiple units can be daisy chained
  • No change in colour temperature when the power is dimmed
  • No flicker
  • Soft but bright light equivalent to 1K softlight

Price:

The BBS Area 48 Remote Phosphor light costs 2499 USD. To use the battery you need to buy the battery plate. The V Mount battery plate costs an extra 279 USD. The AC power supply kit costs extra 198 usd. Apart from this there are a host of other accessories that one can buy.

Full marks to BBS lighting for creating the Area 48 light which is small and mobile and I now use it while filming documentaries, corporate interviews as well as in features. So I highly recommend this light for serious filmmakers. You can buy the BBS Area 48 LED light from B&H, at no extra cost to you, and help support this site.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/BBS_Area_48_LED_lights/Ntt/BBS%2BArea%2B48%2BLED%2Blights/N/0/kw/search/BI/19990/KBID/13252/DFF/d10-v1-t12

Sabyasachi Patra
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Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning Cinematographer and shoots for international broadcasters, feature films and corporates to make a living. He is a passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer and has won awards and accolades for his documentary 'A Call in the Rainforest'. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
Sabyasachi Patra
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