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LED Headwear That Will Inspire you to get Festival Ready

Head-mounted LED torches are usually a practical safety device, but when you get creative with light, the possibilities are limitless, so we at LEDHL got together for some inspiration for…

Head-mounted LED torches are usually a practical safety device, but when you get creative with light, the possibilities are limitless, so we at LEDHL got together for some inspiration for your next festival of light.

 

The immediate choice for incredible light-up headwear is always Daft Punk. Since 2006 their ever more complex designs have shrouded their identity, an intentional choice made to blur the line between their fictional world and the live experiences they create.

The helmets themselves were created by SFX artist Tony Gardener who, with Thomas and Guy-Manuel, drew inspiration from 50’s sci-fi film “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. The original helmets incorporated linear readout type responses on the faceplates and cost an estimated $65,000 to produce, but some uncanny tech wizards have managed to make working, astonishing replicas. Prop-making pair LoveProps dedicated two years to create a working replica, even programming their own open-source software, SigmaFW, which enabled them to customise the LED display. 

LED helmet of Daft Punk

 

Jamiroquai’s latest album “Automaton” came with a fierce digital aesthetic, fronted live, in music videos and on the album cover by an incredible new headgear design by Moritz Waldemeyer (more on him later). It’s created out of individual robotic scales and inspired by the pangolin, a pine-cone-like endangered animal. These scales are then lit by individually programmed LEDs creating a mesmerizing effect of motion and illumination.

white LED helmet of Jamiriquai

Waldemeyer said it was designed to emulate the nervous system of the person wearing it, which is more than succeeded in the music video for Jamiroquai’s Automaton.

 

There’s no overlooking Deadmau5 either, After more than 5 years he brought his iconic LED headset, mau5head, back for his 2017 summer festival tour, teasing updates and posting videos on his Instagram. The entire front of the sphere is encrusted with LEDs. This display receives custom video input Zimmerman programs himself but this makes incredibly awkward to wear live. The difficulty is that a screen of lights in front of his face makes it a bit hard to see anything. The workaround is an inbuilt camera sending him a live feed of his mix deck to a screen inside,  as you can see in this interior image.

complex interior of the LED performance helmet of Dead Mau5

After the summer tour, he promised a “new new” helmet which was revealed in live shows before the new year, featuring bulbous, glowing X-striped eyes. A fantastic renovation.

Dead Mau5 performing on stage infront of large LED screens

TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 04: Deadmau5 performs on day 1 the 2012 Veld Music Festival on August 4, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/WireImage).

 

DJ’s aren’t the only innovators in illuminated headwear though, hat designer Phillip Treacy broke catwalk convention with his LED headgear “Virtual reality”. This mechanised hat was designed to give a feeling of weightlessness and a disconnect from the wearer.

phillip treacy led moving hat

Formed from spinning blades with attached LED strips, when in motion the lines of light give the illusion of a solid object, creating an otherworldly halo effect around the wearer’s head. Mesmerising.

full illuminated and spinning led hat from phillip treacy

 

Moritz Waldemeyer is an icon of light design, stage, fashion and more. He’s worked with visual artists, fashion designers, musicians like the Black Eyed Peas and Ok Go (as well as Jamiroquai!) If you’re interested in lighting as visual design, give his portfolio a look.

LED lights on performers at the olympics

For the Olympics closing ceremony, he created headwear honouring the cultural traditions of Brazil in the modern era with neon green LED-embedded strips evoking carnival costume. Worn by a dance troupe the light pulsed to the beat of 80 carnival drummers, a thunderous rhythm. When light emphasises beat it can unify and ignite any stage.

Moritz designed LED performance outfits

 

Dance troupe Wrecking Crew Orchestra have really set the benchmark for light-incorporated dance.

wrecking crew orchestra performance artists in LED suits

They use solidly lit headsets and suits to incredible effect in their stage shows at festivals, creating the illusion of stop-frame animation, slow-mo, flight and even a moving car, a totally entrancing and inspiring use of LED strips. Their secret weapon is programming those lights to not only the music but the choreography too, making them the only dance troupe of their kind. Catch their performances on their channel. 

 

Watch out for more gleaming inspiration at this year’s upcoming Burning Man festival, the theme this time is “I, Robot”. Lightshows all round, guaranteed.

Going deeper underground with LED Head Lamps underground.

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10 Caving / Urban Exploration Videos 2017

A rundown of great urban and wild caving/exploration videos from last year. Plenty of these are filmed using LED headlights and headcams which you can buy yourself to do the…

A rundown of great urban and wild caving/exploration videos from last year. Plenty of these are filmed using LED headlights and headcams which you can buy yourself to do the same… if you’re prepared (and brave) enough, that is.

 

More Extreme Caving in Burrington Combe – Lionel’s Hole

Lionel’s Hole is a very claustrophobic cave in Somerset– some tight squeezes and close calls, but everyone comes out fine. Each area of Lionel’s hole has been given a name, such as the ‘traverses’, so if you ever do the trip yourself you can use the video as a guide and do some sightseeing!
The video has been produced by Keith Edwards, the go-to guy when it comes to the Dudley Caving Club. 11 minutes.

 

Dangerous Urban Caving – NOT WHAT WE EXPECTED

In an unusual video described as ‘urban caving’, a team explore a closed off abandoned seafront full of collapsed cellars and tunnels. An unconventional journey through stuffy, dangerous, and perhaps never explored urban secrets.
The channel, Sub Exploration, explores both ancient and modern ‘tunnels, bunkers, forts, underground facilities and complexes, abandoned buildings, mines and disused military places’. Definitely the go-to channel for urban exploration. 11 minutes.


 

Caving: An Adventure And New Discovery!


A record of two guys’ exploration of sinkholes, known caves and one undiscovered cave, all on one man’s property. The whole saga seems a bit impromptu, and plenty of the places they explore have obviously not been uncovered for a long time.
Aquachigger, or ‘chigg’, is a channel devoted to outdoor adventure and metal detecting. 20 minutes.

 

Caving gone wrong! – Tight squeeze through tiny opening

Two brothers find an out-of-the-way tight entrance to a thin, tall naturally formed tunnel. The channel, Dan Sedran, includes all kinds of adventure/exploration videos, including exploring caves and abandoned buildings. 16 minutes.

 

Lost in a cave system


This one will make your heart race. One man goes spelunking alone and films the journey with a head cam and LED headtorch. The video starts with the camera scanning the multiple tunnels Ellert has to choose from. He’s posted the video as a warning to never go caving alone, and you can tell from the atmosphere of the footage just how lost he really was. Ellert Gretarsson posts videos mostly celebrating the Icelandic landscape. 10 minutes.


Click here to watch youtube.com/watch?v=pBFiEsx3AG8

 

Finding Something Unexpected in an Abandoned Copper Mine

Amazing exploration of a well preserved copper mine, with finds including chutes, ladders and cart tracks. Two guys take you through the extensive tunnel system and really know what they’re talking about. The ‘narrator’ has seven years of experience exploring mines and is a font of information. Our personal favourite!
The channel (‘Exploring Abandoned Mines and Unusual Places’, a mouthful, I know!) has countless cave and mine exploration videos to binge on. 14 minutes.

 

Tip Off – Secret Tunnel Hidden in a Cave!


One man explores a mysterious cave and winding waterlogged tunnel found by a waterfall in beautiful Cornwall, with some interesting finds inside. StreetZips is another exploration channel which combines the wild and the urban. 20 minutes.

 

Sea Caving Experience In Mallorca: Cova Des Coloms

Exciting video of a group exploring a sea cave half flooded with water. The footage was made with a waterproof head cam so there’s plenty of shots under the water. There’s a stalagmite/stalactite ‘forest’, too. As a short video it’s definitely worth watching. The channel, DHDemo1 is pretty new, and posts caving videos from Mallorca. 4 minutes.

 

Underground Forgotten Secret City (MANCHESTER, UK)


For UK readers, this one may surprise you. Paris and London have their famous underground cities, and so does Manchester. There are countless well preserved Victorian treasures uncovered in this video; huge open spaces, rooms left as they were when abandoned, and lost objects. ‘Exploring with Fighters’ is an urban exploration channel with hundreds of videos. 33 minutes.

 

The Paris Catacombs


What would this list be without the Paris Catacombs? This video, lit by an LED head torch and filmed with a head cam, follows a group of young explorers as they descend beneath Paris for a very surreal formal dinner, including silverware. The group point out all kinds of details to be seen in the tunnels, both ancient and modern. ‘Dmax’ is a very eclectic channel that occasionally uploads urban exploration videos. 26 minutes.

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Best Head Torches for Night Runners

A good head torch makes or breaks the experience of night running. Having to grapple for buttons through gloves (essential at this time of year), straps chafing as they move,…

A good head torch makes or breaks the experience of night running.

Having to grapple for buttons through gloves (essential at this time of year), straps chafing as they move, and a light that gutters and dies as you’ve barely even got into the flow of night running are all hallmarks of sub-par head torches.

Don’t ruin your nightly runs before you’ve even got out of the door. Instead, take a look at our top five best LED head torches for night running. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have your sights set on the High Peak Marathon, we’ve tracked down the best head torches for any budget and any running style.

Best Budget Head Torch: Akale Super Bright CREE LED Headlamp

Buy now on Amazon for only £5.99

At A Glance:

Battery Type: 3 x AAA

Output: 150 lumens

Beam Distance: 150m

Weight: 59g

Other features:

  • 5 adjustable light modes (3 white light; 2 red light)
  • Batteries included
  • IPx4 (rain resistant)

Returning night-runners – or runners dipping their toes in the world of night-running for the first time – will want to get a feel for the thrill of running in the dark before opting to take the plunge on a more expensive head torch model. Plus, buying a cheaper model to get started can help you to pinpoint just what it is that you enjoy about night running, and identify the features that amplify those experiences.

However, buying a headtorch on the cheaper end of the market should always be undertaken with some caution. Certain features are non-negotiable: anything with an output lower than about 50 lumens will make even low-light urban running a challenge, and battery life and comfort remain important factors in determining whether it’s worth skimping a little on the price tag.

That said, the Akale Super Bright CREE LED Headlamp meets all the core requirements of a head torch for night running at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. With an output of 150 lumens and a beam distance of up to 150m, it’s easily powerful enough for urban night running, and is more than sufficient for runs in parkland and along country roads, too.

The beam angle is adjustable but narrow – perfect for running on roads, but unsuitable for trail running, where a wider beam angle is important for terrain awareness. Ambitious fell runs might be off limits, but the Akale Super Bright Headlamp is the perfect beginner head torch for most urban and parkland adventures.

Best Head Torch For Battery Life: Petzl Tikka 200 (2017 Model)

Buy now on Amazon for only £24.90

At A Glance:

Battery Type: 3 x AAA

Output: 200 lumens

Beam Distance: 60m

Weight: 86g

Other features:

  • Three adjustable light modes (3 white light; 2 red light)
  • Tolerant of exposure to extreme temperatures (-30 to +60 °C)
  • Batteries included
  • Hybrid model – compatible with rechargeable Petzl core battery
  • IPx4 (rain resistant)

It’s no surprise that a Petzl head torch makes it into our top five – Petzl head torches are the touchstone for good head torches at all but the cheapest price points, and they’ve been among the most popular head torches for runners since the Petzl Zoom in the 1980s.

The Petzl Tikka is nowhere near the size of its cumbersome ancestor, weighing in at a trim 86g, and it’s pitched at a very reasonable price point, too. The beam angle is wider than that of the of the Akale, and 200 lumens is more than sufficient for safe off-road running.

Critically, however, the battery life of the Petzl Tikka is a staggering 240 hours when operating on the dimmer end of its lighting modes, and a very impressive 60 hours at max power. Generally speaking, AAA-battery-operated head torches have a longer burn time than head torches which are powered by lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, but the Petzl Tikka manages to offer the best of both worlds: high battery life and high output.

Even better, it’s compatible with the Petzl CORE rechargeable battery, offering flexibility when energy and cost efficiency is more important than burn time. This is the perfect affordable head torch for marathon training at night.

£23.37 & FREE Delivery

Best Mid-Range All-in-One Head Torch: Black Diamond Storm

 

£40.62 (£10 off RRP) & FREE Delivery

At A Glance:

Battery Type: 4 x AAA

Output: 350 lumens

Beam Distance: 85m

Weight: 110g

Other features:

  • RGB LEDs have dimming and strobe settings and activate without cycling through white mode
  • Brightness memory – can turn light on and off at your preferred brightness, without cycling
  • Good peripheral lighting profile
  • IP67 (dustproof and waterproof; immersion-proof to 1m)

With an output of 350 lumens and a beam distance of a whopping 85m, the Black Diamond Storm is a really powerful piece of kit. It’s definitely among the most durable head torches available, too: with an IP67-rated chassis, it’s immersion-proof to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes – an experience we think it’s unlikely to encounter in even the wettest of off-road running adventures, but it’s certainly reassuring.

As we mentioned earlier, AAA-battery-operated torches tend to have the longest battery life, and the Storm is no exception, offering a life of between 40 and 120 hours, depending on the light settings selected.

A lot of the extra features clearly bear the night runner’s quality of life in mind, with brightness memory recalling preferred lighting profiles without the need to scroll through in a pre-ordained order when trying to deal with changes in terrain or weather.

Better still, it isn’t eye-wateringly expensive – at its current price point, it absolutely dominates the mid-range bracket of head torches, and simply can’t be beaten as a piece of all-purpose running gear.

Best Premium All-in-One Head Torch: Petzl Nao+

£127.92 & FREE Delivery

At A Glance:

Battery Type: Lithium-Ion (Rechargeable)

Output: 750 lumens

Beam Distance: 140m

Weight: 100g

Other features:

  • Programmable via MyPetzl Light mobile app
  • Reactive Lighting technology
  • Constant Lighting technology
  • Between 6.5 hours and 15 hours battery life

If you’re a serious night runner, and you’re prepared to invest a little more in the experience, then it would be impossible not to set your sights on the Petzl Nao+. Coming with an absolutely astounding 750-lumen strength light output and a beam distance reaching up to 140m, it offers the tech-savvy runner unparalleled terrain awareness in any conditions. The beam pattern is excellent, too – at its widest, it’s perfect for running, fully illuminating your peripheral vision (which makes a real difference to your sense of balance).

Wondering just how bright 750 lumens is? Here’s one Amazon user’s experience with the Nao+ at the maximum output: “So, you want to know how bright? Well, its bright – really bright I don’t have a lumen metre to verify the true output but in pitch black on constant mode VTT (Very Tough Terrain?) It has the power to blind rabbits, deer and most importantly foxes that venture within about 50 metres of me. My girlfriend complains if I turn it in her direction even on low power. Running at night almost feels like day for the first 10-15 metres in front of me but full power is simply not necessary for road running as I want my natural night vision to kick in and do some of the work.” Badl – on 17 November 2017

Interestingly, a lot of its features are designed to be operated by the MyPetzl Light mobile app. The app offers profiles for different activities (including running, trekking, and mountaineering), as well as the option to create your own. There’s also the option to check up on the light’s battery life from your phone.

If you’d rather focus on your run, then the Petzl Nao+ has the perfect answer: Reactive Lighting technology. The Nao+ contains a sensor which automatically detects ambient light and adjusts its light output accordingly. It doesn’t get much more user friendly than not needing to touch the torch at all!

The Nao+ features Constant Lighting technology, too, which is sometimes known as regulated light output. In short, this means that the lumen output of your head torch isn’t prone to flickering or dimming as the battery life reaches its end, so you can expect consistent light strength throughout your run.

Whilst the Nao+ is probably overkill night running if you’re not planning on off-roading, it’s a must-have for serious night-time fell runners.

Best Backup Head Torch: Petzl E+Lite Headlamp

£17.99 & FREE UK Delivery on Amazon

At A Glance:

Battery Type: 2 x Lithium 2032

Output: 50 lumens

Beam Distance: 10m

Weight: 26g

Other features:

  • Pocket-sized
  • Locking on-off switch
  • 5 adjustable light modes (3 white light; 2 red light)
  • IPx7 (water-proof; immersion proof to 1m)

The Petzl E+Lite might seem like a bit of an odd choice for night running. The output isn’t particularly strong, the beam distance – even at the brightest output – substantially restricts terrain awareness, and the light modes aren’t very versatile. It’s not the cheapest, either (although it’s certainly pretty budget-friendly).

That said, the E+Lite is perfectly suited to a very specific role in your runner’s arsenal – the emergency head torch. Whilst it’s always a good idea to bring a few replacement batteries with you on longer runs, there’s always the very real risk that any damage to your head torch could, at best, bring an early end to a night’s adventure, and, at worst, leave you stranded in a remote location in the dark.

The E+Lite is incredibly lightweight (in fact, it’s about the weight of two £1 coins and a 50p coin). It’s pocket-sized, and the locking on-off switch ensures that it’s not likely to accidentally get switched on as it gets jostled around. And, incredibly, when fitted with two lithium 2032 batteries, it can be stored for 10 years! All these features lend it perfectly to use as a last-ditch light source, doing away with the need to gingerly feel your way back home by the light of a phone. The peace of mind is definitely worth the cost.

Tired of running? We’ve got the best in caving adventure videos to keep your heart rate up from the couch.

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Welcome to LED Headlamp!

Turn up the lumens! Welcome to LED Headlamp, we’ll be delivering the best blogs, video content, gear reviews, and user features around LED headlamps, torches, and headsets from around the…

performance artists wearing LED Headlamp artistic headpeice

Turn up the lumens!

Welcome to LED Headlamp, we’ll be delivering the best blogs, video content, gear reviews, and user features around LED headlamps, torches, and headsets from around the web.

No Comments on Welcome to LED Headlamp!

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