Along with some new amaran tube lights, Aputure has launched the new Infinibar series for the seamless creation of a wide variety of shapes or panels.
Aputure has just dropped new lighting units with a key feature that folks have been hoping for for a while—seamless connection. The new Aputure Infinibar PB3 and PB6 (1-foot and 2-foot) pixel bars can be connected next to each other without a seam between them, creating the effect of a long, interrupted line or block of light.
But what new opportunities do these lights afford creatives, and how do they fit into your workflow? Let's dive a bit deeper into the features you get and see what you can create.
K'NEX For Lighting
The new fixtures open up a whole host of creative possibilities when building lighting into your set, where the seamless interaction can be used to spell out words, letters, or otherwise visually delineate space without seams (and remind the audience that there are lighting tubes back there). Remember K'NEX? Maybe that will show your age if you do, but the same principle applies. Connect rods together and build yourself whatever you want. But with this setup, you can light your scenes with interesting creative lighting fixtures.
Beyond that, you could use the bars to create a seamless panel of light that will be useful in applications like building very specific lighting cues (perhaps driven by a video signal) or building specific reflection shapes into shiny objects like eyes.
The key to all of this is a very simple design that is built with seamlessness in mind. The light element runs right up to the edge and underneath, with space for specially designed mounting clips that offer power passthrough and structural support. This means you don't need to run power to every light in the assembly since power passes along the lineup from light to light. It's quite ingenious.
Control is available through LumenRadio CRMX, traditional DMX over USB, or Sidus Link, the Bluetooth mesh network app that has seen rapid development by the Aputure team over recent years. The units are designed to take special advance of Sidus's capabilities when grouping them together as a unit. For instance, a typical pattern is to run a chase of a certain color or pattern along a light bar, and those patterns will be very smooth here with 24 pixels per foot.
But Sidus Link also lets you group together as many units as you want into a line. You can then run a chase or pattern along the whole line in a seamless, smooth system. While DMX remains the industry standard, as lighting units get more sophisticated, we're increasingly seeing the need for new methods of thinking about programming lights.
The Aputure PT1 & PT2 Tube Lights
On top of all that, Aputure has also rolled out the new PT1c and PT2c (1-foot and 2-foot) pixel tubes. These are built on similar technology but have strategically removed a few features to come in at a more affordable price point. For instance, as compared to the 24 pixels per foot you get from the PB3 and MT-One units that Aputure also has, you get only 8 pixels per foot. The other big feature you lose is the built-in LumenRadio CRMX.
Are these dealbreakers? It all depends on your application, and for many applications, you won't notice those features are missing. If you are going to be doing an indie feature with loads of setups a day and using the tubes as a more traditional fixture, you will never think about having only 8 pixels per foot. That is still a ton of lighting control.
The lack of CRMX isn't a big deal, as you can run it all via Sidus Link app control or traditional cabled DMX if you need it. We got to spend a few hours with these new fixtures, and they are more than capable lights with a ton of utility in a lightweight, affordable package.
Sometimes it's good not to have to pay for a feature if you aren't going to use it, and there are a lot of productions that don't go to the effort of setting up a full DMX system on every lighting setup. The productions that will want those features happen to be bigger shows doing more complicated lighting designs.
A Litte Niche, A Little Versatile
If you are building lighting units into sets, doing video-driven lighting, or doing massive rigs, you will want the fine-tuning of the Aputure Infinibar PB3 and PB6. But if you aren't, and you don't need the seamless feature, the PT1 and PT2 units sit at a great price/benefit point for a lot of filmmakers.
It's great to see Aputure putting out some unique lighting solutions. The days of single-bulb fixtures seem to be related to the annals of history, but with the versatility, we're getting with the new lights, that's a welcome change to the lighting landscape.
The Aputure PB3, PB6, PT1, and PT2 units are all available now, so get out your wallets if you've been wanting to upgrade your lighting setup. If you are, let us know in the comments how you'll use these new lights in your setup!