I get a ton of questions in regards to LEDs vs. softboxes as light sources. Which are better, can I use LED panels to light a green screen or infinite white, what is the major difference between these two, etc. I love this question because once explained, the difference between the two is very clear. I really wanted to show and tell what DIFFUSED light looks like compared to DIRECTIONAL light. Hence the above video comparison of one 900 LED Light Panel to one Softbox to show you what a diffused light source looks like versus the directional light source of a 900 LED. Here’s a little more insight.
* All LED lights won’t give you the exact same look. Depending on the size of the panel and whether or not it comes with the dial to change the intensity of the light, you’re going to get different results. The one consistent factor though is that this light will be directional. It’s going to cast harsh shadows and it’s not going to cover the surface of objects as evenly as a softbox. This is due to the diffusion of light from the softbox’s diffuser panel. With the LED light you will also get less gradiation or wrap around of light on your subject (shown clearly on the pumpkin). This is due to there being no diffusion. The light has a more narrow throw of light.
* All softboxes aren’t going to give you the exact same look either. In short, the way a softbox works is that the (in our case) CFL bulbs inside bounce the light around in the box, that light is then diffused and thrown out onto your subject. Diffused light has a broader output. What’s great about a softbox though is that depending on the size of the box and panel, the same light inside can be thrown to cover a larger surface. With a diffused light source, you’ll see a more gradient light drop off (shown clearly on the pumpkin).
We’re using a 900 LED light panel that is also available in 600 LEDs, and 1200 LEDs, that can be found here.
LED Video Light Panels
For the softbox, we’re using a light that has 5 CFL bulbs in the head. We used these lights in a video you can find here: http://oliviatech.com/infinite-white-background-how-to
They are also available via Amazon (click here)
2400 Watt Photo Studio Softbox Kit