Posts in the stage lighting category

The Empire State Building Lights Up the Night and Goes Green Too

The Empire State Building at night is the crown jewel of the New York City skyline, and is perhaps the most famous city skyline in the world. The Empire State Building’s illuminated top is iconic, it’s image among the most well known images of any building at night. The Empire State Building, which was completed in 1931, had its first light, a searchlight, placed on top of it in November of 1932 to celebrate the presidential victory of Franklin Roosevelt. It became a nighttime beacon in 1964, with the installation of floodlights on the top 30 floors of the building. Color lights were first installed in 1976 for the United States’ bicentennial, illuminating the building’s tower with red, white, and blue. In 1977, additions to the Empire State Building’s exterior lighting were made, creating the iconic image which we are familiar with today. The installation included 207 metal halide high intensity discharge (HID) lamps and 304 fluorescent lamps illuminating the building from the 72nd floor to the base of the TV tower. The last addition to the building’s lighting took place in 1984. An automated lighting system, which included 880 vertical 75 watt fluorescent tubes and 220 horizontal fluorescent tubes were installed on the upper portion of the TV tower mast. The horizontal bulbs are organized into different panels and produce green, blue, yellow, and white lights, thus creating the lighting displays you see today.

Though the Empire State Building’s exterior lighting has not been changed since the 1980s, the interior lighting underwent substantial greening in the spring of 2009. The Empire State Building contains 3,194,547 light bulbs, so developing an environmentally friendly lighting solution for the building’s vast light system was a challenge. The $100 million dollar greening project included the replacement of old incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient ones as well as the installation of motion detector systems to only light rooms when they are occupied. These energy efficient renovations, including lighting renovations, are projected to cut the building’s energy consumption by 38% and save it $4.4 million dollars annually.

BulbAmerica has ideas and products to help you go green too! Check out our blog and our website for ideas and products to save the environment, energy, and help you spend less on energy. Go green today!
By Victor Lopez | | bulbs, light, stage lighting | 0 comments | Read more

Taking Control of Your Lighting System

  The controller is the brain of your lighting system. Controllers have always been central to production and theater lighting. With the adoption of the DMX512 protocol in 1986, the controller could easily and precisely dim numerous lights from a central location. As the demands of lighting productions and the technologies they require have become more advanced, so have the lighting controllers. Today, not only are controllers used to dim and raise lights, but they are used to control various parameters such as panning, gobos, colors, strobes, chasing, scene memory, etc. The introduction of
LED lighting into theater and production lighting has also added additional considerations in choosing an appropriate controller for your needs. This article is an introduction to today’s lighting controller and its features. 
  Generally speaking there are two broad categories of controllers, namely the dimming controller and the intelligent controller. The dimming controller is very basic and is geared to the individual who only wants to control dimmers. Intelligent controllers are for individuals who want to control dimmers and fixtures that require the control of numerous types of attributes and parameters. These controllers are compatible with moving lights and are typically found in concert venues, DJ lighting, large church lighting systems, etc. Optima’s DMX I, for example, has the ability to remember 6 chases, or light flash sequences, of 240 programmed scenes. The chase patterns can be activated using programmable chase buttons. The pan and tilt of moving lights can be manipulated using two jog wheels. Many intelligent controllers have the ability to precisely control light movements, chases, and fades. The Optima DMX I’s speed slider, fade time slider, and fine button allow minute adjustments to your chase speed, fade speed, and light tilting to perfect your lighting performance.

LED technology, particularly LED par cans, is the most important new technology to come to theatre and production lighting. Nearly all LED par cans available today come with dimmers and effects already built into them. Provided that your controller and your LED par can use the same protocol, the LEDs’ internal dimmers, colors, and effects can be triggered remotely by the controller. Because LED par cans have so many on board features they can be operated successfully on both a simple dimming controller and an intelligent controller. Making the decision concerning which controller to go with will depend largely on what other lighting components you have in your system and on what degree of control you need and want over your lights.

The technical capacities of lighting components and the controllers mean endless possibilities for the creative lighting designer. The integration of controllers and computer software adds another dimension of control and creativity to the lighting designer not otherwise possible. Optima’s Sweetlight USB to DMX512 box and control software, available for Mac and PC, allows for the full simulation and control of all facets of your lighting performance, including full syncing of music and lighting. The scene builder and 3D view allows you to fully construct your production; the generator function allows you to manipulate fully the movement, light, gobos, etc. of your lighting components, giving you unprecedented control. Regardless of whether you choose an intelligent controller or a computer-based controller, the future of lighting system control is promising.
By Victor Lopez | | dmx, led, stage lighting | 0 comments | Read more