The Platinum FLEX lamp opened up a revolution in savings for discharge-lamp luminaires yet its development was always about more than economics. “Again, it’s about what you want to accomplish optically,” Dunn reiterates. “In fixtures like our beam/spot Smarty series that excel at aerial effects, you want more intense narrow beam optics that can really define a beam or pattern and a short-arc discharge source gives you that. It also gave us the freedom to create smaller and lighter fixtures that have as much punch as much bigger models.”
The latest fixture to benefit from the FLEX lamp technology is Elation’s Proteus Excalibur, a 0.8° beam fixture with MSD Platinum 500 FLEX lamp that launched earlier in the year. “Our goal was to create a really powerful beam moving head fixture that could replace xenon searchlights,” remarks Roger Hamers. “We just weren’t able to create that high beam intensity at this level with an LED engine, not yet anyway.”
So will LED ever be a feasible replacement for long throw discharge lamp-based fixtures? Haitz Law, the principle that the amount of light generated per LED package increases by a factor of 20 each decade, tells us so. Elation’s R&D team has stayed on the forefront of the technology and has already developed products with LED engines that mimic the center intensity of a discharge source.
“We’re emulating that center peakness of a lamp in some of our LED products already,” says John Dunn. “The Proteus Lucius, Proteus Maximus, Artiste Mondrian, and Artiste Rembrandt all have a first-of-its-kind high-center-intensity white LED engine designed to create that parallel collimated beam with the pronounced center. The ratio is not as pronounced as with a discharge lamp but they are very impressive at distances and a big step in the right direction.”
We all know that LED is the future—and very much the present—but until an LED can pack more punch in a smaller space, discharge-based luminaires still have an important role to play in the entertainment technology industry.