How to Use Color-Correcting LED Lights for Incandescent Light
July 10, 2014
•Cinema Production, General
• 0 Comments
LED lights are the new generation of illumination, and are being used more and more in cinema production. They produce beautiful, soft light due to their array of tiny bulbs contained in a reflective enclosure. These lights are relatively small and lightweight compared to their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts. They consume very little power, run at almost no heat and can be mounted on a camera. Most LED lights are dimmable, and some, such as the Genaray 7500T, even offer a color temperature dial that can vary the color temperature of the LED light from a cool, blue 6500K daylight to a warm 3200K incandescent light. However, color-correcting LED lights for incandescent light are still required.
As people, our eyes adjust very easily to changes in color temperature. When we come in from cool, blue daylight to warm, yellow-orange incandescent light, our eyes continue to register the light as a normal white. Cameras are not so forgiving. They need to be white balanced for whatever light they're in so that white still appears white. When adding more lighting, which is often necessary to get an adequately exposed image, those supplemental lights need to be color balanced to match whatever ambient light is present.
Unfortunately, the 3200K of color temperature-controllable LED lights such as the Genaray 7500T isn't a true match for 3200K. When compared to true 3200K incandescent lights, LED lights produce a greener cast. So, how do you get rid of the green?
Color-Correction Filter Gel
Order sheets of color-correction filter gel, a tinted transparent plastic acetate, from a photographic retailer. To color correct for the green of the Genaray 7500T, a half-stop pink filter gel is required. Several companies make color-correction filter gels.
First, cut the sheet of gel to approximately the size of your LED light's face. The small strip of filter gel can then be slid into the filter slot on the LED's light face. Once it is completely covered, use a combination of the LED light's dimmer, color-correction dial and filter to gauge when the color of the LED light is an exact match for the color temperature of the incandescent light fixtures.
It is important to realize that the color temperature of the Genaray 7500T LED light changes when you control the light's brightness with the dimmer control, so you'll also have to tweak the color temperature dial when you dim or brighten the light.
Other Types of LED Lights
Some LED lights are dimmable, but you can't control their color temperature. They are manufactured at the fixed cool, blue daylight temperature — roughly 5600K to 6500K. But don't worry, you can fix this with an orange filter, which color corrects the cool, blue 5600K to 6500K daylight to a warm 3200K incandescent light.
When you need perfect white in any incandescent light, use color-correcting LED lights to capture the best shot possible.
Photo credit: MorgueFile