LEDs are a highly efficient light source, and putting aside any color spectrum issues, (that have generally been improving) they still have limitations for lighting people. The naked illumination coming off a single emitter, or an array making up a larger fixture, such as a panel, is just not the soft, beautiful glow that we seek for human subjects.
For decades videographers and filmmakers have been pushing the boundaries when it comes to creativity all with the aim of delivering a visually spectacular and engaging experience to viewers. For the most part they rely on artistic vision and innate skill, but over the last few years technology has been playing more of a role in enabling that creativity, like cameras, sound and lighting.
Lighting is the stuff you don't see that makes a difference in what you do see. How the audience feels about a character and whether the scene is scary, tense or upbeat are communicated by the quality and placement of light. Lighting can take the drama to a whole new level - think about film noir with all those shadows on the wall.
There's no doubt that lighting plays a critical role in videography, filmmaking and photography. It's the area of content capture that brings added creativity to shoots, whether that's filming a wedding, producing a commercial or making a movie. Much like cameras have evolved over the past few years, lighting has also evolved; from the traditional tungsten, through to the use of LEDs. Of course LEDs have been revolutionised too, now delivering powerful, cost and energy efficient solutions to creatives.
LED lighting has come a long way from the days when companies like Outsight were ridiculed by major manufacturers at trade shows because, the manufacturers asserted, technology couldn't be entrusted with the requirements of our industry.
The humble LED studio light has come a long way since its introduction. In the early days adoption was low, while scepticism that the quality and functionality of LEDs could rival traditional tungsten lighting was high. There has been a period of adjustment, challenges (particularly around light quality and manufacturing) overcome and the broadcast, media and entertainment industry has gradually grown more accepting of the technology and its benefits.
From the moment the LED light entered the broadcast, media and entertainment world its key differentiator was its energy efficiency compared to traditional tungsten studio lighting. LEDs use far less energy in the region of 90% less than tungsten lights and produce less heat. In addition, they are far more portable and generally have a longer lifespan; all benefits that are all now well recognised.
Somehow I ended up on a growing number of LED Lighting equipment manufacturers e-mail mailing lists. Most of them were from China, some from the States and elsewhere. They must have thought that, as we supply broadcast, film and video lighting, that we would be interested in LED lighting. They were right.
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