Flicker effects (also known as flame effects, fire effects, etc) are seemingly very important in film. I’ve done period pieces where we tried to motivate every light source to seem like it was made by a lantern, effects shots where something explodes and then sets on fire, or simply a campfire scene. One of the important things that I’ve noticed, and I hope will be of use to you, is when I’m given both incandescent and led sources to control- you need to have separate effects for each source.
The biggest reason for this is incandescent light is a heat based light source. There is an automatic smoothing that the heating and cooling of the element provides that means it will never react the same way as the led source. So though I may use the same wave form (well, a copy of the same wave form) for both light sources, I always make sure they are separated so I can adjust the timing or size of one to match what the gaffer wants.
Here is the wave form I use most often for fire effects. Perhaps obviously, this is a wave form that I only use when I have multiple pixels to create my effect with, as it is very sudden in the drops it creates.
With an LED source, these sudden drops are done accurately and instantaneously. With an incandescent source, they start turning into ramp up/down movements. Instead of perfect right angle turns, they become an incline or slope. This greatly changes how the effect is experienced, so adjusting the timing and scale will be necessary.
I think a great deal of good programming is anticipating the needs for change. In this case, the extra time spent setting up and potentially editing two separate effects is far ore efficient than spending time trying to make two different sources behave the same way. What examples of “the long way is the fast way” does your programming include? Share in the comments.