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.
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/60971379
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):
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/27350434
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?
- Hive Lighting -- Homepage
- Hive Lighting -- 'Lit with Hive' Vimeo Channel
- "A VANS SHOES Film (on the Red Epic with Canon Lenses)" -- The Image Hunter -- Shot in the Wild