LCD backlight panels - new lighting tool! at

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Old December 27th, 2004, 12:20 AM   #1
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LCD backlight panels - new lighting tool!

I was watching behind the scenes of Collateral and they showed a very cool new use for LCD backlight technology for production lighting applications. These panels are specially tuned for photographic use. Imagine the possibilities with the ways they could be used. These things are paperboard thin and can be bent around curves or assembled in arrays to make a huge single light source unless they already make giant panels. Think about how much less weight there would be to manage along with lower power requirements. Lighting a small area where an actor has to be will be a snap because there are no fixtures to take up space. I think the soft box, fluorescent and LED makers have something to be worried about. I can't wait to find where these can be bought or rented! Neato!!

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Old December 27th, 2004, 02:59 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting this. I've read a lot about the use of these things on "Collatoral" but haven't been able to find any pictures of them being used. I've been intensely curious about this.
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Old December 27th, 2004, 03:45 PM   #3
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I think they cost about a trillion dollars each. Hope I'm wrong.
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Old December 27th, 2004, 04:20 PM   #4
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Flat panel nightlights

I just realized that I have some cool 3"x3" flat panel nightlights that I got at Home Depot a while back. They glow blue or green, whichever you have. I wonder if this is the same or similar technology? If the price of the production kind are anything like the nightlights, they'll be real affordable but I'm not counting on it.
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Old December 28th, 2004, 05:04 PM   #5
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Electrolumi-nescent Display (ELD) panels

Charles Papert went out of his way again and provided this information about these cool light panels and how they were used in Collateral. One important note is that they are called Electrolumi-nescent Display (ELD) panels and not LCD as described above. Thanks Charles!

After investigating many options, Cameron and his chief lighting technician, Phil Walker, chose a new fixture: Electrolumi-nescent Display (ELD) panels. The thin, flexible pieces of plastic encase laminated phosphors and operate much in the same way that Indiglo watches and mobile-telephone displays do. Walker worked with NovaTek, a manufacturer of ELD panels, to custom-create a mixture of phosphors that would provide an acceptable color temperature for the HD cameras. “In the beginning, Michael preferred a warmer color temp, but we eventually settled on a slightly cool green that looked very natural,” recalls Cameron. “That was the easy part. It then took about four weeks to get the panels made, which left us with about a week before principal photography to set them up in the cabs.”

Adding another dimension to the tight timeline was that the production called for four fully functional taxis and three custom-built trailers with various sections of the cab (one for shooting from the front without a windshield, one for shooting through the passenger side, and one for shooting through the driver’s side), which meant there were seven “sets” that had to be rigged with ELD panels.

“The custom trailers were very interesting — we called them ‘Popemobiles,’” says Cameron. “They were basically sliced sections of the cab that were walled in with large panes of Plexiglas that eliminated wind noise yet still let in available light while we were moving. They were constructed on extremely lightweight trailers that got the cars as low to the ground as possible and still had great suspension. The rig gave us a mobile soundstage, which was wonderful.”

Inside the cab, Cameron and Walker wired more than 30 leads in various positions for the ELD panels. Each panel was about 8"x15" and could be placed anywhere and hooked into a lead in just a few seconds. The leads traced back to a custom-built dimmer board, and each panel could be dimmed to nearly 20 percent without any change in color temperature; the device could also run off either a generator or batteries. “You can cut the panels into any shape, but we made most of them in uniform sizes and just cut a few to slip into tight spaces,” says Cameron. “No matter what the size, all of the panels could run from the same lead, so we could switch a 4-by-4-inch panel out for an 8-by-15 and keep the same lead. In the end, we wound up with about 30 ELD panels in each cab.”
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