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If you were given a choice and money wasn’t an issue, how likely would you buy one of those multi-tone flood lights for your photography/videography considering that you will be shooting RAW and with high color fidelity CRI artificial lights, you can easily correct the tones to your liking in the post production.

Yet, there are multi-tone lights that you can take them from ~2700-6000K or so. What are some reasons that such products exist from professional standpoint? How could a professional photographer/videographer benefit from using it?

What would be some of the important features that you would want from such product, like would you like automatic light reading of the room and adjustment?

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Lets start with some background stuff to bring all the things together:

Lights used for photography has a certain spectrum of colored light. The closer the composition is to that of natural light, the better the color rendition. This is expressed with the CRI. Cheap LED lights with low CRI sometimes lack some of the spectrum, which then leads to strange or party missing colors, especially in skin tones, which is very hard to correct.

However, natural or full spectrum light also shifts in color during the day due to the interaction with the atmosphere. This shift in color in orange/blue can be equalized via the white balance.

Color Temperature, Source Wikipedia

The other balance that we can encounter, is magenta/green which occurs to a lesser extend and can be used to counter color cast of e.g. fluorescent lamps.

         magenta
  red      |
           |
           |
yellow ----+---- blue
           |
           |
           |     cyan
         green

So much for the background. But back to you question: Why can you adjust the color temperature?

If you are using the lights indoor with no other lights, then you never need to adjust the lights at all. You would just dial in their color temp in your camera and be done.

However, it becomes much more difficult if you want to mix the artificial light with natural light or other lights like tungsten lamps.

While our eyes are very well trained to cope with white balance, if they encounter mixed lighting, they fail. So will your camera. You will either perceive some light as blaring blueish or as almost orange, depending on the dominating light source.

This can be used creatively for storytelling, e.g. to underline the cozyness of a home via warm light, but it will ruin your shot if you just wanted to create an evenly lit scene.

For this reason you can set the color temp on some lights, so that you can match the color temp of the lights you cannot adjust.

If you have a light, that is not adjustable, you can use colored gels to change the color temp. There are orange gels, which are called CTO (Color Temperature Orange) and blue ones, called CTB (Color Temperature Blue).

So if you have ever seen a photographer using an orange filter on his speedlight, while taking shots at an indoors event, this is exactly the same thing: To avoid ending up with very pale and blueish looking people ind a warmly lit room, they adjust the light of the speedlight to match the color temperature, giving the picture a more natural look.

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  • The lecture wasn’t necessary I knew it all already, I would rather you go more into detail and possible scenarios on why someone would employ a “dual tone” flash/floodlight that had adjustable color temperature. – Jack Shephard Jun 12 at 6:26
  • @JackShephard While answers are of course targeted to the one asking, they are also targeted for other people finding your question. Apart from that, I cannot know what you know unless your question makes it clear. – Kai Mattern Jun 12 at 22:40

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