When I received the Litepanels Gemini a few weeks ago, the first thing I noticed was how user-friendly the unit was. Maybe not such a technical consideration (more of those later), but like I have said before, there are always two parts of the review equation, one subjective and one objective.
Where to start?
Since I had one Litepanels Gemini, I decided my approach to using the Gemini should be in a remote type of setting. Although the unit is totally suited for studio use, I wasn’t hanging off the grid that day so getting it up on a nice rolling Matthews C stand wasn't a problem. The Litepanel Gemini is extremely well built with an aluminum body weighing in at 22.2 lbs. The front of the unit is enclosed with a solid diffusion panel, but also has rails that allow for the addition of optional barn doors or a snap grid. One question asked during the evaluation was that due to the shape and construction of the Gemini, could it be used for a wash or up lighting?
I looked at the unit and noticed it had a similar shape to a near field stage monitor (the kind musicians use) with an angled back. I’m thinking since you can control the Gemini’s via DMX it might make for an interesting look since you can select and change the “gels” on the fly. Just kind of a random thought that if you are going to make the investment, why not get all you can out of the unit? So, very pretty and true lighting for sure, but for the crew making a living using the Gemini, there is some real magic happening on the back of the unit as well.
Some great features
What was the first of many features I noticed? The lighted color temp in degrees Kelvin presets. The CCT color temperature control has six factory presets in increments from 2700 to 6000K. There are also six presets for user-defined color temperature and plus/minus green control. It's great when you are on a busy shoot like the one day industrial starting off with a very tight office setting, then to the crunchy factory floor, and lastly getting some exteriors too. I had 15 minutes to set up the office while everyone was at lunch.
Next up, settings display. Think about it. You want to be able to make changes or adjustments quickly. It is good to be able to see that as you are working. For example, in this image one can see that we are at 4000 degrees Kelvin and we have the fan off. The Gemini is dimmed to 25% and no green shift. Also not sure why I had the fan off but when we turned it back on it was very quiet.
Next up on the features that add to the mix is the locking power connector. It is so nice to think that once I locked in that connector the power wasn’t going anywhere. However, this is what I saved for last. These next two features are not only cool, but cool in a way that is also extremely practical. Dimmable. As in all the way from 100% down to 0% with no shift in color temp. How great is that? If I had more than one Gemini in the truck it would be game over. One Gemini key at full power, one Gemini fill or as a splash? Huge time saver. The HSI Color mode allows you to adjust the hue, saturation, and intensity, while Gel mode allows for your choice of filters. The light has a CRI/TLCI rating of 97 for daylight balance and 99 for tungsten balance, indicating a very accurate rendition of color. The Gemini is dimmable from 100 to 0% without flicker or color shift. The other production people with me were blown away. Just really impressive, what can I say. Here are some other features and specifications as well:
- Adjustments can be made locally on the unit or remotely via a console, thanks to the Gemini's built in DMX. There's even the option of wireless DMX or Bluetooth control via a separately add on remote module. The Gemini is ready for international use, thanks to its built in 100 to 240 VAC power supply but it can also run on batteries when power is unavailable.
- 3 Lighting Modes
- CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) mode allows for bi-color (daylight to tungsten) operation with the addition of plus and minus green adjustment
- HSI Color mode allows for full-color control over hue, saturation, and intensity
- Gel mode allows for a variety of gels to be selected from the menu
- Flicker-free at any frame rate or shutter angle at any intensity level
- Smooth dimming from 100 to 0%, with no color shift
- Energy efficient - fixture draws only 325W nominal
- No heavy external ballast or restrike period
- Optional Bluetooth and wireless DMX modules allow the brightness, color, and cooling mode to be remote controlled
- AC/DC power with DC battery power via 3-pin XLR
- Daylight 4317 lux / 389 fc @ 5.0; (1.5 m), 1079 lux / 97 fc @ 10; (3.0 m), 459 lux / 43 fc @ 15; (4.6 m)
- Tungsten 3624 lux / 326 fc @ 5.0; (1.5 m), 906 lux / 82 fc @ 10&; (3.0 m), 385 lux / 36 fc @ 15; (4.6 m)
It’s a Wrap
So there you have it, the Litepanels Gemini. By all measurements, this unit would be an excellent addition to a new or existing studio, or as part of a rental package. While not weatherproof, I think the unit would hold up well for exteriors as long as it was kept dry and away from dusty locations. Also since you can’t work on it, the idea of going too far from the house would make me nervous unless I had a solid back up plan. I know for some, the list price north of $4000 might be a bit steep, but hey we are talking lighting here and making beautiful images, so for many, the Gemini would be an investment well worth it.