The entertainment and performance industry, which covers television, movies and live performances, has undergone profound changes in recent years. For stage environments of all kinds, the show cannot go on without quality lighting. To meet the diverse demands of this industry, LED players are coming up with a range of innovative products
By Baishakhi Dutta
Indians love entertainment. In the entertainment industry, it is lighting that directs the audience’s attention, creating moods and special effects, painting a picture and giving form to ideas. That is why the backstage crew has always been considered almost as important as the actors playing their roles at centre stage. Today, LEDs are the magicians that make things happen on-stage.
The terms used in LED lighting for events
Lighting can help either showcase or highlight certain characters, elements and features that you want the audience to see; or distract you from noticing something that a stage manager would prefer that you didn’t notice.
Uplighting: Uplighting looks fantastic in photos and is a great base layer for transforming the event space.
Texture lighting: Texture lights project patterns on walls, ceilings, floors, dance floors, stages, etc, to create depth, contrast and interest. Patterns can be matched to your event’s design choices to provide a fully immersive look and feel to the auditorium or stage, tying in all the design elements together.
Pin-spot lighting: Centrepieces, the cake table, place cards, guest book areas, sweetheart tables, and bar areas can all benefit from this type of lighting.
Cake spotlighting: This is a form of pin-spot lighting, tailored specifically to illuminating a cake. These lights are perfect for illuminating cupcakes, dessert tables and any other feature elements on the stage.
Monogram lighting: This is a form of Gobo lighting. Monograms can be used in popular locations including the dance floor, prominent walls, behind the head table, at the entrance to the stage or on the outside of the venue.
Centrepiece lighting: These are battery-powered light discs that can be placed underneath items like centrepieces, buffet displays and photos. They project from underneath and can be set to any colour.
Pipe and drape: This refers to the pipes that hold up fabric panels that can be used to define spaces, cover up unsightly features on the stage, and create cabanas or other beautiful backdrops on it.
Blisslight: This creates thousands of pinpoints of light that look like stars that slowly move towards and away from each other, creating a slow moving star field effect.
Did you know?
LED space lights used on stage offer an output equivalent to conventional lighting of 6,000-watt capacity, yet reduces energy consumption by more than 80 per cent.
The many benefits of LEDs at events
The demands of today’s entertainment industry require highly creative engineering to accomplish the client’s goals.
LEDs are becoming more and more common on film sets. They can easily be powered by batteries, which makes them very portable. And they do not require separate ballasts or heavy cabling. Panels made from LED lights can be small and compact, or large, depending on the need.
Engineers are currently working on creating cutting-edge designs, which use the latest technology in the LED market. There are a range of solutions for manufacturing LED devices and equipment suitable for use in stage productions, film sets and event locations, for the entertainment industry needs to create visually appealing scenes to evoke the right response from the audience.
LEDs in entertainment offer significant advantages over conventional lighting sources. They are much more efficient, longer lasting, have improved efficacy, are nearly maintenance-free and operate at much cooler temperatures.
A comparison of luminous efficacy
- Tungsten quartz halogen: Up to 35lm/W
- HMI: Up to 115lm/W
- Fluorescent: Up to 100lm/W
- LED: Up to 150lm/W
Colour control: LED colours can be controlled or changed easily with a remote control, unlike conventional lighting.
Heat reduction: Heat reduction is one of the top benefits of LEDs. Conventional lighting sources tend to get so hot they can actually burn the hands of those handling them, especially without gloves.
Energy-efficient: LEDs run at an energy efficiency of 80-90 per cent. This makes LED lights more efficient. And nearly all the energy they consume gets converted into lighting, rather than getting lost as heat.
Environment-friendly: Conventional lighting sources have various toxic chemicals, such as mercury, which are harmful to the environment. If not recycled properly, this damages the environment and releases toxic chemicals into it. LED lights are free of such toxic chemicals and are a clean alternative. They are 100 per cent recyclable, and will even slash your carbon footprint by up to one-third.
Weight: LED fixtures tend to weigh much less than traditional lighting fixtures. Since LEDs produce less heat, more of such fixtures are now being made from high-impact plastics, which are lighter.
Transportation: This accounts for a high per cent of the costs incurred in event lighting production. In the rental market, trucking and transportation must be factored into every single budget. LED fixtures can reduce the space requirements in trucking, saving you money in the process.
Longer life span: LEDs are longer lasting than conventional lighting sources. They last about 50,000 hours, and perhaps even longer in some scenarios. The key to the long life span of LEDs is how well the LED chips are cooled. Conventional lighting sources may last only 5,000 to 20,000 hours, at the most.
Durability: LED lights don’t use fragile components such as glass and filaments, so they’re able to withstand shock, vibration and extreme temperature.
What Indian players are offering
There are two factors that make LED lighting a good choice for events. The first is low energy consumption and the second is infinite RGB (Red, Green Blue) colour mixing. If your event is at an older venue that can’t handle a lot of lighting or if the venue owners impose heavy fees for power, the lower power usage is a great plus.
LED manufacturers are offering a wide range of solutions tailored to meet the growing demands of the entertainment and event sectors in India.
Philips’ Vari-Lite is at the forefront in automated lighting technology. Today, lighting professionals who work in theatres, television studios, concerts, motion pictures, corporate shows and advertising, look to Vari-Lite for support for their productions.
Philips’s Showline offers a range of LED luminaires designed for the entertainment industry. These provide a strong feature set and rugged construction, combined with high performance LED sources. Setting a new standard in the industry, all Showline luminaires are designed to work seamlessly together to enhance colour, dimming capabilities and operations.
Strand lighting offers one of the world’s most comprehensive and competitive ranges of conventional and LED luminaires, dimming equipment, control systems and software to address the creative needs of lighting designers working in theatre, television, film, themed environments and sophisticated architectural applications.
A quick tip for buyers
If you need flexibility, choose battery-powered LEDs. There are no wires attached to them, which allows for more possibilities in placement. Wireless battery-powered LEDs are especially handy for uplighting. You won’t be restricted by the location of power outlets nor have to hide extension cords.
GE lighting offers a range of LED lighting technologies for use in applications including stage, studio, film and event lighting. It has a wide range of halogen and metal halide lamps for use in films, which includes broadcast lighting for both the studio and on location. The company also offers a low energy compact fluorescent lighting solution for soft lighting in studios. GE lighting has a wide range of LED lamps for events and tours where high light output and high colour temperature are required to give the best light effects, for those performing and for audiences.
Osram offers compact HTI metal halide lamps to create brilliant stage lighting effects. Alongside Osram offers a wide range of halogen lamps and luminaries having adjustable colour dynamic options for the best possible results in stage lighting.
A few events that used LEDs to great effect
- Audi A5 launch party
- Miley Cyrus’world tour
- Jay Chou’s Opus world tour
- Harlem’s world tour concerts
- Cat Powers world tour
- Live Rock Festival, Peru
- MTV Music Awards
- Bruno Mars’world tour
- Eurovision song contest
What the future holds
The media and entertainment (M&E) industry is a sunrise sector for the Indian economy and is making great strides forward. It is today in a strong phase of growth, backed by rising consumer demand, improving advertising revenues and a greater reach due to the Internet.
So the demand for energy-efficient, innovative LED lighting in this sector will also continue to increase.