Dimming Fluorescent Event Lighting
SXS have developed a proprietary dimmable fluorescent lighting system for live events.
Fluorescent lighting refers to the tube-lights that are commonplace in offices and commercial kitchens. Traditionally this lighting is used in environments where efficient light with good coverage has been the primary objective. However in recent years the quality of light emitted from fluorescent systems has improved significantly which has allowed fluorescent lighting to be useful for TV, event, mood and effect lighting.
Most fluorescent lighting systems cannot be dimmed, however dimmable control systems are available. SXS have developed a complete dimming fluorescent system especially for live events. This system is a DMX-controlled dimming fluorescent system and allows control as part of a concert lighting, fashion show lighting or live event lighting system.
We have used our fluorescent lighting systems for a range of applications:
- Use as primary light source for fashion shows in low-ceiling venues.
- Use as a decorative effect light for creative spaces by hanging in a randomised manner.
- Built into set to allow for smooth light distribution where LED strip lighting might not emit the right light.
Our system has been developed and fabricated in-house. It comprises the following elements:
The tubes are 5' long and around 30mm in diameter. These are very lightweight and can be easily rigged using lightweight fixings.
The tubes are hung from endcaps at either end. These have trailing wires that go back to the control box. The tube can be hung from the trailing leads as the end caps have a solid attachment to the tubes.
Our custom made dimmer boxes include a dimmable fluorescent ballast. Input is via a 0-10v analogue signal. Each box has two channels of dimming and can power two tubes per channel - so four tubes per box. When the dimming is down to 0 the tube emits some light as it need to in order to maintain its arc.
Ballast switch pack
In order to allow for the tubes to be turned off fully we also provide a DMX switch pack to completely isolate the power to the ballasts. So each pair of tubes has two controls - dimming and switch.
DMX to 0-10v control
This allows the entire system to be controlled by DMX. The entire system is wired with specialist connectors that cannot be accidentally attached to other equipment.
More information about fluorescent lighting for live events
What is Fluorescent Light?
Florescent light works by an electric charge agitating particles of phosphor material - when these particles are charged with electricity they emit light. Fluorescent lights come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. The most recognisable is the 'strip light' seen in offices, but the white 'œenergy saving' lamps that have been popular for the last decade are also fluorescent.
What is the quality like?
In the past fluorescent lighting has been flickery, cold and often referred to as 'life sucking' due to the way it can make some people feel deflated and tired. This has been due to the poor colour rendition and the flickering nature of the light.
However, more modern fluorescent light tubes are much higher frequency and have become effective at mimicking daylight. This has made them a suitable light source for film, TV and premium interior lighting. So with the right choice of tube and system the light can be very good.
What about the colour temperature?
€œColour Temperature€ refers to the warmness or coldness of light €“ in technical terms this means there is more light energy at either the red (long wavelength) or blue (short wavelength) end of the light spectrum.
However, the phrase 'colour temperature' is widely misused as it does not truly apply to fluorescent or LED lighting. Colour temperature is a concept that applies to incandescent (light bulb) lighting through the concept of a black body emanate. When used to refer to fluorescent light it is only give a general indication of the redness or blueness of light. It is extremely important to consider not only perceived colour temperature, but also colour rendition of a light source.
What is good about fluorescent light?
It is a little known fact that fluorescent light is one of the most efficient ways of producing light from electricity. Fluorescent light is vastly more efficient than incandescent light. It is also often much more efficient than LED lighting.
Because fluorescent light is emitted from the length of the tube it can be ideal for creating a highly diffused light source without the complexity of soft boxes and other light-diffusion methods
With fluorescent tubes less than 2' in diameter they can be idea for when space is limited. It is possible to have the ballast control boxes positioned separately from the tubes; this means that tubes can be hung in an ad-hoc fashion in an event space.