Blind Spot Gear's Tile is an Affordable LED that Packs a Punch
With a 20% off sale to promote its production launch, the Blind Spot Tile is a powerful light in a little package with a little price.
"Fuck, well now we know why it's called Blind Spot" was the first thought that went through our heads after we accidentally powered it up while looking directly into the unit. "That's bright."
Small LEDs have traditionally been very pricey or not very bright, but the Blind Spot Tile is part of a newer wave of lights that are cost effective while also providing a punch that makes them worth keeping with you.
The Tile is a compact unit, but still feels sturdy, machined out of metal and not plastic, with cooling fins and two threaded mounting points for 1/4-20" attachments to clamps or a tripod. Natively daylight balanced, it comes with a filter for tungsten work that just sticks on with static electricity, and it works super well. It's one of those nifty little solutions that might not survive a very windy, rainy night, but will easily survive most of your shoots and will likely even stay on in light rain.
While many LED unit manufacturers are now obsessed with having both daylight and tungsten light in their head unit, we like this solution since most shoots these days are daylight balanced and we would rather have a unit optimized for daylight with the option of tungsten when necessary. This seems preferable to a unit that wastes weight and power and money on offering both D and T equally even though D is used more regularly.
Blind Spot Gear has simultaneously launched a foldable soft box for the Tile that can attach with a few velcro straps while also folding flat for easy transport. Unlike similar solutions that are either made from flimsy paper that fall apart quickly, or made from fabric and thus bulky to both setup and store, this box is one of those areas where plastic really does feel like the right design choice. It's durable enough for the job it has to do, while remaining light and easy to store.
The Tile really shines in small details.
The soft box doesn't soften the light tremendously, since it isn't that much larger and the already soft source doesn't hit the reflector too hard, but it does take the edge off and is an accessory worth considering for beauty work. It would also work well as a mounting point for other gels if you wanted, since it doesn't get particularly hot and gels or dif could be taped to it. Having fold-in caps at the end is a nice design touch that keeps the light more controlable than something like a Kino, where you generally have to fasten black-wrap caps to prevent side spill.
The Tile really shines in small details. It uses a button on the side instead of a knob to cycle through power modes, and while this was likely a money saving design choice, it's actually one we appreciate as users. With pricier units like the original Lite panels, there wasn't an easy way to read the knob for where it was set (unlike the LED readout on the Tile), and the knob, sticking out to the side, could occasionally get bumped by operators' hands holding the light or working in close quarters. Cycling through five power settings provides all the fine tuning you actually need in practice, while also being more useful on set.
Another detail that stands out is the easily removeable battery plate, which is clearly designed for removeability in the field and is created such that the mounting screw lives with the plate when you turn off the light. Since this is a lighting unit you'll frequently want to tape to a dashboard for a car scene, or to the ceiling or camera for a bit of eye light, being able to run the battery to the side instead of behind is a nice touch.
The Tile runs on the same Sony LP batteries that filmmakers tend to have in buckets and that are available in large power ratings, which should make for easy power. Wall power adapters and a power extension cable come in the original kit, making it even easier to mount in a variety of complicated situations.
The Tile puts out a strong spike in the blue, but spreads well into the rest of the spectrum and should respond somewhat predictably to gelling. It doesn't exhibit the combing you occaisionally get with lower quality LEDs that make their results on skintones or with a gel unpreditctable at best. Shooting at 800 ISO and 24fps, 180 degree shutter, the Tile gave out 5.6/8 split at 3 feet, which is more than enough for a great fill when mounted on camera, or potentially a key when working in low light.
To celebrate successfully going from Kickstarter to available product, the company is currently running a 20% off sale, which brings the price down to $399, ending this Thursday.
- 150W Tungsten Equivalent, 120° Beam
- 5700K Color Temperature Output
- 0 to 100% Flicker-Free Dimming
- 6 x Dimming Indicator LEDs
- Integrated On/Off and 5-Step Dimmer
- Included Remote Dimmer
- 22W Power Draw, Static-Attached CTO Gel
- Accepts Sony L-Series Batteries
- 2 x 1/4"-20 Threaded Mounting Holes
- Carrying Pouch Included