There has always been a reciprocal relationshipbetween advances made with lighting technology and film style. From as early as1896, when artificial lighting was first used in motion capture, thedevelopment of different types of lighting equipment has expanded the range oflighting methods and effects available to the cinematographer. The mostsignificant change that has occurred over recent years is the introduction ofLED lighting, which has become an extremely important tool for cinematographersworking today. Many industryprofessionals believe that the movement from HMI and tungsten to LED technologyis as impactful and important as the movement from film to digital formats.
Cinematographers are now able to achieve lighting effects and aesthetics inseconds that previously were impossible to achieve. This has lead to excitingdevelopments in the look and feel of new releases as well as opening many doorsto new storytelling opportunities. The development of lighting equipment has also led to moreefficient and cost effective tools that have resulted in large economic andenvironmental benefits saving huge amounts of money for productions. Decreasingthe carbon footprint of films through the use of LED lighting is also anextremely important benefit when looking to increase sustainability for thefuture of the film industry. There is also opposition to LED lightingwhere some cinematographers have chosen to avoid their use.
Weaker colour rendition and the lack oflarger output units and hard light sources have prevented it from winning thefavour of some practitioners. Although met with caution to start with, it isclear that LED technology isfacilitating positive and creative change, complementing the fixtures that havepreceded them and offering opportunities to expand the range of possibilitiesfor DOP’s looking to progress the art form.