Sometimes videos are designed with intentional light flickering as part of an effect to create a scary scene. This technique is fairly common in horror films. However, there are other times when the flickering light is not intentional.
This can benefit a scene by creating drama, but for some, it can get in the way of what the filmmaker is trying to accomplish. You can resolve this problem by learning why LEDs flicker on camera and how to fix them.
- How Do LED Lights Work in Photography?
- Can You Prevent LED Flickering on Camera?
- Final Words
How Do LED Lights Work in Photography?
An LED light is a type of artificial light that helps you brighten up low-light places. They are a lot more efficient than standard incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs. They use these diodes to create radiant light that helps to illuminate the area.
There are two types of LED lights: one is constant, and the other is strobe. The constant LED lights put out a steady stream of light, while the strobe type puts out little bursts of light at different frequencies. LED lights work well for photography, and when you see lights flicker on camera, it is usually caused by the pulses of light from the strobe type of LED light. When the pulses of light are faster, they can be captured in your video or your photo.
What Causes Camera Light Flicker?
Sometimes the videographer intentionally creates the flicker in suspense movies. However, other times, it is unintentional. In fact, it can happen and show up on the film even when you didn’t notice it. There are a few reasons why this can happen.
You Didn’t Notice the Bulb Flickering
LED light bulbs flicker, but it happens so fast that your eyes don’t register it. These lights appear to be on, emitting a constant stream of light, but they are actually sending out little pulses of light over and over again. Your camera can catch the light just as it flickers. This will lead to flickering on camera.
Unstable Power Supply
Another cause can be that the LED light has an unstable voltage supply to its power supply. This causes the bulb to emit the pulses of light at different frequencies. As a result, you might see flickering on camera.
Your Camera Settings
Your camera settings could be causing flickering on camera. You may need to change your frame rate and shutter speed. You can actually test this theory by filming a scene in slow motion and again at normal speed. If you notice flickering in the slow motion version but not at standard speed, it is likely LED flickering.
Can You Prevent LED Flickering on Camera?
You can reduce or eliminate LED flickering by trying a few different methods. Take a look at the following.
Adjust Your Frame Rate
The first thing that you can try is adjust your frame rate (FPS). When you have a faster frame rate, your camera is able to capture more details, so the LED flickering will show up more. When you increase your frames per second setting, there is a larger chance that LED flickering will be in your video. You can reduce your FPS setting to see if that reduces or eliminates the flickering.
Reposition Further Away from the Light Source
Moving away from the light source is the easiest way to reduce the flickering. The light has less ability to reflect when you increase your distance, and it allows you to capture video with less interruption. However, keep in mind that the frame will lose brightness as you move away from the source of light. You should adjust the settings for your aperture and your exposure to account for this change.
Choose the Ideal Shutter Speed
The shutter speed is another setting that can capture flickering. See if you can reduce your shutter speed to intervals that are divisible by your power source. For example, if you have a power source of 60Hz, use shutter speed intervals at intervals that divide by 60, such as 1/60 or 1/120 with 30 fps.
Adjust the Source of Brightness
Another tip is to adjust the source of brightness. When you make the light source more dull, you won’t have as much flickering. You need to keep in mind that the frame will grow darker when you adjust the light, so you may need to make other adjustments. You can also adjust the settings on your camera to compensate for making the light source more dull.
Use a Flicker Removal Plugin
You can also remove the flicker during the editing process. If you use software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, you have a plugin that gets rid of flicker. There are other programs, such as Flicker Free and more. They work well as long as you wait until the editing phase to remove the flickering.
LED lights have become very popular in photography because the light they emit is closest to natural light. However, when you use these lights, you may have flickering on camera. LED lights often flicker when you turn them on or off, and they emit pulses or bursts of light rapidly.
You can’t see them, but your camera can pick them up. Fortunately, there are methods that you can use to reduce or eliminate flickering on camera. If nothing else works, you may need to replace the light bulb because it could be wearing out.