Are LED Lights Good for Film Production?

The growing popularity of LED lights for film production comes from their versatility and energy efficiency.

LED video walls and LED panels are portable, user-friendly and give you excellent shooting capabilities in a wide variety of situations.

LED lighting is a fast-moving field and, as a relatively new technology for filmmakers and videographers, it has much to offer.

What Advantages to LED Lights Have Over Other Lights?

LED stands for light-emitting diode. Diodes are semiconductor components that emit energy-carrying photons. They emit this energy as light instead of heat. This enables LEDs to emit significant amounts of light without generating heat or wasting much energy.

LED lighting is directional, making it ideal for task lighting and, of course, as lighting for film shoots.

Here are the main advantages of LED lights for filmmaking.

  1. Energy Efficiency

LEDs use around 50% less energy than other forms of lighting. Ultimately, your shoot should be cheaper to run if you use LED lighting.

And the directional nature of LED lighting means you’ve got better control while wasting less energy and light.

  1. Long Lasting

LEDs won’t suddenly fail by burning out. As they reach the end of their lifespan, they gradually dim.

Good quality LED lighting can last between 30,000 and 50,000 hours. A typical incandescent bulb lasts around 1,000 hours.

  1. Staying Cool

As we’ve pointed out, most of the energy of LED bulbs is converted to light, not heat. This means that your LED lighting won’t heat up, unlike other, traditional types of lighting for film.

LEDs, therefore, pose no burn hazards, and because you don’t have to wait for them to cool, they’re fast and convenient to move around for different shots.

  1. Instant Light

LEDs give off bright light instantly. Some traditional light sources can take minutes to get to their full brightness. But with LEDs, this is virtually instantaneous.

This is especially useful when you’re shooting on large sets, and it supports efficient filmmaking.

  1. Robust and durable

There are no filaments or glass enclosures with LED lights, and the bulbs are securely mounted on panels. These lights are tough and vibration resistant. Obviously, they’re not completely indestructible, but they’re a lot more durable than traditional lights.

  1. Highly Controllable

Because LEDs act as semiconductor devices, they’re highly controllable. This includes dimming (see below) to a range of levels and excellent colour correction.

The range in colour and brightness you can get from LED lights is considerable and can give you plenty of control over how you wish your audience to see your subject.

You can match either daylight or artificial light or align your lighting with pre-existing lighting on location. LEDs can also produce special saturated lighting effects.

How to Use LED Lights in Film Production

LED lighting technology has advanced to a point where LED lights for film production are multi-purpose.

Here are some dos and don’ts when using them.

  1. DO Use a Modifier

Shooting with LED panels is convenient, but if you don’t modify the light, you’re likely to end up with something that looks too stark and low-budget due to the harshness of the lighting.

Therefore, use a modifier to soften the light. You can bounce the light using silks, or use a softbox.

  1. DON’T Mix Colour Temperatures Unnecessarily

Many LED panels now give you the option of switching colour temperatures between daylight and tungsten. They come with two sets of lightbulbs for this, and with the option of using both colour temperatures together.

On the one hand, this is a fantastic, flexible feature. But, like any filmmaking tool, you need to use it in the right way.

Basically, if you make significant adjustments to your colour balance from shot to shot, your footage won’t match.

Maintaining consistent colour temperature is essential with LED lighting panels.

  1. DO Be Careful When You Dim LEDs

If you’re using LED panels with the option to dim the brightness, you may encounter flickering.

This is because some LEDs are prone to flickering when they aren’t running at full capability. Also, dim LEDs too much and they start to go blue.

The good news is that modern, high-quality LEDs should maintain a consistent brightness even at any level, but always test your lighting first before a shoot to see how far you can dim them without impacting lighting quality.

Hiring LED Lighting for Your Shoot

Pro Motion Hire has a wide range of LED lighting systems available for hire.

This includes:

Renting LED lighting gives you the flexibility and freedom to maximise different lighting systems and set-ups while benefitting from the performance and economy of LEDs.

LED benefits include:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Energy efficiency
  • Portability, and
  • Staying cool.

Setting up lighting correctly for film can be difficult. For advice or information about any of our lighting products, please contact us.