Lighting equipment sometimes gets overlooked when the industry counts what video professionals spend their money on each year.
But now, Video Lighting World 2008 sheds light on the burgeoning market for the three types of the most common video-related lighting; camera-mounted lights, portable lighting kits and grid or ceiling mounted lighting instruments.
The survey, conducted by DIS Consulting Corporation this past winter, focused on the ownership and use of video lighting systems by broadcasters and other video professionals, worldwide. In addition to broadcast TV, cable TV, institutional and production (including mobile/OB) market segments, but also lighting equipment rental houses.
On camera mounted lighting units are found on nearly half of the almost 800,000 installed professional camcorders, worldwide. And, they tend to be replaced fairly rapidly as they get a lot of wear and tear being in almost constant use. They tend to not cost as much as the lighting in the other two covered sub-genres and theirs is a very competitive market with more than two-dozen brands competing for professional dollars.
Average prices for such units were US $168 per unit. Some of the brands that professionals reported utilising are also found in consumer video settings and this is partially true as among the vendors are the major camcorder manufacturers offering their own branded models of lighting.
Portable lighting kits are most often sold in a three head and stand configuration and there are more than 23,000 kits reportedly owned/installed around the world. But, they are sometimes found configured in four-pack kits, in twos, in fives and even in sixes.
Their average kit price is US $2,465 per kit, despite the number of stands/heads. Not replaced quite as frequently as on-camera lighting units, the portable kits are not nearly as vulnerable to abuse as the small on-camera units.
The lighting survey gathered data from 562 professionals, globally, and covered owned, bought and planned units and dollars, by application and by brand. And, specified also the technology trends most important to the categories as well as budgets and revenues, magazines and shows and brand image rankings.
The main drivers in lighting are the need to upgrade and improve systems, to replace ageing or damaged stocks and to compliment the quality found and the light levels that are needed with the increased detail in HDTV shooting. Add to that, we have the US elections this year plus the Olympics to give lighting a further boost. The only thing countering that bullishness for lighting is the softness of the economy made worse by the war and the high price of oil.
Grid or ceiling-mounted lighting instruments - which are sometimes deployed on individual floor stands or pedestals - carry an average price of US $462 and have far fewer brands competing for what is a very product saturated marketplace.
Our estimation is that there are nearly 300,000 units installed, worldwide. The one bright spot in such mature lighting is the need for HD-oriented units to replace aging stocks of decades old studios.
The combined value of all the installed professional video lighting gear - factoring in all three sub-genres -- is reported to be in excess of 739 million dollars, worldwide.
Among the features and specifications that video professionals most seek in their lighting equipment are: Key Light, Scoop Flood, Colour Temperature, Fill Light and Barn Doors. Besides these and obvious mains voltage and other regional electrical requirements, lighting gear tends to be amongst the most universal of all video accessories, save supports, of course.
Douglas I. Sheer is CEO and chief analyst of DIS.