I’ve been testing these small portable LED light panels from Polaroid throughout the year in various types of productions and found that we rarely ever head out of the studio without at least one of them in our kit. Used as a portable fill or accent light, a hair light on green screen, or put a little extra light in tight spots on location, these portable lights really do the job – and they’re very affordable too!
Polaroid 350 LED Dual-color Portable Light Panel
The Polaroid 350 LED Dual Color light panel is great as a small portable ENG on-camera light or to use as a small fill light when you need it. It comes in a an organized case as a kit that includes AC power adapter, two Sony NP-style batteries, a dual battery charger, an adjustable cold shoe mount, lamp diffuser screen and barn doors.
The kit is available online through Amazon.com for around $112 and a select few other resellers.
The dual-color LEDs can be mixed with the controls on the back to adjust color temperature ranging from 3200K-6200K as well as an intensity control.
The Polaroid 350 kit is convenient to just toss in your camera bag with a small stand so you can drop in a little light where and when you need it – and adjust the color temp for the location you’re shooting in. We’ve used it in photo shoots as well as video productions to give us highlights on equipment we couldn’t relocate to a studio and had to work off the bench in an R&D lab.
Here’s a few resulting shots from the product instructional guide that were shot from the example setup above:
We are also using this small LED panel in our Green Screen studio as a hair light, mounted to a boom extension to give a little glow to people’s hair and the crest of their shoulders when shot against the green screen.
Having the ability to simply lower the boom and make adjustments to temperature, intensity and angles quickly is a real plus, since it’s small and lightweight and doesn’t put off heat on the talent. Plus being able to plug in the AC adapter directly helps us avoid power drop-outs during longer shoots in the studio, as opposed to quick shots on location running on battery power.
Polaroid 600 LED Studio Color Box w/Remote
This 600 LED dual-color digitally-controlled light panels also implements a dual-color LED array that can be adjusted in a wide range of color temperatures and intensity with precision controls, as well as with a wireless remote.
The fixture is built impressively solid with built-in reflective barn doors and operates on two Sony NP-F970 batteries or with included AC adapter. They’re reported to be able to be daisy-chained with other similar lights so they can be controlled simultaneously (though I wasn’t able to test this feature). It also ships with a small IR remote to control the temperature and intensity.
The Polaroid 600 LED Digital Color Box with Remote sells on Amazon.com for about $120 but performs as well as many other units we’ve tested for more than twice the price.
The remote can be useful with the light when you’ve mounted it remotely and can’t reach the control panel on the back, or if you’re behind the camera and wish to make subtle adjustments during your setup or shoot.
However, bear in mind that this is an IR remote and you must position yourself where the remote has a direct line of sight to the IR receiver on the back of the light (like your TV remote) or it won’t work. Also, disappointingly, the remote does not control power on/off, but only adjusts the color temperature and intensity of the light output.
Working with the light in the field has been great because of the range of color adjustment and intensity and its small size makes it a perfect fill light for run and gun productions or on-location shoots. We’ve used it for corporate interviews and video productions on-location because we’re often working in tight quarters.
With the price point and performance of these small portable LED panels from Polaroid, you can easily afford keep a couple with you for any scale production you’re working on – and they’re compact enough to toss in most any gear bag.