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First Superbowl Ever to be Played Under LED Lighting: A new Era in Lighting

The New England Patriots are coming to play in Superbowl XLIX against the reigning champion Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ just about 5 miles from my home.

Unlike the disastrous Superbowl XLVII in 2013, when the Metal Halide stadium lights went out at an inopportune moment, Ephesus LED Sports Lighting, a US-based company that manufactures high-output LED lighting solutions for challenging applications in the industrial and sporting markets, has supplied the Stadium with high performance LED stadium lights. Cree® LEDs power these ultra-bright stadium fixtures which provide uniform and much brighter lighting with no shadows on the playing field.

The Ephesus solution includes wired DMX controls on each fixture which interface with the control system to provide instant, one-touch control to switch between different light settings and levels and also create the capability to create unique fan experience effects. DMX is a communication protocol which enables the control of endless DMX enabled devises through a single control line, making installations and control very simple.

Image courtesy of Ephesus Lighting

Image courtesy of Ephesus Lighting

Now the broadcast camera crews do not need to open the camera’s aperture as wide to let in more light, they can present a clearer picture, show greater field depth, zoom in closer and even offer more detailed slow motion replays. The University of Phoenix Stadium installed 312 Ephesus Stadium fixtures featuring 44,928 Cree® XLamp MK-R LEDs. These LED lights replace the older 780 metal halide fixtures. The new system uses just 310,000 watts of energy as compared to the 1.24 million watts needed to power the previous system— a 75% reduction in overall sports lighting energy consumption! (Each Ephesus LED light provides nearly double the illumination of traditional metal halide lights.)

As an added and very important benefit, LED lights can be turned on and off quickly with the flick of a switch, whereas metal halide fixtures require a 20-minute warm-up period like the ones we saw slowly turning on after the Superbowl XLVII blackout in the Superdome. This on/off feature allows facility operators to create light shows for fan entertainment as well.

Ephesus Lighting luminaires have been operational for over 300,000 hours in more than 100 indoor and outdoor sports and entertainment venues across North America.

So not only is the game “Super” but the lighting technology is “Super” as well.

For more information, visit the Ephesus website

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Super Bowl XLVII blackout: Power redundancy, paralleling and LED lighting

35 comments on “First Superbowl Ever to be Played Under LED Lighting: A new Era in Lighting

  1. Sachin
    January 28, 2015

    Seems like with this kind of a setup, both the tournament board is happy (because they are saving energy and hence, money) as well as not compromising on quality of entertainment that is being fed into the TV of millions around US.

  2. samicksha
    January 28, 2015

    Finally we have stadium which does not require warm up like halide fixtures, just a click a away and LED will share HD performance.

  3. hstearnsjr
    January 28, 2015

    I sure hope the LEDs are powere by DC so we won't have 60 Hz flickering and strobe effects with fast moving objects and video capture frequencies.

  4. Steve Taranovich
    January 28, 2015

    @Hoyl_Stearns—-Power is usually constant current DC

  5. Sachin
    January 28, 2015

    Finally we have stadium which does not require warm up like halide fixtures, just a click a away and LED will share HD performance.


    @samicksha: I think the shadow production on the field (around the players) would be controlled. I'm told it doesn't quite affect the players but the ones who are watching, for them it is hard. A flawless entertainment is what I am talking about.

  6. Sachin
    January 28, 2015

    Replacing traditional incandescent and fluorescent lights with more efficient, and longer-lasting LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) is an undeniable trend in the lighting industry. However, since SSL fixtures are directly connected to the AC line, like with legacy lighting, there is a risk that 100-Hz or 120-Hz flicker could occur as a result of driving current ripple at the supply's output. Flicker can make people uncomfortable, causing headaches and other maladies even though the human eye may not detect the flicker. Careful LED driver design can minimize flicker and help ensure that SSL delivers on its energy-efficiency promise through broad deployment.

    And besides, flickering above 2kHz won't be detected by human eyes, so it stops being a problem. The other solution is DC.

  7. geek
    January 29, 2015

    “Finally we have stadium which does not require warm up like halide fixtures, just a click a away and LED will share HD performance”

    @samicksha: I think that should be an advantage. The quick turnaround time for these LED lights should prevent the time lost in the conventional lights getting warmed up each time there's a failure.

  8. geek
    January 29, 2015

    “I think the shadow production on the field (around the players) would be controlled. I'm told it doesn't quite affect the players but the ones who are watching, for them it is hard”

    @SachinEE: I agree. I think with the LED lighting, the illumination will be more spread out. When it's consolidated on a few towers, the resultant shadows do become annoying. I'm excited to see how an actual game would look like when this gets launched.

  9. Andy_I
    January 29, 2015

    Many LEDs are not powered by DC.  Try sweeping your eyes back and forth on the drive home and see how many taillights are LEDs.  On some cars it is actually very annoying.

    Yes that is done to reduce the light intensity of taillights.  But it can also be done to limit the current and power dissipation of the LED, i.e., at “full” brightness.  (As with LED traffic lights.)  Or to make the current source more efficient.

    The big problem isn't whether your eye can see the flicker.  The problem is what happens when the frequency of the lights, aliases with the sample rate of the TV cameras.  Especially in slo-mo replay.  Hopefully it won't be an issue.  If the LED current is truly DC, it won't be.

  10. Andy_I
    January 29, 2015

    Totally flat lighting is not always desirable.  It helps to have a little shadow.  It's more natural.

  11. Andy_I
    January 29, 2015

    I also wonder what the LED light spectrum is like and how well it matches the TV camera sensors.  One can get some rather unexpected results with electronic sensors when the light spectrum isn't broadband; it may appear normal to the eye but the electronic sensor sees it differently.

     

  12. ue2014
    January 29, 2015

    >>>>>>>>> The quick turnaround time for these LED lights should prevent the time lost in the conventional lights getting warmed up each time there's a failure. >>>>>>

    Totally agree with you, this will not provide only a power saving, but an uninterrupted entertaintment too. 

  13. geek
    January 29, 2015

    “Careful LED driver design can minimize flicker and help ensure that SSL delivers on its energy-efficiency promise through broad deployment.”

    @SachinEE: I think the flicker element is also linked with the power supply at the back-end. In most cases, the flicker is cased by unsteady voltage supply at the back-end. Even with LEDs this may continue to be a problem and might affect the overall performance.

  14. Sachin
    January 29, 2015

    Even with LEDs this may continue to be a problem and might affect the overall performance.


    @tzubair: Hence, DC! DC low-voltage circuits are notorious for dropping voltage over the distance of a wire run, though, so you also have to take that into account, whereas multiple parallel reverse-biased diodes at each LED will allow the length of wires to be AC, thus minimizing the affects of voltage drop.

  15. Sachin
    January 29, 2015

    I agree. I think with the LED lighting, the illumination will be more spread out.


    @tzubair: Indeed. We cannot have everything so high tech but in the end realize that the entertainment quality hasn't changed one bit.

  16. Sachin
    January 29, 2015

    @ue2014: Lights that need warming up really are a nuisance, firstly, if by any chance there is a power shortage at the superbowl (let's hope it doesn't happen by the way) the lights would go out and stay out unless the voltage is more than the threshold voltage, and even then the lights, once shut off, would need more time to fully light up. Even if we're looking at power shortages with LEDs, it won't be a problem.

  17. Sachin
    January 29, 2015

    I also wonder what the LED light spectrum is like and how well it matches the TV camera sensors.  One can get some rather unexpected results with electronic sensors when the light spectrum isn't broadband; it may appear normal to the eye but the electronic sensor sees it differently.


    Well to tell the truth, LED lighting may appear harsher (more intensity, greater hues etc) than the lights that need warming up, however I don't think it would be much of a problem for TV camera sensors to adjust image processing and video processing qualities while recording LED lit field.

  18. Sachin
    January 29, 2015

    Totally flat lighting is not always desirable.  It helps to have a little shadow.  It's more natural.


    I wasn't talking about flat lighting. I was talking about the amount of shadow production that may make the viewer uneasy while watching on his TV set. Earlier you talked about how LED spectrum needs adjusting with the TV camera sensors, and I'm talking about how people would adjust to the amount of shadown production on the field.

  19. samicksha
    January 29, 2015

    LED is considered to be voltage sensitive, i.e they must be supplied with the voltage above the threshold, which can involve series resistors or current-regulated power supplies.

  20. samicksha
    January 29, 2015

    One of the factor which makes them more attractive is that LEDs can be modulated very quickly so they are used extensively in optical fiber and free space optics communications as well.

  21. yalanand
    January 31, 2015

    One of the factor which makes them more attractive is that LEDs can be modulated very quickly so they are used extensively in optical fiber and free space optics communications as well.


    @samicksha:LED lighting has its own advantages, another advantage is low power consumption and less fluctuations.

  22. yalanand
    January 31, 2015

    I wasn't talking about flat lighting. I was talking about the amount of shadow production that may make the viewer uneasy while watching on his TV set. Earlier you talked about how LED spectrum needs adjusting with the TV camera sensors, and I'm talking about how people would adjust to the amount of shadown production on the field.

    I agree with SachinEE. Halogen and other kinds of powerful lighting create huge fields of shadows, that isn't much desirable since we're talking about high tech things. High tech equals more comfort, so we cannot cancel comfort out of the equation.

  23. yalanand
    January 31, 2015

    Well to tell the truth, LED lighting may appear harsher (more intensity, greater hues etc) than the lights that need warming up, however I don't think it would be much of a problem for TV camera sensors to adjust image processing and video processing qualities while recording LED lit field.


    Since there hasn't been such a wide range of LED lighting use for game purposes, I'm sure even camera operators would have to have enough experience to be dealing with new lighting. Also, the job of video editors becomes really tough if cameramen cannot comprehend what they are dealing with.

  24. yalanand
    January 31, 2015

    @ue2014: Lights that need warming up really are a nuisance, firstly, if by any chance there is a power shortage at the superbowl (let's hope it doesn't happen by the way) the lights would go out and stay out unless the voltage is more than the threshold voltage, and even then the lights, once shut off, would need more time to fully light up. Even if we're looking at power shortages with LEDs, it won't be a problem.


    Because LED's consume less power and are easier to fire up! 

  25. dassa.an
    January 31, 2015

    @yaland: Yes you have a valid point there mate but I feel they have gained enormously with the development of the lighting industry so far. 

  26. yalanand
    January 31, 2015

    @tzubair: Hence, DC! DC low-voltage circuits are notorious for dropping voltage over the distance of a wire run, though, so you also have to take that into account, whereas multiple parallel reverse-biased diodes at each LED will allow the length of wires to be AC, thus minimizing the affects of voltage drop.


    Nice idea! DC seems to be the way to go. AC power transmission losses are greater than DC losses. That is hardly an industry secret. In fact the reason you can wirelessly charge a cell phone is because any changing current will radiate away some energy. You just need to coil the wire up to gather some of that energy in a convenient place.

  27. PCR
    January 31, 2015

    “LED lighting has its own advantages, another advantage is low power consumption and less fluctuations.”
    Yalanand its true and one of the major disadvantage is the cost of the LED lighting specially when it comes to the household usage.

  28. PCR
    January 31, 2015

    Yes dassa.an increase of usage of the LED lighting is happening because of the high level of energy saving. And also cot can be barred by the commercial industry.  

  29. vbiancomano
    January 31, 2015

    I'll be even more interested to see if the new lighting provides any advantages to team offenses versus defenses. The rules of the game have been so liberalized over the last 35 years to boost offensive stats by tying both hands behind the defenses' back, that we're not even talking about the same game anymore! That's beyond playing in controlled conditions (domed stadiums, warm-weather sites). Last year (2013) Seattle's defense confounded those liberal rules, basically for an entire season as well as for the championship game. Can they do it again tomorrow?

  30. SunitaT
    January 31, 2015

     one of the major disadvantage is the cost of the LED lighting specially when it comes to the household usage.

    @Ranasinghe, I think this cost will eventually come down as more and more people adopt LED lighting.

  31. fasmicro
    February 1, 2015

    The first use of 3D camera was in Superbowl. Now, LED lighting is making way. It just tells that Superbowl is bringing lots of innovations and technologies in the game besides the elite athletics that play the game.

  32. fasmicro
    February 1, 2015

    >> Yes dassa.an increase of usage of the LED lighting is happening because of the high level of energy saving

    That may not be the main factor. I think LED is competing on its quality by giving a higher denser and quality lighting than alternatives.

  33. nasimson
    February 2, 2015

    @fasmicro: When you have an event as big as Super Bowl, you have the power to accelerate development and adoption of new technologies!

  34. David Maciel Silva
    February 2, 2015

    It's not just turn on the light, you have the control part as well, that makes the spectacle becomes even better …. How long will they have the return on investment by the previous consumption?

  35. Davidled
    February 2, 2015

    LED is getting popular in TV, Lamp, factory lighting, and commercial building. Engineer might look at the electrical requirement above mid-power. I have a still question regarding how high power LED could be reliable and robust compared to halogen lamp (600 Watt@120 VAC). It could be possible that LED color might be changed due to the age or other factor related to led driver.

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