Hollywood Streets Get LED Makeover

The recent project to replace Los Angeles street lights with LEDs has come with some unintended consequences. Making movies at night on the streets of LA may never be the same.  In the past, directors liked the look that LA’s high-pressure sodium street lights gave to their movies.  The old street-lighting would lend a gritty, dark, film-noir feel to movies filmed on the streets of LA.

Here’s an image of an LA street before LEDs and after:

Hollywood Street Lights, Before and After LEDs (Source, Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting)

Hollywood Street Lights, Before and After LEDs (Source, Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting)

According to Dave Kendricken in No Film School, filmmakers like Michael Mann specifically chose Los Angeles as the location for the movie Collateral (2004, starring Tom Cruise) because of the antique aura the street lights brought the film.  Collateral’s plot took place completely at night, so the feeling that the lighting gave the film was a prime concern for the director.

The project is important to the city for saving money and energy.  LA’s 140,000 new street lights, a combination of Cree, Hadco and Leotek lights, are projected to save LA about $7 million in electricity savings.  According to a press release, LA funded the project through a $40 million loan from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and a combination of rebate funds also from the LADWP a Street Lighting Maintenance Assessment Fund.

The city said the loan paid back through savings in energy and maintenance costs by over the next seven years. After the loan is repaid, LA will begin to save $10 million/year. The project in LA isn’t complete yet. And you can see a map of the project’s progress here.

But, what can filmmakers do to mimic the look of the old street lights in LA?  They can choose a new city, select a different part of LA that hasn’t been converted yet, or use digital techniques and/or lighting filters to change the look. LED street lights present a challenge for filmmakers, but they’re worthwhile for the planet.

For Further Reading

No Film School, Why Hollywood Will Never Look the Same Again on Film: LEDs Hit the Streets of LA & NY, http://nofilmschool.com/2014/02/why-hollywood-will-never-look-the-same-again-on-film-leds-in-la-ny/

Daily Mail, Say goodbye to moody Collateral-style movie shots: How LED street lights mean films set at night in LA and across the world will now be bathed in gray, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2551923/Why-Hollywood-never-look-film-LEDs-cast-new-glow-streets-LA-New-York-City.html?ico=ushome%5Eeditors_choice_six_of_the_best

Gizmodo, How LED Streetlights Will Change Cinema (And Make Cities Look Awesome), http://gizmodo.com/led-streetlights-will-change-hollywood-and-make-every-c-1514840416

 

 

 

And the Survey Says: Consumer Awareness of Light Bulb Phase-Out Grows

LED Light Bulb

LED Light Bulb

Have you noticed a change in the light bulb aisle at your favorite store?  The shelves look quite a bit different than they did a mere two or three years ago.

When Congress enacted The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, they changed general lighting in the United States forever. The legislation created higher efficiency standards for lighting of all kinds from 40–100W incandescent and halogen general-service lamps. As a result, light bulbs that don’t conform to the new standard have been phased-out. Beginning in 2012, 100W lamps were required to be 28% more efficient.  That standard was applied to 75W lamps in 2013 and 40-60W lamps in January of 2014 in a rolling phase-out.

So, what do consumers think? The sixth annual SYLVANIA Socket Survey found that 65 percent of Americans plan to switch to more energy-efficient lighting technologies, as a result of the light bulb phase-out. But, consumers aren’t all the way there yet. The survey revealed that 30 percent of consumers say that they plan to buy a lot of incandescent light bulbs while they’re still available and will continue using them. The 2012 survey found only 19 percent planned to hoard light bulbs. The higher 2013 number is probably due to awareness of the phase-out. Think hoarders…

The survey did have some good news about the phase-out. Since the yearly survey began in 2009, more consumers are aware of it.  This year, 64 percent of consumers were aware of the phase out, compared with only 26 percent in 2009 when the survey began.  And now, more than half of consumers surveyed are excited about the phase-out.  This year’s survey also found that 46 percent of consumers plan to switch to CFLs, 24 percent will opt for LEDs, and 13 percent say that they will choose halogens.

For Further Reading

Sylvania, 6th Annual “SYLVANIA Socket Survey” Finds That Almost Two-Third Of Americans Plan To Switch To Energy-Efficient Lighting As A Result Of Legislation, https://www.sylvania.com/en-us/tools-and-resources/surveys/Pages/socket-survey.aspx

Clearlysapphire.com, Incandescent Bulbs Days are Numbered, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=27

Clearlysapphire.com, US DOE Reports on Efficiency and Environmental Impact of LED Lighting, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=156

Super Bowl Halftime Show Sparkles with PixMob LED Light Show

(Bruno Mars peforms during the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J., Photograph by: Jeff Zelevansky , Getty Images)

(Bruno Mars peforms during the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J., Photograph by: Jeff Zelevansky , Getty Images)

If you watched the recent Super Bowl, you were treated to a cool display of LED technology at half-time featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and 80,000 people wearing special LED studded hats. Synced up with the music of Bruno Mars and the RHCP, the show filled the stadium with LED lights.

Montreal-based interactive lighting company, PixMob designed and built a unique light show specifically for the halftime show.  Each spectator at the game was handed a complimentary winter gift pack upon entering MetLife Stadium. Each swag bag included items to keep warm, one of the items was a special knit hat that they were asked to wear during half-time.

The stadium was filled with 500 LED panels as well as 14 PixMob transmitters that complemented the LEDs worn by the crowd. The 80,000 knit hats turned each member of the crowd into a pixel.  Each knit hat included three LEDs (for red, blue and green) and an infrared receiver. A PixMob controller directed the light patterns in real time. The receiver in each hat decoded the infrared signal depending on the location of the person wearing the hat, turning the lights red, white, green or blue to create animated effects syncing up with the show.

PixMob has done this type of show before.  They’ve tossed LED-filled beach balls onto audiences and used wristbands fitted with LEDs for unique light shows at music festivals like Coachella and for bands like Arcade Fire, Black Keys and Maroon 5.  There’s even speculation that they’ve got something up their sleeve for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

For Further Reading

USA Today, Here’s a guide to everything in the Super Bowl swag bag, http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/01/mike-francesa-super-bowl-swag-bag/

Montreal Gazette, Montreal firm PixMob turns Super Bowl crowd into human pixels, http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/Montreal+firm+PixMob+turns+Super+Bowl+crowd+into+human+pixels/9460693/story.html

Wired, How 80,000 People Became a Human Video Screen at the Super Bowl, http://www.wired.com/design/2014/02/super-bowl-audience-became-human-video-screen/

Philips Lighting, Digital Lighting Makes a Splash at the Super Bowlhttp://www.lumec.com/blog/index.php/2014/02/04/digital-lighting-makes-a-splash-at-the-super-bowl/