KitPlus - The TV-Bay Magazine

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Chitty built a large array of Fay lights for him, which could be slung from a crane at a quarter mile distance, to produce the effect of moonlight. A ferocious fixture by any standards, full Wendy Lights (still very much in use today) can draw anything up to 124kW of power. And there-in lies - probably - the most significant drawback with both the Wendy Light and the ubiquitous Space Light. Given our awakening to the stresses placed on the planet through use of resource- hungry devices, the significant power draw and consequential heat produced by traditional fixtures, have led the world of image capture to seek more efficient means of achieving the same end. As an example of the profligate nature in which large numbers of Space Lights can consume resources, one major film franchise utilised some 1,600 to light a single stage. Powered by Diesel generator sets, the fuel bill on a weekly basis was some $60,000. Consequently over time the Space Light has become something of a ‘Holy Grail’ for replication using less resource-hungry technologies, such as LED. To the manufacturer with a comprehensive understanding of the technology, this is now an achievable goal. One such example is the Space Force from LED lighting specialists, Chroma-Q. Bill Chitty’s creation holds within, however, a number of characteristics which until recently, have been hard to emulate. To produce a comparable volume of light to that of a 6kW Space Light in black skirt, and a target at its base, requires a significant number of LEDs. This then compounds further issues which put potential replacements at odds with the original design. To remove the heat from a large number of LEDs, such that they don’t fail prematurely, or experience colour shift because of a varying temperature gradient, can require active cooling by way of fans, and significant heat-sinking. Both of these elements can add unwelcome attributes, namely noise and weight. A traditional Space Light is silent running and weighs in (with Silk, Skirt and Target) at around 12kg. Chroma-Q’s Space Force is one of the first ‘replacements’ to truly match, in terms of volume of light produced, an incandescent Space Light (with Silk and Skirt on), whilst retaining those vital characteristics – with the added benefit of significantly reduced power draw. Passively cooled without the use of fans, the Space Force runs virtually silent. In addition it weighs a diminutive 8kg, so is indeed lighter than a fully rigged Space Light. So here perhaps we are neck and neck comparing new technology versus old technology. At which point we introduce one of the Chroma-Q Space Force’s strongest characteristics. One of the ‘tricks’ often employed on large film sets is to gel the fixtures extending into the background, with blue. This creates the illusion on film of colour depth within the frame, a recreation of the real world effect of UV (short wavelength) light in the spectrum, which can make the view into the distance appear increasingly blue. This is not without its issues, however, as it necessitates applying gel to each fixture individually from a cherry picker, which is both time consuming and not without cost. In this instance, via DMX control (and if required using a wireless link), the Space Force’s colour can be tuned remotely - in an instant between 2,800K - 6,500K. With a more organic shape that resembles a traditional Space Light, as opposed to the more common rectangular form which many LED sources take, the Space Light is not just confined to use as a top-source. Mounted in a yoke, it can be deployed with a number of accessories in varying situations, which is perhaps where it really scores over a Space Light. A more versatile fixture, it provides a solution to a multitude of other potential lighting problems. Would Bill Chitty have been impressed with the Space Force? The obvious level of development and engineering would, one hopes, have elicited a resounding ‘Yes’. L HE WAS BY AL ACCOUNTS A . GOOD BLOKE KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 119 NOVEMBER 2016 | 65