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LCD Lighting Instruments: are we there yet?

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Dave LaRonde
LCD Lighting Instruments: are we there yet?
on Feb 13, 2007 at 7:41:53 pm

Gents:

My TV station is converting from analog SD to digital HD, and the entire plant will undergo a physical upgrade. Although the lion's share of the work is gravitating toward getting digital signals in, out and through the building, there may be other improvements to consider, too. for example: now would seeem to be a good time to get rid of our Lowell and Kliegl Bros. dinosaurs in favor of something designed in this century.

It occurs to me that LCD lighting would be a vast improvement over incandescents in terms of power consumption, size, heat emission and weight; it's a natural. However, I have NO clue of current the state of the art.

Do LCD light kits and studio intruments even exist? What forms would these new instuments take, and what would be their common uses? Any color temperature issues? How about dimming systems? What would be a reasonable price to pay for such pieces of hardware? You can't forget about the budget, no matter what.

This is my very first query on this topic, and I'm not afraid to do my homework; I simply need to be pointed in the right direction to the resouce material. Can you help me out?

Regards,

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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Dave LaRonde
Whoops!
on Feb 13, 2007 at 7:49:42 pm

I of course meant LED lighting. Dumb.....

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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john sharaf
Re: LCD Lighting Instruments: are we there yet?
on Feb 13, 2007 at 7:57:05 pm

Dave,

First off, I think you mean to ask if "LED" lighting instruments exist and are they practical for studio application.

The fact is that LED lighting is on the frontier of application, but as yet the output per watt does not offer any advantage over tungsten (it's in the area of 25 luemens per watt as opposed to 90 per watt for fluorescents). In addition, because the economy of scale has not been affected yet their per unit cost is still extremely high.

The several lights that are commercially available ar from a company called LITE PANELS and are limited to a small on camera unit (@ $1000) and a 1x1' modular device that lists for about $1600. There is no doubt that they are very sexy and useful for some special applications, namely proximity lighting in small areas and for product photography, but because the light cannot be "thrown" for a distance like conventional spotlights, it's unlikely that they will replace the lights currently in use.

The ability to dial in any color from RGB LEDs does make them unique and I'm sure this special effect capability will find a place in motion pictuire photography, especially as the output per watt increases and the prices come down.

Your error in referring to them as LCD lights is interesting because the LCD screeens that are quickly replaceing CRTs are illuminated from behind, conventionally by fluorescent light, but more and more by LED's becaue they are brighter, can create a more even light and are adjustible to particular color, and we'll be seeing more of their use in LCD displays here on out.

For the upgrade of your television (news?) studio however, you should definately look into the Kino Flo photo quality flourescents; there offer a high efficiency, good color, lack of heat and long bulb life. There are many types of units in their catalog and most recently the additions have been to design studio type instruments. Many modern news sets are lit with these lights for these very reasons!

JS


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Dave LaRonde
Re: LCD Lighting Instruments: are we there yet?
on Feb 14, 2007 at 7:45:37 pm

Thanks for the reply, John.

I most certainly did mean LED rather than LCD, and it's too bad the technology hasn't progressed further. For now, lighting with LEDs seems to be limited to very specific lighting effects and gee-whiz visuals for concerts.

And your tip for checking out Kino Flo was valuable, too. It's true that our day-to-day lighting effort is for newscasts on a permanent set, and the picture gallery on the company's web site illustrates their use.

But there is still the issue of seemingly-antiquated lighting instruments. When I want to light something in our under-utilized second studio, I'm getting tired of hauling 40-pound, 12-inch fresnels designed by Kliegl in the '30's up into the grid. I use a lot of 2 and 3-point lighting -- probably too much -- just because I don't feel like schlepping our current monsters around.

It would be nice to have instruments that were just as durable and did the same job, but consumed less electricity, emitted less heat and didn't weigh so darned much. Those Kino Flos appear to be great, but you just need a fresnell sometimes. If our current instruments are what's still commonly used, I guess I'll have to shut up, suck it up and go do some pushups.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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john sharaf
Re: LCD Lighting Instruments: are we there yet?
on Feb 14, 2007 at 7:52:31 pm

Dave,

The "Parabeam" unit that Kino Flo makes is, while still basicly a softlight, is very directional and sourcey; kind of like your fresnels with strong diffussion. The real advantage to using such quality of light is that you can often get away with less lights (fill lighting) as the key source wraps around the subjects face with a very pleasing modeling that would otherwise be ruined with too much fill.

Ultimately, there should be no need to discard your old, heavy lights, just try not to move them so much!

Regards,

JS


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cowcowcowcow
Dave LaRonde
Re: LCD Lighting Instruments: are we there yet?
on Feb 14, 2007 at 7:57:30 pm

[john sharaf] "...there should be no need to discard your old, heavy lights, just try not to move them so much!"

Amen to that, sir!

Thanks for the tip on the parabeams.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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Todd at UCSB
Re: LCD Lighting Instruments: are we there yet?
on Feb 15, 2007 at 5:09:28 am

Hi Dave,

Just to add a little:
Yes it's unfortunate that we're not there yet with LEDs. The guy who created them works at our university! While they cannot create the wattage output, the are more efficient power than incandescents-by a factor of 10x. I'm not an engineer, but LED's are around 90% efficient and rising. I know most of this because I shot an interview with the creator of white LEDs and he notice our Kino's and started going on and on about how much better LEDs were compared to florescences. So as John noted, were not there 'yet.' But it will come.
The LitePanels are very sexy, but no throw.

I have an assortment of Kinos for field and Studio, and John is correct about the ParaBeams. I use them to light our Chroma Key background.
I do feel your pain about lugging around old lights, most of our grid consists of Kiegel lights. I did a major buy 3 years ago to update to newer MoleRichardson 2Ks.
When we need to replace our old softboxes (4K), I'll be looking to replace them with Kino's ParaBeam for a nice fill. MoleRicharson makes a 'Biax' florescent unit, they can even run off of a voltage dimmer! But they don't have the throw of the ParaBeams because of the special angled mirror that the Kinos have.
FWIW



Todd at UCSB
Television Production


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