1

LED Essentials

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LED LIGHTS

1.1  LED ESSENTIALS

The Basics of LED lights

LED lights have been used since the 1950’s in appliances or for christmas lights, but only in the last decade have LEDs become an option for home lighting, and even more recently for video production.

So, what are LEDs?

LED DEFINITION

What does LED stand for?

LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode. Electric current is passed through a diode which triggers a chemical reaction that gives off a nearly heatless form of light known as electroluminescence. The entire LED is covered in a layer of phosphor.

LEDs use two semiconductor layers, each lined with added impurities that make the aluminum-gallium-arsenide unstable, and those impurities create gaps that allow electrons to shift from higher atomic orbitals to lower ones.

Voltage forces the electrons to flow from one layer to the other. The whole idea is that one layer NEEDS electrons, while the other GIVES electrons.

What advantages do LEDs have?

  • LEDs use very little energy.
  • LEDs output very little heat.
  • LEDs have the ability to be multi-color.

1.2  LED ESSENTIALS

How does video lighting work?

Video lighting is very different from photography lighting.

You need continuous light to capture proper recordings, and lights that are not flicker free may look fine when being used for still photography, but they will have harmful effects on your video recordings.

Light and color have an interesting relationship…

Color (like physical paint) has an additive quality:

Add Red to Blue to Green and you get...

BLACK

LED Video Lights - CMYK

Caption goes here...

Light (color of light) has a subtractive quality:

Add Red to Blue to Green and you get…

WHITE

LED Video Lights - RGB - StudioBinder

Caption goes here...

You will want to remember this whenever you light something because the color temperatures of your lights may not always be the same, and you will oftentimes have to light based on the sun or available light.

Many of the LEDs on this list are bi-color, which means you can adjust the color of the lights via a knob on the back of the fixture.

1.3  LED ESSENTIALS

Best LED list preface

We’ve split this list up between LED light kits, LED On-Camera Lights, and Other LED lights. This will help you sort through to find exactly what you need for your upcoming project.

These LED will give you the best results when recording video.

Everyone of the LED kits on this list will work for shooting interviews or doing basic youtube video. Generally, the more expensive the kit, the more light output you will receive.

LED SPEC MINIMUM

95+ CRI

This will give you color fidelity so that your skin tones don’t end up green or magenta.

Bi-Color

This allows you to adjust you color temperature..

Flicker Free

Eliminates flicker during video recording.

2

LED Light Kits

THE BEST LED LIGHT KITS ON THE MARKET

2.1  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Bescor Photon LED 2-Light Kit

Price: $240

Two Photon LED panels. Light stand can stretch up to 78" tall. Color temperature range of 3200-5600K. Dimmable with dim level and color temperature on the digital display. Can be powered by the included power adapter or optional NP-F batteries.

2.2  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Bescor FP-312K 2-Point LED Light Kit

Price: $300

These lights have a built-in dimmer that can adjust the light's output from 10-100%, as well as a variable color temperature between 3200-5600K. LCD digital readout, barn doors, and diffusion included. Can attach these lights to your camera too.

2.3  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Genaray Spectro Essential 500 2-Lights

Price: $370

This kit is an inexpensive option that will give you some decent output. You can light an interview subject with these pretty well, and they have variable brightness and color settings. They also have the option to be battery powered if you need extra mobility.

2.4  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

CAME-TV Boltzen 55W LED Fresnel Kit

Price: $600

Very user friendly kit that has some surprising power. Battery capable, built in fresnel lenses that magnify the light output. So powerful you can double up on diffusion for a super soft look. Good for interviews or to light a scene.

2.5  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Dracast S-Series LED500 LED 3-Light Kit

Price: $700

3-point light kit. Three Bi-Color panels with 4-way barndoors. Diffusers, a multi-voltage AC adapter, light stand, an NP-F battery plate. Variable color temperature from 3200-5600K. 0-100% dimming. Multi-Light Control Capability allows control of all 3 lights at once.

2.6  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Genaray Contender LED Spot 3-Light Kit

Price: $900

Variable light intensity, focus, and color temperature. Dimmable from 10-100% and color is variable from 3200-5600K. Adjustable angle lens starts at 55-degree. Can be focused down to a 25-degree spot for selective lighting or sunlight effects. Carrying case included.

2.7  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Dracast LED1000 Pro LED 2-Light Kit

Price: $1100

Variable color temperature from 3200-5600K. Dimming from 0-100%.shift. Outputs the hot light equivalent of 1,000W. Low electrical draw of 60W. Powered by the included 100-240 VAC adapter or by optional V-Mount 12 VDC batteries.

2.8  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Dracast LED2000 Kala LED 3-Light Kit

Price: $1500

Remote control capability. Really good output for LED light panels. Variable color temperature, and dimmable. Removable 4-way barndoors, a diffusion filter, V-mount battery plate, multi-voltage AC adapter, and nylon case included.

2.9  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

ikan Lyra 1 x 1 LED Light Kit

Price: $2000

Wireless remote to control full color temperature and 10-100% dimming. Four-leaf barndoors provide control over light spill, and feature removable light intensifiers. V-mount and Gold mount battery plate. A large amount of output for LED lights.

2.10  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Q-LION 3X3 LITH BATTERY LED KIT

Price: $2,200

9 lights total. RGB control over each. Hard shell carrying case. These are great for practical lighting in music videos or sci-fi projects, as well as helpful fill lights for stylized recordings. These are all the rage with many gaffers and cinematographers.

2.11  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Westcott Flex LED Mat 2-Light Travel Kit

Price: $3000

Two bendable light sources with dedicated softboxes. Mounting hardware, two stands for positioning the lights, and a pair of D-tap cables which allows you to power with lithium-ion batteries.

Product Review - LensProToGo

Color temperature range of 2800-6000K. Dimmer is 0-100%. These lights have impressive statistics for any light source available.

2.12  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Westcott Peter Hurley Flex 4-Light Kit

Price: $5,500

Four bendable light sources with dedicated softboxes. Mounting hardware, four stands for positioning the lights, and a pair of D-tap cables which allows you to power with lithium-ion batteries. Color temperature range of 2800-6000K. Dimmer is 0-100%. These are the same lights as the earlier Westcott kit, but there are four of them.

2.13  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Kino Flo FreeStyle 31 LED 2-Light Kit

Price: $6,000

Kelvin range from 2500-9900K. Color menu allows you to work with RGB, a real convenience when employing color wheels or RGB presets.

Product Review - TheViewpointTV

Gel channel has presets for over 100 well-known temperature-modifying gels including blue/green screen, sodium vapor and mercury vapor. Hue adjustments along a 360-degree range like a color wheel. Saturation channel controls the intensity of the chosen color.

2.14  LED VIDEO LIGHT KITS

Digital Sputnik DS3 LED Modular Plus

Price: $8,000

0-100% dimming, 1500-10,000K with full RGB and primary color rendering. Lights can be controlled remotely via Wi-Fi with the included Wi-Fi Control Module or via DMX with a separately available DMX module.

Product Review - VisualImpactRSA

140 watts of power and connects to the single DS3 power supply with a long, 30' cable. Lots of accessories and a limited 3-year warranty.

3

LED On-Camera Lights

THE BEST ON-CAMERA LED LIGHTS ON THE MARKET

3.1  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Bescor Morning Star Series LED-125

Price: $40

125W equivalent beam. Daylight balanced at 6500K. Amber colored-correction filter. Dimmable from 25-100%. 75 to 80 minute run time. Uses six AA batteries.

3.2  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Aputure Amaran AL-H198

Price: $60

60° beam angle. 5500K daylight light. Dimming dial for adjusting light output. Powered by either one Sony NP-style battery or six AA batteries. Swivel shoe mount adapter for attaching to camera. Diffusion and orange warming filter included.

3.3  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

ikan Onyx 120 Bi-Color

Price: $80

Output of roughly 100W at full power. Only 15W power draw. Bi-color from 3200-5600K. Dimming from 10-100%.

Product Review - Think Media

An inexpensive light like this can give you just enough light to keep footage in a usable place. Make sure you have something like this in your kit.

3.4  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Dracast LED160

Price: $90

3200-5600K variable-color LED light. 160W equivalent light output. 45° flood beam angle. Approximately 20 ft effective distance. Brightness dimmer dial on the rear.

3.5  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Aputure Amaran AL-F7

Price: $100

45° beam angle. 3200-9500K variable color temperature. Dimming dial for adjusting light output from 0-100%. Powered by an L-series battery, D-Tap, or USB-C.

3.6  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Dracast Camlux Pro

Price: $135

Battery-powered. 3200-5600K variable color temperature. Flicker-free dimmer. Ball head shoe mount included. Stackable with other lights for extra output.

3.7  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Genaray LED-6200T 144 LED

Price: $140

Adjustable 3200-5600K color temperature. 640 lux brightness at 3 feet. Flicker-free brightness dimming from 10-100%. Color/brightness dials on the rear. Stackable vertically and horizontally. Magnetic, snap-on diffuser included.

3.8  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Genaray LED-7100T 312 LED

Price: $190

Adjustable color temperature from 3200-5600K. 1400 lux brightness at 3 ft. Flicker-free brightness dimming from 10-100%. Magnetic, snap-on diffuser included. 360° swivel / 180° tilt ball head and carry case included.

3.9  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Rotolight NEO 2 LED Light

Price: $400

Adjustable color temperature range of 3150–6300K. Dimming uses shutter speed and ISO information, as well as distance data, to calculate the proper aperture for your shot. Cinematographic Special FX, or CineSFX, features a variety of settings which includes strobe, lightning, throb, color cycle, fire, police, television, and more.

3.10  LED ON-CAMERA LIGHTS

Dedolight Pocket LEDRAMA

Price: $1150

Powerful light suitable for use mounted on a camera, stand, or hung from a grid. Variable color temperature from 3200-5600K. Dimming from 0-100% to 0% brightness. This light is super powerful for an on-camera light, hence the price tag.

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Special LED Lights

THE BEST SPECIAL LED LIGHTS ON THE MARKET

4.1  SPECIAL LED LIGHTS

Menik CB-68A 68W Roll-flex Led

Price: $230

Rollable and flexible LED video light. Brightness adjustable, use your cellphone control it like a remote control. Battery or plug-in powered. Waterproof material.

4.2  SPECIAL LED LIGHTS

Yongnuo YN360 II LED Light Wand

Switch between either 320 variable color temperature LEDs or 40 RGB SMD LEDs. White light mode with color temp range of 3200-5500K or a Full Color RGB mode that can be configured via mobile app. Integrated lithium-ion battery.

4.3  SPECIAL LED LIGHTS

Luxli Timpani 1x1 RGBAW LED Light

Really useful light panel with tons of applications. Great for music videos, but also can be used as a key light for any interview situation. Offers more options than most LED lights.

Product Review - B&H

Four easy-to-use operation modes. Color temperature, digital gesl. Ten animated lighting effects. LCD interface is controlled through free Conductor mobile app.

UP NEXT

Best Mirrorless Cameras in 2019

Now that you have a better idea of the LED market, you can put together a set of LED lights that perfectly fit your needs. Once you’ve taken care of your lighting situation, you may want to look into cameras.

Check out our article on The Best Mirrorless Cameras for Filmmaking in 2019 and see exactly which mirrorless camera is the best for your needs. We break down everything in the article, so take a look.

Up Next: The Best Mirrorless Cameras for Filmmaking in 2019 →
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