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I've read that LED and incandescent lights are best for stop motion as they don't cause flicker. However, any of the household LED bulbs I've bought do indeed cause flicker. Are there particular types that don't do this? I would like to use some lamps I have as lighting sources rather than buy any LED panel lights at the moment, and incandescent bulbs are becoming hard to find and generate so much heat.

Thanks

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Led - light emitting diode - works as a diode. It means that it will only light up constantly if the current is direct. Alternating current will make it flicker. Some autistics like my niece can see this quite clearly, where at least I could not. Maybe a 12volt adapter and some soldering could help. Leds ment for cars may be better since they are made for direct current. Not on hundred percent sure about this, can you get led headlights at all. There might be other issues that I don't know of. I put my trust at longer exposures to avoid the impact of the flicker.

This makes sense. Thanks.

Hans Jacob Wagner said:

Led - light emitting diode - works as a diode. It means that it will only light up constantly if the current is direct. Alternating current will make it flicker. Some autistics like my niece can see this quite clearly, where at least I could not. Maybe a 12volt adapter and some soldering could help. Leds ment for cars may be better since they are made for direct current. Not on hundred percent sure about this, can you get led headlights at all. There might be other issues that I don't know of. I put my trust at longer exposures to avoid the impact of the flicker.

Hi Michael

I have built several LED panels and have been using them very successfully for stop motion. They use LED strips - get something with a high CRI, e.g. 95+, and PWM dimmers. These do indeed switch the light on and off, but do so quite fast - a 10Khz dimmer is switching 10,000 times a second!

Cheap dimmers are much slower, and when heavily dimmed LEDs can begin to stutter. 

If you are interested in the panels, I suggest looking at the videos made by DIY Perks on YouTube, where this is shown.

Apart from that I have also been using some domestic (high CRI) bulbs, but not dimming them, and a commercial spotlight which comes with a ballast and dimmer pack, and that also works just fine.

The trick if you are not dimming is to use Neutral Density filter over the lamp, or of course just move it further away.

Hope this helps.

Hi Simon. Thanks for the reply. Actually, I have one LED panel light I found on craigslist. It's a 660 LED Neewer dimmable panel. It seems to work quite well as a fill light - no flicker. However, I don't see them being very functional where I might need a punchy spot, or backlight - household lamps with incandescent light work well for this, but as I mentioned, the bulbs are getting harder to find. Point is, I'm just trying to find the best alternative to buying new lamps.

Cheers.

Simon Tytherleigh said:

Hi Michael

I have built several LED panels and have been using them very successfully for stop motion. They use LED strips - get something with a high CRI, e.g. 95+, and PWM dimmers. These do indeed switch the light on and off, but do so quite fast - a 10Khz dimmer is switching 10,000 times a second!

Cheap dimmers are much slower, and when heavily dimmed LEDs can begin to stutter. 

If you are interested in the panels, I suggest looking at the videos made by DIY Perks on YouTube, where this is shown.

Apart from that I have also been using some domestic (high CRI) bulbs, but not dimming them, and a commercial spotlight which comes with a ballast and dimmer pack, and that also works just fine.

The trick if you are not dimming is to use Neutral Density filter over the lamp, or of course just move it further away.

Hope this helps.

Sure, a panel light is not a spotlight. I have also got some old type PAR 16 cans with barn doors, and have fitted some high quality GU10 LED bulbs to them. They are much more like a good spotlight. I have been using an IKEA flexible stem LED light, the clip on type, to simulate a swinging light, and this has worked OK, although the light quality (CRI) is not great. I even 3D printed a snood for the IKEA light to get a smaller spot. Black wrap also works to get a small area of light.

 Torches might work, although you would ideally need to find a way of mains powering them to avoid them dimming through the shot. But some are very punchy and have a narrow beam, so might be a cheap way of getting a mini spot. I have also read of someone using a dental mirror and a small light to pick out details in a shot. Tried it once myself without a great deal of success, but I can see it may have its uses.

I have a couple of the slightly smaller Neewer panel lights, 480 LEDs, and they are useful for a softer wide light, but not really for picking out details.  

I use the Par 16s with 50 watt halogen GU10 globes, tried a couple of LED replacements that were 5 watts and claimed to be equivalent to 50 watts, but were only about half the brightness.  I think there are some at 7 watts that might do it, but I would have to order them online.

For a really tight beam, especially for backlighting, I still have some of the old 6 volt 30 watt pinspots, which have a big sealed reflector globe and a transformer built in.  I'd love to find an LED replacement for the globes.  The one LED pinspot I got - mainly meant for hitting a mirror ball - has the tight beam, and even at 3 watts is bright enough. Didn't cost much, either, around $20.   It creates hard shadows, which was ideal for a particular shot in my Halloween piece. But the colour, called "white", is actually very purplish.  Really, it doesn't match any other lights.  It looks like this, on a neutral grey door:   

I just found a similar one with a "warm white" option among the colour choices, so I will get one and see.  https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/203314599264?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26...

The one good thing I can say about the purplish one is that it did not flicker, when plugged in to the filtered power I use for all my animation lights.

There are similar looking, but much higher quality LED pin spots around as well, for 5 to 10 times the price.  They would likely have some standard of colour accuracy which these cheapies don't even mention, and they are much brighter.

@stopmonick - I've been looking at these low-cost pin lights as well. And I wonder if it would be possible to build a focus on it, like on Dedolights. So it's nice to hear that you're going to pick one more. The light in your link comes in many colours, and funny enough the purple is cheaper than the others, which makes me think that the others have some kind of filter to achieve the colour, like the warm white. Have you tried to "neutralise" the purple colour with filters? I don't know if that's possible at all, but the manufacturer must be doing something to achieve this range of different colours. Please have a close look when the warm white one arrives.

Hans, I'll let you know what it is like.  It should arrive between 24 June and 20 July.

I think most LEDs are naturally blueish, and the Neewer panel light looks like all the warm white LEDs have yellow on them to change the colour.  It would reduce the amount of light, so the cool white LEDs on the panel are probably brighter.   Those cool white LEDs, they do not have the purple colour of the pin spot.  But this light is not the one they call purple, it was supposed to be white!  I will try a yellow or green lighting gel over it and see what happens to the colour and brightness.  As well as the strong lighting gels, I have a book of filters, made for colour correcting film when processing. I used to use them on a sllde projector to correct the colour, back when I shot front projection on film.  

Here is the 3 watt LED pinspot, and the size and shape light it throws onto the set.  I also show the light from my old 6 volt 12 watt halogen pinspot.

It has a single clear LED, a very thick lens which is almost a hemisphere, and another lens on the front of the housing.

The spread of light from the two is quite different.  I think this is because the lenses in the LED light make it like a projector.

Here is the purplish "white" pinspot with and without the CTO lighting gel to try to correct it.  I tried yellow, and the light come out green.  With a rose pink colour, it come out more purple.  The 1/2 Colour Temperature Orange seemed the closest.  It dimmed it a bit, but not too bad.  I will be interested to see how they make the "warm white" light, and what colour it is, when it arrives - probably a layer of coloured plastic inside.  I think this light is never going to be a great match with other lights, but i often have different light sources - like moonlight, street lamp, firelight - in the same scene, and they are supposed to look different.

 

And finally, the Par16 with GU10 globes, both 50 watt halogen and 5 watt LED.  I use these a lot as my key light, with the pinspots being used for backlighting on specific puppets.  

Like the pinspots, the LED seems to provide a more even spread of light, with less of a hotspot in the centre.  But here, they are both fitted into the same lamp housing.  Although it is a Warm White, it is still noticeably cooler than the halogen.  I don't know what my camera setting was, but it was the same for all these photos.  (I could correct the camera white balance to suit the halogens and get rid of the sepia tone if I wanted, but I was leaving the settings where I had them for an animation shot. )  The puppets and set are grey, so any colour you see is coming from the lights.

this is interesting guys.. I need to buy spots.. Simon sent me a link for one I'm considering trying that one out when I'm ready.. I got loads to ask you guys but I been too busy with everything else to come on here to reply.. I still owe you a reply from the camera post... I went to a camera shop the other day to see the canon eos r and rp and the S1 and the Sony a7ii etc and the guy was explaining to me for you for animation he said you would only get a 2mb - 8 mb image left because for video it compresses.. does that make sense.. I am more confused now that ever.. so even though DF takes high resolution images when it compresses into a mp4 or mov it's only giving us 2-8 mb pics is that right or is that completely wrong??  

Are those your puppets in those light tests Nick.. look amazing... 

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