Review: Rosco LitePad Loop Ringlight
Rosco's LitePad Loop, a new ringlight system designed specifically for DLSR producers, projects a soft, even light that's easy on the eyes. Despite some inherent challenges for operators of small DSLRs like my Panasonic GH2, I found it well worth the effort.
Ringlights have been used in still photography for decades, but finding suitable ringlights for video is a bit more challenging because they need to stay lit, and bright, the entire time, without blinding the person in front of the camera. It's not a fast strobe that goes away, it stays on the entire time. The value of the ringlight is a soft, even fill light that illuminates the face in a way that is very hard to achieve with off-camera lights.
I was loaned a Rosco LitePad Loop which is a ringlight system designed for DSLRs, but with the 15mm rails, it could easily be adapted to any video system. In fact, its reliance solely on a 12v source makes it more adaptable to professional setups than the DSLR crowd, which is using 7v or 8v batteries for everything.
The kit comes in an embroidered, padded bag/case. Contents include the ringlight, AA battery case, AC adapter, worldwide plug pieces, DC extension cable, DC dimmer, DSLR mounting plate, two short rails, two long rails, short Loop mounting bracket, long Loop mounting bracket, screw bracket to mount the loop elsewhere, and two filterpacks, one with color correction filters and a second with lighting effects (Figure 1, below). It's quite a lot of stuff in the case.
Figure 1. Contents of the Rosco LitePad Loop case
Mounting and Securing
In just a few minutes I had my DSLR mounted on the very grippy camera plate and cinched down so it wouldn't rotate. The plate is not keyed, but the grip plate is among the best I've seen (Figure 2, below). Not cheap cork, but a very grippy rubber surface. Right in front of this is the short bracket for the Loop. The Loop "connects" to the bracket with very strong magnets so it quite nearly "pops" into place and stays there. If you really fear it will fall off—say, if you're shooting a boxing sequence from inside the ring—it comes with a tether so it only falls a couple inches before the tether stops it.
Figure 2. The Rosco mounting and Loop
This magnet system also allows you to easily scoot the loop up and down to exactly where you need it. There are no specific locking points so you can slide up or down about 2" along the bracket, and you can mount the bracket on the rail system in different ways to get additional range as well. If you have a unique mounting situation, the standalone mounting plate is 1/4-20 threaded so you can use an adjustable arm and put it wherever you need it.
If you have a 12v camera, then you can extend your existing power setup to plug into the Loop. I did not see a D-tap to 12v coaxial plug adapter cable and, given that the market for this is very likely to be using D-tap 12v sources, it's a small, but important omission.