Measuring and describing the brightness of colored LEDs is an increasingly important part of a lighting designer’s practice. They are used more often, and in more types of projects, than ever before. Yet, we don’t have an accurate method for understanding exactly how much light is being produced and how bright it will appear. It’s a problem that the lighting industry needs to solve, and soon.
We recently examined several LED stage lighting units for a high school black box theatre with a 20’ high grid. The school is determined to have an all LED system, but doesn’t have the budget for top-of-the-line equipment. Our goal was to find a set of lower priced units with reasonable performance. It turned out to be harder than we thought. Here are our reviews:
In a project meeting yesterday a team member said that LED stage lights would save the owner money. While there are many reasons to include LED lights in a theatre's equipment inventory, cost savings is not one of them. We've written a white paper, LEDs In Stage Lighting, that includes an economic analysis and simple rate of return. Get a copy here.
The DOE has just issued, Energy Savings Forecast of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications (PDF, 116 pages), the latest edition of a biannual report which models the adoption of LEDs in the U.S. general-lighting market, along with associated energy savings, based on the full potential DOE has determined to be technically feasible over time. The new report projects that energy savings from LED lighting will top 5 quadrillion Btus (quads) annually by 2035. Among the key findings:
There's a funny, but true, phrase understood by theatre professionals and amateurs alike. "In is Down, Down is Front, Out is Up, Up is Back." And that's just the beginning! An architect or engineer designing a theatre will hear common words used in nonsensical ways. For years we've kicked off projects by distributing an illustrated theatre glossary to everyone on our team. We've found it to be very helpful, since architects and engineers usually don't know the lingo of the theatre. Now we've decided to make this short guide available to everyone. Our Illustrated Theatre Glossary eliminates confusion with clear definitions, descriptions, drawings, and photos. Definitions include:
Our own Lenore Doxsee will be lighting "Remains" a new work by John Jasperse at BAM's Next Wave Festival this fall. The dance piece will run from September 21 - 24 at the Harvey Theatre. BAM describes the piece as "sampling fragments and phrases from the radical practices of his forbears while repurposing them within the contemporary present."
We're putting the finishing touches on a lighting design and as we look at cut sheets we continue to be disappointed that many fixture manufacturers still don’t seem to understand the proper methods of measuring and reporting LED life. For example, an Edison Price cut sheet says that lamp life is “rated 50,000 hours based on L70/B50 criteria. LM80 report by the LED manufacturer furnished upon request,” a USAI cut sheet says that life is “Based on IESNA LM80-2008 50,000 hours at 70% lumen maintenance (L70),” and a Lighting Services Inc. cut sheet just says “Tested to LM79 and LM80 Protocols” and then gives a life of 50,000 hours. Unfortunately, these statements don’t mean what the manufacturers suggest they mean. Let’s take a look.
We’ve had several people call this year to ask, “Why should I hire Studio T+L when the local sales rep/distributor has offered to do the work?” In one instance the caller was an interior designer we’ve worked with before who wanted help in explaining the role of a lighting designer to a client. In another, it was the client of an architect who was urging that we be brought on board as a theatre consultant. In all cases the owner was looking to save money, and saw adding another consultant to the design team as a potential waste of money. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A former student of mine who works for Edison Price Lighting is organizing a group of seminars they're calling "Light In Action." It takes place here in NYC at EPL's showroom and factory, and includes demonstrations of lighting techniques, discussions on the future of LEDs (led by a representative from Xicato) and dimming LEDs (led by a representative from eldoLED), as well as a factory tour. Sounds fun, right? There are six dates between now and the end of the year. Visit EPL's web site for more information.