A few weeks ago I shared a post covering the process of an interview with Robert LaTorre, creator and owner of The Big Freeze. In coincidence, it was the first piece (as a non-test) where I used an LED fixture as the key, and only added light.

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The interview was a bit on-the-fly with last minute time changes and location with mixed lighting. I knew that I’d need just a little punch in to fill in the shadows so the subject didn't blend into the background. 

Enter, the ADJ Mega Go Par 64. This is a battery powered, tricolor (RGB) LED light. Typically used for more entertainment/stage/DJ purposes, I thought it’d be worth a try because of its sheer portability.

I went with an "RGB mix" unit (as opposed to a single-type fixture covered in last week's post), because it let me literally mix the percentage of red, green, or blue light to produce a specific color temperature, or dial it in to match the ambient. In the case of the Latorre interview, I dialed it in for close to daylight, and a bit more red/green light to match the sodium vapor lights inside the Gordon Field House.

A traditional PAR-can (courtesy American DJ/musicansfriend.com)

A traditional PAR-can (courtesy American DJ/musicansfriend.com)

The “Go Par64” is meant to mimic the beam of a medium-flood par can, with around 30º of beam spread (the light projects in a 30 degree angle from the light. That’s enough to light the face and shoulders at close distance (4-5’), and full length about 6-8’ back for me. (A PAR or PAR can is a basic lighting tool, more oft seen in stage but is good for large areas of light, though by design it can cause double-shadows and is not easily focusable).

Unfortunately though, it does not have as much power as one would hope. It’s akin to a 100 or 140w incandescent bulb at best, and I've knocked it down a bit with some diffusion. Not enough to battle daylight, but just a bit of extra punch. But sometimes that’s all you need.

One plug for power AND charging, and its a common style? The convenience!

One plug for power AND charging, and its a common style? The convenience!

BUT WAIT! Though there are brighter fixtures out there, the Mega GoPar features one huge advantage: battery power. It's completely built in, which means it can go without extra chargers and parts, though if you need more power, it can't be replaced easily in the field. When it does run low though, the charger (and power supply to run it on wall power) is a standard IEC "C-13" power connector, which makes packing it a breeze (most computers and power supplies use the same cable). It seems like a little thing, but this can make a huge difference when you need to pack lightweight, or multiple units. Manufacturer’s specs note 6-8 hours of run time on battery at full brightness but I’ve not yet tested it to that extent.

I’ve put a piece of "tough-spun” diffusion on the front of the light to soften it a bit (though it eats about 1 stop of light). The downside to having separate red, green, and blue LED’s is that at close distances you can get shadows of the individual colors in three, rather than one uniform shadow, the diff helps sort that out.

That being said, I’m a big fan of it. The Go Par is at a very attractive price point (compared to other LED fixtures marketed specifically for video).

Red, green, and blue are controllable from 0-255. A scale from 0-100 might make more sense, but figuring out rough estimates for settings to reach tungsten and daylight temperatures were easy to sort out.

Red, green, and blue are controllable from 0-255. A scale from 0-100 might make more sense, but figuring out rough estimates for settings to reach tungsten and daylight temperatures were easy to sort out.

There are a few drawbacks though. Dimming it, is a bit fiddly (you go through and dim each color channel) and its not as bright as I'd hope. The LED's can cause some weird multi-color shadows, but that can be fixed with some diffusion, The alternative model "Mega Go Flood does address that with single-diode RGB, which means the single diode can produce different colors instead of mixing three different color diodes).

However, as a portable light, heck even a work light - this thing is pretty darn cool.