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7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs

Todd Blankenship

Quasar Science LEDs have been one of the main fixtures in the rise of LED lighting. Here are some effective ways to use them.

All images via ShareGrid.

Ever since Quasar Science LED tubes first appeared a few years ago, their popularity has been spreading like wildfire. They’re inexpensive, they offer excellent color accuracy, they fit inside the kino fixtures you already bought, and you can even set them up in standard fluorescent fixtures. They have literally everything that the film industry has been hoping for to replace the standard kino bulb.

I know you don’t need me to tell you why Quasars are great. According to Brent Barbano over at ShareGrid, Quasar Science LED kits are renting 97% times more than the classic ARRI Light Kit (you know the one). These things are renting like hot cakes on the ShareGrid service.

They function very similarly to your standard kino fixtures when used in place of kino bulbs, but the quasar bulbs themselves are extremely modular, and you can place them in any number of ways for ultimate creativity.

In the following video, learn some ways to get varied looks — from dramatic cinematic light to flattering beauty light.

Perhaps the most impressive aspects of the look of the Quasar bulbs is their outstanding color accuracy and the overall quality of the light. You can almost tell simply by looking if something was lit with Quasars. It just looks so smooth, the falloff is remarkable, and the skin tones and specular highlights are like nothing else.

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — Quasar Tubes

With the modularity and low power draw of the Quasar tubes, the options become pretty endless, so let’s break down some of the lighting setups covered in the video.

1. Three-Point Lighting

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — Three-Point Lighting

This is your standard interview lighting setup — good ol’ three point lighting.

In this case, they were able to use a sort of 3, 2, 1 method with the bulbs. The keylight features three quasar bulbs (to allow the extra output some room for the diffusion), and then two bulbs on the opposite side for the fill. Then (perhaps my favorite way to use a Quasar) one single tube hung behind the talent for backlight.

2. Glamour Lighting

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — Glamour Lighting

One of the more flattering ways to light someone, the single-source from up high creates some really pleasing shadows on the face. When you place the light correctly, you can minimize the shadows around the eye socket while also effortlessly lighting the main features of the face.

Here, it appears that two bare Quasar bulbs are the keylight from up high, with a double net to bring down the exposure of her shirt. Then a little bit of Quasar light brings up the hair a bit — and adds some separation.

3. High-Contrast Lighting

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — High-Contrast Lighting

The thing about Quasars is the fantastic wrap you get. This is true of all batten-style or tube-style lights, but the Quasars are just so soft. Here, two bulbs are pointed directly at the talent at a 90-degree angle with a little bit of negative fill on the other side.

Even in this dramatic and contrasty setup, the quality of the light still looks quite nice — especially with that hint of edge light on the dark side of the talent’s face created by adding a tube for a background light.

4. Underglow Lighting

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — Underglow Lighting

While it may not be the most flattering way to light someone, lighting from below is something that comes up often enough (bar scenes, laptop scenes, etc.). Believe it or not, there are some aesthetically pleasing ways to do it.

In this case, a two-foot Quasar tube was used in conjunction with a loosely wrapped diffusion to make the source bigger yet still retain enough direction to create defined shadows. Then, to fill in the top of the head, a bead-board bounce provides fill.

5. Ring Lighting

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — Ring Lighting

If you’ve seen a makeup commercial or any number of beauty product advertisements, chances are you’ve seen the pleasing effects of a ring-light setup. One thing that’s interesting to try with Quasars is a bit of a square ring-light configuration.

You can easily rig them into a square shape and center the talent’s face in the middle. This will light them equally from all sides, creating a really even tone and some subtle shadows.

However, one of the main effects of a ring-light is the stunning catchlight in the subject’s eyes. The Quasar setup creates a really intriguing eye-light that you can’t get anywhere else.

6. Double Edge Backlight

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — Double Edge

There is really only one word for this type of lighting setup:


As a big fan of interesting backlight, I really love seeing double backlight. It adds interest to both sides of the face, creates interesting shadows all around, and just has a really powerful and confident feel.

In this case, double Quasar bulbs are just behind the subject on both sides, and a single tube and bounce board is just above the subject’s head. Notice the fantastic catch-light here as well.

7. The Xerox/Dana Dolly Light Rig

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — Xerox

With the modularity and portability of the Quasar tubes, moving the light-source through the shot is becoming more feasible. This is a common technique in car commercials and product shots because you can add a lot of interesting movement to a scene not only through camera movement but also by moving your light source.

In this case, a couple of Quasar bulbs are attached to a dana dolly and moved side-to-side just above the subject’s head, creating a really dreamy look.

7 Ways To Light A Face Using Quasar Science LEDs — Dana Dolly

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