Affordable, travel-friendly alternatives to the Ice Light!

Eeeeeeveryone loves the Ice Light. This is probably because it’s so awesome. It’s lightweight, compact, battery-powered, and really versatile. But, unfortunately, not everyone has $450 to drop on it. Is there something almost as travel-friendly that won’t kill your video budget for 2015?

We set out to find such an alternative.



So, uh, yeah. I bought one of these. It’s pretty cool. And it’s awesome if you travel a lot.

It’s lightweight and compact, so you won’t break your back carrying a bunch of heavy lights around. Just one can get you a long way because they’re so bright and soft… They set up in about 30 seconds, so you won’t be keeping anyone waiting. They’re durable enough to last for years… And, needless to say, they look really cool.

The problem? Yeah, you know what I’m gonna say: they’re expensive.

Just the thought of having to ask your boss for permission to buy one of these things? Ugh. And even if you do have buying authority? It’s a little discomforting to spend that kind of money. I mean, they’re not Litepanels expensive, but still.

You know there must be something cheaper. Let’s see. Giant softboxes? They take about five minutes each to set up, and even the bag they come in is huge. China balls? They’re certainly lightweight and take up almost no space while traveling, but they’re made of paper. They seem to be best for permanent installations.

In any case, it’s one thing when only your coworkers or your family see your clever lighting hacks, but it’s a different story when your setup is visible to the whole world.

We set out to find a solution that’s almost as useful as an Ice Light but that won’t require you to freeze your credit card after you buy it.

They are: the Impact Qualite, and the Lowel Tota.

Wait a minute. You mean, hot lights?

But they’re so… hot! Won’t they just cook whoever’s on camera? Yeah, maybe in a small studio. But when you’re somewhere like a convention center or a hotel, that heat has a lot more room to spread out. And no matter what light you’re using, never underestimate the power of using just one. Buy an inexpensive collapsible reflector on eBay, and you just cut the heat in half!

“They’re so harsh!” So toss some diffusion or an umbrella on that sucker! Use some C-47’s to attach them to the barndoors.

“They don’t match daylight!” Toss some CTB gel on there too! Or, better yet, use a two-in-one CTB and diffusion gel! Yes, this is really a thing, and it’s very useful.

“They’ll set things on fire!” Just make sure you keep your lace curtains and dryer lint away from your lights, and you should be fine. And always keep an eye out for smoke detectors and sprinkler heads. Although, as we discovered, sprinkler heads aren’t quite as sensitive as you’d think.

At the end of the day, it’s gonna be tough to find a low-temperature solution that’s as compact, lightweight, bright, and professional-looking as a hot light, while also being affordable. Did we mention that both of these lights are about a hundred bucks?

But, okay, we hear ya. These lights aren’t only hot, but they’re… just not as cool. And you’re not digging the way you’re tethered to an outlet, and you just don’t want to worry about the heat.

In that case, you might consider the Genaray SpectroLED SP-LR. I don’t own one, but in some ways, it looks like it might be even better than the Ice Light.

For one thing, more often than not, I find myself needing warm light. If I try to mix and match with tungsten-colored lamps, needless to say, it looks pretty bad. The Ice Light comes with a little plastic doohickey that I know I’m eventually gonna lose, or break. And I usually don’t have enough room in my suitcase.

The SpectroLED appears to solve this problem by allowing you to rotate the outer plastic to switch between warm and cool.

Oh, and by the way? The SpectroLED is two hundred bucks cheaper.

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