Small LED Shootout: Can You Replace Your Big Studio Lights with Tiny LEDs?
These tiny LEDs really pack a punch.
One of the trickiest and most frustrating tasks on a film set is choosing, setting up, and adjusting all of those big, bright lights. It takes a lot of time, space, and money to work with a professional lighting kit, but what if you were able to scale down the size of your lights without losing output or even one red cent of your lighting budget?
In this video, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter reviews five small LED lights that not only work really well with low-light cameras, like the a7S II, D5, and GH5, but also won't force you to deal with a ton of grain. Check it out below:
The five small LEDs Pike demos in the video are the Aputure M9 ($45), the Viltrox L132T ($37), the Aputure H198 ($58), the Came-TV Boltzen B30S ($328), and a pre-release mystery light that he'll talk about in a future video. (Links to all of these lights are in the video description.) He also uses some 4x4s for diffusion and bounce.
Now, the whole point of the test was to see if smaller LEDs could be used in place of larger lighting units, and I think that Pike did a great job demonstrating that, yes, it's totally feasible. However, there are likely some other issues that you'll run into when using small, inexpensive LEDs, for instance, low CRI (poor color rendering accuracy), limited fixture features, etc. So, be sure to compare your options and anticipate potential problems before you're blindsided later on in production.
In the end, if you're tired of lugging around big studio lights everywhere, want to reduce your production's power consumption, or just want to save some money on lighting, you might want to consider giving these five LEDs a look.
Which small LED lights would you recommend to low-budget filmmakers? Let us know down in the comments below.