How to Mix LED and Tungsten Lights for a Dreamy Look

Mixing two different light sources on set can add a pretty unique and interesting touch to your final images, as long as you know what you’re doing! Jay P. Morgan takes us on set where he combines LEDs and tungsten lights, mixed in with some dream-like smoke, to create a soft, dreamy look:

Morgan and his camera crew recently shot a commercial for a client called Mini Bini, a little air freshener for the garbage can. To really get the point across that the air freshener can wipe out the grossest of smells, Morgan shot the model lying on a bed full of old, rotting garbage. And the scene was beautiful.

Using NorthStar LED lights on daylight balance and tungsten lights, they were able to create a dreamy look. Morgan put the camera on a boom above the bed and tethered it back to the computer with a USB cable so he was able to use Canon’s camera utilities program to make adjustments to the camera settings from the laptop.

He set the camera’s color balance to tungsten and shot at 1/50 of a second at ISO 320 and a 5.6 aperture. To add more blurriness and round out the surreal effect, he rubbed Vaseline around the edge of the lens. The final touch was putting smoke machines under the bed to have dream-like smoke billowing out, nicely lit up by the LEDs.

mixing led and tungsten light

The Lighting Setup

  • Source Four tungsten light at foot of bed to light the model’s face
  • 1K light to bounce into the ceiling to open up the shadows
  • Four NorthStar heads with reflectors under the bed
  • One NorthStar LED light from camera left to add nice highlights on the garbage

different light sources photo

Shooting with the camera on tungsten gave the background a nice blue look. The LEDs shining out from under the bed look really blue, but Morgan kept the model’s face neutral with the Source Four tungsten light, which gives a nice color juxtaposition between the two to create the dreamy look.

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