LED lights are one of the best things to happen to video in the past couple of years. They’re sturdy, light (in weight), long-lasting, and inexpensive for the most part. I tried a lot of lights in the past year. Here is the best one I found for around $50.
WHY LED LIGHTS?
LED lights are everywhere now. In fact, it’s harder to find regular incandescent lights now. It’s not all been a great thing for video though.
Although LED lights are everything I mentioned before, they weren’t always as good as they are now. Some of them still aren’t that great. Ever felt like having a seizure looking at bad Christmas tree LEDs? So what do I look for in a great LED Light?
The first thing is brightness. It used to be that lights were measured in wattage, which wasn’t accurate or consistent. Light is measured in lumens. So to make the average consumer feel informed, most LEDs come with an equivalent wattage rating.
New to the game is color temperature. Incandescent lights were
all mostly that warm glow of artificial candles. Now when you but lights, you have to get the color temperature measured in Kelvins. Lower numbers, like 3400, are warmer. 5500k is called daylight balanced, which is an average of all the variances of sunlight.
LED lights are also measured in Color Rendering Index (CRI). This is just telling you how accurate the color rendering is. So a low CRI LED light of 85 rated at 5500k might vary from 4500 to 6500. Getting a higher CRI of around 95 insures that you don’t get some weird coloring from your lights.
Size also matters, don’t let anyone tell you differently. The size of the light is important for traveling and ease of transportation, but that’s not what I’m saying. The actual size of the light determines how diffused the light is. More diffused light means softer shadows.
HOW DOES THE YN216 LED LIGHT DO?
In brightness, the YN216 LED light is more than most people would need. It’s bright. The company rates it at 2000 lumens.
The color is 5500k, which is what you probably want for most video work. It also comes with 4 “gels” to change the color of the light if you want. One of the lenses is clear and provides a more diffused look.
The CRI came in at 90. It’s not the best, but it’s likely close enough for most people. I didn’t notice any color shift between the lights I tested.
Finally, there’s size. This is a small flood light. That means it’s fairly directional. It also comes with barndoors on the light, to help direct the light even more. This is helpful in keeping light where you want it.
LED LIGHT IN USE
I use the YN216 for a couple of video shoots. I was pleasantly surprised at how bright it is. The battery pack lasted a long enough time and I never felt like the light suffered because of it.
As a flood light is bound to do, I could get very sharp shadows in all my shots but felt the need to add more diffusion for most of my shots. If you want nice soft edges to your shadows, plan on bringing a 48″ or larger diffusor.
For more hands-on perspective with this light, watch this:
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