Spectral Innovations in Theater Lighting
LEDs paved the way to serve applications with custom designed spectra. From fashion applications it is evident that light sources with same correlated color temperature do produce distinctly different visual appearance. Now players in the theatre and entertainment domain started to embraced LED solutions with multi-spectral sources. As a result of this the days for lighting gels are numbered. One reasons for this quick transition lies in the fact that combinations of LEDs succeed to provide excellent color reproduction properties while maintaining a large color gamut.
For theatre lighting it is key that visual appearance of the scene fits the intended emotional content. To ensure that subtle changes can be expressed more and more solutions enriched the spectrum by adding wide band emission spectra (white or lime) to small band chromatic colors. Today we find theatre lights with up to 8 different types of LEDs in it. This guarantees that also the subtlest variations in hue and chroma can be reproduced. Next to the obvious needs to provide a large scope of colors the multi spectral approach bears the opportunity to optimize the spectra according a variety of strategies. Spectra can be selected to stimulate health effects, support biological rhythms or guide attention.
Metameric mixtures of light do present a whole new dimension of visual effects. In combination with surface colors or as defined sequence these light mixtures may generate extraordinary visual experiences. While metamerism is generally perceived as an effect to avoid, metameric spectra extend the creative scope of theatre lighting considerably. Other application domains, such as retail can benefit from these lighting effects in form of dynamic flows, individually tuned personal settings or inclusive design solutions. Beneficial for theater lighting is that an established seamless integration of controls is available. Additionally equipment and staff are in this domain capable to take on the new challenge: points in chromaticity space can be reached by a variety of strategies. While theatre took the lead, we may expect that other applications will take advantage from this development.