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Banning of Incandescent Lights


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#1 Andrew Koch

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 05:00 AM

I was not sure if this topic has been covered before. I searched the forum and could not find anything so here is my post. I have been reading that there is somewhat of a worldwide mvoement to eventually ban the use of incandescent lightbulbs. Australian prime minister John Howard for example, announced that incandescents would be banned by 2010 in Australia. California State Assembly member Lloyd E. Levine, "announced that he would introduce the "How Many Legislators does it take to Change a Light Bulb Act"... which would ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs in California starting in 2012." (Wikipedia).

My question to the forum is what is everyone's thoughts on this? Do you think this ban could possibly go into effect in the not to distant future? How will this affect our industry? Will we need to rethink our approaches to lighting or not?

As much as I love the quality of incandescent tungstent lights, we have to be globally responsible and find ways of reducing our energy consumption, so I don't think we can ignore this issue. This is my opinion. What are your opinions?
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 06:11 AM

Altough we are all responsible for this, I do feel there's bigger fish to fry than banning tungsten lamps from film sets. For instance, whichever big city I am in at night, you can bet your a** that all the skyscrapers, high rises, offices's and whatnot have their lights on at night and weekedns, when no one is there. Why? Becasue it looks good and creates that big city feel. Surely this must be a lot bigger saving than chasing film people around for using a 12K fresnel, no?

As a side note - if I can't use tungsten lights in the future, I'm not even sure I want to be a DP anymore. They're integral to the way I light and no flourescent or LED source can ever produce the same light they do.
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#3 Sam Wells

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 09:25 AM

It's a good point Adam makes: all the wasted energy used already in unnecessary urban, suburban lighting.

I'd been hoping someone would have invented efficient full spectrum lighting by now -- but I don't know...

I really dislike discharge lighting of all kinds. I mean I'm no fan of HMI's even.

So I'll use the sun for day, and I guess I'll just use candles after dark; give us EI 4000 or 8000 film & we'll need No-noise CMOS sensors, OK Kodak & Canon et al, get to work B)

-Sam
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#4 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:14 AM

Sadly the change has to start somewhere, and most likely has to start with ourselves
the era of people been call treehuggers for trying tosave the planet is gone
the era of change must be produce everywhere

well lets start with ourselves first
As I type this my friend and colleague Lauren Selman is writing a guide to go green on set and on the industry ( that right now it shows that is the 4th most wastefull in Los Angeles and beyond)
THe thesis is based on reducing cost by applying a little bit ( I real little bit) of organization in pre pro and post production, nothing out of the way to be honest I read some of the ideas and I said; " they don't do that Already"
for example:
the movie Sahara had a budget of 60 million dollars and becuase of artist comodities, the budget double on what?:
water bottles ( the spend 105k on water bottles)
AC systems
Jacuzzis running all times ( wasting an incredible amount of energy)
And a 24/7 non stop running set at full power alll the time,( I know , why? trust me this came out out of the studios books itselfes)

I know most of you are pissed for the banning of this lights
and I agree with Adam the change should start with something else like the buldings been left lit 24/7

But going green in your set it is important to
the amount of waste produce by the industry are enormous, the environmental changes they produce when they go on location are irrevocable.

This guide ( that I'm personally promoting) will save , not only the world around you, but also your pocket ( from industry to guerrilla filmmaking)
Not to say that it will help your picture also ( you will have to do things differently to achieve it and trust me this ain't that hard)

Best
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#5 Daniel Carruthers

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:48 AM

So lets say they ban incadesent bulbs, then you find yourself on a period piece set in the 70s?
I guess you could always warm up those HMIs :(

Oh well I would much rather have a livable planet than an artsy looking shot <_<
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#6 Daniel Carruthers

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:53 AM

Im sure some passonate filmmaker will find away to make a lightbuld that lasts as long as flouresents but have the same warm quaility as incadesents.
I mean we landed on the moon for pete sakes!!
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#7 Micah Kovacs

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 12:05 PM

they may ban household light bulbs, but there's no way they could get away with banning specialty studio/stage lamps
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#8 Andrew Koch

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 06:22 PM

they may ban household light bulbs, but there's no way they could get away with banning specialty studio/stage lamps



Why would the film industry be exempt from a ban that is intended to cut energy consumption? The film industry does use a lot of energy. In response to the comment about cityscapes wasting more power, I don't know if this is true, but I agree that there are problems in terms of energy outside the movie industry, but I don't think that gives us the excuse to let ourselves off the hook. We shouldn't simply say that since other people are doing worse things, they should change and we should not.

Obviously HMI, Florescents, etc.. don't have that nice incandescent tungsten quality, but maybe we will find something that comes close eventually. The needs of the filmmakers certainlty can't outweigh the need for having a liveable planet.
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#9 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 07:03 PM

By the way, does anyone here know the color temperature of the new generation of lighting that's being proposed to replace incandescent?
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 07:26 PM

The film industry will get an exemption, I'm sure -- after all, there is no compact-flo replacement for a 20K tungsten or an 18K HMI anyway, just like you aren't going to see a Xenon spotlight on a police helicopter replaced by a compact-flo nor the landing lights on an airplane.

There are other ways that film shoots can get greener though.

Certainly if gas costs keep rising, they will have to find new ways of lighting huge soundstages with more power-efficient units anyway, just to save money.

We have 150 spacelights over the huge backyard set for "Big Love", wired for 3K each, so that's 450,000 watts right there just for the grid without turning on the 4 Dinos and 4 20K's we need to create a sunlight effect. And it all is run through a dimmer board. There isn't really a substitute for that unless we started pushing our film stocks to 2000 ASA -- it's a huge set.

I have thought that a grid of Kinoflos could do the same job as the spacelights, but you'd have to use Kinos that could work on dimmers, and the rental or purchase cost for Kinos would be WAY higher than spacelights, so you'd have to factor in how much fuel you were saving in the generators versus how much the Kinos were costing you.

Plus remember that fluorescents have poisonous materials in them that have to be disposed of carefully.

--

Compact flos come in different color temps, from 3200K to 5500K and higher. The problem is more the amount of green in them (depends on their CRI rating), plus any flicker issues since they are pulsing sources, plus the effect on skintones is never quite the same as compared to tungsten, even if you match the color temp.
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#11 Chris Cooke

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 09:39 AM

The newer HID lamps (in S4's and newer pars) and Ceramic lamps (in Arri's new lights) are considered Gas Discharge lamps. Not incandescent. It can even be argued that our typical tungsten lights are not incandescent, as they are filled with gas and a trace of halogen. Don't tell the legislators that before they make the law though.
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#12 Daniel Madsen

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 08:29 PM

I hate to say this, but the nature of business is to maximize profit in whatever way necessary. This is why many productions go over seas, not just because of tax incentives or a nice backdrop, but because of a cheap labor force and little regulation. You many not be able to blow-up a city block in LA but go to Thailand or Mexico- no problem. Businesses go to great lengths to avoid regulation so we should expect this from the studios (aka publicly traded media conglomerates) we are supposed to admire.
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#13 James Brown

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:35 AM

Our country aims to to cut household incadesent light-bulbs in three years if reelected. Little do people know that this would only cut 0.7 percent of national greenhouse emissions. Seriously what is the point of going through such a massive step with such little change. The change needs to be in industrial emissions and renewable energy NOT changing household light bulbs.
How will this affect the film industry?? I would go as far as saying it wont. David makes great points...BUT...why should the film industry be exempt? Because we are making films, telling stories, giving the public entertainment??? It seems that we should be allowed to run a ton of 500 amp generators, burn 10's of thousands of watts of light, use 1000's of paper cups ect ect ect.

I could imagine the only thing that MAY happen is governments will bring in a carbon tax for big shows (like they will with mining and other industries) and the production would have to pay to offset emissions, put money into a future fund or something similar. Especially in a country like ours when global warming is such major issue and the environment is number one on everyones agendas these days.

The reality is Gaffers will still source incadesent bulbs from wherever they need to, Large 18k HMI's and 20k's will still be used throughout the world and large generators will spit out never-ending harmful emissions BUT all this compared to something like a large coal mine situated out in the desert???

Dont get me wrong i'm not fighting to turn the film industry green, not one bit.... DP's are not exactly going to use a specific light because they are thinking about the emissions it will put out....."Put that 18k on a cherry picker washing those trees, oh hold on how many fluoros will we need for a 2.8 from up there" If just wont happen, EVER. Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing for the environment when your passion leads you against it. Then again, i can think of tons of industries that are more harmful for the environment then ours.

James.
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#14 Nick Mulder

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 12:43 AM

shoot black and white

Edited by Nick Mulder, 20 May 2007 - 12:48 AM.

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#15 M Joel W

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 12:52 PM

shoot black and white


The problem for me isn't so much color temperature (an HMI with CTO 3/4 is still twice as efficient as a tungsten bulb) as it is quality of light. Except for HMIs, there's not much in the way of hard sources that aren't incandescent. Flouresents are nice, but they're soft and don't have much throw. And I can't afford to replace my 300w fresnels with 150w HMIs (75w if everyone's shooting in black and white....); that would cost ten times as much. And I thought my fresnels were expensive for what they are....

Oh well, I don't live in CA. Yet....

Edited by Matthew Wauhkonen, 20 May 2007 - 12:53 PM.

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#16 Dominic Case

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 08:57 PM

The Australian government's "ban" on incandescent lightbulbs is pure window dressing. A highly visible, easy-to-implement act that will have very little effect and hurt no-one who votes or who supports political parties.

Of course even 0.7% is a step in the right direction - but it's not enough to be able to sit back and call the Australian government "green".

The "ban" will be on the manufacture and sale of the bulbs, not on their use (how would that be enforced?). And it is aimed at domestic use - the biggest users of ordinary incandescents. I believe there are government incentives for the manufacturers to supply compact flourescents so they can even afford to give them away!

The film industry' usage is extravagant, yes - but miniscule even compared with domestic use (except maybe in Los Angeles where there's a film shoot on every street corner - but then again there are office blocks glowing like lighthouses too, so the proportion is probably much the same.

But I doubt if legislation will cripple film lighting - and I'm sure it'll be possible to use incandescents as practicals for as long as you need to in "period" films. There is no reaosn for governments to waste effort putting out every single light.
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#17 Richard Andrewski

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 07:15 AM

This has been discussed on a couple of other boards recently and always comes to the same conclusions about what is likely to happen.

I really think that video/film production would be grandfathered for quite a while. It's kind of a special case. Where else do you have such a huge investment in lighting fixtures? Hollywood for instance has quite a lobby in Sacramento so while office buildings on production lots as well as regular office buildings and houses may have to convert, its hard to believe they would force the huge capital investments required to re-outfit studios with fluorescent lighting for softlights (50 to 80 lumens per watt) and HMI/metal halide for hardlights (80 to 140 lumens per watt) vs. conventional tungsten (at most 20 lumens per watt). Of course, don't forget panels of LED's at 30 to 50 lumens per watt which have their little niche in certain parts of some productions. In the future there will be higher wattage LEDs too for small pepper fresnel instruments. I have a 60w LED right now here in China (yes it draws 60w and puts out about 1800 lumens) from a company in Taiwan. Osram has made a 50 watt unit. It's a ways before these can compete with a 1.2K HMI ;-) but a small portable pepper fresnel has lots of uses.

In addition, how would something like this ban be enforced? Will they go home to home and verify you aren't running conventional light bulbs? Will they simply make it to where supermarkets don't sell them anymore and that's how they'll attack the problem? Of course, if you live close to a state that allows tungsten to still be sold you could simply cross the state line and who would know that you bought some and brought them back in. Will home owners that have dimmer circuits realize they better not try to operate CFL spirals on those circuits or they'll damage them? Lots of questions that really don't have an answer. All this is simply too hard to enforce. While they may ban tungsten at a legislative level, it's mostly just a symbolic gesture in the hopes that many will just get the message and start using CFLs.
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#18 Richard Andrewski

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 07:48 AM

Compact flos come in different color temps, from 3200K to 5500K and higher. The problem is more the amount of green in them (depends on their CRI rating), plus any flicker issues since they are pulsing sources, plus the effect on skintones is never quite the same as compared to tungsten, even if you match the color temp.


Yes and therein lies the irony. Fluorescents depend upon that green spike for their efficiency. You lower the lumen output the higher the CRI by coating the tube with a higher quality phosphor. While its still more efficient than tungsten it takes away some of the punch for sure. Some make up for it by "overcranking" the ballasts to make the lamps burn brighter. So you lose quite a bit of efficiency in upping the CRI. Fluorescent's great for a lot of things but when you need to light a backyard set it may be a really tough proposition as you noted.

I think metal halide has the best promise in lumens per watt for video and film production when you need lots of light and want to get really efficient. Yes its very hot and it still requires a lot of air conditioning to displace the heat but at least it puts out more lumens per watt than tungsten. It's even available in tungsten colors but most people aren't aware of that as their exposure is to Osram's HMI brand which is in uniquely "daylight" colors. In addition, metal halide is a point light source. You can soften up a point light source but you can't harden a fluorescent no matter what you do. It's just not their nature. They'll pretty much only be a substitute where you would have used a diffused light. Metal halides would be really efficient for those space lights on your backyard set. A 1000W metal halide (around 95,000 lumens) that came in tungsten or daylight with a high CRI of 95 should be very close to a 5K tungsten (100000 at 20 per watt) in light output. So you see, you're still radiating 1000w of heat that needs to be displaced but at least its not 5000w of heat.

Of course, your options for dimming are not as great as with tungsten but at least some dimming is possible down to 50%.
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#19 John Holland

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 10:38 AM

There will be exemptions ,film/tv being one anyway its just politicians jumping on the green band wagon hypercritcal twats .
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#20 Richard Andrewski

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 06:44 PM

There will be exemptions ,film/tv being one anyway its just politicians jumping on the green band wagon hypercritcal twats .


Of course, it's just their way of showing us "how much they care." Usually these gestures are little more than symbols that rarely produce anything of substance.

Any real changes come at the individual level as people decide they want to change their own lives--usually based on making things better or less painful in some way. I just decided one day I hated paying the electric company more than I need to so I started using fluorescent lighting wherever I could. It's also really unpleasant using high wattage tungsten lights in August in Texas indoors for productions. Those two facts made me change the way I do things. Tungsten really overtaxes the air conditioning--making the lighting and air con compete with each other to see which can make the electric bill even higher.

Each person will make their decisions about change based on the "pains" or inconveniences of their life, not really through legislation or someone playing to their conscience about "what they should do." In fact, many times, these appeals to conscience actually have a negative effect and backfire not giving the intended consequences.

Edited by Richard Andrewski, 23 May 2007 - 06:45 PM.

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