Top O’ the mornin’ Film Jammers! The ARRI Skypanel s60 and Litepanels Gemini are two popular lighting fixtures for film and cinema. But which is better? Check out our analysis, ARRI Skypanel VS Litepanels Gemini: best LED video lights. Are you ready to see these two legends of light go face to face?
ARRI Skypanel VS Litepanels Gemini: Best LED Video Lights?
LED lighting technology has really evolved in the last few years. LEDs are very popular on set now, especially with the introduction of the ARRI Skypanel in 2015 and the Litepanels Gemini – which came a little later in 2017. One of the great things about LEDs is that they put out a lot of soft light while consuming relatively little power.
You can run four Skypanel s60s or five Litepanels Geminis on one standard 20amp – compared to just one 2k tungsten soft light.
Let’s take a closer look at these two LED lighting fixtures.
The Skypanel weighs in at 29 pounds without the ballast and the Gemini is 22 pounds with the ballast integrated. If you go and add on the ballast to the Skypanel that gets it up to around 36 pounds.
So the Skypanel is significantly heavier (It does have slightly more power), but for a one man band or smaller crews, the integrated ballast on the Litepanels Gemini and lighter weight are nice.
Both lights have the ability for portable power. The Skypanel has either V-mount or Gold mount adapters and is powered by two batteries at a time (NOTE: They must be the same wattage and charge level. We recommend using two of the same brand as well to avoid potential electrical power issues). The Gemini announced their battery plates at NAB 2018, but at the time of this video, it’s still in the works, so if you need the portability of the V-mounts/Gold mounts, the Skypanel is it.
You can only operate at 50% power on battery on the Skypanel. With the Gemini, you can power it at full power (when that battery adapter ships). In the meantime, you can power the Litepanel Gemini off its three-pin XLR with a larger brick battery, but these can be much more expensive than V-mounts. Being able to operate at full power on the Gemini when on battery power, is a definite plus over the Skypanel.
The Skypanel has quite a bit more range in the top end than the Gemini in the Kelvin spectrum, and the Gemini just eeks out the Skypanel on the lower end.
The Skypanel having the extra color range on the higher kelvins does make it more versatile and more suited for creative applications. The Skypanel also has X & Y Coordinates for dialing in exact color schemes.
You can be extremely pricise with color matching. The Gemini does have HSI, RGB and CCT modes though, so both of these fixtures are really powerful tools.
The Gemini also has a light engine with separate LEDs for both Tungsten and Daylight that results in more accurate color temperatures, which according to our CRI tests, it did.
PANEL SURFACE AREA
Panel surface is important for light wrap around your subject– the wider the surface area, the more wrap you’ll get.
The skypanel wins out here and is slightly wider, but the Gemini is very close. (SKYPANEL s60 25.4” – VS. Gemini – 22 7/8”)
So both fixtures are pretty similar but the Skypanel has a bit more output – 97 footcandles (Gemini) compared to 116 (Skypanel). One interesting note, when the optional Skypanel intensifier panel is added, it’s almost double the output of the Gemini. The intensifier does change your beam angle, so keep that in mind.
On the Skypanel, ARRI allows you to switch out your diffusion panel for different levels of diffusion. Or you can add the intensifier panel. The Gemini has a permanent diffusion panel. If you want the ability to swap panels, the Skypanel is more versatile here.
The Gemini is supposedly rated for higher-speed slow-motion filming, but we tested the Skypanel at 2000fps and didn’t have any issues. So both fixtures are usable for high speed filming.
This is a great improvement over older generation LED fixtures which often had flicker when filming slow motion, as well as standard Tungten fixtures which typically flicker if under 2kw power.
GEL MODES and FX MODES
Both fixtures have really powerful FX and color options. You can achieve very similar results. Some of these FX include police sirens, firelight, TV flicker, lightning, and strobe. (See video for visual tests on all these effects).
The menus on the Gemini are much more intuitive and quicker to navigate – BUT both give you a lot of creative freedom.
So one thing that it always comes down to is cost.
The Skypanel is currently $5700, while the Gemini is $4300. So at around $1400 cheaper, the Gemini is a good option for budget conscious crews.
For owner operator types, the Gemini is a great and cheaper alternative. It’s similar in features and output. And the lighter weight is a definite plus. For rental houses, the ARRI Skypanel has become a modern staple, so can the Gemini, make a come back and take some of the market share back – even though it’s about 2 years behind? We think it’s got some great benefits for sure, so time will tell!
Well, we hope this helped shed some light on the differences between these two LED lighting panels.
Let us know in the comments what you think, ARRI Skypanel VS Litepanels Gemini – which do you prefer? And of course like and subscribe for more enlightening tips and tutorials!
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The equipment we use to film:
-ARRI Skypanel – https://amzn.to/2v8hdhd
-Litepanels Gemini 2×1 Soft LED – https://amzn.to/2Mn8BJW
-Sachtler DV4II – https://amzn.to/2KTXbfH
-Sennheiser MKE600 – https://amzn.to/2ILulBP
If you have any questions about making films, please reach out to us in the comments. Thanks for watching our ARRI Skypanel Vs. Litepanels Gemini: Best LED Video Lights video!
Filmed on location at: Litewave Media in St. Petersburg, FL – Video Production Company in St. Pete, Florida.