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Stage LED Lighting for Video Production

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by bluemando, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. bluemando

    bluemando Member

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    I am considering purchasing LED fixtures to light/wash scenery and performers. I have a source for Elation Design products and I have noticed that some of their product descriptions include "Flicker free - ready for TV / Video use" - other products they have in the same general price range do not have this statement as part of the product description. We are upgrading to Panasonic HPX-500 cameras.
    I have been trying to research this issue and have asked around and have not found a concise answer on whether the LED lighting will flicker on video. I am looking for some real straight talk on this issue and would love to get directions to an article or something. Actually, any help/input will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance,

    Tim G
     
  2. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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    Don't know what you know already and what you don't but i'll tell you all i know sorry if it's basic,

    Basically if you know what a computer screen does it 'flickers' or displays a picture every few milliseconds but the human eye can't keep up with this and just see's it as a 'static' image LED fixtures do the same thing they flash so many times per second. Our eyes don't see this but a camera can pick it up.
    Did a show a couple of weeks back and the BBC came to film it and told me about ten minuets before the show to turn the LED's off (which wasn't helpful).
    As the technology of LED has increased though they have now engineered these 'flicker free' Pars which won't flicker on most cameras, They are much more expensive however but if your doing alot of work involving cameras then it's worthwhile if not then normal LED Pars will do just fine
    Hope this has helped in some way,
    ~Adude~
     
  3. bluemando

    bluemando Member

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    Thanks for the information, it was very helpful in fact.
    For our situation video is a total big deal. LED seems such a great way to light guitar players and drummers where heat build-up has a detrimental effect on the performers instruments.

    One option for our ground based units would be using ETC SourceFour Pars with the cold metal mirror - will make the front of the light beam much cooler - but the back side gets all the heat then - really too hot to have so close to people. imho

    I am realizing that some of the things being said out there regarding LED flickering do not distinguish between flickering on video and low quality fixtures that flicker so badly that we can actually see it live. I think I got a bit confused on the details of those discussions.
    I am looking at the PixelLine Micro W and they don't mention anything about video mode or flicker either. Two fixtures on the Elation website do mention video ready.

    I am still looking - I would really love to find an LED product that will work.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. theatre4jc

    theatre4jc Active Member

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    I shot a music video for a small Christian band last May and had 2 American DJ LED Pars for some rear light (at the bands request, not my idea, didn't like it) Never noticed a flicker from them. Shot it on mini-dv on a Cannon XL2 in 24 fps. Maybe film or another video format might be different but they worked fine for me. That being said I wouldn't use them for anything more than color effects because I don't like the "white" light LEDs produce.

    Even though it's a Youtube video you can see it at:

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1xzKskn5RE[/media]

    Might give you an idea of a possible flicker.
     
  5. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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    If you use the right fixtures LED can be your friend instead of a Foe,
    Give me an idea of what sort of budget your on per fixture and i'll have a look around for you tonight see what i can find!
    ~Adude~
     
  6. bluemando

    bluemando Member

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    That would be amazing, thanks. We are choking a bit at the $1500.00 per fixture for the PixleRange products, but that might be doable if necessary. We need to wash performers and walls, curtains etc.
    I do believe in the future of LED's, along with everyone else of course, would like to stay on the leading edge, not the bleeding edge. I would love to take a look at what you might come up with - especially if it was a bit below the $1500/per fixture range.
    Thanks,

    Tim G.
     
  7. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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    Right, It depends on what you want exactly but I've come up with a wide ranged list.
    For washing performers/set etc. LED pars may be the way to go (there are some really clever and bright ones out there) Also if your just washing Cyc's and things like that then LED battens may be for you i haven't listed moving head washes as i didn't know whether you were looking into movers or not but anyway here's the list. . .
    (By the way all of these fixtures should be 'flicker free' if your not using cheap DJ rubbish then LED fixtures are pretty safe!)

    Your best and cheapest bet is to go with the brand CHAUVET don't know if you've heard of them or not they are an American company,
    But they've recently excelled in their range of LED fixtures and is what we use even on the big concert rigs amazing throw for an LED fixture, brilliant colour mixing and No Heat! even with the big chunky 3w versions!
    here's some links they do a range of par's and batterns if you need anymore help just say!

    Products COLORdash? PAR | | CHAUVET® Lighting - absolutely brilliant fixtures, brilliant for filming purposes as well! these were what i was using when the BBC told me to turn them off, i had a chat with them explaining that they would not affect cameras

    They do a batten version of this as well which will be for you if you're just washing Cyc's etc. (You can also get a really nice yellow/amber color out of them to which cheaper fixtures struggle to do well!
    Products COLORado? 3 | | CHAUVET® Lighting

    Here's the link to Chauvet's LED page just have a look at the different fixtures they offer, most of them have got pictures and videos of the effects themselves! they do some ncie moving head washes too if that's what your looking for!
    All Products Lights LED Fixtures | | CHAUVET® Lighting

    Like i said if you need anymore help just post back or pm me an i'll get back to you!
    Hope this has helped,
    ~Adude~
     
  8. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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    P.S. AS YOU CAN SEE FROM CHAUVET'S DEMO VIDEOS, THEIR FIXTURES DON'T FLICKER!
    ~Adude~
     
  9. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Various CB threads:
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/9943-chauvet-led-colorbank.html
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/6205-chauvet-colorado-1-a.html
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/8273-elation-design-36-rgb-led-fixtures.html

    From http://www.coemar.com/prodotti_dett...erca=&id_categorie=79&page=1&id_prodotti=299:
    • Flicker free, led frequency controlled by DMX (Exclusive Coemar Patent)
    I don't know whether or not that means anything. Has anyone demo'ed these?
     
  11. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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    I'm sure Chauvet can guarantee flicker free fixtures as they have videoed demo's for all products.
    ~Adude~
     
  12. skote

    skote Member

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    I bought some new, but old-stock, Colorado 3 units a few months ago. They flickered really bad on camera. After calling Chauvet tech support and getting the runaround for a while, I finally got someone to send me some replacement chips for them at $12.50 a piece. They are now flicker-free. I would expect all newly manufactured Colorado units to be flicker-free now.

    I've also got experience with Coemar Par-Lites and they work great on camera.

    Overall, my experience has been that you pretty much have to demo a fixture to see if it flickers or not. I consider this the industry's current "dirty little secret" regarding LEDs.

    I'll mention this as a temporary--although not ideal--workaround if you find yourself in a position of having to shoot video with flickering LEDs: adjust your camera's shutter speed to match the flicker rate, same as you would when trying to shoot a video monitor. On my DVX-100A, I was able to get a usable image even when the Colorado 3 fixtures were using the old firmware.
     
  13. phil000

    phil000 Active Member

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  14. phil000

    phil000 Active Member

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    Tomorrow I'll try and remember to talk to our Teleproduction guys about this one, the main part needed here is how high of a PWM frequency is detectable by this camera...

    ...I'm sure this is not the only time this question will/has come up.

    Edit: http://www.dv.com/features/features_item.php?articleId=196604094 according to this, it seems the camera can shoot up to 60 hz...now just to see how much higher the frequency needs to be to beat this...

    Edit2: After much searching, can't find a straightforward answer to the PWM rates, however did find the Elation forum, I would just advise asking them about it.

    http://forums.elationlighting.com/eve
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  15. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    As far as flicker free goes with Elation, just about all of there LEDs are. The only four listed on their product page that I don't know about are the Event Panel, Opti 16, Stage Color LED, and the Trackpod 84. No videos of these and/or statements that they are flicker free. I can attest that Opti 30 RGBs are flicker free from experience as well as Octo Strips, though I don't know how they act without the frost in. The ELAR Tri Par IP is an outdoor rated Opti Par Tri, which states it is flicker free, so it is most likely flicker free as well. The only other one in question at that point is the DLED Brick 12, no experience with them nor videos/statements, but I would assume that it is since all others in the DLED line are flicker free.

    As for the PWM phil000, some of the flicker free products on Elation's site state they operate at 520 Hz. Not sure if this aids you in your quest or not.
     
  16. phil000

    phil000 Active Member

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    That should do it, I was meeting with a company rep today who came to our school with another company and they were discussing their new LED fixture from LDI and I asked them the PWM questions etc, and they were able to answer with much certainty that 4 khz ballasts could beat 32 fps cameras, quite well...which seems a touch overkill, I know you have to go bigger, but I would assume double would do it. I think it would also have to do with the exposure time etc.

    I think Serra pretty much answered the question...and I learned some cool stuff in the process though.
     
  17. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    Makes sense that they overkill it a little. Overdriving camera's for effects is a pretty common thing. So if you are going to state it is flicker free, might as well make them flicker so fast that no camera will ever pick it up, even if overdriven to say 60 fps.
     
  18. jdkautza

    jdkautza Member

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    I have been working with video for about 6 years now, but have just recently started coming across shoots that were lit with LEDs. I have found in my relatively short experience with video and LEDs, that adjustments on the camera can be made to eliminate the flicker. Another cause for flicker in video could be the intensity of the LEDs, I ran into this shooting video for a band at a bar, the light guy checked with me to make sure there wasn't any flicker. He simply dimmed the LEDs about 5% and it illuminated the flicker.

    Just some ideas to deal with flickering LEDs. Of course flicker free LEDs are the way to go if you are going to buy.
     
  19. mstaylor

    mstaylor Well-Known Member Departed Member

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    This an old thread but since you have added to it, the flicker free relates to video, it does not have anything to do with dimming. I understand what you mean about adjusting to reduce the flicker and it works to a point. What doesn't do is fix the uneven dim out to black.
    Also, most LEDs don't look good on people if mix with other types of lamp types. It is fine for set washes, but the color match to incadenscents with gel is not good. If it is all LEDs then you are probably ok.
     
  20. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I used a truss full of chroma-q Color block 2's to light a choir and they worked great. The event was shot in hd and it looked better on video than it did in person. There were some dark spots in the very corners so I supplemented in a few s4's. I was able to match the color of the s4 perfectly with the color block. Even in saturated colors they would just pop out. Also they have a very linear dimming curve that flickering is not noticeable on camera.
     

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