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Hello everyone,

My name is Tayyib Mahmood and I am a film student from Birmingham City University (UK). I am in my final year and currently writing a dissertation on LED and Tungsten Lighting. Now the question I have is for all DoPs, directors, gaffers etc. I would like to hold a Skype interview or even email to document your opinions about LED and Tungsten lighting. Is Tungsten lighting becoming finite and are LED lights taking over the film industry? Is there a reason why Tungsten lighting is the predominant force in the film industry today? What issues do filmmakers have with LED regarding CRI, the look etc. If anyone can get back to me, I would really appreciate it.

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I have written a lot on this subject over at redsharknews.com but I am happy to have a chat if you like. Can't claim to be a DoP but I have reviewed a lot of lighting and written technical articles on the subject.

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The biggest issue I've had so far is punch.  LED's just don't have the punching power that a tungsten has.  Even my wonderful Aputure 300d can't compete.  Another few decades and perhaps they'll get that worked out like the CRI was (close, but certainly not the sun).  There are many benefits to LEDs but just like camera's, there is no such thing as a perfect one.  It's always gonna be a compromise IMO.

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LEDs are great if you need smaller amount of relatively soft but still directional light, especially if on battery power and if you need to be able to adjust it quickly. 

they are still relatively expensive option if you need lots of power and you need to decide if you need cheaper to rent package and more power (HMI, Tungsten or Kino Flo) or easier to manage fixtures with shorter total setup times (LED, possibly even battery powered compared to a diffused and gelled tungsten for example) . adjustable colour temperature is a plus but it has the disadvantage of losing lots of lumens when using the adjustable LED for cold light where you tend to need the highest output (night scenes and daylight scenes) . 

I personally prefer daylight-only LED fixtures for the highest output for normal uses (by my opinion the LEDs are most useful when you need cold light with limited power supply available and need to be able to move the light quickly) and HMI if needing more output or punch. Gelling a daylight LED to tungsten temp is not a huge loss but gelling a tungsten LED up to daylight is nonsense considering the LED fixtures tend to be relatively low output to begin with.

Large Kino fixture may still be the best option for uses where you need relatively soft light with relatively high output with limited power available. renting a couple of hundred watts daylight LED fixture is much more expensive than renting a beat up Kino with similar output. 

If one has unlimited budget OR unlimited power OR unlimited time available then one has lots of options 🙂  

the thing with the LEDs is, they are generally pretty low powered fixtures to begin with and for uses where you need to fight the other light sources in the scene they are less useful than for scenes where they can be used for easy and fast to manage supplementary lighting or where you can use the LEDs as the only light sources so that the low power output may not be an issue at all and you can take benefit of the sensitive digital cameras now available to be able to get by with lower overall light levels on set. 

for fighting sunlight any LED lighting is pretty useless. you are lucky if you can even see that the fixture is switched on 😂

 

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