Industry Report: Green Film Shooting
Green Film Shooting: The long lifespan of the LED
ZDF, the German public TV broadcaster, is modernizing its studios with environmentally friendly LED lighting that also offers a large number of creative options
For the modernization of its TV studios, ZDF has chosen energy-efficient lighting with high-performance LEDs. This trend-setting technology offers a variety of creative advantages, and it optimizes the workflow during everyday production. Besides Studio 1 in Mainz, the Hauptstadtstudio (the Capital City Studio) in Berlin, various ZDF studios in other German regions as well as abroad, will be upgraded with LED lighting.
“Our lighting concept has been completely transformed by production requirements”, says Andreas Keding, the Engineer for Studio and Light Equipment, who is in charge of the moderni-zation of ZDF’s studios. Thanks to the use of ultra light-sensitive HD cameras, less artificial light is needed in Studio 1 in Mainz, where Der Länderspiegel and several other 3Sat shows are produced. Basic illumination, which consisted of 110 spotlights, has been reduced to 70 halogen spotlights with Fresnel lenses that consume only 2 KW instead of 5 KW. “This is how we save about 400 KW per broadcasted hour.”
Due to the use of LED bank lighting for the studio cyclorama, the traditional fluorescent lighting technique is going to be replaced. LDDE’s Led-Cyc9 panels, which are designed with 150 square meters of lighting surface, insure smooth backlighting. The RGBW High Power LED guarantees not only 30% more lighting output but it also gets high scores in the creative field because it offers a larger selection of colors (red, green, blue, and white) for the cyclorama. “By using additive lighting mix techniques, you can generate any shade that‘s necessary”, explains Michael Kriwet, CTO at the Cologne-based Lightequip, who is responsible for product selection and project management. The advantage of luminous LED backlights: gels and filters are no longer necessary, which saves time, manpower and, therefore, costs.
“With the new LED backlight lamps, we even can throw up a BlueBox and Green Screen in order to include virtual elements to the broadcast concept”, Keding points out. Partially virtual set decoration elements were used in Der Länderspiegel, so films can be screened besides the presenter. “Before, you had to have Duvatyne stretched out, but today it works with light, so there‘s no need to set up complex set decoration elements. We cut down on energy consumption, while the number of formats that we can produce has multiplied, and the turnaround times in set construction and tear-down have become much shorter.”
The Hauptstadtstudio in Berlin, where live shows such as ZDF-Morgenmagazin, Frontal 21, Berlin direkt, aspekte, maybritt illner, as well as political talk shows are produced, will be equipped with banks of LED lights. The reason for the LED conversion is the increasing number of productions. “We have to act faster in the studio”, emphasizes Keding. “Because of the Morgenmagazin (i.e., the morning breakfast TV show), we have twelve set tear-downs and constructions in a seven-day period because the show changes every day, sometimes twice a day.”
LED lamps are more energy efficient than traditional fluorescent studio lighting. “At 50,000 hours, their lifespan is much longer and they’re more environmentally friendly throughout their product life, from manufacturing to operation and all the way down to disposal, because they use only a tiny bit of silicate”, notes Kriwet. “This is the first generation of lamps that will not end up being replaced after twenty years because it has been physically worn out, but because one day it won’t be state-of-the-art anymore.”
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