I'm looking into purchasing LED lights for a stop motion project. Does anyone have any recommendations? My plan is to get higher powered LED lights (20W=200W incandescent) and to use a dimmer to adjust the brightness. Is using a dimmer okay to in stop motion or will that cause flickering? I was planning on using a shutter speed of 1 second or longer. Here's some of the lights I'm looking at:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/400-LED-3300lm-Daylight-Barndoor-Lighting-...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Pack-Studio-Dimmable-Neutral-Day-Light-5...

Thank you

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The way LEDs are dimmed is by using a PWM dimmer, which essentially switches the light on and off to reduce the brightness. This happens very fast,too fast for the human eye to notice, but it might affect camera shots especially if done with a fast shutter speed. So for example you might have 5 flashes on one frame and six on the next if the length of the exposure falls between. With a long exposure this problem becomes much less acute, or disappears altogether, unless you dim the LED to the point where the flicker is very apparent.

I have been using some LED panels that I made myself, using 10K PWM dimmers - they flicker 10,000 times a second - and I have had no issues. If you do get problems one solution is not to dim the lights but either use ND filters over them or move them further away.

Another consideration is the CRI number. Color Rendering Index measures downwards from 100 (exactly what the human eye would perceive), and many LEDs now come in at >80, i.e. better than 80. There are some that are >90, clearly superior. Lower CRI means more likelihood of odd color casts. I have some cheap battery powered LED fairy lights that look rather greenish when photographed.

Both the lights you linked to look like very good value for money, and controllable with barn doors. Also get some black wrap to mask the light of parts of the set you don't want it falling on. I also have some PAR 16 with LED GU10 bulbs in them - high CRI, narrow beam, sold for domestic or shop spotlights in the UK. And some ordinary LED bulbs in holders. I use a couple of big CFL floods for illuminating the backdrop, although a strip fluorescent light would probably be more even.

All of my lights are better than the (quite expensive) halogen Dedolights I bought some years ago. They have exhibited a lot of flicker, and are now only used for live action stuff.

If you are curious about making your own panels, there are several YouTube videos on the topic, DIY Perks being good. He put me on to the high frequency PWM dimmers. The great thing for me with the homemade panels is that I have 3 circuits - cool white, warm white and ice blue. This allows me to tweak the color temperature very precisely, something I would otherwise have to do with gels.

Thank you for the information. It was very informative.

There are also similar lights that are non-dimmable such as this one:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Pcs-Proofessional-Photo-Studio-Premium-3...

Would it be better to just get the non-dimmable lights LED lights and to use the ND filters? It seems nearly as easy as using the dimmers and I wouldn't have to worry about flicker. I am going to be using a longer shutter speed and a variable ND filter so I have more control over the depth of field.

Simon Tytherleigh said:

The way LEDs are dimmed is by using a PWM dimmer, which essentially switches the light on and off to reduce the brightness. This happens very fast,too fast for the human eye to notice, but it might affect camera shots especially if done with a fast shutter speed. So for example you might have 5 flashes on one frame and six on the next if the length of the exposure falls between. With a long exposure this problem becomes much less acute, or disappears altogether, unless you dim the LED to the point where the flicker is very apparent.

I have been using some LED panels that I made myself, using 10K PWM dimmers - they flicker 10,000 times a second - and I have had no issues. If you do get problems one solution is not to dim the lights but either use ND filters over them or move them further away.

Another consideration is the CRI number. Color Rendering Index measures downwards from 100 (exactly what the human eye would perceive), and many LEDs now come in at >80, i.e. better than 80. There are some that are >90, clearly superior. Lower CRI means more likelihood of odd color casts. I have some cheap battery powered LED fairy lights that look rather greenish when photographed.

Both the lights you linked to look like very good value for money, and controllable with barn doors. Also get some black wrap to mask the light of parts of the set you don't want it falling on. I also have some PAR 16 with LED GU10 bulbs in them - high CRI, narrow beam, sold for domestic or shop spotlights in the UK. And some ordinary LED bulbs in holders. I use a couple of big CFL floods for illuminating the backdrop, although a strip fluorescent light would probably be more even.

All of my lights are better than the (quite expensive) halogen Dedolights I bought some years ago. They have exhibited a lot of flicker, and are now only used for live action stuff.

If you are curious about making your own panels, there are several YouTube videos on the topic, DIY Perks being good. He put me on to the high frequency PWM dimmers. The great thing for me with the homemade panels is that I have 3 circuits - cool white, warm white and ice blue. This allows me to tweak the color temperature very precisely, something I would otherwise have to do with gels.

Hi Devin

I think you will find an LED panel a more useful item. There are quite a lot of them around, and some reviews from DSLR Shooter on YouTube. Because you are using a long exposure, you don't need masses of light and therefore don't need big lights.

Have a look also at Edu Puertas on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmFdb5_tatI

He's got some great videos on stopmotion apart from this.

I was intending to use an ND filter on the lens like you, and then it was pointed out to me that this would likely reduce the quality of the picture, and ND filter gels on the lights would be better. But as I said, the high frequency PWM dimmers do not cause any flicker, so a decent LED panel with a dimmer should work OK.

Great. I’ll look into that.

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