6 power-saving lights you’ve never heard of (OR: how to brighten your day without blowing a circuit)

6 power-saving lights you’ve never heard of (OR: how to brighten your day without blowing a circuit)


love the light bulb. I’ll always have a special affinity for the glow produced by a nearly-on-fire bit of tungsten barely contained in delicate glass. While it’s served us well for over one hundred years, and may yet for decades to come, exciting and previously unavailable lighting solutions, all of which use controlled reactions to produce new kinds of light, are now a reality. Exploring these emerging technologies allows us to keep our sets brighter, greener, and less power hungry.

The following lights change intensity, change color, and may even change the way you shoot. All are available to rent through Digital Film Studios.

1) Area 48 LED – Remote Phosphor LED soft light by BB&S Lighting

Area 48 by BBS Lighting - Remote Phosphor LED Light

Area 48 by BBS Lighting – Remote Phosphor LED Light

The LED fixtures we’re used to typically comprise an array of LEDs of select color temperatures mounted to a panel. This means that the beam pattern is fixed, and with so many light sources, there are just as many shadows. In order to modify the color, we usually have to use filters, or else one of the few lights available that contains more LEDs of the desired color, which in turn creates even more shadows.

The Area 48 is different. It uses an array of 48 blue diodes and a single large panel the size of a sheet of paper in order to achieve daylight, tungsten, or even “green screen green” color temperatures. This panel isn’t a filter – it’s a phosphor coated plate that glows in the presence of blue LED light. This means that there’s no light loss when going from daylight to tungsten. Because all of the LEDs are behind one panel, there’s functionally only one light source, and as such, only one shadow is created. Even better, the light is naturally soft, and can be pleasing right out of the box.

We’ve replaced the 2K spacelights on our green screen stage with Area 48 fixtures, which has reduced the power draw from 100amps to less than 10amps without sacrificing quality or quantity of light. Plus, one can easily change between daylight and tungsten color temperatures without changing fixtures or tubes, and can control the intensity of the whole screen without dimmers or an expensive console.

Outside the studio, the Area 48 LED light can be powered with a 120W camera battery (like an Anton/Bauer Dionic-HCX 120) for up to an hour, depending on light intensity.

2) Killer Maxi – Plasma Par by Hive Lighting

Hive Lighting's Killer Maxi

Hive Lighting’s Killer Maxi – 2-light par lamp with interchangeable lenses

Sometimes, you don’t want soft light. Sometimes you need a directional light that can reach deep into the background from a distance, emulate a shaft of sunlight, or simply put a lot of light precisely wherever it’s needed. The Hive Killer Maxi uses high frequency radio waves to put gas into a plasma state, which, when done inside a tiny glass enclosure, results in a bright, coherent, daylight-balanced light source that consumes very little power. Putting the Killer Maxi inside a parabolic reflector concentrates the light produced into a very small area, which can be incredibly useful. It’s also flicker free up to 220,000,000 frames per second – all for less electricity than it would take to power a couple of Mac Pro towers.

3) ECO Punch Plus – super-bright LED par by AAdynTech

Aadyntech Punch Plus

Aadyntech Punch Plus – brightest daylight LED on the market.

At times, you may want a lot of light, but need it to remain soft and controllable. The AAdynTech ECO Punch Plus uses multiple LED sources combined and tuned for a very high CRI daylight light source that produces an even field, virtually no heat, and as much light as an average 2500W HMI Par. The light is DMX controlled, uses plastic lenses to shape the beam while maintaining a round, even field, and takes accessories, like a Chimera soft box, without a problem. It’s also the brightest daylight LED on the market (by lumens per watt).


4) Creamsource – LED broad light by Outsight


Creamsource by Outsight – broad LED light with excellent accessories

The Creamsource provides a tremendous amount of light in a highly focused beam. It has many features, including the ability to take light modifiers, like a purpose-built softbox (think Chimera), gel frames, and a “Micro lens panel” that changes the beam shape. It also has built in DMX control and can even be battery powered. Because it has an outboard power supply, the fixture itself remains lightweight and easy to use outside of a studio.

The Creamsource has other subtle and useful features: multiple units can be controlled without a lighting console from a single unit in a master/slave configuration, it’s flicker free up to 250,000 frames per second, and it has built in effects, like flash and strobe. It’s also the first light to address the artifacts that occur when using lightning and strobe effects with cameras like the Arri Alexa and the Red Epic, which have rolling shutters; the Creamsource can be used with a Creamsync box, which syncs the camera and lights.

5) L7-C – color changing LED fresnel light by Arri

Arri L7-C

Arri L7-C – color changing LED fresnel fixture with barndoors that actually work

What has been missing from the revolution of LED lights is what a traditional fresnel light can provide: a coherent beam that produces only one shadow. The Arri L7-C has a fresnel lens and barndoors that can be used much like a Mole-Richardson Tweenie. On top of that, it has an RGB+White LED light source with two modes:

One allows for color temperature adjustments from 2600K to 10000K while simultaneously adjusting the green/magenta balance – Very useful when filming under existing fluorescent lights, since you can precisely dial in the color temperature and the amount of added green to match it. The second uses HSI (hue, saturation, intensity) color mixing to give you virtually any value in the theatrical color spectrum, which is like having a whole swatchbook of gels inside one light.

6) Luminator RGBAW – color changing LED par by BriteShot

Briteshot Luminator

Briteshot Luminator – punchy, color changing LED par with great built in effects

The Luminator RGBAW combines the power of the AAdynTech ECO Punch Plus with the versatility of the Arri L7-C. It has full RGB+W color mixing, allowing for variable color temperatures as well as theatrical colors. It uses interchangeable lenses to adjust the beam angle from tight to wide. It has a sophisticated controller that not only allows you to easily change the color and intensity of the light, but also has a built-in effects engine that simulates lightning, photo flashes, police and fire trucks, and televisions.

Usually, I’m not impressed by the built-in effects on most lights, but these actually look like what their titles imply. Below you’ll find “police lights” in action on our stage:  Police Lights

We hope you found this information . . .




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