TV, Film and Studio Lighting

in Buyer's Guide
The underlying technology in today’s TV, film and studio lighting has changed very little since the first arc lamp was demonstrated by Sir Humphry Davy at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in 1802. Many of them still use the same Fresnel lens design that Augustin-Jean Fresnel developed in 1822. What has changed is the quantity and quality of light they produce and the materials from which they are made.

Mole Richardson Type 6741 10kW Tungsten PAR


Modern science continues to spin off better and better materials that are more durable and lightweight, can withstand heat and are easy to work with. And our industry continues to borrow from other industries to find new materials from which to fabricate housings that resist corrosion, look good and stand up to the abuse of the most careless of grips.


Arri 12kW Compact HMI Fresnel


Many modern studio luminaires are constructed of modern alloys that make them lightweight and very strong. They are typically finished with anodization, powder coating or epoxy resins to provide a durable and nice-looking housing. They have such conveniences as quick adjusting Kipp handles, Powercon connectors, Teflon guides, pole operation, tool-free lamp replacement and lots more. They use high-tech thermoset plastics for the cable insulation and low-expansion borosilicate glass for the lenses. Some have highly complex reflector geometries and some use highly efficient electronic ballasts with autoranging voltage inputs that can run on virtually any power grid in the world. The lamp technology used for these luminaires includes HMI, MSR, xenon and tungsten halogen.



Arrimax 18/12 kW Compact HMI Fresnel


And while the basic operation of the lamp has changed very little over the last hundred years, lamp technology has vastly improved in efficiency, color rendering, average life, color temperature maintenance and form factor. More compact sources have allowed greater efficiency in collecting the light produced by the lamp, and computer-aided designs have helped develop more efficient reflectors and lenses.



Solaris LAX Long Arc Xenon lighting fixture


We still have a long way to go to improve the efficiency of our studio luminaires, but advances are being made. If anyone today were to say that the studio lamp source of the future might be LED, compact fluorescent or high-efficiency incandescent that competes with HMIs and MSRs in efficacy, we might think they are crazy. But as time goes by, those crazies just might be the visionaries of the industry.



Toplight 6K PAR Softlight

Until then, here is a sample of those modern marvels we know as studio luminaires.



To view a PDF of the April 2008 PLSN Buyers Guide chart, click here .