Are LED Lights Good For Filming?


Today, one of the most popular lighting products for filmmaking is the LED Lighting system. You have probably come across someone making videos with these lights, and if not, you have heard of it. 

However, making videos is one thing; what about filming? Are these lights the best option for filming? LED lights are versatile in controlling the color temperature. In addition, they are lightweight, efficient in handling, and reduces energy costs over time.

LED lights are among the best lighting kits when shooting an interview with a few people and where you don’t have to move around a lot. And generally, they are becoming bigger and better. However, when dealing with filmmaking, you will have to invest in a standard lighting kit.

Taking into consideration that any light has its advantages and disadvantages. It depends on your intentions for filming if you want to go for LED lighting or not. So let’s dig deep to find out they are perfect for filming.

Pros Of LED Lights For Filming

As mentioned above, LED lights are an excellent choice for videographers, and here are some of the pros of having them for filmmaking.

  1. Color Versatility

These lights come with multiple color options; hence you can deliver various color options. As a filmmaker, these lights come in handy, especially when you want to create unique light features or the way people see the cast. As a result, it would be best if every filmmaker has the LED Light.

  1. Movability

Integrated LED lights make it easy to mount and move. They come in different sizes and make it easier to place them wherever you want. They are light in weight but powerful enough for the filming requirements.

  1. A Straightforward Lighting System

There is a reason why filmmaking requires a considerable budget, especially when working on a complicated script. Why is that? It is because even setting up the lights can be difficult hence the need to hire an expert. So, suppose your budget is tight and hiring a lighting technician is not an option; the LED lights offer you a simple lighting system that everyone can control.

  1. Energy-Efficient

Imagine having a good lighting system and investing a small amount of money in maintaining it; this feels like a dream to many filmmakers. However, with the LED lights, you get a chance to light up your scenes nicely and help you save on energy.

  1. A Long-Lasting Lighting System

As much as people mainly consider performance when buying products like lighting systems, durability is also an important sector you must keep in mind. Lucky for videographers with these lighting systems, LED lights have this feature. Note that they are not only durable but delivers an excellent performance.

Cons Of LED Lights For Filming

There are no good things without flaws, and the same applies to LED lighting systems. So here are some disadvantages that come with these lights.

  1. Output Power Is Affected By Temperature Changes

After LED lights came into the market, temperature changes affecting the output power were something many filmmakers didn’t like. However, things are better with time since you can easily find LED lights that are not dependent on temperature changes.

Despite that, this issue is still something some of the less-pricey options have regarding their performance. It would be best if filmmakers choose LED lights that don’t face this issue to allow them to film anywhere and anytime.

  1. Expensive

As you buy anything including lighting systems, there are some things you must consider, for example, price. However, the LED lights provide a high-quality performance since they are portable, easy to control, and have many color options.

Also, they tend to cost more than other lighting systems when it comes to the price, especially when you need excellent services.

Alternatives To LED Lights In Filming

As the entertainment industry grows, the resources available are becoming bigger and better. In the lighting equipment for filmmaking, there are several lights that you can use instead of LED lights. They include:

  • Tungsten Lights

Tungsten lights are halogen gas-enabled filament bulbs. They are a good option for filmmakers, thanks to their halogen cycle. This fact means that every bulb has halogen gas inside it and uses the inbuilt tungsten metal to shine brighter than other types of lights. They are a great option, especially when filming under high temperatures. However, they require a lot of power, and it is sensitive, requiring you to handle them delicately. 

  • Three-Point Lighting System

This lighting system is among the oldest lighting setups in the filming sector, and it features a fill, key, and backlight. Their main advantage is their focus on critical areas. The key light is the primary light source that is the most intense. In the filming sector, this point is the best to use to illuminate your actors.

The fill light ensures that your key light doesn’t form any shadow by canceling all the shadows. As a result, the best positioning for these lights is opposite the key lights. Note that they are less powerful compared to key lights. The backlight is the last sector, and just like the name suggests, it illuminates the scenes from behind. Also, the best option you can place is higher than the object.

  • HMI Lights

HMI lights are also an excellent option for filmmakers since their main advantage is producing high power. Why is that? These lamps have inbuilt mercury, and when electric power hits these bulbs, it creates a high light output. Also, they are an excellent option for filmmakers who love to bring beauty and good lighting to a scene. For example, you can recreate the sun when making scenes using these types of lights.

  • Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights have inbuilt low-pressure mercury resulting in ultraviolet lights, and they are pretty standard in filmmaking. Why is that? These lights can generate powerful lighting from a few watts. Not to mention, its color temperature varies; hence you can work with your best color lighting.

Generally, all types of lighting systems are helpful when filming since from the above details, you can tell that they all have a role to play. However, the foremost important thing that a filmmaker must keep in mind is the type of light to use in various circumstances. With the understanding of the lighting system, then they can produce a great film.

Tungsten vs LED Lights for Video

Videography is a broad area in the entertainment industry, and fortunately for us, this area grows bigger and better every day as experts innovate new things. In this sector, one of the areas to keep in mind is the lighting sector. Why is that? The lighting system is responsible for the output of the video hence very important. We will explain some of the best lighting systems you can find in sets, Tungsten and LED Lights. 

Tungsten lights are halogen-enabled bulbs, and when electric power passes through these bulbs, the lighting shines brighter than others, while the LEDs are the light-emitting diode lights that don’t produce UV rays. The main reason why the latter is gaining popularity with time is that they can reduce the carbon levels significantly. 

  • Performance

Tungsten lights are famous for delivering robust lighting systems that sharply lights-up the scenes making them clear. The LED Lights are also high-performing lights that you can use for filming. Which type of light is better than the other? The reply to this question is indirect since there are considerations such as the shoot’s time, the area you are shooting the video in, and the type of lighting you need for a scene.

  • Usability

Imagine having a specific type of lights and still be unable to use them because of the usability feature; this situation is sad. Therefore, as you buy your filming lighting system, you must consider how useful it is when filming. In the case of the two options, LED lights are more usable. The setting up process of these lights is simple; hence anyone can set them up and control them. Also, the Tungsten lights are no longer welcomed by experts, especially when taking videos in buildings due to fire hazards’ risks. In most cases, there are rules in buildings that limit their usability. Therefore, if you are looking for lights that you can openly use in various areas without crushing the law, the LED lights are the best option.

  • Construction

Construction of the lighting system also plays a huge part when choosing your lights. Why is that? The materials of construction and size will determine the number of people you need for a videography session. The LED lights are lightweight but strong hence the best options when portability is in question, while the Tungsten lights are more heavy-duty. As a result of that, Tungsten lights will require you to have a decent crew accompanying you.

  • Energy-Efficiency

Lights naturally use energy, explaining why many people focus on the energy consumption feature when buying lighting systems. However, tungsten lights draw more power compared to LED Lights. So, if you are on the lookout for a lighting system option that consumes less energy, LED lights are a great deal. However, if you are one to focus on the sharpness of the lights, Tungsten lights are a good option.

  • Price

When buying any product, our budget naturally limits us to what we can get since we have to stick with our money. The same case applies when getting lighting systems for videography since you have to consider your budget. Tungsten lights are less pricey compared to LED lights. However, you can quickly get some LED lights for an affordable price, but they tend to have flaws that are hard to deal with during filming. There are also pricey LED options that deliver a high-quality performance. Suppose your budget is tight, you can settle for Tungsten lights or a cheap LED light system. However, you can choose to wait until you have saved up enough for a high-quality LED lighting system.

  • Portability

As a videographer, sometimes you have to move around to get the best videos; hence moving your lights from different areas is impossible, especially when working on a film. This fact explains why portability is a primary feature that you must consider when getting lighting systems. For example, suppose you work in a studio where the lights stay in the same place all the time, then Tungsten lights are okay since they are heavy. However, if you often work in different areas needing you to move, LED lights are the best option since they are lightweight. Another reason why Tungsten lights aren’t an excellent option for individuals who film various areas because they are prone to getting hot, requiring you to let them cool down after use.

  • Lighting Options

Tungsten lights are no secret some of the earliest lighting systems in the filming industry. It is a lighting kit that dates back a few decades ago. As a result, it has its limitation, especially in the available lighting options. However, the LED Lights are more recent and can produce different color options. Tungsten lights and LED lights have their advantages, and they are helpful in video making. But with the entertainment industry growing bigger and better, videographers want to be more creative, and LED lights offer the opportunity.

  • The Lifespan Of The Lighting Systems

As a videographer, it is no secret that you want to invest in products that will serve you longer before you need to get another one, especially when working under a tight budget. Therefore, when buying a lighting system, the lifespan of these lights is an important consideration. Tungsten Lights have a standard lifespan of about 1200 hours, while LED lights have an average lifespan of 50,000 hours. Therefore, as much as Tungsten Lights are less expensive than LED Lights, the latter is a value pack that will serve you longer.

Related Questions:

Do LED Lights Flicker On Camera?

Light flickers are not seen by naked eyes, but a video camera usually captures it when the light source is powered by an alternating current (AC in common terms). Since Alternating currents ( 50-60Hz) power the LED lights, their frequency is not in sync with the shutter speed, and the frame rate ( film – 24fps, video – 30 fps) of the camera resulting in a flicker on the film or video you are shooting. Usually, it becomes notable on high shutter speeds or frame rates, especially when you are shooting slow-motion or low-intensity lighting.

So, like other movie lights, LED lights are no different, and the flicker phenomenon has nothing to do with the lights but its light source. A light source under a DC current won’t flicker.

How Do You Stop LED Lights From Flickering?

Normally you can eliminate the LED light flickering by lowering the shutter speed. The best fix is keeping it at 1/100 to /120 

for a 50 Hz and 60 Hz Ac current, respectively. It is easier said than done. You need to test it by lowering the shutter speed step by step. For a slow-motion shot, where the flicker visibility is the maximum, this is the only fix. However, for static shots with less movement, you can apply a video editing plugin like Flicker Free in post.

Conclusion

LED lights are among the best lighting systems that you can use for various functions. This article explains details about their operation in filming. It explains their advantages, disadvantages, and alternatives. Also, it compares the Tungsten lights and the LED lights to understand more about the two lighting systems. Consider the information about the LED Lights’ role in the filming industry.

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