Video Lighting: Flo vs LED vs Tungsten--Pros and Cons of Each Video Light

Video Lighting: Flo vs LED vs Tungsten--Pros and Cons of Each Video Light

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in this episode let's talk about the three main types of lights for video that's going to be your LED fluorescent and tungsten and there are pros and cons to each of them so let's look at those pros and cons so that when you're making your next purchase decision on lighting you'll be well-informed and be able to make a good choice before the type of shooting that you're doing check this out as I said there are pros and cons to each of the three types of lights let's quickly look at each of the three types
00:30
of lights for those of you who don't have a lot of time and then for those of you that want to stick around we'll go and take an in-depth look of the color rendering between those three types of lights to see the practical differences first let's look at florescent there are lots of pros here again lots of output cool operating temperature of reasonable power requirements are can be tripping circuits the colors okay if you get the very best bulbs there are various color temp and their reasonable price options as well on the con side the color is often not that great they're usually green spikes blue spikes and yellow spikes and the color output and while you might be able to get your skin tones
01:01
right other colors are going to look off when you do that there are a few spotting options almost all the lights are flooding and there is mercury exposure if you break the bulbs you do and your dim these by turning off individual light bulbs on the LED side these are pretty similar but a few advantages here output lumens about the same coolest operating temps great power options you can usually battery power these small and portable long-lasting bulbs various color temp and most are dimmable on the con side again very spiky color and even worse it varies a lot by manufacturer the only good one
01:33
I've seen out there is the erielle seven series pronounced they cost about $2,700 u.s. and in general these are more expensive than your tungsten or fluorescent then on the tungsten these have great output in terms of the amount of light these have the best color rendering and we're gonna look at that in more detail in just a minute and lots of reasonable price options on the con side they're very hot uncomfortable for your talent their fire and burn dangers use tons of power the bolts have to be replaced quite often you have to use gels to mix it with daylight and the dimmers change the color temps are a very different beast to work with I
02:04
wanted to take a look at what is the practical difference now this is not a perfect test obviously because I've got a particular LED kit I've got a particular fluorescent kid and a particular tungsten kid but the question is is in general terms at least what's the difference between these now the fluorescent kid I'm looking at is the ephoto 4,500 watt softbox kit I've talked about this one and reviewed it in the past if you're curious I've got a link down below second one I'm using is an airy Fornell clone this is a tungsten light gets very hot uses a lot of power
02:36
to 650 watt bulb in there and I'm actually just using a work light one of those things you pick up at the Home Depot or a hardware store as my backlight so that one's actually has a slightly different color you'll notice back here but hopefully that won't affect the test too much and then finally I'm using an LED light now LEDs are all over the board in terms of the research I've done it looks like every LED unit that you pick up has a slightly different color response and it's kind of interesting but we'll look at that last main question I have really is between the fluorescent and the tungsten
03:09
why would you ever even bother to consider tungsten and I think most people these days are like not really there's too many downsides and let's see if there's any difference in terms of color rendition or color rendering so that's really my main question here because I'm looking mainly for something to be used for interview style and let's take a look okay here we have our fluorescent and here we have our tungsten let's just start with those two we'll come back to the LED at the end here these two are a little different in terms of exposure but let's first of all just check the white balance on each of these before I shot each of these clips
03:41
I did a custom white balance using my camera and we can test that we're just gonna down here in the curves tool we use our eyedropper capture a point there capture and that's our gray or middle gray here in our highlights and then over here in what should be our darkest shadows or our blacks and let's take a closer look here you should all line up the three channels should line up so the red the green and the blue in the highlights line up the red the green and the blue in the mid-tones line up and the red the green the blue in the shadows line up so this is a white
04:12
balanced image so that's great and then let's take a look at the tungsten image same thing let's get our mid-tones our highlights and our shadow take a closer look there looks like our highlights are pretty close there that's good our mid-tones likewise close and our shadows close so we're also white balanced they're bringing it back to the fluorescent now in practical terms let's go and does it add back the contrast I shot with a flat
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picture style so let's add back the contrast like I normally would so I'm gonna drop my lift here until I see these shadows actually approached here I want to crush the dark the black background I'll bring my highlights up like where I might expect them and then you can see in the waveform here this this white part here is our gray card and that's right there in the middle half way up so that's perfect because this is a gray card which is supposed to be halfway up the middle so that's that's good that's a practical level
05:14
that's how I would normally finish my video clips in this kind of scenario so that's looking great let's go to our tungsten now we'll do the same thing here this one is not exposed quite as brightly it's maybe half a stop lower so we'll just have to do just pull things back up to where we might expect them and just need to bring our gamma up a touch to get that gray card in the middle somewhere right around there
05:43
okay very good the question is do you notice much difference between these two this is the fluorescent and this is the tungsten fluorescent tungsten the difference I can see it you can definitely see in the skin tone here this one looks like a little paler and a little little more red and to be honest that is actually closer to my real skin tone in real life for better or for worse this one seems out a little bit more I can't tell if it's yellow or a
06:13
green one of the two in there but it shouldn't you know again we when we looked at our white balance the we were definitely white balance and that green channel was right in line with the others so there I think is one of the differences but here's the thing that bugs me the most and this was actually from is where this episode gets a little bit uncomfortable at least for me a while ago probably a couple months ago someone left a comment on one of my videos and said hey Curtis loved the videos learning a lot from they look really good except for one thing your teeth usually look yellow and I look
06:45
back at someone am i what yeah you know what you're right and then I got kind of self-conscious I do have good for the record I do have pretty good oral hygiene but several years ago you know I'm not gonna lie my teeth are not sparkling perfectly white number of years goes I had to drink a lot of peppermint herbal tea but let's just let's just take a look and see if it's realistic so I'm gonna just take a reading right there so we took a reading there and when I take a look at this reading here what we're looking for is the difference between the red Channel and the blue channel just in terms of the number of squares and you can see here our blue
07:17
channel is about right here so we're looking at one almost two almost a difference of two of those squares maybe one and three-quarters so that's that one now here's our tungsten do a reading there whoops let me just reset this do a reading there the same spot take a closer look at those this one's closer to one and a half maybe just a little less than one and a half so one in three-quarters versus one and a half not
07:47
a huge difference but to me that looks closer to my real teeth color you know again not perfectly sparkling white but not quite as yellow as it's showing here in the fluorescent this one looks more natural to me so what's the moral of the story here I'm not trying to suggest that you need to buy one type of light versus another this is just my own research here and you know to be perfectly honest if color critical is not your number-one priority then I think these fluorescent lights are just great but if that's kind of bugging you and in my case I do a lot of you know
08:19
again my time doing primarily kind of corporate videos interview style talking head and for me it's mostly gonna be people and so I really need those colors to be pretty close to reality at least start there and then I can stylize them with my color grading from there if you're going for a heavily graded look anyway this may not be as big of a deal for you so just something to keep in mind there are some practical differences it looks like between fluorescent and these are relatively high CRI bulbs the fluorescence these
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are they're rated at ninety plus so there is a little bit of a difference there again in the skin tones as well so if I need my skin tones be more realistic tungsten seems to win there let's take a quick look at LED just to see if there's a difference there all right this one now a little bit different here there's a fotodiox I think it's a 308 LED so it's really relatively small it's not normally something I would use for a key light and I don't have a second one that I could use for a kicker just to kind of finish the look but nevertheless this is
09:20
this is kind of where we're starting here and let's just do the same thing here and check our white balance just to see just to confirm that we're we're lined up here so here's our red green and blue highlights we're good there mid-tones again and the shadows we're pretty close to crushed already so that's it looks like we are white balance so that's good let's go ahead and do the normal grading that I would do again I'm gonna take this little shelf here and we want to crush that because we want that black background look that kind of infinity black
09:51
background without going too far there we go bring those highlights up and then we want our middle gray card to be right in the middle and looks like based on the waveform we're right there in the middle so this is about where I would grade that let's go ahead and take a reading on the teeth again here and look at the difference between the red and blue channels yeah again it's about 1 in 3/4 almost 2 so we're definitely seeing more
10:24
yellowish in the teeth here as well so again not a huge deal this is something interesting and the reason I wanted to do this test is I actually read some things a Motion Picture Academy has a division that actually does research on lighting they did some research and what they did is they actually went and looked at these different types of light sources and plotted the chroma output of each of these different types of Lighting's sources and obviously they do averages because every units a little bit different from the other but what they found is I can show you this graph here is that for tungsten lighting
10:55
there's obviously a smooth curve that's kind of one of the big benefits of tungsten and you know despite all of its other downsides that is one benefit but look here at daylight white balanced and put those in air quotes fluorescent lighting you can see and this is no surprise to anyone there's a massive green spike we all knew that and we always you know kind of do our custom white balance or you know post correction to make sure we don't look green but did you also know there's a
11:25
blue spike typically and there's a yellow spike as well which might explain why the teeth come across is a little bit more yellow in this little test that I did here likewise on LEDs there are a ton of different LEDs and you can choose a variety of them here in this there's a little app that they've released if you want to go to the App Store I'll put a link for that but this app store lets you kind of compare the different light sources is a free app it only works on iPad I believe so gotta have an iPad to make it work but nevertheless LED lights they have a whole bunch of different types of LEDs and you can notice that the LEDs are all
11:56
over the board as well in terms of the different spikes that they have so all this to say number one brush your teeth and number two if color critical work is your number one priority you might want to look at tungsten if not and you're willing to take that as a trade off that's okay that's a totally legitimate in some circumstances if the benefit of having very portable battery-powered lighting is important to you LEDs may be your best bet so hope that was helpful for you thanks for checking out this episode if you haven't subscribed already go ahead and do that we'll be
12:27
sure to get you more great videos on how to improve your lighting and sound for video [Music] [Music]

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