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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Performing Arts 
Thread started 06 Mar 2016 (Sunday) 08:25
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LED Lighting in Theatre

 
AlFooteIII
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Mar 06, 2016 08:25 |  #1

I shoot a lot of small theatre productions and LED lighting has been a godsend to them; one instrument can be any color you need -- no duplicating lights with different gels, heck, no gelling at all.

However, they can be hellacious for photographers. Here's a SOOC example (processed from RAW, but no levels changed).


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Here's the same with the saturation on the blue, purple and magenta channels cranked down. Salvageable, but not something I'm proud of (and yes, there's more work to be done). B/W looks cleaner, but not really what I want to deliver...



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Interestingly, of 11 short plays in the evening -- this was the only one that had such severe issues.

Has anyone found any tips to working with these instruments (and no, I can't use my own flashes)?

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AlFooteIII
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Mar 06, 2016 08:27 |  #2

Sorry -- EXIF got stripped. Settings are 1/125, f7.1, ISO 6400


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Nethawked
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Mar 06, 2016 09:05 |  #3

I recently photographed a fundraiser in my home town. The venue had a small stage with static yellow, green red and blue LED lights on stage, and one spot. The room was a combination of fluorescent and tungsten lighting. Oh my, what an editing nightmare. While I flipped about half to B&W, the only salvageable photos in color were those I had underexposed.


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BushWacker
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Mar 07, 2016 01:36 |  #4

I'm hoping they can come out with some new technology in the sensor's to better handle this new lighting. It's really bad in some situations!


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Echo63
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Mar 07, 2016 02:45 |  #5

I have a feeling this effect is from PWM (Pulse Width Modulation, basically very rapid strobing)
With different colours being fired at slightly different times and the camera only picking up one colour, not the whole package you would get at a slower SS.

Not a huge fan of the effect - B+W is often the only way to rescue an image


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Luckless
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Mar 07, 2016 18:17 |  #6

Echo63 wrote in post #17926365 (external link)
I have a feeling this effect is from PWM (Pulse Width Modulation, basically very rapid strobing)
With different colours being fired at slightly different times and the camera only picking up one colour, not the whole package you would get at a slower SS.

Not a huge fan of the effect - B+W is often the only way to rescue an image

Yes, PWM really can make things 'interesting', especially with some models of RGB 'any colour' lights.

Precise digitally controlled ones can make things even more interesting when you have multiple spot light style lights that are 'the same colour' pointed at different parts of the stage because they're not even synced in anyway to mains frequency. To the naked eye it can all look nice and even, but when you snap photos at too fast of a shutter speed? Well surprise! Each zone of the stage is now not only a different colour, but also what colour they are shifts from photo to photo. Grand isn't it?

The frequency of PWM LED lighting is sadly over looked far too often, and many 'nice' units are getting installed that simply don't cycle fast enough. Sure, they're bright, and they mostly look great to the audience (And they don't make the lighting guys melt from the heat), but they also tend to be prone to a weird shimmer effect at times, and of course they are terrible for photography or video work. Very high frequency units cycle too fast even for the camera to really notice.


(As a side note, one of the best/worst of these lights that I've seen used not only used PWM for intensity and colour control, but also had a digital controller that load balanced sub sections of the same colour LEDs in a way that ensured they were out of phase with each other. So if you had a setting where a given LED would be on half the time and off the other half, then the left side would be on while the right side was off, and then they would flip. A great idea to even out the load on the power supply, but they did it at a too low of a frequency and made video next to impossible.)


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BJWOK
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Jan 10, 2017 17:17 |  #7

I have somewhat of a decent preset to fix LED like this (however it returns a b/w image): http://www.bjwok.com …-for-music-photographers/ (external link)

Not allowed to sell here so if you want it I will PM you the LR6 Bundle as seen at the link above?


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LED Lighting in Theatre
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