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Guide to film lighting equipment

Film lighting equipment is a critical part of filmmaking, since it creates the tone and mood of the films. Whether you are a novice or seasoned filmmaker, it is necessary to understand different types of film lights and their uses, pros and cons. According to your filming types, you also need different equipment. And filming lighting accessories are also important equipment to ensure high-quality filmmaking.

COLBOR CL220 film lighting equipment is used in outdoor filming.

Types of film lighting equipment

There are four common types of lights for filmmaking, including LED, fluorescent, tungsten, and HMI. Read on to see what they are, their uses, and pros & cons.

LED lights for film shooting

LED is an abbreviation for light emitting diode. It is essentially a semi-conductor with the ability to emit photons. LED lighting is approximately 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. They can reflect sunlight and many of them have adjustable color temperatures. As a result, you may effortlessly change the color temperature as needed. LED film light has a CRI rating of more than 90. In addition, as compared to HMIs or bigger tungsten lamps, the price point is exceptionally low.


LEDs are becoming increasingly used on film sets. You can power them using batteries. This makes them portable and stylish, as no untidy cables are required. You may also build your own LED light panels to fit any area.


  • Offer soft and even lighting
  • Pure light, free of UV artifacts
  • High energy efficiency
  • Long lifespan
  • Eco-friendly
  • No danger of an explosion


  • High cost in terms of "price per lumen"
  • Inconsistent color of white LEDs from different manufacturers

Film fluorescent lights

This film lighting equipment includes low-pressure mercury vapor that bounces around to create ultraviolet light. They are more energy efficient than incandescent lights. They can produce up to 100 lumens per watt, which is comparable to the output of HMI. They can have a CRI of up to 99 and feature variable color temperatures from 2700K to 6500K.


Fluorescent film lighting is created by stacking many tubes next to each other and mixing as many as you need to obtain the target brightness. The good thing is that you can select between warm and cold color temperatures depending on the situation. Because these bulbs aren't fantastic for opening up areas, you'll want to position them near the subject. Fluorescent lighting, which is more compact and cooler than tungsten or HMI lighting, is used to illuminate interiors.


  • High energy efficiency
  • Low in price
  • Long lifespan
  • Less heat emission
  • Can illuminate a large area with soft and even lighting


  • Flicker
  • Domestic fluorescent tubes have poor color rendition

Tungsten film light

This is one of the earliest and most commonly used type of film lighting. They are produced by running a current through a tungsten filament. This causes the filament to heat up until it glows, emitting light at a temperature of around 3200 Kelvin. Many filmmakers adore the warm appearance that tungsten provides. When it is used to illuminate skin tones, the hue is quite pleasant.


For many years, tungsten has been the go-to option for film lighting. it is a wonderful option for interior lighting setups.


  • Low cost
  • High CRI for almost perfect color rendition


  • Short lifespan than other types of light sources
  • Extremely hot
  • Risk of fire and explosion


HMI, or Hydrargyrum Medium-Arc Iodide, works by igniting mercury vapor with an electrical arc between two electrodes. In comparison to standard incandescent bulbs, HMI lamps may produce up to four times as many lumens per watt—between 85 and 108. Its color temperature is extremely similar to the clear daytime sunlight's 5600 Kelvin. Additionally, they don't flicker.


HMIs are the top choice of film lighting equipment when high output is needed. They are also used to simulate sunlight beaming through windows or to add extra light while filming exteriors. HMIs can illuminate large regions at once.


  • High light output
  • Not create much heat on set


  • Expensive
  • Take time to warm up to full brightness
  • Require generators and staff to operate

Best lighting equipment for film: 3 picks for different filming types

There is no film set lighting equipment to cover every filmmaking. In this part, we list three COLBOR lights that perform well in specific filming scenarios. And they are all in the types of LED filming lights.

Table: Quick overview on COLBOR film video lighting equipment

The table below covers the key specs of each recommended lighting equipment to consider when making the purchase.

Film light








Color temperature

2700K-6500K (±200)

2700K-6500K (±200)


Beam Angle

≈∠120°; Reflector≈∠45°

≈∠120°; Reflector≈∠15°



9,430Lux (at 1m 5600K, No Reflector); 52,700Lux (at 1m 5600K, With Reflector)

2,843Lux (at 1m 5600K, No Reflector); 19,665Lux (at 1m 5600K, With Reflector)


COB Output Power




Body Material

Aluminum Alloy+ABS

Aluminum Alloy+ABS



212x128x219mm (Light Base Included)

140x80x90mm (Light Base Not Included)



1570g (Light Base Included)

Light: 550g; Light Base: 160g






*Note: The price of CL220 & CL60 is from Moman PhotoGears Store, the authorized seller of COLBOR products while the price of PL8B is from B&H store.

COLBOR CL220: Lighting equipment for filming outside with powerful 220W output

COLBOR CL220: Lighting equipment for filming outside with powerful 220W output

The COLBOR CL220 is a piece of film lighting equipment at constant 220W power output. When used with the supplied 45° reflector, it offers 52,700 lux of 5600K light at 1m. This means it is bright enough for outside filmmaking. The Bowens mount, NATO grooves, and NATO extension bar allow it to accept a wide range of filming lighting accessories. In addition, its size is 212*128*219mm and the weight is 1570g, which makes it portable to carry around. You can store everything in the supplied carrying bag. There are even straps on the top of the bag for you to fix stands.

COLBOR CL60: Lighting equipment for short film with compact size and simple operation

COLBOR CL60: Lighting equipment for short film with compact size and simple operation

If you are a novice filmmaker and want to start with short films, the COLBOR CL60 can be a good choice. It is in a compact design for flexible placement and is simple to operate for a user-friendly lighting experience. It weighs only 550g and can be powered by mobile power supplies such as V mount battery and PD power bank. This allows it to be placed at anywhere you want without the restrictions of wall outlets. You can use the onboard buttons or COLBOR Studio App to control the film lighting. Both are simple to master even without a user manual.

COLBOR PL8B: Lighting equipment for solo filming without complex setup

COLBOR PL8B: Lighting equipment for solo filming without complex setup

If you make video films on your own, you will need film lighting equipment that doesn’t require complex setups so you can save time and effort. In this case, the COLBOR PL8B is an ideal option. With its magnetic back and cold shoe mount, it can firmly attach to the smartphone, mount on cameras or tripods, and attach to any metal surface. The 10 preset lighting modes intend to simulate real-life scenarios, so you can dial in the target effects without editing post-production.


Why film lighting equipment is important?

The suitable film video lighting equipment ensure high-quality lighting, which plays a big role in the following aspects:

It aids in the creation of a mood for your film or video. If you want to make a commercial video, for example, you'll need to establish a neutral and professional environment. If, on the other hand, you're constructing a film studio to shoot a thriller, you should designate a location where you may experiment with gloomy and unsettling lighting.

Lighting aids in directing the audience's sight. If you want to draw attention to a certain item, person, or animal, you may make use of lighting.

Lighting may have an impact on how your characters or subjects appear. Some lighting styles will make your subject appear as sharp and well-groomed as possible, while others will make them appear anxious or exhausted. Of course, this will be determined by the goal of your film!

Lighting may have an impact on how professional your film appears. Without proper lighting, the end work will most likely appear dull and uninspired.

Use film lights and softbox for film production.

What other film lighting equipment do you need for high-quality film lighting?

You can invest in some of film lighting accessories below to help you better control the illumination.

Softboxes: They diffuse the filming lighting from the fixture, resulting in a softer, more even illumination. This is especially helpful when photographing close-ups since it reduces harsh shadows and brightness on the subject's face.

Film light reflectors: Reflectors reflect light back onto a subject, filling up any shadows that may exist. They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be made of materials such as foam board, metal, or fabric.

Gels: Film light gels are colorful plastic sheets that may be used to alter the color temperature or hue of a light source. They're frequently utilized to match the lighting in a scene or to create a certain mood or atmosphere.

Boom arms: Boom arms are used to put lights in high or difficult-to-reach places. They may be fixed on a tripod or connected to a wall or ceiling, and they are available in a range of lengths to meet a variety of requirements.

Film light stand: Light stands are used to support lights and other equipment. They come in a variety of heights and weights, and some types incorporate wheels for convenient movement.

C-Stands: C-Stands are a sort of light stand with a characteristic "C" design that allows them to firmly retain lights, flags, and other equipment.

Flags and Silks: They are used to either obstruct or manipulate light. They can be used to cast shadows or to decrease undesirable reflections, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.