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A Quick Overview
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice
Best Budget Choice
Best Portable Choice
Best Premium Choice
Best for Beginners
Our Review of the Top 5 Best Lights for Green Screen
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice — GMV LED Video Light
The GMV LED light is a super bright lighting kit with three different led panels with a combined 896 LED beads. This lighting kit is well suited for Green screen use because of the kind of balance it offers. With a colour temperature ranging from 2300K to 6800K, it provides users with good daylight settings or more ambient light setting if they so wish. You also get a colour rendition index of 97+
An integral part of this kit is the cool programming that allows you to save up to four lighting settings which you can access through the tap of a button. In addition, you also get the master-slave lighting mode where a control of one of the lights (master) gives you control over others. Finally, the third part of the panel programming is controlling the lights from a distance up to 100 metres with a remote control.
The physical components of this lighting kit includes two diffusers for light softening. The aluminium alloy used to make this light panel ensures optimal heat dissipation and helps you get ample use time before it starts to heat up. Then there are the barn doors on the lights, although you get a 25-degree beam angle for concentrated lighting.
Best Budget Choice — GMV 2 Pack Lighting Kit
This green screen lighting option is for individuals who are working with a tight budget. Of the options available, this GMV product stands out because it replicates the higher-priced options in quality.
Like its GMV counterpart, you get a color temperature range from 2300K to 6800K for different daylight settings. An added advantage is the option of managing the brightness level, which ranges from 10 to 100 percent. You also get a light with a CRI of +97. In addition to all these features, you get to control the lights from an app, although the controls are limited only to the light’s brightness and color temperature.
The 480 pieces of LED beads on each light can give you up to 15000 lumens at a distance of 20 inches, although it reduces as you go further. Other components of this lighting kit include barn doors and diffusers for softer lights.
You also have the option of operating these lights on batteries, although it does not come with the kit. The casing on the LED panels gives room for heat dissipation, while the back of the panel provides you with a small screen that aids in monitoring the light settings.
Best Portable Choice — Amaran 100d
As interesting as filming is, the stress of moving different heavy kits can be discouraging, and it’s no wonder videographers look for the best portable options for their kits. Weighing just 3.4kg, the Amaran 100d is incredibly light for the kind of lighting required for Green screens.
This light produces illumination at a steady color temperature of 5500K. However, you get a brightness control range from zero to 100 percent for the right amount of brightness. Furthermore, with this light, you get a CRI of 95+ and TCLI of 96+ for accurate color reproduction, which is important when shooting with green screens. To top it off, the Amaran 100d gives you a brightness of 35900lux at distances up to one meter, although you have the option of diffusers.
Like the previously mentioned lighting kits, this light can also be app-controlled from a distance reaching 80 meters. Furthermore, the kit comes with a Bowen mount which helps it take on different lights’ qualities through various light modifiers. Finally, the Amaran 100d provides users with the option of 8 programmed lighting effects if you have use for them while shooting.
Best Premium Choice — Aputure LS 300x
Aputure LS 300x is our premium choice for individuals that don’t mind going all the way to getting quality. This light produces a whopping 65000 lux at distances up to one meter. In addition to this, you can adjust the color temperature at increments or decrements of 50K or at preset CCTs. Users can also change the brightness from zero to a hundred percent.
The dual output mode this light offers includes the constant output mode where you can operate at a color temperature ranging from 2700K to 6500K with a consistent brightness level. The second output mode, the maximum output mode, gives you a more restricted color temperature range from 4000K to 5500K, but it maximizes your output at any brightness level.
The Aputure LS 300x can be controlled through multiple channels like the app, remote control, and a control box. The dual fan present in this light helps dissipate heat and lengthen use time. This powerful light also uses batteries with the option of using either one or two depending on how much output you want. You also get to enjoy nine preset lighting effects if you ever need to use them.
Best for Beginners — Fovitec 2-point Lighting Kit
If you are just starting with video productions using a green screen, this lighting kit with specific settings is right for you. The kit consists of two lights, light stands, and other important accessories for a pretty simple setup.
The light comprises five 85W bulbs per lamp head that are partially encased in a reflective lining for maximum output. This lighting kit only produces light at a single color temperature of 5500K, although you can use diffusers and filters to modify the light. You can also control the brightness of the light heads through the bulb power switches at the back of the light panel.
With an expandable height of over 7 feet and an accompanying boom stand, this lighting is perfect for overhead illumination of the subject. Also, with a CRI of over 90, you know you can get adequate color rendering. Although this lighting kit doesn’t have the advanced features of the other lights on this list, it is perfect for people just starting.
One trick to lighting a green screen uniformly is to make sure the lights sources are emanating the same level of brightness, color temperature, and intensity.
How to Pick the Best Lights for Green Screen
The use of green screens is very rampant in videography. Green backgrounds have proven to be a perfect way to replicate a location or experience. However, lighting green screens is different from the normal course of lighting an environment for a photo or video shoot.
The normal lighting of backgrounds for video shoots uses shades and shadows to convey emotional information to the audience, while with green screens, lighting is about the constant evenness of the light. Lighting a green screen is more about trying to remove shadows and shades because of post-production editing. Any part of the green screen not evenly lit with the rest becomes an issue during editing.
With all these criteria for lighting green screens in mind, we can go ahead and name the qualities you should want in a light to be used for lighting green screens. Some of the markers in the best lights for green screens are:
- Color Rendition Index
The color rendition index is the most important feature for a light that is to be used for green screens. Since lighting a green screen is to illuminate the screen so that it is evenly lit, only a lighting kit with a good CRI score will help distinguish the color for the camera. Although subjects with green colors are discouraged from using a green screen, we can agree that some colors can appear close to the color green on the camera. In this case, only lights with a high CRI score will better differentiate one color from the other.
As a rule of thumb, lights with CRI lower than 90+ are not good for filming, which also applies to green screen filming. So, the first thing to check on any lighting intended to be used for a green screen is the CRI score. Fortunately, most LED lights have high CRI scores.
The brightness of a light source conveys how much light is coming from the head and is usually rated in lumens, lux, or candelas per meter square. So you will need a fair amount of brightness for green screens, but the deal is that a lot of illumination might be bad.
While trying to achieve light uniformity, it is important not to over-expose the screen to lights because of the camera. On the other hand, intense light will cast more shadows, which is why light softeners or diffusers are recommended for green screen illumination.
To be on the safe side, though, you should always look out for lights with a high brightness rating. Another note is that since one light will not illuminate a green screen, you should get the same type of light for uniform brightness. This statement applies to color temperature too.
- Color Temperature
The color temperature(1) of a light source is the representation of the color’s nature. What is meant by nature is the kind of ambiance a light source produces at different temperatures. It is usually recorded in Kelvin (K), and the standard daylight temperature is 5500K.
Lower temperatures tend toward red, while color temperatures higher than 5500K tend toward blue. For the most part, the daylight color temperature is recommended, but we have discovered that light temperatures leaning towards tungsten also work well with Green screens. The important thing here is to make sure your different light setup has the same color temperature settings to maintain uniformity.
The power of a lighting kit is one feature many people don’t pay attention to. However, getting your desired light kit and not running it due to power issues can be frustrating. And to an extent, the power a lighting kit requires is directly proportional to the light it emanates.
The common light sources for lighting green screens are tungsten lamps, LED lamps, and CFL (compact fluorescent lamps). While each one has its use case or advantage, the energy needed is not the same. Tungsten lamps consume the most energy, while LEDs use the least. You should always check the total power consumption of a light source because it is an added cost to acquiring the light.
The other important energy feature with lighting kits is the voltage. People do complain about buying lights that can’t work in their environment’s voltage range. Conclusively, always check for the energy or power requirements of any light source you are buying to avoid unforeseen circumstances.
- Heat Dissipation
It’s no news that light is almost always associated with heat. Like with energy consumption, the different light sources employed for lighting a green screen generate different amounts of heat. Generally, the more power a lamp consumes to produce light, the higher the heat it generates. With the heat comes a shorter life span for the bulbs, hence the need for heat dissipation.
Effective heat dissipation in a light source, especially when shooting with green screens, is very important as that will dictate how long you can light up your screen at any particular time. Always make sure to check for heat sink solutions manufacturers put in place for lighting products.
Different lighting kits use various light sources or lamps, and they manage to get the work done as long as the light requirements are met. I prefer LED lights for their ability to achieve the highest brightness level with the lowest power consumption.
Any lighting with CRI scores higher than 90 will do because you need a light source that can help the camera discern colors better.
The use of green screens during video production is only as good as the lighting kit, and that’s why it’s important to know the best lights for green screen photography. Taking all considerations of adequate lighting before purchasing one will give the individual a head start.
My choice of the best lighting for a green screen is the GMV LED Video light because it offers adequate brightness alongside a good CRI score. In addition, the programming and ease of control give it an advantage over other lights on this list. All in all, every lighting kit on this list will get the job done impressively.
Do you agree with our list? What type of lamp do you prefer for lighting your green screen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
- Asim K, (2014 Jan). Characteristics of light sources. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/color-temperature