Why Do Car Lights Flicker On Camera?

Have you ever noticed that car lights flicker when you see them on a video or in a photograph? It’s a common phenomenon that can be both distracting and confusing. But have you ever wondered why this happens? As a professional photographer or videographer, it’s important to understand the science behind this phenomenon in order to capture clear and crisp footage.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind why car lights flicker on camera, and what you can do to avoid it. We’ll discuss how car lights work, and the role that shutter speed and frame rate play in capturing them on camera. We’ll also delve into the impact that different types of lighting, like fluorescent or LED, can have on the flicker effect. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of why car lights flicker on camera and how to capture them without any distracting interference. So whether you’re a professional photographer, videographer, or just someone who enjoys taking photos and videos of cars this article is for you.

What you need to know about car lights 

When it comes to car lights, there are a few important things that every driver should know:

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand how to properly use your car lights to ensure safety on the road. This includes:

Also, it is important to know how to maintain and replace your car lights when necessary, as dim or malfunctioning lights can also pose a safety hazard.

Car lights flickering on camera?

In some cases, you may notice that your car lights flicker on camera, which may be a cause for concern. This phenomenon can occur for a variety of reasons, including issues with the electrical system, a loose or damaged bulb, or even interference from other electronic devices. In some cases, the flickering may be harmless and simply a result of the camera’s shutter speed, while in other cases it may indicate a more serious problem that requires attention from a professional mechanic.

If you notice that your car lights are flickering on camera, it is important to investigate the cause and take appropriate action to ensure the safety and reliability of your vehicle.

Why do car lights flicker on camera

Car lights flicker on camera due to the way that cameras capture light. Most video cameras capture footage at a specific frame rate, typically either 24 or 30 frames per second. Car headlights and other lights are powered by alternating current (AC), which means that the light output fluctuates rapidly. This fluctuation can cause the lights to appear to flicker on camera, especially if the camera’s shutter speed is not synchronized with the frequency of the AC power source.

Also, some cameras use a rolling shutter, which captures each frame of video line by line rather than all at once. This can also contribute to the appearance of flickering lights, as different parts of the frame may be captured at different times. While this phenomenon can be frustrating for filmmakers and videographers, there are techniques that can be used to minimize or eliminate it, such as adjusting the camera’s shutter speed or using specialized lighting equipment designed for use with cameras.

With that said, here’s a brief list of the causes of car lights flickering on camera that you can keep in mind:

  • Inconsistency of power source
  • Reflections from shiny surfaces
  • Frequency of the camera
  • Bulb or wiring issues
  • Interference from other electronics

Why do vehicle lights dim on camera?

Vehicle lights may dim on camera due to a variety of reasons, one of which is the alternator’s output. The alternator is responsible for providing power to the car’s electrical system and charging the battery while the engine is running. If the alternator is not generating enough power, the car lights may appear dim or flicker in camera.

Another possible cause is a weak battery, which may not be able to hold a charge and deliver power to the lights consistently. 

Corroded or loose electrical connections can also affect the performance of the lights, causing them to flicker or dim. 

Also, if the car’s voltage regulator is malfunctioning, it can cause fluctuations in the electrical output, leading to flickering lights.

It’s important to have these issues addressed promptly, as flickering or dimming lights can affect visibility while driving and compromise safety. 

Flickering lights in camera

Should I be concerned when my car lights flicker on camera?

Have you ever noticed that your car lights appear to flicker when seen on camera? Seeing this can be concerning, but it is actually a common occurrence that can happen due to various reasons. Firstly, the camera’s frame rate can be a cause of the flickering. If the frame rate of the camera does not match the frequency of the lights, it can cause a flicker effect. Secondly, damaged or old wiring in your car can cause fluctuations in the voltage, causing the lights to flicker. Thirdly, the type of bulb in your car can also be a factor.

LED lights may appear to flicker on camera due to their rapid on/off cycle. However, if you notice your car lights constantly flickering, it may be a sign of an electrical issue and should be checked by a professional. Overall, car lights flickering on camera is not necessarily a cause for concern, but it’s important to be aware of the reasons behind it. 

Possible ways to fix car lights issues

Car lights flicker on camera due to a variety of reasons, including a damaged alternator, a weak battery, or a faulty headlight switch. Fortunately, there are several possible ways to fix these issues and ensure your car lights work properly. Here are a few:

  1. Firstly, you can check the battery terminals for any corrosion or looseness and clean them if necessary. 
  2. Secondly, you can inspect the alternator and determine whether it needs to be replaced. Testing the voltage and amperage output can help diagnose this issue. Thirdly, you can check the headlight switch and replace it if it’s not functioning properly. 
  3. Also, you can inspect the wiring and connections for any damage or wear and tear, and replace any damaged parts. 
  4. Lastly, if all else fails, it’s recommended to take your car to a professional mechanic, who can diagnose and fix the issue for you.

By addressing these issues, you can ensure that your car lights work properly and avoid any potential safety hazards while driving at night or in low-light conditions. 


In summary, car lights flicker on camera due to the interaction of the artificial light source with the camera’s shutter speed. While it can be frustrating for videographers and photographers, understanding the technical reasons behind this phenomenon can help them better manipulate the camera’s settings to achieve the desired effect.

Different types of vehicle light bulbs, shutter speeds, and frames per second can all impact the flicker effect. By experimenting with these variables, photographers and videographers can produce stunning visual effects that add depth and dimension to their work. 


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