Why do LED lights flicker on camera? How to stop light flickering in a video? (Guide)
When seen through a camera lens, sometimes it seems like an LED light bulb is flickering quickly at regular intervals like it is turning off and on rapidly. The light flickering in a video becomes more obvious and apparent because the frames per second (FPS) recording of the camera is not aligned with the frequency of electricity. This is known as the ‘strobe effect’. LED lights are of two types i.e. strobe and constant.
What are the reasons for LED light flickering in the video?
We may see the flickering of light because it actually happens but this flickering of LED light is imperceptible for the human eye as it happens too rapidly. To know why LED lights flicker in the video, let’s understand the reason behind it.
LEDs operate on alternating current (AC), where electrons in the current move in cycles (in and out of the circuit. A cycle of electrons in one second is known as Hertz or Hz. In 1 hertz or cycle, the bulb turns off two times since the electron moves in and out.
In the world except for the US, the electricity operates on 50Hz and for the US it runs on 60 Hz. It means that the light bulb is truly turning on and off between 100 and 120 times per second. Our eye is unable to see this flickering of light but a camera lens can make it easy for you to see that flicker. We can observe the flicker on the screen when we playback or record a video.
A camera mostly opens and closes its motion catching shutter a bit faster as compared to the speed of a flickering LED light. When the LED light on the screen flickers black instantly, that picture was taken by the camera while the light turned off in its cycle. The flickering of light becomes obvious on the camera screen when the frequency of frame rate per second of the camera and LED light don’t match.
How to Stop LED from Flickering in a video or camera screen?
For some people, seeing flickering of light is annoying. There are some ways that can help reduce, if not completely eliminate, this effect. Here are some ways to reduce flickering on camera:
Adjust the FPS
The fast FPS speed enables your camera to record more details, thus making the flickering effect even more apparent than really it is. When it takes more frames per second, the chances of the flickering effect to capture in the video becomes high which leads to the creation of that spooky effect. The occurrence of this effect can be reduced by decreasing the FPS on the camera setting. In case it doesn’t work, you can check the light bulb itself if it has any flickering issues.
Adjust the shutter speed
When it comes to capturing particulars in the frame, shutter speed plays an important role. You have to know the frequency of the power supply to adjust the shutter speed. The shutter speed can be adjusted manually and it is recommended to set it as a multiple of 50 or 60. The difference is based on the area you are capturing video. In the US, you need to use multiple of 60, and everywhere else, multiple of 50 will work. The reason behind the working of this trick is the difference in the frequency (Hertz) of the current.
For example, if you are capturing a video with the power source utilizing 60 Hertz, you may need to shoot at 30 fps with shutter speed adjusted to intervals divisible by 60 i.e. 1/60, 1/120, and so on. It will decrease the flickering effect. Some LED lights come with drivers with the ability to adjust their on and off-cycle. Setting their flickering speed more than the frame rate of your camera can effectively eliminate the strobe effect.
Adjust the brightness of the light source
Another way to reduce flickering is to adjust the brightness of light if possible. The dull light will have a less flickering effect. But there will be an issue of having a darker frame. So, you can adjust the settings of the camera to overcome the dullness of the light source.
Get away from the light source
It is the easiest way to lower the flickers to get caught in a video. When you move away from the light source, the light will lose brightness and the ability to reflect will be lower. It will enable ‘quieter’ capture. But there is a drawback of this method. When you move away from the light source, the frame will become darker and you will have to set the aperture and exposure accordingly. So, it is important to have the right balance between these two things, or else you will end up having dark or extremely bright footage.
The Sun doesn’t flicker
Keep in mind that the sun is a constant source of light, so you can make a video at any setting of your camera when outside, irrespective of which country you are residing in. Remember that the light flicker on the camera only if there is any artificial light in the video while you are outside and using the wrong camera setting.
Also, note that all artificial lights don’t flicker. More costly and special studio lights are created to pulse at an extremely high frequency, thus they really appear as they are constant light sources, eliminating the flickering problem altogether.
Other ways to stop LED light flickering on the camera screen
Given below are some of the useful tips to fix or avoid the flickering issue on the video.
If you light up the lamp with the help of a battery, the flicker will disappear from the screen.
Avoid using slow motion in indoor shooting, instead, use this feature only outdoors. Perhaps during the day and not at night. After the production, you can apply the slow-motion effect.