Video Lighting Kits
Portable LED kits for on location shoots, Portable interview lighting kits that run off V-Lock batteries allowing you to walk in and setup quickly without cables, SlimLine and lightweight LEDs for travel and location lighting. Chromakey LED and Fluoro CSO kits allowing soft and even lighting on Chromakey backgrounds and Photography Flash kits for amateurs or seasoned professionals.
The film, television and photography industry is constantly evolving with modern technology becoming more accessible to the general consumer than ever before. That’s why, as more and more people are finding it easier to create video and photo content, it’s vital to stay ahead of the curve or risk falling behind. There are examples all over the place - cameras are becoming smaller, more powerful, and importantly, more affordable, while editing software is becoming more powerful with each update and release, and audio technology continues to improve. The same is said for lighting, as we move towards LED lighting becoming the professional standard.
But what do you need to look for in a professional LED light? Is the colour accuracy? It’s power output? It’s ability to be modified? Or simply that it’s easy to transport, set up and use well? These are all very important questions to ask yourself when it comes to buying LED lights for a particular shoot, and here at Dragon Image we aim to help you answer those questions. If you’re someone that has become adept at using halogen or tungsten globes, HMI’s or fluorescent lighting, here are just a few reasons why you should consider converting to LED lighting for your next shoot!
Colour Accuracy - CRI, TLCI and Flicker
Here at Dragon Image, we test the colour accuracy and flicker readings of all our lights ourselves, allowing you to compare the difference between different lights at home (you can find the specs of each of our lights on our website, or we have a plethora of these videos on our YouTube and Vimeo channels). Since different manufacturers might test their lights under different conditions, such as the distance they take the reading from the light or the brightness they have the light set at, we make sure to measure every light under the same conditions to ensure every reading is consistent. To do this, we use our UPRTek Spectrometer, which allows us to take all kinds of different readings, but most importantly the CCT, LUX, CRI, TLCI and flicker readings. If you don’t know what they stand for, here is a brief description:
CCT - Correlated Color Temperature
The colour temperature of a light source, which is essentially a measurement that tells you how much orange or blue the light being emitted contains. Most of our lights range from 3200K (Tungsten) to 5600K (Daylight), however some can be found to be as low as 2200K or as high as 6500K.
LUX - Illuminance
The LUX is reading that tells you how much light is being emitted in a certain area. Similar to lumens, the LUX reading is equal to the amount of lumens per square metre. This is a good indication of the power output that a light is capable of giving, and hence it is important to make this measurement at full brightness to measure the maximum capacity of a light source.
CRI - Colour Rendering Index
More commonly used in the architecture world, the CRI reading is a measurement of the ability of a light source to reveal the colours of a subject faithfully in comparison to a natural light source. Essentially, how accurately the colours of a subject pop when lit by a particular source. On a scale of 0-100, a reading of 90 or higher is what you’re aiming for, and anything below that will require fixing in post-production.
Although not an internationally approved standard, TLCI is highly recommended by the European Broadcasting Union as the preferred method to measuring the colour accuracy of a light. While it is a similar reading to CRI, it is designed to analyse the performance of a light in the context of television broadcasting standards, rather than to our eyes. Once again, a reading of 90 or higher is ideal.
Flicker is a visible fluctuation in brightness of a light source. It can generally be due to rapid changes in the voltage of the light’s power supply, incompatibility with an external dimmer or simply wear and tear.
Essentially, what you’ll find across the board is that when comparing different types of lights of roughly the same power, LEDs will record higher ratings in all of these areas. This is simply due to the fact that LED lighting technology is constantly evolving and will continue to improve, whereas fluorescent and globe technology has basically hit its ceiling. Some fluorescent lights are actually able to be replaced by LED tubes, such as Kino lights, giving a higher TLCI and more flexible control with colour temperature.
Lower power consumption, less overheating, battery power
These days, LED lighting has become the most ergonomic form of lighting compared to other sources. Since HMI, halogen and tungsten globes have a habit of overheating and blowing, as well as requiring a lot of power draw to operate, it has become a lot wiser to make the switch to LED, where these problems aren’t as prevalent. You’ll also find that some LED lights such as the AadynTech Punch, will actually be significantly brighter than a HMI or tungsten light of the same output. You can compare them here.
While you don’t get these issues as much with fluorescent lighting either, LED lights do still last longer, and you don’t have to deal with the toxic chemicals in a fluorescent light in the unlikely situation of a tube breaking.
The other advantage of LED over these other kinds of lights is the option for battery power. This is extremely useful when shooting on location without access to power, as you can power your lights without needing a big generator or external power source. Whether it’s V-Lock or L-Type batteries, you most likely already have them in your camera kits!
What are your creative options?
Put simply, there is a wider range of different types of LED lights than any other types, allowing for a wider range of creative options with your lighting. Some of these types include Bi-Colour, RGB, Fresnels and Bowen-S mount compatibility, just to name a few. You can also get LED lights with preset effects built into the ballast - such as lightning, police sirens, candlelight, TV flicker, strobe lights etc. - which gives you even more creative options when lighting a scene.
You can also get tungsten and coloured tubes for your fluorescent lights, however they can be quite difficult to track down, and they also require a lot more time to set up, with you needing to change the tubes manually. You also don't have as much control over the exact colour temperature you need, as they only do 3200K or 5600K tubes. Ultimately, LED lighting is easier to set up and gives you a lot more creative control over your lighting, and as the industry continues to evolve it’s important that you don’t limit yourself to what you’re able to do.
Transportability and user friendliness
LED lighting technology has become really user friendly in recent years, allowing a lot of entry level practitioners to get a great image without the need for years of experience. LED lights such as the Lightpro Ultrasoft range are the perfect light for those who need a soft, beautiful continuous light source without the hassle of big set up times, however they are just as effective for experienced practitioners.
LEDs have also become smaller and more lightweight than its fluorescent, tungsten and halogen counterparts, which is really handy when it comes to packing a car with equipment or travelling interstate or overseas (once we’re able to start flying again of course). While globe lights haven’t really changed in size over the years, LED lights continue to become smaller, slimmer and lighter without compromising their power output. Yes, there are still particular fresnel and Bowens mount lights that will have a bit of weight or size to them, but even still they tend to save more space then other lights. While this is especially important for those who are always on the road shooting, it's important to consider for all filmmakers and photographers as it becomes a big time and money saver.
Photography and video versatility
If you do both video and photography work, then LED as a continuous light source is the way to go! Obviously shooting with flash lighting has its advantages, as they give experienced photographers the freedom to create stunning shots. However, if you’re just starting out or you’re wanting to save a bit of money and keep your kit small as something that can be used for both photography and video, LEDs, particularly the Ultrasoft lights, are going to give you great results.
In addition to this, the Lightpro Shark range, along with other lights with Bowen-S mount fittings, are great for those transitioning from photography to video and still want to be able to use all their Bowen-S accessories such as softboxes, snoots, beauty dishes and many more. These lights, with extremely high CRI and TLCI, power output and compatibility with these accessories, make it a great option for shooting both photography and video. These are just a few examples of versatile LED lights that are suitable for a variety of uses, where other types of lighting might not quite work.
At the end of the day, there is always going to be a place for HMI, tungsten and fluorescent lighting, and they will always have their applications that they’re useful for. However, with the way the current industry is going, LED lighting is becoming more and more popular for it’s high colour accuracy, ability to be modified, and creative flexibility. If you are looking to make the switch, or simply want to buy some lighting to get started and have any further questions, please contact your local Dragon Image! We are always happy to help.