If you had to take a guess what the top trending technology is in the industry right now, I would bet my house on LEDs. There isn’t a day that goes by where LEDs are not brought up or talked about. But why? It’s not like LEDs are curing cancer or ending world hunger. That may be true, but for those of us in the industry, we’ve seen their other benefits first-hand.
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For starters, the LED offers a vast array of options compared to lamp technologies that we have relied on for the past century. Just in terms of the potential energy savings, LEDs are drawing notice. Take, for instance, all of the products listed in this month’s Buyers Guide. Every single fixture can be powered off a single 15-amp circuit found in almost every wall. Compare that to some of these fixtures’ counterparts in tungsten.
That energy efficiency has a corollary benefit: the expense of cooling down the room or the building filled with sizzling hot light fixtures. The extra HVAC cost associated with a studio lit with 10 2K tungsten Fresnels can, by itself, exceed the energy cost of lighting the same studio with LED fixtures.
But the advantages of LEDs for TV and film production don’t end on the bottom line of the studio’s energy bill. Think about lamp replacement costs, gels, the need for dimmers and the man-hours required to maintain and replace conventional lighting gear, and the high upfront costs of an LED investment start looking less and less daunting.
The return-on-investment (ROI) of LED fixtures ultimately depends on factors ranging from frequency of usage to cost of labor to HVAC variables. If your gig is taking place at the South Pole, or you have unpaid volunteers with a passion for swapping out bulbs and gels, that might skew things a bit.
For more and more lighting professionals, however, the ROI of LED alternatives to conventional power-gobbling fixtures is compelling enough to warrant a serious look. On the following pages, we provide a detailed look at one LED sample from 20 different manufacturers, along with a link to their websites so you can view their full product lines. The online version of this month’s Buyers Guide is even more extensive; you can link to it here: www.plsn.me/BuyersGuideApril2013.