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This is Spekular and this is Spekular and this is Spekular and this is Spekular and
this is part two of my LED lighting series.
Spekular is a new modular led lighting system that is being referred to as the Swiss army
knife for lighting.
In this video I am going to put Spekular to the test and I am going to do my best to demystify
those three letters that keep popping up when people talk about lighting…
My name is Joe Edelman and my mission is to help photographers like YOU to develop a solid
understanding of the HOWS & WHYS behind great photography so that you can achieve your goals
as a photographer.
The Swiss Army knife for lighting is a great reference for this new LED lighting system
from Spiffy Gear.
In case you don’t remember - Spiffy Gear is the company the brought us the Light Blaster
that I showed you in this video.
Spekular is a modular lighting system that can take on all kinds of shapes depending
on your needs and this can save you money and the time needed to pack and set-up light
modifiers especially when you are working on location.
Each of these sections uses only 14.5 watts of energy which means just 58 watts for a
kit of four sections.
Each section puts out 1,500 lumens of light which is about the same brightness as a 150watt
That means 6000 lumens for a kit of 4 sections or a brightness similar to a 600watt light
bulb . Unlike fluorescent lights - there is no flicker with Spekular.
They are daylight balanced at 5600k with a CRI of 94+.
We will talk more about that CRI stuff at the end of the video.
They can be dimmed from 100% all the way down to 10% and they output light at a beam angle
of 120 degrees.
And they are small - just 1.5” or 4 centimeters square and 12 inches or 30 centimeters in
Spekular comes comes as a kit of 4 LED sections.
Each section is built with aluminum and ABS plastic for a total per-section weight of
about three quarters of a pound of which is 335grams.
One section in each kit has the power switch, dimmer switch and plug for the power supply.
Also in the the case are 4 of these cool hinged connecters, a 1/4-20” mount, eight gel holders,
the AC Power Supply and Instructions.
To use Spekular, start with a control section and add a stand mount.
Then depending on the configuration you want to make - in this case I am going to make
a simple panel - you just slip a hinged connector on one end and keep adding pieces.
They just slide right in and then you tighten them in place so that the unit is not going
to come apart while you use it.
The hinged connectors also flip in the opposite direction so that you can create triangles
Let me say right now that I think this lighting system is brilliant, but please don’t lose
sight of the fact that they are small.
So if you are like me and you tend to use large light modifiers - you will need to take
a different approach to your lighting.
That doesn’t make it bad - but it does make it different and it definitely helps if you
are comfortable and confident with your lighting skills.
To prove my point - I wanted to use Spekular to create the same lighting styles that I
normally do with my big modifiers.
The folks at Spiffy Gear were kind enough to give me two sets to test out, so I started
with a simple headshot.
You can see here that I have one set of four above the camera as my main light and one
set of four behind my subject to light the white wall.
I was able to shoot this at ISO200 with a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second at f/4.
Then I moved both lights in front of my subject for a simple clamshell lighting effect.
This one was also at ISO200 - 1/100th of a second at f/4
Next I switched to a #62 Purple Seamless Paper Background by Savage Universal and used just
four of the Spekular Panels arranged in a square.
With my subject seated just in front of my background and the Spekular light placed about
two feet in front of her - I was able to shoot this at ISO200 with a shutter speed of 1/100th
of a second at f/4
Next up a different subject in front of a #24 Orange Seamless from Savage, still with
the square arrangement, but this time I have used three additional Spekular panels behind
my subject - one is creating a nice glow on the orange background and the other two are
placed camera right and camera left as rim lights.
For the three lights behind my subject - I have one main bar from the second kit and
the two additional ones are attached using the expansion extension accessory kit.
The expansion kit comes with two additional mounting pieces for light stands, two section
to section extension cords and two straight connectors.
So now I have a four light set-up and a shot that was done at ISO 200 with a shutter speed
of 1/125th of a second at f/4
Next I switched to a #20 Black Seamless from Savage and used the same square as my main
light and just the two rims on camera left and right.
Shooting at the same ISO 200 with a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second at f/4 I was
able to get this series of portraits.
Spiffy Gear also has a cool accessory called the Star Adapter.
This adaptor lets you attach 8 of the LED bars to a central ring.
This arrangement gives you a really sweet broad light source and a very cool catchlight.
This shot was done with my subject sitting in front of a #27 Thunder Gray Savage backdrop.
I shot at ISO 200 with a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second at f/4
Here is the same arrangement on the purple background.
If I add a fan - back the Spekular star up to about 4 feet from the subject you will
notice the catchlight becomes much smaller and I can shoot a beauty shot like this with
an ISO of 400, an aperture of f/4 and an intentionally slow shutter speed of 1/80th of a second to
get some blur on the ends of the blowing hair.
Ok - so mission accomplished - I was able to recreate quite a few of my favorite lighting
styles with Spekular - but how about having some fun with color?
This three quarter length shot was done with just one Spekular kit.
My model is standing in front of a #01 Super white backdrop with two bars on camera left
- unfiltered and at full power.
On camera right, I have two more bars with a blue gel placed over them.
This shot was done at ISO400, 1/80th of a second at f/3.5 The filtered blue light on
camera right is just bright enough to add color to the shadows created from the main
light on camera left.
Next I went back to the black background and placed two bars on camera left as my main
Two bars on camera right with a blue gel and then used two bars with a pink gel behind
my model on camera right and one bar with a pink gel behind my model on camera left.
The pink gels light up her blonde hair and the blue gel is coloring the shadowed side
of her face.
This shot was done at ISO400 and 1/80th of a second at f/4.
For my last set-up I used the same lights and gels but moved the blue set behind my
model on camera left so that it was creating a bit of a rim light - but not filling in
shadows on the face.
At the same settings, I was able to create this series of shots.
In addition to the Spekular Kit, the Expansion Kit and the Star Adapter.
Spiffy Gear also has a Battery Adapter that will allow you to use any DTAP-enabled V-mount
The Spekular Core Kit sells for $650.00.
The accessory are each priced at $130.00.
Now I know what some of you are thinking… you think this is expensive and that you can
by a few speedlights for the same price.
You could buy a few speedlights for the same price, but you can't match the versatility
that Spekular provides at this price.
Certainly Spekular is not going to be for everyone, but as you have heard me say before
- there is no one light that will meet all of your needs as a photographer.
While I have proven to you that it works great with people, I also think that Spekular is
perfectly suited for shooting products and I have no doubt that cinematographers and
videographers will fall in love with this system.
Just to give you a comparison… a Wescott Ice Light which so many of you GEARtographers
oohed and ahhed over - the Ice Light sells for $500 dollars and has a much narrower beam
output of 72.6 degrees and outputs only 1,740 lumens of light.
In other words its only slightly brighter than 1 Spekular bar - with a narrower angle
and costs almost as much as a whole Spekular kit, so like most Wescott products - it’s
overpriced for what it offers.
Be sure to follow the rest of the videos that I will be doing in this LED light series because
I will finish with some hybrid lighting arrangements using Spekular in combination with strobes
and ambient light.
You can purchase Spekular online at spiffygear.com and it is currently available at Adorama and
BHPhoto with more retailers to come.
Oh…. one last tip about Spekular… remember the gel clips that I mentioned…. they also
serve another awesome purpose.
If you buy a role of Rosco Cine Foil - which every photographer should have in their studio
anyway… cut a 12” piece and wrap it around the back of the Spekualr bar - then attach
a gel clip from the back - one at either end and you now have a shapeable set of barn doors
for the Spekular lights.
You could even do the same thing with regular aluminum foil to make a reflector that will
give you a slightly broader right coming from one bar.
So whats the big deal about CRI?
CRI stands for Color Rendering Index.
This is not the same as color temperature that is measured in degrees kelvin.
The simple explanation is that CRI is a measure that shows us how well a light source makes
the color of an object appear to the human eye and how “realistically” or “naturally”
the light source makes different shades appear in relationship to each other.
In other words, CRI explains how accurately a light source is rendering any color in comparison
Is CRI important?
Yes, well not really - well yeah - well let me explain.
It really depends on what you are photographing and how accurate you want or need your colors
If you are reproducing artwork for cataloguing purposes - you need to work with lights that
have a very high CRI because you need to colors to reproduce accurately and in the proper
relationship to each other.
This would be the same if you were photographing products for advertising or clothing for a
If you are doing something that is subjective like a creative shot of a model lit by neon
signs on a city street at night…. you probably don’t need to care about CRI as you are
not likely to be concerned about having an exact color match.
The same could be said for a simple portrait.
The bigger the number the better.
CRI is measured on a scale that uses 100 as the best.
Incandescent bulbs have a CRI of 100 because they don’t have any color discrimination.
But we all know that incandescent bulbs aren’t very efficient.
When it comes to LED’s the bulbs are considered good if they have a CRI of 85 to 90, but light
sources which have a CRI of 90 or higher are known as excellent and are the most appropriate
for tasks that require the most accurate color.
Just like any other aspect of science I could dig much deeper into this, the problem is
I would get a headache before you do.
So in short - Higher the CRI - better the color match.
Regardless of the type of work you want to do - keep your CRI above 85 and you will have
acceptable results unless you need that perfect color match - then you need 95 or higher.
Next up in the LED lighting series I am going to take a look at some sweet lighting panels
called Edge Lit Pro from Savage Universal and I am going to put them to use in the studio
AND on location.
Until then, I hope you found this useful.
Please hit that thumbs up and subscribe so that you don’t miss any videos and until
next time go pick up that camera and shoot something because your BEST shot - it’s
your NEXT shot, so keep learning, keep thinking, keep shooting.