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LED, indebted to TV production

altThe industry is making slow progress in the development of LED lighting for outdoor television production, although some significant progress is expected for 2011.

By Richard Santa

Due to their ecological and economic benefits, there are more and more new developments in the lighting of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs as they are known.

But lighting for outdoor TV production is an aspect of the industry that hasn't had as much work in LED technology as home bulbs or screens.

- Publicidad -

The few advances that have been made in this aspect stand out because they are cold to the touch, portable, autonomous, without cables, and offer 5600ºK or 3200ºK output with just turning a knob, although in the change of color opinions are divided.

The manager of SEEL, Carlos Iván Fernández, a company in the sector based in the Colombian capital, maintains that development has been slow.

"At present we see small teams, for specific journalistic works and for some small sets, which require accentuating something in particular. In general, for large ENG-type productions, the use of HMI or Quartz light continues to prevail, which have sufficient power."

He added that one of the difficulties that LED lighting has had for outdoor television production is that because it is a technology in development, the power levels required to work in outdoor spaces have not yet been reached.

For its part, Litepanels is one of the companies that has earned recognition within this segment of the industry. It offers a revolutionary type of lighting with LED technology for television production with high professional standards.

One of the latest market launches of this company is the Fresnel LED model for ENG applications. It has a proprietary lens of 7.62 cm (3") that allows to obtain with 30 watts a light output equivalent to a tungsten lamp of 250 watts, and a beam control of 10° to 70°, providing a fully balanced daylight.

Advantages and disadvantages
Experts argue that one of the drawbacks that has not allowed LED lighting to develop massively is the cost. This is stated by engineer José María Noriega, director and executive producer of Signal Group, a company dedicated to the assembly of LED lighting systems for industry and based in the Mexican capital.

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"In the case of Mexico, the use of LED lighting in outdoor productions is still very incipient due to the cost, although in EFP and ENG crews it is common to see the use of LEDs attached to the cameras."

The Mexican engineer said that this has become a bottleneck that has not allowed the development of the segment in the LED lighting industry.

Edgardo Boqué, president of RGB Lighting Systems, a company based in the Argentine capital, pointed out, among the negative aspects of the system, the lag in this issue as one of the problems for the industry.

"There is very little done for the outdoor television production industry on the subject of LED, they are still more than systems that group matrices that give a flat light, there are no great things yet."

He indicated that proof of this is that he was touring at the end of last year a fair where these products are presented and not much development is seen in this field.

For his part, the engineer José María Noriega, highlighted some of the advantages for this segment of the industry. "Among them a lower energy expenditure, the longer duration of the lamps and the possibility of changing color, which open up very interesting creative possibilities especially in outdoor television productions."

He added that "Like fluorescents, LED luminaires are lights that operate at low temperatures that allows greater comfort in the recordings, both for the talents and for the production staff."

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For Carlos Iván Fernández, there are two great advantages that can be obtained once the necessary developments of outdoor LED equipment are reached.

The first has to do with reducing energy consumption, not only due to the efficiency of LED technology, but also due to the decrease in heat production, which results in a lower consumption of ventilation systems, therefore a lower energy consumption.

"The second advantage is versatility, because with this type of technology you can achieve better color combinations and background creations and controlled images that will give a twist to TV lighting."

What's new for 2011
The Mexican engineer José María Noriega explained that the Government of his country is promoting the change of municipal luminaires to LED luminaires, which he believes will cause a great advance in the development of this technology.

"With increased demand and supply and consequently a reduction in prices, the use of LEDs in architectural and municipal lighting, as well as the conversion of car luminaires will be the great engines for their adoption in film, video and television studios."

He indicated that currently in Mexico the use of fluorescent cold light is the leader in the field of television, for small productions tungsten is still the most used technology in the field, for high-level cinematographic productions the use of HMI continues to be the leading light in the field and larger panels and lower costs begin to be used.

Litepanels stressed that the new developments have power options, among which you can choose the complement of the batteries, with power adapters, cigarette lighter adapters and even with AA batteries.

Finally, the Manager of the Colombian company SEEL pointed out that "There is a lot of expectation for products that can really achieve light efficiency to have equipment that can be used in high quality productions and whose cost-benefit ratio justifies the investment. I believe that the LED Fresnel that ARRI (distributor in Colombia) is launching, may be the novelty for 2011".

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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