Gekko George: Strange Name, Amazing Light

George attached to an Arri Film CameraAbout a month ago, Maximilian De Vree and I shot a short film which we are still in the process of editing. During the shoot we experimented with two new pieces of equipment. One was the Sony EX1, which I reviewed in a previous post, and the other was the George Ring Light by Gekko.

George is an LED ring light with with 32 LEDs and a diameter of 360mm, big enough for any camera you can think of. The light will attach to the camera by most rail systems. We used a quick release system by cavision. George can be powered either by battery or direct wall current and the light is full dimmable. It is also divided into 4 sections (top, bottom, left and right) which can be switched on and off indiviually. One of the most unique things about this light is its magnetic mount system. George comes with two sets of lenses (Wide and Spot) which snap into place with magnets. There is also a magnetic diffuser ring and a magnetic clear ring for using gels.

George provides a nice soft fill light. From the first moment, I was incredibly impressed with this light. It was very bright, especially for a battery operated LED light. I didn't do any objective measurement, but I would say it was about the equivalent brightness of a 400w tungsten lamp. The spread of the wide lenses with the diffuser on was also quite impressive. Shooting in a couple of indoor locations, it added just enough ambient light to the scene to bring my exposure into a usable area. I also liked the spot lenses, though we did not use them as much for our purposes. The ability to turn off sections of the light also camer in handy. There was one shot where a shiny table was in the bottom of the frame. We simply switched off the bottom section and the problem was solved.

Another really great thing about this light is being able to work hand held. The rig is incredibly light. All you need to do is strap the controller box on you belt and have somewhere to put a battery (we happend to have a vest with a nifty front pouch). Moving around freely with a nice, soft, front light source was very enjoyable.

The one downside of the light is the price. It is prohibitively expensive for most people to buy. The full Kit is about 9000 dollars. Not too many people want to pay as much for a light as they did their camera. It is definitely great for rentals though.

Overall, I was very happy with this light and intend to use it again soon.