Cinematic Lighting with Westcott Ice Light 2

Cinematic Lighting is far easier than many people think, especially, for those who are starting their careers as indy filmmakers because access to information is far easier than ever before with such options are Youtube, internet, online tutorials. Basically, it all starts with knowing what light to use and how but that is easier said than done because in this rapidly changing technological landscape the possibilities can be overwhelming and complicated. 

Cinematic Lighting 101

Lighting a scene begins with imagination, in fact, most of the process of lighting is done through careful considerations in the types of lights that would best serve the intended purpose.

I begin by contemplating on what is the spirit of the visuals that I am attempting to create, is it day or night, is it romantic, lighthearted and dramatic, are the first questions that pop into my mind. These and many other questions must be answered by filmmakers before designing the lighting around a scene that starts with choosing the right tools to do the job.

For creating the right visuals, I start by taking into account how much lights is needed to light up the set or scene and then decide on the most suitable quality of light to deliver the best results to advance the plotline of the film.

At the end of the day, it is the interplay of these two ratios that will define what image is created. It is a very methodical process which must be mastered through with experience and intuition. Basically, how much light do I need anything is always the first step and that is what I always teach in my lighting workshops, step by step approach to building a set.

Remember, too much light only complicates the equation of balance between light and shadow, too little light means the story is not told in the best way.

Most indy filmmakers think that lighting must be complicated but in fact it all starts with the simple steps, how much light do I need anything is always the first step, too much light only complicates the equation of balance between light and shadow, too little light means the story is not told in the best way.

To create an artistic image, I begin by selecting the lights which require me to consider the color temperature, the lighting ratios and the talent positioning within the set. On a film set, it is the small lights that give the accents and complete the image, that is when Westcott ice Light 2 is my ally especially in lighting in confined spaces. 

Journey into Lighting

My journey with Westcott products started a long time ago with photography. I had used their durable softboxes and umbrellas in the studio and on location to create cinematic images, especially portraits and fine art photography works. Later, as other products became more and more available from Wescott, I began to incorporate them into my workflow.

I could light an entire scene using only LED lights with a small crew which meant I could bring the cost of production down and save time in setting up. I no longer had to bring in large generators, cables, and hire as many people to manage complex film sets.

Now, my team is far more efficient than a few years ago because I can use Wescott’s RGBW lights along with Westcott ice light 2 to create just about anything lighting scenario that I envision.

Enter Westcott Ice Light 2

This little handheld Westcott Ice Light 2 can do pretty amazing things. I never have to worry about the color temperature because it is constant at 5500K and puts out a soft even light that is often the most sought after lighting on film sets.

This is why I own many Westcott ice Light 2 complete with barn doors because I know that the lighting can be simplified by putting just enough light to accentuate details on a film set.

The light could be coming in through a doorway or interior of a car that requires even creating a soft backdrop to enhance the visual composition of an interesting scene.

Daylight or Tungsten

Onset and in my lighting workshops, I get asked as to why I only use daylight or tungsten as the light sources, the answer is pretty simple. When you light with a pure source like the light from a Westcott Ice Light 2 there are no variation color temperatures between the different sources of lights, that means my lights stay at a constant color temperature throughout the scene.

A Little History into Led Lights

When led lights first came around some years ago, their CRI ratings were horrifying; as you power up or power down the lights, their colors temperatures varied tremendously.

This complicated everything in post-production because colors did not match in different takes. Now, Westcott offers incredibly accurate RGBW led lights that have a CRI rating of more than 95 which means that lighting a scene with great accuracy not only saves time helps us to be more efficient on set during production.

On a film set color temperature lights range between daylight tungsten, for indoor scenes we often prefer tungsten for practicals, and for daytime scenes we use lights around 5500K which is about the exact light output from Westcott Ice Light 2.

Westcott Ice Light 2 is perfect for daytime scenes with its constant light output but when tungsten light is called for we simply attach CTO gel snap attachment to get a constant tungsten light. It is no wonder that Westcott Ice Light 2 is still so popular after a few years. Since its introduction, I have found it a reliable professional lighting tool that has served me well both in photography and cinematography.

Story of Westcott Ice Light 2


For this, we should thank the engineers at Westcott and Jerry Giohanis for his creative ingenuity to think of a light that can be so versatile for both film and photography. My Westcott Ice Lights still function as good as the day that I bought them even after receiving their fair share of abuse on film sets.

Buying Lights

Would I recommend buying Westcott Ice Lights for photographers of filmmakers? The simple answer is yes because it’s such a versatile light that every filmmaker and photographer can benefit from using these lights.

Even for photographers that are using flash strobes, you would be surprised to find many uses such as lighting for makeup when all else fails or even when setting up for a photoshoot under less than ideal conditions, Westcott Ice Light 2 can be a great tool. 

New Lights

You might be wondering with all the news lights that are coming out whether it is still worthwhile to invest in a Westcott ice light and that can only be answered by the needs of your production whether you’re done photography or film.

I know I can use Westcott ice lights for years without having a need to upgrade to other lights because they simply work. When I need more light, I just add more Ice Lights to the equation. They can be grouped together to create a large light source or be used individually to serve as practicals or accent lights on a set.

Portable Light Source

On my most recent trip to Japan for one of my photography workshops, I brought a Westcott Ice Light 2 with me to photograph at night which helped me to create incredible images.

I choose a Westcott Ice Light 2 over a flash because I could see exactly what I was going to capture without having to dial in flash to balance the ambient with the light on the subject. 

Most photographers make the mistake of using too much flash at night obliterated the background; by using Westcott Ice Light 2 I was able to capture beautiful images with just enough light on the subject to balance wit the colorful backdrop Tokyo to create my storytelling through my photographs. 

This type of versatility for a light is very unusual. For the most part, large flash strobes require electricity which often means having to compromise on location choices for photographers. This is why Westcott Ice Light 2 is what I pack whenever I go out to photograph in remote locations or when I need to be mobile in urban environments. 

Discovering Innovative Products

If you have never used a Westcott product, you owe to yourself to consider their quality in comparison to what the competition offers. I suggest you look into a Westcott Ice Light 2 to learn how other photographers and filmmakers are using them. You can follow these links to learn about their specs and where to buy them.

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I hope this has been an informative review of Westcott ice Light 2 to help you to decide on your next purchase. Please follow us on our YouTube channel and on our website by signing up for our newsletter.  

Thank you

Oz Yilmaz

Camera Review Founder

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