At first glance the range of Big Blue lights from Liquid Sports looks impressive and so I field tested the VTL 2500P. It boasted an impressive wide beam of 120ª (2500 lumens variable) for video work and a 10ª beam (900 lumens) to be used as a torch. There is a choice of 4 different levels of brightness plus an SOS function. I have to say right away that I was not disappointed.
The light is a good size and sits comfortably either in the hand or mounted on a camera. There are extra fittings to help do this as well as a shaped hand grip.
The 2,500 lumens has a colour temperature of 6,500K and gives a good even spread of light well suited for video. Occasionally when very close to my subject and in danger of ‘over lighting’, I was able to switch easily to one of the less bright settings. I often meet divers who feel the brighter and bigger the light the better, but for video, this is not true. Generally, any artificial light added to a subject should only enhance the ambient light and so keep the scene looking as natural as possible. I always say to students on my courses, ‘don’t add light – just put back colour’.
With this Trumpet Fish in a wreck, too much light would have either ‘burnt out’ the fish, or made the background sea and diver too dark. It’s all about balance and the VTL 2500P makes this easy. (Image taken from video frame)
I rarely go filming anywhere without my GoPro mounted on the top of my Gates housing. It gives me the wide angle shots I need to make up a sequence while videoing the close ups with my Sony. It’s a great combination and the GoPro gives a really nice perspective when sensitive lighting brings back the natural colour of the subject. Here again the VTL2500P gives a wide and even spread of light which fits well with the GoPro’s angle of coverage.
The VTL 2500P is made of anodised aluminium alloy and the lens is made of tempered optical glass which makes it a tough and durable little unit. It generally retails at around £360 for the light and fittings.
Here are the technical specs from the Liquid Sports web site:
Light Source: 7 x XML LED + 2 x XPE Red LED
Light output: 250Lm (level I), 625Lm (level II), 1250 Lm (Level III), 2500 Lm (level IV)
Light output (Flood beam mode): 1250Lm (Level III), 2500 Lm (Level IV)
Light output (Spot beam mode): 900Lm
Light output (Red colour mode): 100Lm
Casing material : Aluminium alloy, anti-corrosive anodized
Power source: Li ion rechargeable battery pack 32650
Angle of light beam: 120° wide beam
Colour temperature: 6500K
Burn time: 1.5hrs (level IV), 3hrs (level III), 6hrs (level II) and 15hrs (level I)
Maximum depth: 100m tested
Size: Dia. 55.5 x L. 143.6mm
Weight in air: 461g (including battery)
Buoyancy in seawater: -233g (including battery)
Switching system: Push button with battery indicator
Front glass: Tempered optical glass
Bottom: Safety valve design
For more information, visit: www.liquidsports.co.uk.
If you would like to learn about techniques of underwater video contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: John Spencer-Ades (www.thescubaplace.co.uk)