Lower Scan Means Higher Performance for On-Camera LED

As a professional camera operator, one of the biggest things you always want to keep an eye out for is the general performance of your camera. This is especially important while you’re literally on set and in the thick of the action – everything that has to do with the camera just has to be in top shape. 

While there are so many factors that can weigh on the real-time performance of shooting cameras, the device’s scan rate is undoubtedly one of those. Cameras and LED walls these days have to be more dynamic, with different moving parts and pixels all playing important roles in determining the outcome of your content. 

In this article, we’ll look at the place of scan rates in determining the efficiency of camera content display, as well as how you can optimize your camera for maximum impact. 

Getting Started With LED On-Camera

Before looking into the relationship between LED on-camera and scan rates, it is important to examine this technology itself and what it hopes to achieve.

What Is On-Camera LED Technology?

When you think of LED on-camera technology, you’re essentially referring to the use of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) that have been carefully placed on a recording device to help bolster its ability to capture content. 

By themselves, cameras have significantly limited lighting. And if you check most professional shoots and projects, many of these cameras end up needing a little bit of additional help when it comes to content creation and shooting. Well, this help pretty much comes in the shape of LED on-camera connections. 

The setup for LED on-camera technology is pretty simple – you get compact and very portable lights that you can move around, and you place them on your cameras. This setup makes it easier for you to share and control your content, as well as capture everything you need to. 

This technology can be a major plus for your content creation. But, you also need to know the features that come together to help make content capturing more effective. Some of these include: 

A Sleek & Simple Design 

The first thing you should know about on-camera LEDs is that they aren’t overly large. Their frames are compact, and because you need to attach them to camera rigs and possibly even carry them around, they need to be easily maneuverable overall. 

Track Your Brightness Settings

Adjustability in brightness is one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to LED on-camera technology. This makes it easier for you to control the strength of the light output and improves your ability to adapt your rig to different lighting conditions. 

Controlling Color Temperature 

Just as well, we see a lot of on-camera LED lights providing flexible color temperature settings. With this ability, it will be easy for you to get a seamless match between the color temperature of the light and the brightness conditions around – or, as they call it, ambient light

With this intricate combination, your captured video or image will have a much better color representation level and provide a better viewing experience overall.

Availability In Different Color Options

You can find LED on-camera lights in both bi-color and daylight-balanced variants. 

The former makes it easier for you to switch between cooler and warmer color temperatures, while the latter works to mimic the characteristics of natural sunlight. 

No Cables

It’s critical for LED on-camera lights to be powered by rechargeable batteries. This structure improves portability while also ensuring that there are no cords or cables that can essentially hinder your movement. 

For outdoor projects, this is especially important. 

Tools For Diffusion & Beam Angles

While this isn’t a given, there are some lights that come with diffusion panels and other tools that help to soften the light even more. You could also need adjustments to beam angles to help control how light spreads from the source. 

Important Factors That Affect LED Performance 

Even with the features you need in place, a lot needs to still be set for an on-camera LED to be effective and provide the right types of shots you need. And as a professional content creator or videographer, understanding some of these will go a long way in ensuring that you get the perfect content. 

Check The Color Rendering Index (CRI)

First, you want to make sure that the Color Rendering Index is right. This metric generally measures a light source’s ability to reproduce color, then compares that to what the sun does naturally. 

The higher the CRI, the more accurate the color is. So, keep an eye out for that with your on-camera LED. 

What Temperature Is The Color? 

Next, you also want to keep an eye out for the color temperature. As we pointed out, LEDs come in different temperatures – with “cold” and “warm” being the two ends of that spectrum. Selecting the right temperature will come in handy when you try matching your LED’s light and the light from the environment.  

The LED’s Luminance

Here, we’re talking about brightness – which we measure in lux or lumens. You will need to find out how much brightness is needed, and this will mostly be based on your shooting conditions. This is why adjustable brightness should be one of your biggest requirements when it comes to LEDs.

Just as well, it is also important to be able to adjust the on-camera brightness. Ensure that dimmability is available, and that you can easily create the right atmosphere for your shots. 

The Angle Of The Beam

We already pointed this out earlier. Generally, you see the beam angle determining how wide the light being dispersed is. Most on-camera LEDs tend to offer flexible beam angles, making it much easier for you to control the area of coverage. 

Uneven illumination is a real threat here, and this is why you need to control the beam angle. 

The Flicker Needs To Be Strong 

Two important factors that need to be optimal when it comes to video production are minimal flicker and color temperature consistency. 

We already pointed out the need for a reliable, consistent color temperature. It ensures that you have constant representation as you record, and it keeps you on track. But, a flicker-free scan performance also helps to ensure that you don’t get any unnecessary visual effects overall in your footage.

Your Camera’s Heat Performance

The quality of your on-camera LED will also play a role in determining its strength. And, when you have a camera that efficiently dissipates heat, you can ensure that issues like overheating can be avoided once and for all.   

Additional Camera Requirements

Finally, it’s worth going over a few other things you want to ensure for your camera to be effective. 

First, it needs to be portable and appropriately sized so you won’t have any issues moving it around. Then, it also needs to be able to resist water and other elements of the weather. For those shoots that are done outdoors, you can imagine that this will be very important.

How Do Scan Rates Affect On-Camera LED Performance?

Now, with an understanding of LED on-camera technology and its intricacies, let’s move on to the scan rates and how they really affect the general scan performance of these lights. This section will cover what scanning means to general performance for LEDs, as well as how you can choose.

What Are Scan Rates In LED Technology?

When it comes to LED lighting or shooting technology, scan rates primarily describe the rate at which a display updates and refreshes. Essentially, it measures the number of times in a single second that the display draws the image on the screen again. 

Like frequency, scan rates are measured in Hertz (Hz). And, you generally have two main types: 

The Vertical Refresh Rate

Also known as the vertical scan rate, this essentially measures how many times in a second you get the entire image on the screen being refreshed. For this to be measured, it takes image refreshments from top to bottom – hence the name. 

The Horizontal Refresh Rate

As you would imagine, the horizontal refresh rate – or the horizontal scan rate, if you will – measures the number of times your LED is able to refresh a single pixel line across the screen from left to right.

 

By combining both, you can find a LED’s scan rate. When it comes to determining the quality of the overall display, this scan rate is critical. The higher your refresh rate, the smoother your motion and the lower the flicker perception. 

Today, most of the LEDs you see come with a few common refresh rates – 60Hz, 75Hz, 240Hz, etc. You’d mostly need higher refresh rates when you need quicker motion while showing your display, although these higher refresh rates also come with greater requirements for your hardware.

How Scan Rates Affect Image or Video Quality

Now, let’s consider what scanning means to LED performance.

You might not be aware of it, but scan rates do a great deal to affect the overall quality of your video or image. How? Well, consider the following: 

The Smoothness Of Motion Captures 

When your LED has a higher refresh rate, you will be able to achieve a smoother level of motion on screen. 

This is especially true for vertical refresh rates, and it makes it easier for you to shoot those fast-moving content pieces – action scenes, video game stills, etc. You get less blur, and you’ll find that your scenes will transition much easier.  

Cut Down On Flicker 

Another influence of refresh rates is on flicker. With a higher vertical refresh rate, you can significantly reduce flicker and provide a much more comfortable viewing experience for anyone checking out your content. 

Generally, we recommend getting a LED with no less than 60Hz in vertical refresh rate to enjoy this benefit. 

Making Displays More Responsive

This benefit is especially prominent in gaming applications. Refresh rates that are at 120Hz and higher can help gaming displays respond better to inputs, cutting down on lag. In today’s fast-paced gaming environment, you can imagine how important this will be. 

Motion Styling & Artifacts

Higher refresh rates usually lead to a reduction in motion ghosting or tearing. This is a phenomenon where the transition in images isn’t so smooth, and it can affect the quality of your display. With higher refresh rates, you can provide a more consistent motion flow, which makes your content significantly more enjoyable. 

The Quality Of Your Video Playback 

Everyone wants better video playback quality – especially if you’re shooting content in high definition. With a higher refresh rate, you can provide clearer videos, improving the experience and ensuring that its quality is optimized. 

Working With Different Content Types

Now, it is important to note that the impact of scan rates that you will see will depend on what content you’re displaying. Everyone will most likely benefit from higher refresh rates, but there are also content formats that are better shot with lower frame rates. 

In cases of the latter, we recommend that you get a display that can easily adapt to whatever type of content you’re shooting without leading to the development of any artifacts.  

Next-Generation Content Adaptation

Today, there has been a significant adoption of technologies like 3D shooting and augmented reality (AR). These content formats are seen as the future, but they also require higher refresh rates if their content will be as comfortable and as immersive as you want them to be. 

In fact, lower refresh rates for some AR applications can lead to issues like motion sickness. 

Why You Should Have Lower Scan Rates

We’ve seen the argument for higher scan rates and can now understand why everyone looks to them for so much. But, there is also a lot of benefits you can get when it comes to lower rates. 

Like we said earlier, there are situations where higher scan or refresh rates might not necessarily be the main thing. And, here are a few reasons why you as a content creator might want to go a bit lower on the scan rate setting. 

Lower Rates Work With Older Content 

It’s easy to find older content that will also be compatible with lower scan rates. In fact, many of these content forms were actually produced using lower scan rates, and this means that they can be beneficial in these instances in order to prevent any frame disruptions. 

Lower Rates Save Power

While higher refresh rates tend to be the gold standard, one major caveat is that they tend to soak up a lot of power too. If you want to optimize energy efficiency as much as possible, then lower san rates are advised. 

Little To No Heat Is Generated

We should also mention the fact that higher scan rates tend to generate a lot of heat – especially when it comes to electronic devices. So, if you don’t want so much heat generation, a lower scan rate is probably where you want to be. 

Deal With Little Hardware Limitations

As we said earlier, some devices and hardware just don’t have the ability to handle content that has been produced at a higher refresh rate. If you’re dealing with such an instance, then switching to a lower scan rate can help ensure that you can still deliver your content. 

Easier Work For Your Graphics Processor

Just as they do with power, higher scan rates also come with a higher demand for processing power from your graphics processing unit (GPU). When you’re trying to preserve graphics resources as much as possible, having a lower scan rate comes in very handy.

Keep Bandwidth Consumption Low 

If you’re dealing with limited bandwidth, you’ll find that using lower scan rates can significantly help you to keep it low. Your available connection speed might not be able to support higher rates – keep that in mind.

You Save Money Too 

Generally, producing content at lower scan rates also saves you a great deal of money. Higher scan rates cost more, and if you’re not necessarily looking to get the benefits that these rates bring, then you might want to reduce scan rates and achieve higher levels of cost-efficiency.

The Artistic Benefit

In some film production and photography settings, you might prefer to use a lower scan rate. This is because these rats help you to provide a specific cinematic look or capture a specific mood that the fast-paced higher rates might not be able to achieve.

The Potential Challenges You Might Face

Working with low scan rates can be beneficial in different settings. And as you look to improve the adaptability of your displays as much as possible, finding the right way to incorporate these scan rates is more than important. 

That said, you need to be able to also work through a few challenges that could arise when it comes to this. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

Flicker And Its Perception 

One major issue with low rates is the fact that they can result in flicker – and not just the subtle flicker, either. It becomes incredibly noticeable, and you’ll notice the frame refreshing a bit too slowly for you. This will lead to brightness fluctuations and can even cause eye strain for some viewers. 

Problems Accommodating Fast Content

Another possible challenge you need to consider is increased motion blur. Here, objects that move fast appear a bit less defined, and the smoothness of your content’s motion can be significantly affected. 

Adaptability Can Be Low 

When you have content with quick motion – such as games or still-in-action movies – you might notice that they won’t be displayed optimally when you’re working with low scan rates. 

These limitations get even worse when you’re trying to keep up with quick changes in scenes. So, it is important to ensure that there is proper compatibility between the scenes and the scan rate. 

They Might Not Work With High-Performance Graphics 

There’s a tendency for low scan rates not to capitalize on high-performance graphics units and their capabilities. You see, these GPUs are built to handle higher refresh rates – and when there’s a disconnect, you might not get the quality of content that you need. 

At the end of the day, it is rather obvious that low scan rates have their limitations. The focus for you as a content creator should be finding how best to ensure that your content is compatible with these scan rates so anyone viewing it can get the most ideal experience. 

Conclusion

There is no doubt that scan rates play a critical role in determining how your content flows. As a videographer, you need to understand that while high scan rates tend to be the prize, there are also benefits of low scan rates when it comes to optimizing the scan performance of your display. 

If you’d like any more assistance, feel free to reach out to us at NSE LED Cloud. We will be more than happy to help you out!

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