I wanted to follow up on my earlier post regarding my new Dedolights. I’ve used them a number of times now and continue to love them. My Dedo kit consists of three identical lights (the Dedolight DLH4 150w universal head with external power supply), along with some other extra accessories.
I’d say that there are 4 major benefits to Dedolights: 1) they give you great creative control over the light’s output, 2) 3) they’re very small and light, 3) they’re very energy-efficient, and 4), they’re rugged. Here’s what I mean…
Small and Light. The Dedo DLH4 light head is small enough to easily stuff into small spaces and compact cases. At 1.2 pounds each, it’s also easy to carry a number of light heads around, or hang/rig the light in unusual places.
Great Light Output. This is one of the Dedolight trademarks. The DLH4 light head uses two Fresnel lenses and mirrors to boost the amount of light generated by the head’s 150w bulb. In the end, you can expect the Dedo’s to output more like 300-400 watts of light, and even more in the spot setting.
20-to-1 Flood/Spot Ratio. You can smoothly zoom the light from flood to spot simply by moving a slider back and forth along the length of the fixture. I’m not talking about a two-position spot/flood setting. Instead, you simply zoom the slider to any point you want, effectively giving you unlimited options for focusing the light. Light output is smooth and even at all points.
Built-in Dimmer. The lights have a build in dimmer (on the power supply). No more traveling around with separate dimmers that add weight and tangles of wires to your kit.
Separate Power Supply. The light’s power supply is designed to hang on the Dedo stand, right below the light itself (the dimmer and On/Off button are on the power supply). Having a separate power supply adds a little more bulk to your kit, and if that bothers you, Dedo sells a version of the DLH4 with its power supply built in. But there are three benefits gained from separating the light from its power supply: 1) it keeps the light fixture lighter for balancing high up or in unusual places, and 2) if the light head is up high, the power supply hangs lower so it’s easier for you to reach the on/off switch or the dimmer, and 3) if you ever bring the lights to Europe, you just need to get a new power supply, but can still keep using the same DLH4 light head you already have. Bonus: you can also run the lights off a battery, or a cigarette lighter in a car.
3200 or 3400 Kelvin Operation. You can actually operate the light at two different temperatures (3200 or 3400 Kelvin), just by flicking a switch on the power supply. This lets you easily give one or all of your lights a warmer, golden look without using gel. For instance, suppose you’re shooting an interview and have set most of your lights to 3200 K, and white balanced to them. Then, you can take your last Dedolight, set it at 3400 K, and give your interviewee a warmer hair light.
Durable, Affordable Lamps. The 150w 24v halogen bulbs are very, very durable. You can knock the light off its stand to the floor, and still expect the bulb to keep on truckin’. And the bulbs are rated for 300 hours at 3200 K, so they last a long time. And they’re cheap to replace: about $10.
Fantastic Barn Doors. The lights come with 8-leaf barn doors that give you fantastic control over the light. One of the things I love doing is creating a thin, hairline whisp of light for backgrounds.
Mini Gels, Scrims and Filters. Want to gel your lights? No more awkwardly clipping big gel sheets to the barn doors. Instead, the Dedos feature tiny gel holders (about 2” square) that slide right into the front of the light fixture (Dedo sells tons of color effect and color correction gels sized to fit the holder). Same thing goes for neutral density filters and scrims: they come in mini sizes that slip right into the light.
Miniature Gobos. Gobos are pre-cut patterns that you can put in front of a light to create areas of light and shadow — for instance, window blinds, or tree branches, or abstract shapes. I love to use a gobo (aka cuculoris) to create light/shadow effects for interview backgrounds, but my pre-Dedo days required a fair amount of effort. First, I had to cut my own patterns out of big, black foam-core boards. Then I’d use a heavy grip head to attach that foam core to yet another light stand. And then I’d move the board and stand in front of my background light. But the Dedo way makes things much easier: just attach a small Dedo projector accessory directly to your DLH4 light head, and then slip small metal gobo patterns right into that projector. What you get is a large gobo pattern projected on a wall several feet away, which you can further customize by focusing or defocusing the light via the spot/flood slider. Dedo sells a variety of gobo patterns in an inexpensive 6-pack, but you can also buy new ones (custom made as well) through Rosco and other companies.
Other Nice Touches. The lights and accessories benefit from lots of small, detailed touches that really make everything a pleasure to use. A few examples: the power supply cords have built-in Velcro straps for tying the cord together. The light stands are very light-weight, and have rubber feet so you don’t scratch wood floors (wish the same could be said for my old Lowel stands). And accessories like gobos, gels and scrims come in small pouches that you can hang on the light stands. It’s all really well thought out…
So that’s my run-down of my Dedo DLH4 light heads. They make fantastic accent and background lights, especially for shooters who need to travel light.