Filmmaking on a budget: LED lighting for film and video

Filmmaking on a budget: LED lighting for film and video

LED lights for filmmaking and video production are now super-affordable and hugely convenient because of their safety, portability and battery power. In this post, we’ll review three of the best lights for under £50. Want some powerful tips on how to make great videos for social media? Click here.

Advantages of LED lights for filmmaking or video production

  1. They’re cheap. Every one of these lights costs less than £50!
  2. They’re safer than traditional hot lights like redheads or blondes as they don’t generate anywhere near as much heat and there are no cables to trip over.
  3. They can be powered by batteries, which means that you aren’t tied to plug sockets.

Disadvantages of LED lights for filmmaking or video production

  1. Budget models can’t hope to come anywhere close to traditional hot lights for sheer lighting power. If you’re trying to light an expansive location like a church or hall, you’ll need redheads like this great set for less than £100 or blondes or Fresnels.
  2. Because they aren’t usually super high-powered, they will need to be placed closer to your subjects.
  3. The quality of the Tungsten light colour will vary greatly between models. Some have plastic Tungsten filters that slide in front of the light. Others have dedicated Tungsten temperature LED beads. The latter usually produce better results.

The best Key Light for less than £50

YONGNUO YN-216 LED Studio Video Light for filmmaking
YONGNUO YN-216 LED Studio Video Light

YONGNUO YN-216 LED Studio Video Light

In a nutshell:

YONGNUO YN-216 is a fantastic little spot light for filmmaking or video production, featuring 216 high-luminance LED beads. It really is super bright. It is compact, sturdy and well-made. It’s the perfect all rounder for video lighting. It features three power supply options: AA batteries, Sony NP-F batteries or a mains power adaptor (not supplied). The light can be installed directly onto a DSLR or camcorder using the supplied hot/cold show mount. It can also be mounted on a standard light stand using the quarter twenty thread. The light comes with four colour temperature filters. Unbeatable value at less than £50.


Light Source: 216 led beads, Luminance Angle:55°, Colour Temperature 5500k, Average Service Life: 50000H, Colour Rendering Index: < 90%, Power: 13W, Weight: 515g, Lumen: 2000 LM,

Supplied Accessories:

1 x YN-216 Led light, 4 x Color temperature filters ( Blue, White, Orange, Red ), 1 x User Manual


The best Fill Light for less than £50

YN300 Air Pro LED light for filmmaking
YN300 Air Pro LED light

Yongnuo YN300 Air Pro LED Video Light with 3200-5500K Variable Colour Temperature

In a nutshell:

The YN300 Air has a built-in milk defuser that produces soft light with a wide illuminating angle. Featuring variable colour temperature, this great little light produces the best quality light for filmmaking of any of the three units in this post. It makes an excellent fill light when used at a close distance. It features an LED display on the rear and a dial that allows you to dim the light and modulate between daylight, tungsten or a mixture of both. A number of buttons allow you to make other easy adjustments. You can mount the light directly onto the hot shoe of your DSLR or camcorder (not powered) or to any standard light stand, using the supplied mount. It’s super easy to use, is highly adjustable, well-made and durable. If you prefer to use AA batteries, or if you don’t want to invest in a new battery and charge system, we recommend the Neewer® 6pcs AA Battery Replacement Mains Supply NP-F970 NP-F550. This handy little adapter opens up to accept six AA batteries. It then slots into the NP-F socket and works a treat. It works out much cheaper than buying NP-Fs at a bargain price less than £10The YN300 Air is an unbeatable value at less than £35!

Full Specifications:

Light source: 96LED beads, Colour temperature: 3200K-5500K, Output power: 18W, Lumen: 2000LM, Average service life: 50000H, Luminance angle: 100°, Colour rendering index: greater than to 95, Power supply: 1 NP-F lithium battery or external 8V, 5A DC power (no power source or battery included), Dimensions: Approx. 210x175x62mm, Weight: Approx. 500g.

Supplied accessories 

1x YN300 Video Light
1x A shotgun style handle that can mount on a light stand
1x Mounting fixture
1x Table stand
1x User Manual in English

A carry pouch is also included withe the YN300 Air


The best Background Light for under £50

Neewer CN-160 Ultra High Power LED Light for filmmaking
Neewer CN-160 Ultra High Power LED Light

Neewer CN 160 Dimmable Ultra High Power LED Panel

In a nutshell:

The Neewer CN 160 is a powerful, lightweight and durable little light for filmmaking and it’s a real bargain at less than £30. It’s strong enough to separate your subject from a wall or backdrop. It’s also a very useful general purpose light for use when filming on location after nightfall. It’s also super convenient to power as it accepts 6 AA batteries. It can also run on Sony NP-F batteries and, using a supplied adaptor, several other camera batteries. The light features a rotating dial switch for switching the power on/off and dimming. There is also a battery power indicator. We love this little light and it’s popularity is no surprise given its rock bottom price at less than £30.

Full Specifications:

Maximum Power: 9.6 Watts, Colour Temperature: 5600K (3200k w/ filter), Luminous flux: 660 lm, Run time: 60 – 80mins on AA alkaline batteries, Illumination: 900Lux (1m), 240Lux (2m), 120Lux (3m), 70Lux (4m), 40Lux (5m), Effective distance: 6m / 20ft, Material of the Lighting’s Shell: ABS Plastic, Size: 141 x 62 x 150 mm, Weight: 8.57oz

Supplied Accessories:

Neewer CN160 Light, One Tungsten Coloured Filter and one Diffusion Filter. (Supplied in a plastic wallet.)
Battery adaptor for various camera batteries, Hot shoe mount. (Can mount on a standard light stand via quarter-twenty screw.)

Bonus Video:

Check out the competition with this great video from ‘DSLR Shooter’: