Buying a Metal Halide Bulb: 4 Factors to Consider

Jul 18, 14 Buying a Metal Halide Bulb: 4 Factors to Consider

Metal halide (MH) bulbs are a popular type of high-intensity discharge (HID) lamp. Metal halide bulbs emit very powerful, bright white light and generally have a higher color-rendering index (CRI) than other HIDs. They can be used either indoors or outdoors but are best used in applications that take advantage of their energy efficiency and high CRIs, such as parking lots, sports game lighting and automotive headlamps. There are many kinds of metal halide bulbs, along with many industry terms that may make it difficult to select the bulb you need. That’s why in this week’s entry, we define and discuss some important factors you should consider when purchasing a new HID metal halide light bulb.

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Cinematic Lighting: From Past to Present

Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window

Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window

Have you ever wondered why actors have a stunning appearance in movies? Yes, they get airbrush make-up and the concept of photoshop does exist in the world, but the reality is; it is all about the lighting! Since the earliest movies, lighting has always been an essential part in film making with advances in lighting technology making all the difference.

In the Beginning: They Stayed Outside

In the late 1800s, film makers had not acknowledged the use of artificial lighting in film. The standard was to shoot during the day in a set that had either, an open roof or a glass ceiling. While natural light is the best light source, this methodology put a hindrance on filming anything at night or indoors; therefore, by the early 1900s, artificial light sources came into play.

In the 20th Century: Grace Kelly was Glowing

The main source of artificial lighting in film at that time was arc bulbs, the predecessor to HID bulbs. Used with a reflector, the bulbs created a bright light and allowed for directional lighting, enhancing parts of the set that needed to be highlighted. These lights also made for good spotlights, casting a brighter light on one side of the actor’s face (key light), and a softer light on the opposite side (fill light), to eliminate unflattering shadows. A third back light would be used to create the effect of a halo around the actor’s head. In the 1920s, incandescent bulbs started to become a growing sensation in studio lighting, as they produced a better color temperature, required less electrical and man power, and did not emit the humming sound the HID bulbs did.

In the Present Day: Lighting Comes in Various Forms

Today, there are so many new lighting technologies, all of which get used on film sets today. We’ve already covered HID and incandescent, but many of the other forms include halogen and xenon lamps, fluorescents, LEDs, and HMI bulbs, a technology coined by OSRAM SYLVANIA. Generally used with ballasts, the film-specific HMI bulbs are very popular bulbs used in the film industry, winning OSRAM an Oscar in 1987 and a Primetime Emmy Engineering Award in 2007.

Fun Fact: On movie sets, mashed potatoes replaced ice cream in sundaes as the ice cream would melt quickly, due to the lighting.

DIY Lighting Kit for Home Movies

Make your own film light kit! You need these items:

  • Broom Stick or Mic Stand (the mic stand does have support at the bottom)
  • Reflector
  • LED or Incandescent Bulb
  • Wax Paper (optional)
  • White or Light Poster Board (optional)

Insert the bulb into the reflector and attach the reflector to your stand of choice. It’s that simple! Use the wax paper to diffuse (soften) the light if needed. For added reflection, place the poster board where it is needed.

Be sure to check out the lighting techniques the next time you are at the movies! If you have any questions or comments, be sure to write us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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Advantages of Electronic HID Ballasts

Jun 06, 11 Advantages of Electronic HID Ballasts

Electronic HID ballasts are a growing part of the market. These units combine the capacitor, ignitor, and mounting brackets into a single unit along with the ballast itself. There are advantages to this design that many companies are starting to use to their benefit. One benefit is up to 25% better energy efficiency than traditional magnetic ballasts, which can add up to significant savings every year.

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HID and Metal Halide Bulbs

Apr 11, 11 HID and Metal Halide Bulbs

With the increasing push to make lighting more efficient, many designers are starting to look at metal halide and other HID (high intensity discharge) lamps as a viable alternative to fluorescent and incandescent lighting sources. Though this light source has been traditionally used in warehouses, parking lots, and other commercial areas, its use has recently expanded, making it a viable lighting alternative even in outdoor residential settings.

What are HID lamps? These lamps are compact and efficient sources of powerful light that require a ballast, much like fluorescent lamps. Also like fluorescents, these lamps use rare earth metal salts in combination with mercury vapor stored in a vacuum tube. When electricity passes through the lamp’s electrodes, the vapor and salts illuminate, producing a large amount of light in the right color spectrum. This type of energy-efficient lighting works well in general lighting situations, as floodlights, and in security areas.

HID lamps take a short amount of time to get to their brightest illumination. The temperature and pressure inside the vacuum needs to reach an optimal temperature before maximum illumination happens. Some will take only a few seconds while some may require a couple of minutes. When a lamp shuts off, many of them require a few minutes to cool down before they can be re-lit.

If you are considering HID lighting, you can do no better than pulse start metal halides. These are the most energy-efficient of HID lighting types, and their cost is becoming more affordable. Their small bulb shape allows them to offer many advantages that fluorescent sources cannot, and with their long lamp life, you will find their cost low in comparison to incandescents.

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Advantages of Ceramic Metal Halide Lamps

Feb 14, 11 Advantages of Ceramic Metal Halide Lamps

Ceramic metal halide lamps offer many advantages in higher efficiency and longer life. Halogen lamps bring a great deal of illumination to commercial spaces. However, they come with a high-energy cost and a relatively short life. This can cost commercial and retailers a good deal of money in energy and labor to keep them running. In spaces where you need better life bulb that save energy, these ceramic halide lamps are the ticket. And many retailers and commercial operations are starting to see the advantages of using these bulbs.

Another advantage of using ceramic metal halide lamps is their color quality. A problem many are having transitioning from incandescent is the changes in color that many light fixtures bring. With these ceramic halide lamps, you get excellent color from the start. You also find them in sizes that make them great replacements for existing halogen fixtures. This makes putting them into retrofit projects a breeze. With the need to keep costs down, many commercial and retail spaces are looking for affordable lighting alternatives that will keep their spaces lit without breaking the budget. These ceramic halide lamps are one way to do just that.

You can find ceramic metal halide lamps in an increasing number of sizes and shapes. This makes them great for making them replacements for high-pressure sodium lamps in existing magnetic ballasts. But, in order to get the most energy savings, you need to put them in electronic ballasts. These lamps offer long life and good light maintenance throughout their life span. With so many configurations available, they are great for retrofitting existing lighting schemes. And their long life helps balance against their higher cost.

That is one disadvantage to ceramic metal halide lamps. They cost a bit more than many other traditional light bulbs. However, their costs are steadily coming down as the option becomes more popular and demand continues to grow. This will likely continue well into the future. And the energy they save can justify the initial costs for many. Your best bet is to look at the options available and choose the lamp that suits your needs. Many manufacturers are making these bulbs and you can find a lamp that will suit any requirement you have. Some are pulse start. Others come with built-in ballast. You can get them in pin or traditional screw-in designs. Some are small while others are larger lamps. You should find a design to fit any fixture you currently have.

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