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March 5, 2013

Hive Lighting Brightens Up All-Plasma Chevy Volt Ad (With Only Batteries and 60A Generator)

Modern lighting technology continues to become more energy-efficient, while at the same time increasing light output. This applies to LEDs, but it also applies to plasma lighting systems, which are growing rapidly in popularity. Plasma is capable of a very naturalistic light spectrum (much closer to traditional Tungsten lights depending on the design), which is usually more difficult with LEDs. A company really pushing the boundaries of plasma technology is Hive Lighting, who recently lamped-up a 30-second Chevy ad using only batteries and a 60 amp generator -- to rather impressive effect. Check out a line-item lighting breakdown of the Volt Plasma Challenge video from Hive Lighting below.

With thanks to Cinescopophilia for the find, here's the Volt Plasma Challenge (full 30-second spot included), lit entirely with Plasma lamps from Hive Lighting:

That Killer 4 Light Maxi draws 9 amps, shoots a (literally) cool beam, and is flicker-free "up to 225 million fps"? Jeesh. Consider me a believer. I'd rather choose plasma over LED any day, especially considering these specs:

Hive’s Plasma lamps are rated up to 30,000 hours, but to preserve output and color quality we recommend replacing bulbs after 10,000 hours. Our sealed quartz bulbs have no electrodes or filaments, which allows them to last 30X+ longer than conventional lamps.

Hive’s lights are 2X to 8X more energy efficient than Tungsten and HMI fixtures.  Hive’s proprietary optics maximize the already efficient Plasma sources, generating more footcandles per watt.

 And, perhaps most importantly (particularly for filmmakers):

Hive’s lights generate daylight-balanced, full spectrum light with a CRI of 94.  Hive’s single point Plasma source creates clean crisp shadows and realistic looking daylight with all the familiar advantages of traditional studio fixtures, but without the drawbacks.

CRI isn't an entirely perfect or 100% agreed upon standard, but a 94 is right up there with the best LEDs and fluorescents. If you're not yet convinced the technology is viable, here's some more material from Hive Lighting, via their Lit with Hive channel on Vimeo (the first is a 4000-fps shot, flicker-free as anything):

The next piece obviously isn't lit with all Hive plasmas like the Volt challenge above, but the creators do go into some detail regarding Hive's contributions (and shooting RED EPIC with Canon lenses) on cinematographer Eric Koretz's blog The Image Hunter -- Shot in the Wild. (Koretz was also the DP for the Volt challange). Here, the Hive Wasp Par was, in fact, "the only light we used the entire shoot":

This model... is the equivalent to a 400w HMI par. I can’t say enough good things about these lights. Plasma is the future (and present) of on set lighting. Light quality is amazing and powerful. I have it skip bouncing into Vans pro Ray Barbee  and it was more than enough light. As of now they have a 2.5k version you can plug into a wall, a 400 par , and a fresnel. Best of all they make a drone retro kit that you can put in the back of your own ETC source four. I use source for Joleko’s all the time and I’m excited to integrate the Hive Plasma version into my repertoire. They’re reliable (30,000+lamp hours), energy efficient (2x -8x more!) and best of all Plasma lights are completely flicker free (I was shooting at 96-120FPs the whole shoot)! Hive is a great company and the guys there are doing something really innovative.

Has anyone had a chance to use plasma lighting, whether from Hive or otherwise? Have you found it to perform noticeably better (in color rendition) than LEDs? Do you foresee any problems with systems such as these, other than slightly less-than-perfect color temperature reproduction?

Links:

[via Cinescopophilia]

Your Comment

17 Comments

Those were gorgeously shot, but the plasma lighting looks like rental-only territory (for now).

I'm still waiting on Zacuto's PlaZma lights to test out since they're right down the street.

March 5, 2013

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That Vans video is next level.

March 5, 2013

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Very interesting but, man, are these prices right? http://www.abelcine.com/store/Hive-Plasma-Lighting/?sort=price

March 5, 2013

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PRICE?

March 5, 2013

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sean

+1 on CRI not telling the whole story.

Random anecdote: was at a workshop with Dedo Weigert last week. I think at one point he made a comment about CFL lights (didn't say anything about plasma) that no matter what the CRI might be, the "character of the light" freezes his soul! Went on to say that this sort of thing is very hard to judge scientifically.

Regarding the samples above, I'd be curious to hear whether other people feel (as I do) that there is definitely something about the character of the light that's not natural.

That said, I do use non-natural-feeling LEDs all the time, and I'm extremely keen to see what Zacuto's light does, and what its pricetag is.

March 5, 2013

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I've been spending the last 6 or 7 months studying this very thing. I believe, especially when it comes to digital capture, the nature of the lighting can be the difference between a good-looking shot and an outstanding one. I want to buy a few more lights but I'm not knocked out by almost any of the solid-state or fluorescent lighting choices, although Kino Flo bulbs look pretty decent to me.

I'm done with the LED array type lighting (which I currently own). The only LED lights I think pass muster are the PRG Trucolor remote phosphor lights, the Mole Richardson LEDs and perhaps the Kino Celeb 200. Unfortunately, these all cost at least an arm and a leg. Everything else looks either too green or too magenta.

It really is hard to beat (or match) tungsten when it comes to looking like tungsten. The lights are relatively cheap but the power draw, heat and subsequent cooling issues make them less than ideal. I think HMIs produce the best looking daylight source but cost a ton and have heat and power issues of their own. Plasma may be the next best thing. They look more natural than any other daylight balanced alternatives I've seen out there but the cost makes those Hive lights rental/installation-centric for right now. That leaves Zacuto's PlaZma lights. If they can fix the color issues cheaper fluoros and LEDs currently have and look more pleasing doing it, they may be a game-changer. They claim the lights will be $1350 each.

March 5, 2013

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Brian

It's true that CRI doesn't tell the whole story since it doesn't take enough samples. Light sources that have huge spikes or deficiencies at certain wavelengths might still end up getting a high CRI. But from what I understand, plasma has a fairly even spectrum of wavelengths -not quite as good as pure daylight but way better than LED and comparable to HMI's.

What did you feel looked unnatural about the lights? I think they intentionally let it go a bit blue in the video for a harder/cooler look but I believe that was a stylistic choice.

March 6, 2013

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Oliver

And now Vans are made in China...

March 5, 2013

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Tulio

These are very nice and efficient, but run you (starting from) 5 grand each, good rental options though

March 5, 2013

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blackespresso

Holy cow!
"The Hornet draws only 280W but is brighter than 575W HMI and 2000W Tungsten Fresnels."
Thats one banging light.

March 5, 2013

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It's been a year that i'm following this company. A year that i've been searching on this lighting tech. But I ended up buying Hmi's as technology was not ready. Within 1 or 2 years i'm sure we'll be able able to buy small plasma fixtures like we do with LEDs. I can't wait!

March 6, 2013

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Fred Boyadjian

What was it about HMI's that you preferred over the plasma?

March 6, 2013

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Oliver

HMI as well as Plasma fixtures require a ballast so this adds to the bulk either on the head or sitting on the ground.

March 7, 2013

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Sp do fluorescents, but there are some pretty good compact options for those out there.

March 20, 2013

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Brynn

*So

March 20, 2013

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Brynn

These lights are amazing for what they are designed for. Rented a few for a night exterior on a farm and powered it all off 2 2000w hondas.

March 8, 2013

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Paul

great post

May 4, 2014

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