PixelRange PixelLine 1044 RGB linear LED batten
When we started putting together our March Buyer’s Guide, we were a bit surprised by the results. Our original idea was to create a guide for a segment of conventional lights including cyc lights, striplights, and borderlights. We put out a call to manufacturers and when the results came back, we found two things: (a) there are few manufacturers of conventional cyc lights, borderlights, and striplights, and (b) each of them also gave us information about their LED products as well.
In this age of rapidly advancing LED technology, it’s not out of the question to wonder whether or not LEDs will ever replace conventional lighting. Everybody, it seems, is jumping on the LED bandwagon. Philips recognized the importance of LEDs several years ago when they bought shares of Lumileds, a manufacturer and developer of LED products. Their commitment to the technology was confirmed when they bought Color Kinetics last year. Other manufacturers have followed. Martin Professional A/S was recently awarded a technology grant from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (Højteknologifonden) for the development of new LED technologies, and even conventional lighting stalwart Altman has an assortment of LED products. That’s the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Elation Professional's Design LED 60 Strip
LEDs have their place, and their place seems to be expanding by the day. But there are still some hurdles they have to clear to become even more mainstream. They are still more expensive than conventional lights, although they are dropping in price steadily. The cost of operation is also much lower than conventional lights but that’s seldom taken into full account because it’s not readily apparent and it’s somewhat dependent on the current price of electricity and the efficiency of the HVAC system. Secondly, it remains to be seen whether or not an LED point source can ever be bright enough and cool enough to be used effectively in a hard edge projection fixture. There’s also the issue of how to make LED fixtures dim as smoothly as conventional fixtures. And lastly, it’s still up for debate whether or not an LED fixture can ever match the color rendering of an incandescent source and whether they can match the variety of color available with an incandescent source and the currently available range of gels. I’ve seen one particular fixture that I think does an excellent job, but I’m not a Broadway designer.
Lighting & Electronics Runt
The question of how dominant LED sources will become probably hinges, to a certain degree, on three things: GE Lighting’s High Efficiency Incandescent technology, the tungsten lattice technology, and David Cunningham’s patented incandescent technology, all of which promise to raise the efficiency of the incandescent lamp to levels that are competitive with today’s discharge lamps and perhaps even higher. Although these technologies exist on paper, there have been no public exhibitions, to my knowledge, of any prototypes. Hopefully, that will soon change. In the meanwhile, LEDs continue to make gains on the incandescent lamp.
Here are the latest offerings from some manufacturers of striplights, borderlights, cyc lights and multi-circuit lights, including some with LED sources.
Lighting & Electronics
Times Square Lighting
To view a PDF of the March 2008 PLSN Buyers Guide chart, click here .
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