I was recently introduced to the Quasar Science LED tubes on a shoot in Vancouver by gaffer Michael Ryniker. We were tasked with shooting the interiors of camping tents of all shapes and sizes in the dark, March forests of BC. We needed supplementary lighting but pounding HMIs from the outside was impractical because of the thick tent fabrics. My plan was to light the tent interiors with a daylight balanced GEM ball which actually worked out great but only for the larger tents. The challenge we faced was shooting wide 14mm shots of the smaller tents where there was no place to hide a larger daylight balanced GEM ball.
This is where I discovered how amazing and versatile the Quasar Science LED tubes can be. They look like a traditional kino tube, with one half blacked out (genius by the way) and come in 2,4, and 8 foot lengths. I’m always skeptical and a bit fussy about lighting talent and product directly with LEDs because most of the time they still don’t have a pleasing colour rendering even if they state a high CRI rating, so as a result I often relegate LED fixtures to background lighting.
Back to the tents. We were able to hang the Quasar tubes at the very top on the inside of the tent pointing down. The first thing I noticed was how bright yet soft they were. But what impressed me the most was how accurate the colour balance looked to my eyes and how good the daylight tubes looked on a RED camera sensor. Quasar states a CRI of 95+, so that is currently among the highest in the industry.
What further differentiates these LEDs from the competition is not only their incredibly natural looking 95+ CRI but also their simplicity in design. I like how they can be powered from one end of the tube and eliminate the wiring harness that stretches the length of a traditional kino; always a PITA! The Quasars also have a small selectable switch on the end for 5500K or 3000K colour temperature, and the kicker is these lamps are very dimmer friendly.
These tubes are a perfect fit for almost any shooting style. They are simple to use, lightweight, have beautiful colour rendering, and are daylight/tungsten switchable. They are a perfect lighting solution for adding a quick bit of fill, or adding some punchy backlight on a table top set-up, or happily standing by on a grip stand as an “oh shit” light in case you find yourself in trouble.