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#1 Philip Morriss

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 03:01 PM

Hi I am a student at Staffordshire University, England and I am doing my dissertation on the future of film lighting. I was wondering if anyone knew of any productions that have used LED lighting or any details about why LED lighting is better than conventional lighting. Thanks for any help you can give me, it will be much appreciated and you will be referenced in the final dissertation if the information is included.
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#2 Kevin Pham

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 01:31 AM

Disclaimer: You might want to fact check me as I have only used LEDs once on set and am not a professional, but a student like you.

I used two of these on a shoot: http://www.led-z.com/brute16.htm

LEDs tend to be a lot lighter and a lot smaller than an HMI if you're trying to light 5500K. They also consume a lot less electricity, meaning you can plug a bunch of them in.

A characteristic that I find tough to work with is that they have multiple point sources (a shadow for every source). Sometimes, LEDs with built in dimmers change color temperature when dimmed as well.

However, many brands are researching and developing better LED lights.

I had the pleasure of playing with Mole Richardson's new LED and Arri's new LED in the same day! I like Arri's a lot better because you can customize the white balance from 2000-6000! They both have built in dimmers, and both emulate a single point source so that there is only one shadow.

I too believe that LEDs are the lights of the future, as they are new and keep getting better.
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#3 Jay Oxley

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 06:52 AM

The LitePanels website is a good start. I contacted them when I wrote a review on one of their products. Here is a list of productions that LitePanels have been used for. I hope this helps.

- Desperate Housewives
- Two and a Half Men
- The Big Bang Theory
- Vampire Diaries
- Survivor
- Dirty Job
- Law and Order
- Angels and Demons
- Americas Next Top Model
- Yan Can Cook
- 2009 World Series
- Today Show (Channel 4)
- Travel Café
- Private Practice
- Nightline
- ABC News
- Mr. Brooks
- Access Hollywood
- TMZ
- Bad Girls Club
- 24
- Life on Mars
- Deadwood
- Good Night & Good Luck
- Bewitched
- Nascar
- Fox
- CBS (and CBS News)
- CNN
- CSI Miami
- NBA Finals 2008
- TNT Broadcast of NL Div. Series & Championship
- The Island
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- World Trade Center
- Alpha Dog
- Alvin and the Chipmunks
- The Amazing Race
- Bones
- The Deadliest Catch
- HBO
- Chemistry.com commercials
- Morning Glory
- CBN (Christian Broadcast Network)
- 20th Century Fox
- Dreamworks
- Lucas Films
- Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer
- G4 TV
- TWiT TT
- E! Entertainment
- Dr. 90210
- WPEC News 12 in Florida - All Litepanels LED Lights
- Nasa uses our Lights - we are on the Space Station
White House Press Room - All Litepanels
- Anything with Nicole Kidman... they use our RingLite
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 05:28 PM

I wouldn't say that LED lighting is overall better. It's a special purpose tool. The big advantage is that it runs very cool. A lesser advantage is low power consumption. But those cost you a bunch of money. So, use it where you need those things, like inside cars at night. There are also special color effects LED units, using red, green, and blue LED's. Loads of computer control, but again at a price.

The interesting thing about the new Arri LED's is that they use three different colors mixed to produce white light. But they don't try to cover the whole color space. Their primaries are chosen just to cover the color temperature curve inside CIE 1931 little xy space.





-- J.S.
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#5 John Brawley

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 09:52 PM

Hi I am a student at Staffordshire University, England and I am doing my dissertation on the future of film lighting. I was wondering if anyone knew of any productions that have used LED lighting or any details about why LED lighting is better than conventional lighting. Thanks for any help you can give me, it will be much appreciated and you will be referenced in the final dissertation if the information is included.



LEDS have a long way to go. At present they are a useful tool in certain applications. Although they are the most energy efficient light source around in terms of energy==> light the *quality* of their light leeds a lot to be desired.

Colour for starters is a big issue. It's only in the last couple of years they have been able to to hit 3200K. And even then whenever I've measured they aren't quite there. The harder issue is CRI or evenness of spectrum. Like fluro's they tend to spike in certain frequencies and dip in others.

Although there are LED inits that mix colours (like the already mentioned ARRI's) the problem is, is that LEDS are HIGHLY monochromatic. So you can mix red, green and blue leds, BUT each colour is so tuned to a certain wavelength, that the output falls away very quickly outside of that wavelength. There are still colours that will fall in the gaps outside of these wavelengths.

Yes they are energy efficient, and therefore low heat. being solid state that can turn on and off very quickly and can even be synced to the shutter pulse of an electronic or film camera for intra and inter-frame pulsed lighting effects. Fire light, TV's etc as well as different motion blur characteristics in certain wavelengths etc.

Solid state makes them more reliable, less fragile and lighter in weight with a smaller size footprint.

The other major issue is that there really aren't any individual LED sources that are bright enough to be used as a single unit, except maybe Dedo's offering.

Otherwise, multiple LED's are used, for either colour mixing or just brightness or both. This creates a problem with multiple shadows and colour fringing on shadows.

They have a long way to go, but they are only just finding their way into the market, and over the past 30 years, the brightness of LEDs has doubled every 18 months or so.

jb
(once started a company to build LED based film lights)
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 01:56 AM

Although there are LED inits that mix colours (like the already mentioned ARRI's) the problem is, is that LEDS are HIGHLY monochromatic. So you can mix red, green and blue leds, BUT each colour is so tuned to a certain wavelength, that the output falls away very quickly outside of that wavelength.


There are two kinds of LED's. The above is true of the kind that emit visible red, green, or blue directly. What a lot of the "white" movie lite LED units use are the other kind. They use UV from the silicon to excite phosphors, much like flourescents, only without the dreaded green mercury spike. They're nowhere near as bad, wavelength gap-wise.





-- J.S.
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#7 John Brawley

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 02:15 AM

There are two kinds of LED's. The above is true of the kind that emit visible red, green, or blue directly. What a lot of the "white" movie lite LED units use are the other kind. They use UV from the silicon to excite phosphors, much like flourescents, only without the dreaded green mercury spike. They're nowhere near as bad, wavelength gap-wise.

-- J.S.



In my experience they are still poor in terms of CRI and especially red deficient. White LEDS are also nowhere near as bright either.

jb
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#8 Guy Holt

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 10:08 AM

I wouldn't say that LED lighting is overall better. It's a special purpose tool. The big advantage is that it runs very cool. A lesser advantage is low power consumption. But those cost you a bunch of money. So, use it where you need those things, like inside cars at night.


I have to agree with John. LED lights are only a special purpose tool. If you looked at how LED lights were used in the list of productions provided by Jay, I would bet it was as Obie lights or to light car interiors at night. Like every other DP & Gaffer, I have put together my favorite lighting package based upon my more than 20 years operating a lighting rental and production service company. For my package, I have picked lights that I feel offer both the highest output (lumens/watt) and the best production capability and have combined them with distribution technology I've developed that enhances the production capability of the new Honda Inverter Generators. As yet, I have not found a LED lighting fixture that warrants inclusion in my package. Trust me, I have looked at all of them and some still to come. Here are a few of my reasons why I prefer Kinos, especially the Parabeam 400 fixtures, over LED Panels for many of the applications that LEDs are being marketed for and it has to do with more than just their deficient spectral distribution.

In HD Digital Cinema, the quality of light is more critical than ever. In High Def every detail of “on-camera” talent is rendered clearly on the screen – even the imperfections. Where LED and traditional hard light sources can exaggerate textural details, it is my opinion that fluorescent soft light is better for lighting talent in High Def productions because it can subdue those same textures and render a more cosmetic appearance. Primarily for this reason, I prefer the Kino Flo Parabeam fixtures, over LED Panels and other light sources, to serve as a Key source. Here are a few other reasons as well.

What distinguishes the Parabeam fixtures from LED Panels and other fluorescent lights is their throw, power efficiency, and the innovative accessories Kino Flo makes available for the fixtures. Accessories include barndoors, a gel frame, a diffusion panel, and Honeycomb Louvers. These features enhance the production capabilities of the Parabeam fixtures and make them suitable to serve as a key, or even backlight, source where conventional fluorescent movie lights and LED light panels are not.

Both conventional fluorescent movie lights (Kino Flo’s included) and LED light panels have a very broad light output that is hard to control. These lights also tend to drop off rapidly which means that to serve as a Key source, the units need to be positioned close to the subject they are lighting. These characteristics make them best suited to serve as Key sources in documentary interview set ups where the Keys are typically positioned close to the interview subject. In that capacity conventional fluorescent lights and LED light panels (with heavy diffusion) can generate a wonderful soft light that wraps around the interview subject without wilting them. But, given these characteristics, conventional fluorescent movie lights and LED light panels have only limited applications as fill sources in dramatic set lighting.

The ParaBeam fixtures, on the other hand, have computer aided designed (CAD) parabolic reflectors that focus their light output where it is needed most for lighting dramatic scenes - at a medium distance – making them better suited as a Key source for HD Digital Cinema. If you compare the photometric tables of the Parabeam 400 and the Diva 400 (which uses the same four lamps), you will notice that at 16’ the Parabeam 400 puts out almost three times the light level (28FC) than the Diva 400 (10FC) even though they both use the same tubes. You can always diffuse a Parabeam to create a soft source, but nothing you do will make a Diva 400 or LED light panel punchier.

In fact, a Parabeam 400 generates as much light at 16’ as the 4’ 8-Tube Kino Flathead 80 fixture, yet uses less than a quarter of the power (2 Amps verses 9.2 Amps.) While the seven amp difference is not a major consideration when using house power, it can make a difference when your power is limited (coming from a portable generator) because you can use four Parabeam 400s for the same power as a 4’ – 8 Bank Kino Flathead 80. And unlike the ballasts of Kino Flo’s fixture that use the T12 tubes, the Parabeam ballasts also include filters to reduce the return of harmonic currents into the power stream and improve their power efficiency. This makes them an especially efficient fluorescent light source that is comparable to the power efficiency of LED light panels and suitable for battery operation. For instance a Parabeam 400 puts out more light than even Zylight’s new high output LED light panel yet draws just .2 Amps more power.

While the newest LED light panels (that use the higher output LEDs) approach the Parabeams in output, the Parabeam fixtures are more easily controlled – an essential requirement in a Key source. Parabeam fixtures are controlled by interchanging Kino Flos’ innovative Honeycomb Louvers. Louvers are available in 90, 60 and 45 degrees. Swapping louvers provides beam control similar to that of swapping lenses on an HMI Par. These features enhance the production capabilities of the Parabeam fixtures and make them suitable to serve as a Key or Backlight source where conventional fluorescent movie lights and LED light panels will spill all over the set.

Kino Flo Parabeam fixtures are ideal for filming with the Red One. Since the Red’s native color balance is 5000K, it looks best when the lighting package consists of 5500K sources. Kino Flo Parabeam fixtures are a cost effective alternative to HMIs because they can use 5500K tubes. They provide beam control similar to that of swapping lenses on an HMI by interchanging their honeycomb louvers. And, they are even more efficient sources than HMIs. When using 5500K tubes to light for the Red’s 5000K native color balance, you can warm the lights without losing output to CTO gels by simply mixing in 3200K tubes with the 5500k tubes. Given the light sensitivity of the Red Camera, the more focused light of the Parabeam 400s is all that is needed for a key light even at a distance.

The power that I save by using Parabeam 400s for key sources in my package, enables me to power more lights on the enhanced 7500W output of my modified Honda EU6500is generator. Using a 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro on my modified Honda EU6500is I am able to power a lighting package that consists of a 2.5kw, 1200, & 800 HMI Pars, a couple of Parabeam 400s and Parabeam 200s, and a Flat Head 80. Given the light sensitivity of the Red Camera this is all the light I need to light a large night exterior. (Use this link - http://www.screenlig...generators.html - for a detailed description of the benefits to using Kino Parabeam 400s on portable generators (the section on the Parabeams is about three quarters of the way through the article.)

Compared to LED fixtures, Kino Flo Parabeam fixtures are nearly as efficient but offer greater versatility. Able to interchange different color temperature tubes, and vary beam spread with their interchangeable honeycomb louvers, the Parabeam fixture can do what it takes four different LED Litepanel fixtures to accomplish – Spot and Flood in both 5500K and 3200K. Offering better light quality, output, beam control, and versatility, the Kino Flo ParaBeams make for a better key or back light for HD cinema production. Not to mention that you can buy two Parabeam 400s for the asking price of a single LED light panel.

Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip , Boston
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