Fans of acts like Sam Smith, Beyoncé, and Take That, among others, would know one of the biggest appeals of their shows other than the music are the stunning visuals that come with their performances. Ambient and dynamic lighting blend in together to give life to songs and acts, perhaps much more so than seeing something in film, television, or even in the radio. Under a new European Union (EU) rule, however, these lights are in danger of being phased out – and it might quite literally mean the end of dynamic lighting.
Tim Routledge, a lighting designer who worked with the aforementioned artists, said the new “directive” on theatrical lighting would very well be applied to touring concert productions, music festivals, arena, and music venues all around Europe. The rule points towards the phasing out of LED-dependent lighting, which is what most lighting designers use.
What Is The Eco-Design Working Plan
The “evil” in question appears to be the Eco-Design Working Plan 2016-19, care of the Energy Directorate. When consultation on its EU draft closes on Saturday, May 7, it only needs confirmation to be implemented. If implementation will be pushed through, then by 2020 all equipment used throughout the entertainment industry and the British Theatre may be rendered obsolete. This also means the lamps within usual light sources for these various productions may now be unobtainable.
According to Richard Pilbrow, founder of 60-year-old international theatre design company Theatre Projects and president of the Association of Lighting Designers, said that while the goals the regulation presented are to strive for, they may be unrealistic.
The push seems to be towards the reduction of the carbon footprint of theatres throughout the region. Pilbrow said there isn’t any equipment in the market today that may meet the new power requirement as theorized by the regulation.
Even if scientists and manufacturers were to invent such eco-friendly equipment to that scale, Pilbrow said it may very well cost the EU up to between five and 10 times as much as the equipment it will replace. He said this may not only be an artistic “catastrophe,” but a practical one at that.
Lightless On A Cultural Level
Pilbrow noted that just this month, acts such as “Angels in America” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” lit by Paule Constable and Neil Austin, respectively, have received critical acclaim not just for their story, but how elements such as lighting helped the adaptations be something to look forward to.
Routledge added that because of a preference for bright compared to domestic light, equipment that would otherwise be unscathed with these rules won’t be sufficient to “breathe life” into the aforementioned performances. This also means cultural phenomena and icons that wish to travel to Europe will have to be in for a rude darkening (pun intended).
Routledge said that in the worst case, the ban may very well be applied for broadcast and television, which means not only does it spell trouble for production in general, but may be catastrophic in terms of logistics.
The Ecodesign Directive
According to the official European Union website, the Ecodesign Directive pushes for the EU’s version of resource consumption and energy reduction, and along with it comes various tools that aim to eliminate what it considers the “least-performing products” in the European market to boost energy efficiency by 2020.
Various rules are becoming a staple part of the Ecodesign Directive, which aside from the aforementioned lighting rules will also include those that push for eoc-friendlier products such as engineering, communication and information technologies, and household appliances.
Along with these are uniform standards, the creation and implementation of market surveillance strategies, and cooperation with other countries such as Japan, China, Brazil, Australia, and the United States that have similar pushes towards eco-friendliness.
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