VMI Retires all Tungsten Rental Lighting

VMI Retires all Tungsten Rental Lighting

14 October 2021 — by Barry Bassett

Tungsten is the most traditional form of TV/Film lighting still in use today, having replaced expensive and dangerous Carbon Arc fittings.

In reality though, tungsten lighting fixtures ought to be called lighting heaters, since 96% of the energy used is output as heat, leaving only 4% to produce light. This makes them immensely inefficient and not at all compatible with modern sustainability ideals and on these grounds, VMI has decided to retire all of its tungsten lighting in October 2021*.

Although tungsten lighting fixtures are called lighting fixtures, in reality they ought to be called lighting heaters, since 96% of the energy used is output as heat, leaving only 4% to produce light

Geeky bit

For you geeks out there, tungsten filaments produce light incandescently based on being heated to a high temperature by an electric current and these fine wires are mounted in a bulb that contains iodine or bromine (the halogen bit). The halogen gas produces a chemical reaction with the decaying tungsten particles which encourages them to re-attach to the filament thus prolonging the life of the bulb.

The most popular tungsten fixtures for us have been 2K ‘Blonde’ (shown right), 1K, 800W ‘redhead’, 650W Mizar, 300W Mizar, Dedo 150W and Dedo Panaura Octodome but all of these* have been retired as of October 2021, since supporting tungsten lighting is entirely incompatible with VMI’s net zero by 2030 target,

LED bulbs use more than 75% less energy than tungsten.

The efficiency of LED lighting is legendary and soft LED light panel fixtures which were a novelty just 6 years ago, have now become universally accepted into modern production, though the problem was always finding LED spots with enough ‘punch’ to replace lightweight focusable tungsten or HMI fresnels.

The great news is that LED technology has been progressing at such a rate, that many really powerful focusable LED lights are available now, such as the Aputure LS300D II and Aputure LS600 which are much more efficient than their HMI or tungsten equivalents and as a result, almost without exception, all LED fixtures are battery operable.

Expect this to be a long-term trend and believe that LED lighting is now the worst that it will ever be – it can only improve with time!

* VMI still hires the Dedo Panaura Octodome fixture for hire, as this is system is offered complete with both HMI and tungsten heads to provide daylight and tungsten colour temperatures.

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