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Getting to Know the LED Ellipsoidal Generation – A JimOnLight Series Introduction

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I’ve done a lot of shows in my career so far. I’m lucky as hell, don’t get me wrong – but because of it, I feel like I have a real “bond” with incandescent and high-intensity discharge lamps (HIDs) that we use in this industry. It’s almost creepy sometimes – in my head, I know how a good ol’ no-color Source Four looks in a dark theatre. I know how an Altman 360Q looks in a theatre sitting next to it, too – and how it looks sitting with a Shakespeare, also uncorrected, next to a Source Four. As I close my eyes to write this, I can see how an old Strand 30-degree feels inside of a theatre or outside during an outdoor performance, and how a tried-and-true PAR64 can burns so beautifully bright and amber when it’s going through red shift during a nice slow fade-up during a song in an arena. Even awesome old Kliegl 6×8’s have a good beam still, as long as the optics are changed from those miserable step lenses!

As a side note, I listened to Vesa Honkonen tell a story when I was attending graduate study in Sweden about “trusting” the light from a certain type of reflector, and how that trust cost him time and money on a project.  So as a bit of an aside, with every statement is an equal anti-statement!

I have gotten to know the fixtures in our industry very well because I’ve been fortunate to use them in a real variety of performance situations and installations. When you get to know something like an ellipsoidal fixture with an incandescent lamp in it and you use it over and over and over again, you get to trust the fixture.  I can say with ease that I trust the light that comes from the business end of a Source Four; at the same time, I trust the light that comes out of an Altman 360Q as well, whether it has an HX601 lamp in it or an old FEL lamp.  As a designer, as an artist — I know what that light from an incandescent lamp in one of the “typical” variety of ellipsoidals is going to do for me in a scene on actors of any skin tone, or on a presenter during, or on film and video, and whether it has a chunk of R26 or L181HT in it.  I know that kind of light.  I trust that light.

In the world we live in now, incandescent lamps are slowly becoming forcefully shunned by a growing portion of the lighting industries as a whole (and politicians, sadly), with LED replacements becoming the forced norm by pretty much all of the companies that at one time were pushing an incandescent based fixture.  These companies are all now driving quickly on the road of a really good trend: to produce a fixture that provides the same kind of light or better than that of an incandescent lamp based fixture with a lot less power consumption and without losing any light quality.  Sounds easy enough, right?

There is a strange, edgy, “new car smell” feeling towards the new strains of LED fixtures making their births into the industry.  We are inundated with them at the trade shows in our business, just like we were with the incandescent conventionals.  Manufacturers, this is perfectly acceptable, and I think that it’s one of your biggest assets in this industry.  It’s your job to make us trust your fixtures, through hands-on videos and “shoot-outs” between incandescent and LED fixtures out there.  My informal surveying of conference attendees over the last three years has seen many responses like “TOO MANY LEDS” and “If I see another crappy wannabe LED fixture at another trade show, I’m going to die.”  Believe it or not, this is a really good thing — it provides an opportunity for the exceptional equipment to rise to the top of the Diode Ocean, as I like to call it.  Lately, these exceptions are overcoming their inferior rivals, much to my happiness.

Users, we have a job to do, too — we have to give the manufacturers the chance to trust LED light.  We have to learn how it is different than its incandescent counterparts.  We’ve had all of these decades to learn how to work with incandescent light (and HID light too, for what it’s worth), and we know it.  We trust it, and we love it.  But why is that?  It’s because it’s what we know, and it really is that simple.  Once we give the LED ellipsoidal generation a chance, you know we’re going to trust that too.  This isn’t to say that LEDs are done developing, this obviously isn’t true.  But I am noticing some unbelievably incredible advances in LED engines and output technology lately, especially after LDI in October 2012, and I have to say that I am finally ready to learn to trust LED conventional ellipsoidals.  It’s hard not to at this point to see that LED ellipsoidals are becoming the obvious choice, with the color temperature tuning we see now and the low power requirement that they provide — and to argue against energy consumption and power conservation is just not in my DNA.

Over the next 2 weeks I’m going to be comparing the LED conventional ellipsoidals we see in Entertainment to their incandescent counterparts over the next month, starting with ETC’s new Source Four LED line first, followed by Robert Juliat’s Zep and Tibo ranges, then moving on to the RevEAL Profile from Prism Projection, and so on.  In the mean time, let’s take a look at the characteristics I’ll be examining that I find important to applying trust, at least on paper – you can argue that there are more to see, but for the sake of argument, let’s start with:

  • Cost Comparison:
    What kinds of costs are we looking at over the course of an LED Ellipsoidal lifetime?  How different is it, really?
  • Light Output, or Perceived Brightness:
    How does it compare to a comparable incandescent conventional?
  • Spectral Analysis:
    What is the white light in the beam comprised of with respect to wavelength?
  • Power Consumption:
    When you put an LED ellipsoidal up against an incandescent lamp at 575W, how does it perform?
  • Weight:
    I have to stick these in a truck and on a truss at some point, so what is the difference I need to know?
  • Controllable Properties:
    Obviously I have only a few with an incandescent fixture, so what comes stock in an LED ellipsoidal that makes a difference?

Let’s go on this journey together.  When we work on something together as an industry, we get to make it how we want it to be, and manufacturers listen.  Once we started to get involved with the ways that incandescent lamps were developed and lighting designers started demanding better control over design and engineering of incandescent lamps, they improved.  All we have to do now is learn what the LED Ellipsoidal generation can do for us, and we can really make a difference.

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Fun Trivia: Hide and Seek Hopper in ETC’s HQ

Electronic Theatre Controls’ headquarters in Middleton, Wisconsin is generally accepted as unbelievably awesome. ETC won In Business Magazine’s “Commercial Designs of the Decade” award for best development in a large building. Amongst the tangle of storefronts, theaters, and towers; its own “town square” buzzing with inspiration and creation, is a replica of a very famous diner–American realist painter Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.” Some cool trivia many do not realize is–quite a few more of Edward Hopper’s paintings influenced ETC’s Town Square. The storefronts were influenced by “Early Sunday Morning” and the bank entrance at the headquarters which houses the finances department with “New York Pavements” and “Summertime.” Characters from Hopper paintings are also visible, including:

• From “Four Lane Road” an older man in a chair, located across from ETC’s deli

• Also from “Four Lane Road” the woman is seen leaning out a window above the Habberdashery (the clothing and swag shop) • “Girl at a Sewing Machine” is also across from the deli, but closer to Manufacturing

• The man from “Pennsylvania Coal Town” is seen by the Century Theatre’s ever-changing marquee

• From “New York Office,” a woman seen above the bank

• From “Room In Brooklyn” the girl sitting with her back to the window

Edward Hopper was a fabulous painter and printmaker. His works portray all the light our eyes harvest from the world magnificently, and it is really fantastic that Electronic Theatre Controls’ headquarters holds such clever tributes to Mr. Hopper. Without light, there is nothing for a painter to portray.

 

 

 

Nighthawks reception photo by John Jacobsen.

Happy Monday and Namaste to Everyone!

Lumen on Daddy's shoulder

I’m writing from the very, very hot state of Oklahoma, in a city hotter than Hell itself, Oklahoma City.  I think we’re on our 30+th day of 100 degrees or above in a row.  How awesome is that?!  I went outside the other day, saw a guy burst into flames – and OKC is in the Bible Belt!  Wackity schmackity doo!

Since I broke my toes last week, I won’t be attending ETC’s very excellent CUE Conference taking place in Middleton, Wisconsin this week.  From what I understand, it’s gonna be pretty awesome.  I’m pretty bummed that I’m gonna miss it.

As I sit here, I continue to work on some pretty amazing stuff myself – I have a handful of new lamps, both LED and non-LED incandescent replacements – that I am doing a lot of testing on for a big comparison post on JimOnLight.com.  What I find is that the only way to accurately report on these lamps is to put them in place in a situation that they would normally perform in and report on that situation.  Doesn’t that just seem like a no-brainer?

a storm and Greg

Ok, back to it. I hope this finds everyone doing great today on this hot Monday!

Bill Klages Teaches Television Lighting at ETC’s Summer Camp

I finally got through ALL of my Bill Klages shots – last week at ETC’s Summer Camp in Middleton (at the ETC Mothership!) I got to listen to Bill Klages talk about setting up shots for film and broadcast.  You know who Bill Klages is, right?  He’s only the father of modern television lighting and all.

It was pretty amazing to get to see him work and teach the audience.  The man knows light, and it is so obvious how much skill he has developed over the course of his career.  I snapped a ton of shots of Bill while he was giving his seminar, and I’ve listed a gallery view below.  Click on one, and you’re transported to a mystical gallery place of images, like MAGIC!

I just loved this shot – the model is Marina, who was a champ and a good sport for the demo.

Fred Foster, ETC‘s CEO, introducing Mr. Klages.

Fred Foster giving Bill Klages his “HD” hat.

Gallery below!

A Tour of ETC’s Amazing Factory – Also Known as “The Mothership”

While I was in Middleton this last weekend for the ETC Summer Camp, I was lucky enough to get a grand tour of the place where all Source Fours, Sensor dimmers, ETC consoles, and other ETC lighting lines are created, manufactured, and repaired when necessary.  This was a pretty cool experience, quite frankly!  I have a metric ton of images for you all here – along with some narration for most of them.

*Deep breath*

I’ve put these images into a gallery with descriptions and titles – click on the one on the top left below here and the gallery pages will load up, and you can step through each images by clicking on the icons underneath each large image.  Simplicity!

JimOnLight.com Covers ETC’s Dealer and Rep Summer Camp

I had a great time this last weekend at Electronic Theatre Controls‘ 2010 Summer Camp – the great folks at ETC had me up to experience their Dealer/Rep Summer Camp Conference, where ETC dealers and representatives across the world learn about new products, existing products, talk to people working in the major leagues with their products, and generally have a good time.  The first night I was there, I had a day of learning about Selador LEDs, Unison systems, Sensor dimming, and seeing a shootout of ETC products against other products in the industry.

I mean, who hasn’t ever used an ETC product?  I can say that it certainly isn’t me – my career started out on a Microvision FX, and ETC stuff has been in my career since then.  It was pretty great to meet everyone, see people I knew, and meet new people that I will know from now on.  The factory is pretty awesome – I’ve got a post all about that on its own, as well as a post with Bill Klages’ lecture about television and film lighting!

One of the absolute highlights for me at this conference was listening to Pete Weigland and Nick Gonsman give a demo on integrating wireless devices with the EOS console.  Nick and Pete gave so much information on wireless devices in general that my mind was absolutely full of information on wifi, and happy to be so full.  Thanks, Nick and Pete!

Check out some images, won’tcha?

Me and Lowell Olcott rocking a few bottles of the Spotted Cow…  YUM!

My favorite shot of John Kuehl, ETC’s web and social media genius

David Lincecum, Jim Hutchison, Bill Klages (the father of modern TV lighting), and ETC’s Pres, Fred Foster

David Hilton and Novella Smith talking about Selador LED fixtures

The Sons of Sunset jamming in front of the ETC Mothership!

Here’s a ton more shots – in gallery format!  Click one and flip through them all!

Thanks for having me, ETC!

RIP Jody Hanson from ETC

Oh wow.  What a bummer of a thing to read.

ETC‘s long time Promo and Ad Manager, Jody Hanson, passed away this last weekend.  I just found out about it.  That lady was awesome – a hard driving deal maker with a respect and knowledge of the lighting industry that we all call home.  Jody understood how important the world of blogging and Social Media was to the industry, and she was supportive of people like myself in the beginning of our careers.

We’ll miss you, Jody.

From ETC’s press release about Jody’s passing:

Middleton, WI (2 June 2010) — A mainstay of ETC’s Marketing department for over 13 years as the company’s Promotions and Advertising Manager, Jody Hanson passed away on Sunday, May 30, 2010. The global family of ETC grieves the loss.

From January 1997, when Jody started at ETC, she brought her passion for professionalism to the ETC Marketing team, locally and globally. Entrusted with ETC’s representation to the promotional media, Jody was well known and respected in the industry. She led countless successful promotional campaigns and projects for ETC — on every new product since the introduction of the Obsession® II lighting control console.

As Electronic Theatre Controls’ Chief Executive Officer Fred Foster reflects, “Jody gathered together a truly creative team of people who produced more than 100 trade shows, hundreds of media placements, and uncountable hits on our website. They all followed her professional lead to produce a precise and complete image for ETC. We all miss Jody, but her impact on our lives will never fade.”

ETC Vice President of Marketing Bill Gallinghouse concurs: “Jody had a unique ability to break down the largest and most complex objectives into manageable parts and guide them perfectly to fruition.”

Born on January 10th, 1954, Jody was a Wisconsinite who made the Madison area her home for the last 14 years. She is survived by her husband John, and her daughter Emily.

A memorial will take place for Jody on Saturday, June 5th, 2010, in her hometown of Columbus, Wisconsin, at St. Jerome’s Church, 1550 Farnham St., starting at 8:30 a.m., followed by a memorial mass of burial at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people make donations to or volunteer time with their favorite charity.

Please use Cornerstone Funeral Services’ online guestbook to express condolences to the family:
www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/tribute.cfm?o_id=626959&fh_id=11053&s_id=B7DF14561337816249238C23C057EAAB

USITT 2010 – Kansas City Pics from the Show Floor


The view from the hotel room in Kansas City – as far as midwest hotel scenes goes, not too bad!

I’m back from USITT 2010.  I had a very huge fun time, most of it with the great readers of JimOnLight.com.  I’m constantly saying that JimOnLight.com readers ROCK, and this last week I was reminded just how much you all rock.  I met so many people that I have only known digitally, and got to see people that I haven’t seen in a while.  An awesome week, to be sure.

Oh yeah, and I took a mega-ultra-super-metric-ton of photos and video.  Get ready.  Here’s a taste:

The illustrious @a_mandolin holding one of Luxim‘s wonderful LIFI sources at the excellent SeaChanger booth.  I love my Toms!

Electronic Theatre Controls‘ CEO Fred (Foster) and Bobblehead Fred:

The line for the Mag Lite giveaway – holy cow were those things popular!

Evening Kansas City from my hotel room window:

Amanda Lynne playing in City Theatrical‘s fake snow:

More of the Mag Lite line – wow, indeed, again:

Everybody’s favorite @LekoGirl with Bobblehead Fred:

This guy, @aronaltmark, is rapidly becoming one of my favorite guys:

People flocking to Amanda Lynne:

Jim (OnLight) trying to look thug next to @NoahCraft looking thug next to @JimOnLight:

Stay tuned.  More to come!

Thanks to JimOnLight.com Sponsors – January 2010

Folks, the readers of JimOnLight.com have been called a lot of wonderful things – “the most dedicated readership in the lighting industry,” “a very engaged group,” and my personal favorite, “the most supportive group of readers that a website could be fortunate enough to have.”

Yeah, that’s right, you guys rock.

Advertisements on JimOnLight.com are hand-picked.  I keep reputable companies on the site because you all deserve to have relevant ads supporting JimOnLight.com.  If it weren’t for the great companies that advertise on JimOnLight.com, I wouldn’t be able to write every day for all of you.

If your company is interested in being a part of this awesome community, check out the advertising page.

January Sponsors:



Electronic Theatre Controls – you might know them as ETC – is a great company that is known for their Source Four line of luminaires and their outstanding lines of lighting control consoles.  ETC has also entered the rigging market with their Prodigy line of hoists, and the LED market with the Selador line of fixtures.  Check them out if you haven’t – it’s worth your while!

Genielux is the new rental and sales locator for lighting, audio, video, staging, and entertainment production gear.  Using your iPhone, you can find out who has 300 star strobes in Stickney, Illinois when you’re in a pinch or find out who’s got your Meyer cabinets in Tookus, Nebraska.  For suppliers, it costs you a couple of bucks a month to get your information into Genielux and help people in a pinch.  Oh yeah – and for users, the Genielux iPhone app is completely free!  How much better does it get to help out the industry?

I gotta believe that everybody knows Mike Zinman and Zinman Software – he started out rocking AutoCAD with AutoBlock back in the day – now he rocks the iPhone software market with great software like ML Finder PRO, PocketLD, GelCalc, iSwitch DMX, and Portfolio.  Check out his stuff – it’s a time saver!

From color scrollers to LED fixtures, dichroic color-changing fixtures to feedback control, Wybron has been around for a long time.  Wybron’s Coloram scrollers have been in thousands of shows across the globe; their InfoTrace system has gotten tons of press for its feedback prowess; and the Nexera and Cygnus lines of fixtures are making their mark in the industry.
Thank you to our sponsors, and thank you to every JimOnLight.com reader on the planet!

ETC Wins A PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation for the Selador Line!

selador_wins_PLASA_2009

Electronic Theatre Controls, maker of the Source Four line of luminaires and the Ion, Eos, Congo, and Express lines of control consoles, won a PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation at this year’s conference for the Selador line of LED fixtures.  Congratulations, ETC!

The press release from the ETC newsroom:

Lighting, dimming and controls manufacturer ETC is celebrating after winning a coveted Innovation Award for the Selador LED range of fixtures at this year’s PLASA.

The award judges congratulated the ETC Selador fixtures for “taking a significant step towards the ultimate goal of energy efficient incandescent replacement lighting.” They continued by pointing out that “ETC has developed this LED fixture with a colour output that gets close to the spectral curve of traditional incandescent source, thereby making LED technology a step closer to wider use in theatres and similar applications.”

Outside of the awards, the PLASA show was, says ETC’s Promotions & Advertising Manager for Europe, Rosi Marx, a complete success, with product specialists giving demonstrations throughout the four days. “Although visitor numbers seemed to be down, in general we had a very busy stand,” she adds.

The Selador demonstrations weren’t the only ones grabbing visitors’ attention: ETC’s Unison Mosaic architectural control system, SmartBar 2 portable dimming and Element lighting control console were all extremely popular.

Element is ETC’s newest lighting desk and is designed with smaller theatrical venues and schools in mind. This no-fuss system targets conventional lighting control in smaller venues. Perfect for student and volunteer staff, Element redefines the basics of lighting control. When conventional accessories, LED fixtures or moving lights are added to the rig, the press of a button accesses the On Demand ML Controls, giving direct control of complex devices via a mouse or touch screen.

I’m looking forward to what’s next with Selador!

selador_comparison