Monday, February 20, 2012

LED Lighting from Prism

I had the good fortune recently to have a rep from Prism Projection stop by work with some top of the line units suitable for theatre and film work.  He also happened to be a good friend from my college days so it was additionally pleasant to avoid all the hard sell stuff in favor of remember the time we... kind of stuff.

Their Reveal Studio unit is roughly the size and shape of a 10" fresnel, is designed to compete with a 2k HMI, has color mixing and only draws a couple hundred watts.  It's real specialty is finely tuned white light aimed at the film and TV industry, but it also does a heck of a job as a color mixing stage wash. 

The other unit we played with was the Reveal Profile.  Think of it as a direct LED replacement for a Source Four.   By swapping out a lens it goes from 14° to 36° and the field is dead flat.  The color mixing is pretty incredible, there was a lot of thought put in to both of these lights.  

One of the things that really struck me about LED technology is the lamp life.  Our head of maintenance popped in at one point and one of his questions was about lamp replacement.  With 50,000 hours before quality begins to significantly degrade, you're pretty much looking at investing in new lights by the time these have started to going down hill. That is, if you're not retired and it's your kids looking for new lights.  Part of the reason they get so much out of them is a little sensor inside that continuously monitors and adjusts output.  So not only are the lights correcting for aging components, they're compensating for variations in room temperature and line voltage.  You tell it to be a color, and it's that color.  Guaranteed.

The only down side is that just one of these units can run you $4000.  While swapping out sixty or so aging Source Fours for a couple dozen Profiles is enough to make you drool, trying to convince the bean counters to shell out $100k is going to be a bit of a reach.  

Keep in mind that this is the best of the best though.  These units are showing up on the sets of stuff you watch on TV every day and the best eyes in the business have been impressed by them.  Getting them in my venue is going to be a long uphill endeavor, if it happens at all.  What the visit did serve to do though was to get my mind completely off trying to press some cheap DJ LED stuff into service just to get started on having color mixing fixtures.  While I'm sorting out how to get my hands on the creme de la creme, I'm at least going to be looking a little higher than American DJ for something to hang in the space right away.  Here's a couple pics of some cues we tossed up, using the Studio for a down/back and the Profile from about 80' away on the balcony rail.  Things are a little saturated on the iPod camera but you get the idea, it was drool-inducing eye candy.

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