VUE Tennis – A Specialized Light for a Specialized Sport
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Just over one year ago, Har-Tru partnered with NLS Lighting to introduce VUE Tennis to the tennis industry. One thing we cannot emphasize enough is that VUE Tennis has been designed specifically for our sport. At Har-Tru we love this, because improving visibility under lights is an enormous enhancement to the game. The areas of specialty for this fixture are glare reduction and improved uniformity. What does this mean for you?
In the 2015 edition of Tennis Courts - A Construction & Maintenance Manual, published by the American Sports Builders Association and the USTA, the quality of light is described as a function of uniformity, glare, spill, contrast and modelling. Unlike other LED fixtures, VUE Tennis utilizes reflectors to place the light where it improves uniformity, particularly vertical uniformity, and simultaneously reduces glare.
Glare: One great characteristic of LED’s is that each individual light can be aimed to direct the light evenly across the court’s surface. This has led to nice improvements in uniformity, meaning that light levels are very consistent, and the ball is easier to follow. One disadvantage of the direct-point strategy has been an increase in glare. There is a greater likelihood that a player can look directly at a light and, much like when you look at the sun on an overhead or serve, be temporarily blinded.
VUE Tennis recesses all the LED’s in the fixture housing so you will never look directly at a light, and glare reduction is significant. This is incredibly important for facilities that have 8 fixtures per court because more fixtures, not surprisingly, create more glare. The best analogy that we can provide on the detriment of glare is when you are returning serve in part shade/part sun, particularly if the sun is low and a bit to the side. It is instinctive to lower the hat or try to shift to the shade for better visibility. Bad glare from your tennis court lights will give you similar discomfort. Why put up with that if you don’t have to?
Uniformity: LED’s for tennis are generally not as bright as new metal halide fixtures. In other words, you need more of them to provide the same amount of light. (Note: Metal halides have much higher rates of light loss than LED’s and within as little as 6 months often provide less light that LED’s). As stated above however, LED’s are demonstrating greater uniformity.
Uniformity is measured using a ratio of the maximum amount of light on the playing surface to the minimum amount of light. The lower the ratio the more consistent the light and the easier it is to track the ball. You want to have a max/min ratio of 2:1 or better for high quality lighting.
Here is the thing though. Most lighting companies take this measurement at three feet above the court surface. That is only net height! The ball is usually traveling six to ten feet above the playing surface. This makes vertical uniformity very important. VUE Tennis, by utilizing reflectors, makes it easier to track the ball by providing greater uniformity, even up to 18’ above the court. That is what we see as the game changer - yes literally!
We understand that there are options when it comes to LED’s for tennis, and that the value of the fixture improvements, while perhaps interesting, are hard to quantify and verify. That is why we offer a 30-day free trial. New lights are a big investment and you deserve to know what you are getting for your money. So whatever direction you go please be sure to try out the different options because there are some bad ones. We have chosen to offer the free trial because we are very confident that you will find VUE Tennis better to play under and easier and more efficient to operate.