Problems You Should Be Aware of When Using Any RGB LED Lights

They say RGB lights will make you get rid of old-fashioned color gels. This article shows exactly the opposite. You should keep your gels and even buy more.

The video shows a comparison between different brands of lights including HMIs, halogen, daylight-balanced LEDs, tungsten-balanced LEDs, and RGB LEDs. All tested RGB LED lights are of high quality.

Tim Kang from Quasar and Ted from Indy Mogul show us a test where they film subjects of known color under different lighting situations. The results are reviewed on a monitor to see if these objects are correctly represented. As you know, the HMIs and halogen lights give a fairly correct representation of natural colors when the footage is color corrected. This is what their tests proved as well. The next set of experiments were with white and tungsten-balanced LEDs opposed to LEDs with a programed "white," where the color "white" is composed out of red, green, and blue LEDs, not by a single white or tungsten-balanced light emitting diode. The results are quite shocking: the combination of red, green, and blue do not represent the natural color spectrum for colors we know and see. After you watch the video, you will know why if you care about color, you have to put a gel onto a white-balanced LED, not program it, even on an ARRI Skypanel.

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13 Comments

Curtis Randall's picture

This is a really good video. I wasn’t aware of how drastic these lights can alter the talent. Love that channel, I’m so glad they rebooted it...again

Pawel Paoro Witkowski's picture

I'm not an expert... but I believe it's because how LED trying to achieve yellow colour is by removing it completely from the spectrum. I believe this can be addressed by changing proportions between different led colours but never go to complete 0?

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I don't think it's a problem only with the yellow color, but could be. Also, if it was that easy to correct, at least ARRI would have done it already.

Pawel Paoro Witkowski's picture

Yeah I mean Yellow as Example :) I mean you could get given colour by removing others wavelength from the spectrum, but results are different than by limiting wavelengths than removing them completely (where both can look similar to human eye in first glance)

David T's picture

All these RGB sticks/gadgets seem like toys to me. Fine for creative/fun use, but I wouldn't depend on them. The LEE gels are "proven" colors and make results easy to reproduce.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

It's a fact LEDs are not as good as conventional halogen, tungsten, and HMIs as a whole.

Alexis Cuarezma's picture

LED's may not be "as good" as those, but they draw A LOT less power and heat. HMI's take 15min to warm up and you can't hard strike them or dim them, and use a lot of power. Tungsten produce A LOT of head and draw a lot of power. Having similar out put if you need a lot of power, HMI and Tungsten would require power gens, distro, best boy and that quickly adds up your production cost.

With the same or similar light out put, LEDs could run under house power and V-mount batteries. by passing the need for power gens, distro, best boy etc. Therefore if your budget isn't super high, LED can make many smaller productions / shoots happen.

I personally LOVE HMI lights. The Joker 1600 is my favorite but using a handful of those requires a crew and power. LED let's you trim all that down and you can get very similar results. Also, LEDs can be dimmed, you can hard strike them, which are all benefits and can all be done with 1 light source as oppose to having different lights to do different jobs.

so saying "It's a fact LEDs are not as good as conventional halogen, tungsten, and HMIs as a whole." is really subjective IMO. Those lights are great, but hardly conventional

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I agree with your point of view, but for small productions who don't want to spend the money to have 5-6 powerful LEDs, being always on location (with mains around), I find hot lights to have a great advantage, because the power consumption is usually less than 8 kW in total and can be distributed into 3 or 4 circuits.

I find LEDs great when you need light outside and when your poewr consumption is an issue.

For me, it's all about budget to number of powerful lights ratio when it comes to using only 5-6 lights. In other cases LEDs come quite handy.

Spy Black's picture

Possibly the specific frequencies of each color emitter would need to be engineered so you can get a proper mixture of hues to reach a proper spectral content.

Photographically speaking, the singular color frequecies emitted by LEDs wreak havoc on shots taken with a single color LED light source.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I guess you also refer to the "standard" LEDs which we can also call "singular," as they emit single white or warm light which lacks reds and wrecks the look of anything it touches. I haven't used RGB LEDs, so I don't know how only one of the RGB diodes work on stills.

Spy Black's picture

Well, I was adding in addition to the main subject. Singular, saturated R, G, or B lights wreak havoc on the sensor/processor combos.

They didn't try litegears new spectrum LED panels which have rgbaww

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

The problem occurs when the panel is used in the RGB mode without the white diodes. I don't know if the RGBW[W] lights can be switched to work without the white diodes, but this is when the problem occurs, according to the video.