Lightpainting cars with the Sirui T120 Telescopic Tube LED Light

I've created four different images using the Sirui T120 cinematic LED light, and I'll show you how I made them, and what I think of this tool.

The Sirui T120 Dual-Purpose Telescopic Tube Light is an LED light that extends from about 24 inches to just under 48 inches. Sirui says it has 14 lighting effects, has a variable color temperature range from 2500-8000k, and can be controlled through an app.

The device feels sturdy, and the quality of the beam of light itself is nice and solid, so you don’t see individual bands or LEDs, which is what you should expect from any professional lighting tool, but if you’ve ever used some DIY lighting stuff, this is gonna be a big upgrade over that. 

Sow how is it to use?

Shot 1

For this first shot, I had an idea where I wanted to shoot a car from a high angle, and with the help of my friend Jordan and his Porsche shop Modern Aircooled, we put this plan into motion.

I set up a camera upstairs, we turned off all the room lights, and we filled the space with some fog to give it some eeriness and haze. I was triggering the camera remotely with my phone, and this made it really easy to experiment and have a good indication of what I was getting. Since our light source is in the frame, shining into the camera, the fog makes it bloom, or glow at the edges, and it helps to visualize the light itself, as if it’s just hanging in the air.

One of the most basic principles of photography is that you create a more interesting image when you have the light source at a different angle from the camera. Thats what makes things look good and gives them shape and visual interest. So I wanted to light the opposite side of the car and roof, and leave the side closest to the car dark and in shadow.

And here’s how that came out, I did ramp up the contrast and tweak the colors to get the look I was going for.


Shot 2

For this one, I had set the light down on the ground, and I was moving around the car, and I thought this just looked cool, seeing the reflection in the door and seeing the light itself. So, that’s the shot, the fog helps to make this a little more interesting.


Shot 3

For the third shot, it was kind of the same thing, Jordan was assisting me, and he picked up the light while I was setting up this rear camera angle, and it just looked so cool seeing the car in silhouette and the fog all lit up. He held it at various heights, and this was This is the horizontal version, I think I was envisioning a vertical crop on just the tail for instagram, otherwise I would have tried to light the front and get some definition around the full car.

A lot of times you go into something with an idea, but the coolest thing is the accidental one that you don’t plan for, and that was definitely the case here. 

Shot 4

And finally, I did a really basic light painting shot, just trying to light the car evenly, and include some of the background cars in the shot.  It was two 13 second exposures, I made a pass along each side of the car, and then combined these in photoshop using the Screen blending mode, and carefully trying to mask out myself where I ended up in the shot.

I think the haze made it harder for this, because it made it harder to hide the light, and easier to appear up in the shot. Even if I was blocking the light from appearing in the camera with my body, the glow from it gets picked up in the fog, and shows through. For a quick shot, I think this came out alright, and if we were in a bigger space or outdoors, you could probably light the car from farther away without being in the shot.

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