LEDs Magazine on the promise of the Light Emitting Diode

In the April 2008 issue of LEDs Magazine (yes, I just discovered this article — when did you catch it?), Noah Davis writes that “there are few good alternatives to the beam control provided by conventional lighting fixtures in the theatre.” And then he proceeds to explain it all to us — why it is the way it is, how conventional lighting works and doesn’t work, and why LEDs will help save the world.

Davis notes that extending lamp life nearly indefinitely (conventional life: 300 – 1200 hours; LED life: 100,000+), eliminating the need for swapping gel in instruments, and lower lamp temperature are just a few of the “attractive” benefits of LED fixtures. However, Davis also notes that while there have been several LED instruments introduced for theatrical use, “none have the beam control that theatrical fixtures such as the Leko and Fresnel have.”

But wait. According to Davis, the only LED fixture on the market that comes close to providing what a theatrical lighting designer needs is the Selador X7. The instrument from Selador “uses a seven-color system to achieve a wide spectrum of colors that include the pastel range,” writes Davis. It is a strip light type instrument, and has seen competition since its introduction now that Altman is producing a similar unit called the Spectra Cyc.

But here is what I think is the key part of the article:

“The ideal LED-powered theatrical lighting fixture would not just save energy; it would save labor costs in several ways. Lamp life could be extended far beyond the hour rating of a standard theatre fixture, saving lamp replacement labor and the associated trouble shootinig time. If an LED fixture had a color-mixing method that could achieve the color range of gel, there would be no need for the labor expense of color changes. The heat generated by dozens of lighting fixtures would not compete strenuously with the air conditioning, therefore saving energy costs. Another cost-saving benefit of LED fixtures is the elimination of conventional dimmers. LED fixtures could have efficient on-board dimming that only requires line voltage and a control signal.”

The LED is on its way.


3 Responses to “LEDs Magazine on the promise of the Light Emitting Diode”

  1. August 28, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Hello Mike —

    I’ve been reading your blog today and I’m really impressed with what you’ve gathered here. The company I work for is very much into sustainable lighting solutions, and your blog will quickly become another resource for our research. Thank you!

    As far as LED fixtures in theater and special events, we’ve found that what our customers use them for is for flood lighting and color accents, such as uplighting walls or as backlight. Some of the complaints about the fixtures are that they don’t “dim” smoothly like a quartz source, or that they’re just too plain dim, which means you need more, which means more money, etc. But the major upside for them is major power conservation, in some cases 90% less power used. Quite amazing. Like you said, the LED’s on its way.

    But there are some new things out there. Have you seen this product: http://www.physorg.com/news125238861.html

    Very interesting.

    Thanks again Mike!

    Kirk Keen
    Rental Manager
    Hollywood Lighting Services, Inc.
    Portland OR

  2. August 28, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Kirk, thanks so much for your comment — and I’m thrilled that you and your shop will be looking at ecoTheater in the future. I lived in Portland for several years, and remember Hollywood Lighting! Thanks again, and I can’t tell you how much it pleases me to hear you say that Hollywood is into sustainable lighting solutions. Please keep me in the loop — I’d love to hear from you in the future about new finds and avenues for progress.

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