I love soft light. It makes everything look better, and when shooting tabletop or interviews, having a soft overhead adds a nice touch and looks great. The Intellytech LiteCloth LC-160 is a versatile light that is bright, broad, and soft when used with the included softbox.
It gets a lot of use around the station when I shoot promos. I reviewed the LiteCloth LC-160 last year. The fixture is fairly light and attaches to a collapsible frame with Velcro. The bond is surprisingly good.
Intellytech teamed up with Chimera, arguably the best softbox manufacturer around to integrate the LiteCloth LC-160 with a Pancake Lantern. The lantern also has removable sides. I’ve been using this setup for several months to, and I like the combo a lot.
Here is an example using the Chimera Pancake Lantern with the LC-160. I also have Spekular lights (Check out my review) on both sides and white foam core board underneath to bounce some light into the product. It’s a nice soft and simple setup. The added light from the top is what gives the product that glow I like.
Setting Up the Chimera Pancake Lantern
The best part of the setup is no extra frames to install. It simply attaches to the LiteCloth with elastic bands on each corner. Velcro keeps the side panels in place.
Since each panel is independent, they can be rolled up if you want to have a broader source and also stays in place with Velcro that is sewn into each panel. I tend to leave at least the back one on to prevent spill on the background when using colored lights, so the saturation and overall brightness is better managed.
One thing you will need is a solid light stand like a C-Stand with a grip head and arm. I like the long 40″ arms since the LiteCloth is fairly wide, making it easier to get over the product as well as avoiding the stand from getting in the shot.
While a grip arm works fine, I highly recommend adding a Boom Arm to your kit like the 86″ Impact Boom Arm. I use mine a lot, and at 99.95 it’s a solid piece of kit that won’t break the bank. The boom goes from 46″ to a maximum of 86″ and supports up to 8 lb when fully extended.
Once you have a solid boom arm, you will find many uses for it. To counterbalance the load a hook is on the end for hanging a sandbag. The lockdown is massive and won’t slip. This is very important as safety has to be a priority especially when setting up lighting overhead. The Impact Boom arm isn’t light at 7.05 lb (3.2 kg) but trust me. It’s great and you will use it a lot. I also like to boom a key light when I need a wider shot. This helps get the stand clear from the frame.
We all have different ways we like to light, but the basic approach is relatively the same. key, fill, and back. The overhead is the fourth player.
The funny thing with lighting for me is I don’t tend to do the same setup every time. I’m always tweaking and trying new things. Sometimes it doesn’t work and I feel like I wasted a lot of time, but other times I learn a new and interesting way, so experimenting is important and fun too.
The IntellyTech Chimera Pancake Lantern is an excellent addition to the LiteCloth kit. It’s my go-to overhead at the moment and has been attached and mounted on a stand for months. I wasn’t sure if it would hold on for so long without the Velcro letting go but it has. That’s some strong Velcro!
The size is also good for products that are about a foot long. Any bigger and it would go outside of the light. Taking off the side panels will give you a little more and taking it up higher will also broaden the beam.
For the most part, I don’t use the light at higher output settings. Usually around 30% – 50%. This is mainly because the background will get washed out. I like to get the lighting as low as possible so the shadows are soft with minimal contrast and fill with bounce boards. It’s time-consuming for sure, and with product reviews, I need a lot of different shots so keeping it simple with minimal fixtures is a plus.
The Chimera IntellyTech Pancake Lantern retails for $275, and I think it’s a bargain considering how easy it is to use with the LiteCloth LC-160.