Film Lighting Equipment – Brighten Your Production
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Film lighting is difficult to master – especially without the proper film lighting equipment!
If you want to be an expert at using light to evoke emotions and give your scenes a polished, put-together look, you have to explore the vast array of film lighting equipment available.
Don't worry though, we've got your back! Read on to learn all your need to know about the different types of film lighting equipment in 2023.
Tungsten lights are classic filmmaking lights, and they've been widely used for decades. Because of this, they tend to be quite cheap. Since they're usually sturdy and made with easily replaceable parts, they allow for quick maintenance.
Tungsten lights provide a hard light with a color temperature of 3200K. If you need softer light, you may use a modifier or softbox. With the help of gels, you can achieve a daylight look even with this oldie but goldie.
On the downside, tungsten lights are very energy inefficient and they produce a crazy amount of heat. I do mean crazy. Tungsten lighting equipment tends to be too hot to touch after only a few minutes of usage and heats up the room in no time too. You must be careful when handling these lights since they can be extremely volatile: even the oils from your skin might explode the hot bulb.
While this piece of classic film lighting equipment has been iconic for decades, it can only be called the best choice in select cases in 2023.
Hydrargyrum Medium-Arc Iodide or HMI lights provide a raw light output that's hard to compete with, up to 3 times as bright as tungsten lights can! They produce light around 5600K, similar to daylight, which is ideal for a lot of productions.
In this case, however, with great power comes great size too, and an even greater price tag. HMI lights are big, they get hot similarly to tungstens, they're fragile when on and can cost a smaller fortune.
If you're anywhere near a beginner in skill or budget, an HMI light is probably not for you. If you need to light a large set or working outdoors, HMI lights might come in handy.
Fluorescent lights are efficient and a lot cooler than tungsten or HMI film lighting, pun intended! If you're looking for even, fairly soft light, this might be the lighting source for you.
Fluorescent also come with changeable bulbs that can cover a wide range of color temperatures, from daylight to a really warm white.
These lights, however, especially the cheaper brands, tend to flicker which can easily ruin a shot you worked hard to get.
LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes are the latest and greatest of light technology. They're next-level cool and efficient, thereby allowing for different types of fixtures like light wands, mats, and strings. They can be powered by a battery and they often come with adjustable color temperatures!
Word of warning: don't look directly into them without a diffuser. They can cause serious eye damage.
It's hard to not be dazzled by this stunning option.
COB LED lights
Chip on board LEDs offer the advantage of being lighter, smaller, and therefore a lot more versatile than their somewhat chunky spotlight counterparts.
Relatively new to the market, these lights consist of multiple small LED chips mounted to a base. This allows for flexibility that can be crucial at an involved, extreme shoot for example. This way, you can avoid using lighting stands to support your lights!
4 great film lighting equipment setups for a new filmmaker
As a new filmmaker, entering the world of film lighting can seem overwhelming. We're here to make your life easier! You can light any scene expertly with our top picks for video lighting kits for a reasonable price. You can even rent lighting equipment if you don't need it full-time!
What are the best affordable lighting kits for indie filmmakers?
Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color 660 LED
Neewer LED sets combine a high-quality build and strong stands with affordable prices.
This lighting kit is lightweight and fairly portable. It comes with a color temperature range of 3200-5600K, outputs 3361 lumens and it's able to run on batteries.
The kit includes the bi-color LED panel with four-way barn doors, a 1.9m light stand, a white diffuser, and a carrying case.
Learn more about this lighting kit, or check out Neewer Bi-Color 660 LEDs available to rent.
Aputure LS 60X Bi-Color Adjustable Focusing Light
Another LED light entry, this time from Aputure. These powerful and ultra-quiet lights come with a reliable color temperature range of 2700-6500K.
The intense focusing LED creates a 15-45° spot-flood beam angle. These lights are also very durable, withstanding most weather conditions easily.
The LS 60X can also be used with the Sidus Link apps, allowing for quick and easy wireless control. You're in luck if you're in London since you can rent an Aputure 60X LED light for £45/day.
Aputure LS C300D II
If you're looking for an excellent, versatile lighting unit, you don't need to look further.
The C300D is extremely powerful with a potential output of up to 90.000 lux, similar to the luminance of a 575W HMI! The lights are fully dimmable and can run on a single battery.
This lighting kit is very easy to control with a control wheel, wireless remote, or by an app. It runs at a fixed color temperature of approximately 5500K.
If these lights caught your interest, check out these Aputure LS C300D II lights for rent.
Nanlite Forza 60
The Nanlite Forza 60 is an extremely compact and lightweight COB monolight that weighs only 0.8kg. This little powerhouse emits an ultralight output of 11950 lux at 5600K.
It provides accurate daylight quality light and comes with pre-programmed special effects, like lightning, TV screen, and more.
The small Nanlite Forza is a great choice for those looking for a portable and easy-to-use light. It's available to rent in London.
Should I rent film lighting equipment?
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Lighting your sets and screens, of course!
If you didn't yet, learn more about essential film lighting techniques or take a step back and explore filmmaking 101. Happy filming!
About the instructors
What film lighting equipment should I use?
The most affordable film lighting equipment usually consists of LED lights, and they do have a lot of benefits. However, if you need the most powerful light available, you should use HMI lights.
What are the different types of lighting in film?
There are many different lighting techniques to master! The most commonly used lighting technique is the three-point lighting setup. Understanding concepts like a key lights, fill lights, hard vs soft light can make a great difference!
What are the most common types of lihgting equipment?
The most common types of lighting equipment include tungsten lights, HMI lights, fluorescent, and LED lights.