Top Lighting Designer tests new AREA 48 LED light from BBS Lighting 

Lighting Designer Todd Heater is often called upon to light up to 100 setups a day when he’s working on commercials or music videos such as the currently running Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Rolling Stones videos, where the musicians’ time is gold. So when he tested the new AREA 48 LED lights from BBS Lighting, it was a real-world trial run.

Not only is the color rendering of the Area 48 LED spot-on, but it’s powerful, lightweight, compact, and can run off a battery,

- Todd Heater, Lighting Designer

“Say you’re filming in the streets of downtown Los Angeles, and your generator’s far away, you just put it on a battery pack and go. Up until recently, battery powered lights were like oversized flashlights, but this is a real lighting tool.”


Heater also utilized the AREA 48 LED lights on car commercials. “When we go out on the road with cars, we usually tow a car behind a generator truck and light it up that way. But with these lights, we’re able to mount battery packs right on the fixture and film it without having to put a generator power source on it.”

AREA 48 LED fixtures are available with V-lock or Gold Mount (AB) battery plates, and can also be powered with a 4 pin xlr 160W external AC power supply.

When asked about the color fidelity of the AREA 48s he’s tested, Heater said: “The color match to daylight was as close to daylight as I’ve seen on the market, and probably better than all the other LEDs that I’ve seen out there. I have a more artistic approach to lighting than a technical one, but to my eye and to the camera,

the color is right on the money.

One thing that Heater said he tries to avoid is mixing light sources. “When you mix light sources, there’s a strange phenomenon that happens. You can always tell that there’s difference. Even though a camera or a color temperature meter cannot, the eye can. So when I’m doing lighting I prefer to work with only one kind of source.

“But working with the AREA 48 LED and HMIs at the same time, the difference was practically unnoticeable, which is great. HMIs are big, hot, heavy, non-dimmable lights, and I can substitute the AREA 48 where I need a small, compact, and very powerful light.”

The power of the light coming from Area 48 LED fixtures is a function of the interchangeable phosphor technology employed. Since the phosphor coatings are not put on the LED bulbs themselves but on a phosphor panel placed in front of the LEDs, the same amount of light is generated no matter what the color balance of the particular phosphor panel being used: daylight (5600K), tungsten (3200K), or any of the other panels (2700K, 4300K, 6500K, and Chroma Green) available as accessories for Area 48s.

Heater much prefers BBS’s interchangeable panel approach to changing color temperature. “When you try to blend tungsten and daylight bulbs, it takes away lighting power because you have half and half. With this light there’s a daylight balance that puts out the same amount of light as a tungsten balance, and the same for the other color temperatures available.”

In addition to the difference of weight, size and power draw, Heater also noted the lack dimmability with HMI lighting fixtures. “The AREA 48 LED is a very resourceful working tool on a set, because you can dim them down without changing color temperature. Now we can work at really, really low levels while remaining locked on in terms of color temperature.”

Todd Heater is a Los Angeles-based lighting designer.

For more information on the BBS Lighting AREA 48 LED click here



BBS™ Lighting Force V™ LEDs Help Redwood Media Group Clients Go Green

Bend, Oregon-based Redwood Media Group LLC, a firm providing consulting, design and integration for television and digital media production has recently moved major clients like Time-Warner Sports Net, FOX’s KTTV-LA, KOTV Tulsa and others to Green production, with BBS’s Force V LED lighting taking the lead.

“We’ve been involved in efficiency oriented systems for years,” explains Redwood Media Group’s head Steve Mulkey. “We were the first to use florescent lighting and the first to become involved when LEDs came along. Recently, we were looking for more LED fixtures that were traditional and familiar. For us, BBS’s new Force V LEDs were ‘like a light bulb going on’. These are truly a good performing light with a great and powerful even field of light quality that we can put in our facilities without reservation.”

Redwood Media’s clients are mostly live-event or broadcast oriented. Mulkey and his crew must have extremely reliable lighting. They have to trust their units to perform flawlessly. He knew that’s what he would get with the Force V LEDs. The company’s first install was the Pack-12 Network’s Conference. “At the same time we took Time/Warner Sports Net Studios in El Segundo, California, home of the LA Lakers – Green,” Mulkey explains. This is their largest install so far – two studios done and a 3rd, for the Dodgers, set for next month. As with most of their all-LED installs, the Force V lights are their key instruments. “We’ve got at least 30 units in each of the Time/Warner studios,” he adds.

“It simply makes sense in this time where everyone is making a concerted effort to go Green,” he says. “Who would want to be using 575W or 750W incandescent, when you can use 106W LED? Cost effective and energy efficient. That’s what you get with these unique high-quality daylight fixtures Force V LEDs from BBS.”

The Force V is the most powerful LED “Force” ever. When you upgrade your ellipsoidals to LED, you get a complete retrofit kit for third party optics that sets new standards for white light LED with very low power consumption. Existing optics can be converted to LED in one minute, giving the user a powerful long LED life, ultra silent operation, and a completely smooth range of dimming. The Force V LEDs are available in two color temperatures comparable to tungsten 3200 Kelvin and daylight 5600 Kelvin. More details are available at

“The Force V is simply the first and the best ellipsoidal engine available,” Mulkey concludes. “They are going to be one of the most important LED lights in our installs, whether they are small broadcast studios, major Sports venues, or everything in-between.” For more information, visit



Visual Buddha Launches First Product; The Visual Buddha 1X1 LED Light

 My partners and I at Visual Buddha are always looking for the best new gadgets out there, and to see if there are places where we can fill a certain void.

To that point, I’m pretty excited to announce the launch our first product, the Visual Buddha 1X1 LED light.

It fills three main issues with LED lights:  Light output, color accuracy, and affordability. 

The Visual Buddha 1X1 is 40% Brighter than many of the 1X1 LED lights.    The only issue with LED lights from the start has been that you’re always looking for a little extra power from them –notably when you want to diffuse or soften the light… this definitely takes us in making that more of a reality.

This light is made with the latest generation of LED light diodes and it’s therefore much brighter and more color accurate than the previous generation of LED lights.   If you take the time to look at current high-end LED products, you’ll notice that most of them have a noticeable colorcast – either green or a weird color altogether.   Some are inconsistent between the same models altogether.   When it comes to the lower end products it’s literally the Wild West out there.

The Visual Buddha is a Bicolor light that goes from daylight to tungsten and everywhere in between – and has excellent color fidelity.  A CRI of 94 – which means that when we say “daylight” it actually is (that same goes for Tungsten.)   This allows you to mix this in with natural window light, and any other cinema lighting you might be using (both daylight and tungsten balanced)  without needing to worry about the painful process of trying to correct that color cast which can frankly prove impossible.  And that cast will often change as you dial the light up and down which can turn into a nightmare for any gaffer out there.

The light is designed and made in the USA (with USA/overseas components) and you can expect top-notch support as a result.    You can add a variety of light modifiers to it including barn doors of course and it has a nice latch in the front so that you can insert two different levels of diffusion and/or gels – and they won’t fall out when you walk around with the light.

This light is also flicker free unlike a lot of the competition and can be a great tool for people shooting high speed.

There’s a nice little handle on the back to carry the light effortlessly,  it comes in a two light kit as well with carrying case.    And it of course supports both Anton Bauer or V-Lock battery plates so you can use it without any cabling.  

Lastly there are 4 mounting points with regular ¼-20 sockets on the sides so you can use brackets to mount several lights together easily if you need more punch.  

So there’s got to be a catch to this right – especially in terms of price right?   Well no – the price is actually 40% less expensive than competing 1X1 lights…    This means that you can come close get two for the price of one of the current top models out there.

We’ve made no sacrifices with this light – remember it’s our very first product.    As many of you know LED lights are the perfect travel light because they are virtually indestructible, lightweight, and they can be powered with both AC and Battery power.   They are great key lights, accent lights, and fill lights – especially with highly sensitive DLSRs that can shoot at high ISOs – it’s extremely easy to dial down the Visual Buddha 1X1 to nearly an unnoticeable amount of output when you want just a touch of fill, or even just a specular spot in your subject’s eye. 

I’ve travelled the world with these and often bring as much a 8 of them with me to light entire jobs.   These are extremely versatile tools and the ability to dial in the color temperature in just the right spot between tungsten and daylight is a life safer when you want to give your lighting a warmer or cooler look , let alone mix the two on a shoot (a warm key, and a bluer rim light for example) for more stylistic purposes.

The Visual Buddha 1X1 comes in two models both are bi-color – a spot mode with a 30 degree spread (to be able to focus a narrower beam of light on your subject – great for filling in a face from distance), and a flood model with a 60 degree spread.   Each sells for $1295 and are also sold as a kit which is a solution I’d recommend you consider for your travels.    For more information check out Visual

I look forward to hearing your feedback on these lights and hope they will serve you well as they have me – for both still photography uses and of course video/film.   There hasn’t been a single commercial or film project that I’ve worked on as either a director or DP where I haven’t pulled out a 1X1 LED at some point – these are the fastest lights to deploy quickly when you need a diffuse light in a small, lightweight form factor and that’s why we chose to make these our first products. We also wanted to make them brighter, extremely color accurate and more affordable. For more information, visit the e-store at

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