Amanda Scarano Carter, West Coast chair of the Producers Guild of America's green initiative, said much of the responsibility in standardizing energy efficiency lies with major entertainment companies.
But, she said, that leaves out a substantial portion of entertainment produced by independent filmmakers with far fewer resources. "It becomes problematic when it comes down to just interested individuals who don't have money backing them."
Despite Hive's initial success, cinematographers haven't been beating down the door of its downtown garage work space, nestled behind the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, which gave the company its start.
"The No. 1 question we still get is 'What the heck is that?'" Miller said. "And usually not that politely phrased."
Miller, Rutherford and Emmanuelli declined to divulge financial specifics other than to say that revenue so far this year has been 10 times higher than in all of 2012. Besides the three partners, the company has two full-time employees and about a dozen part-time workers.
They're exporting to Brazil, Australia, France and Germany. Their lights lit the "Much Ado" red carpet at this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, as well as the sets of CBS hits "The Mentalist" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." On Monday, the Hive partners learned they would be lighting next month's swimming competition at the International Paralympic Committee's World Championships in Montreal.
To supply these high-profile projects and events, Hive tries to keep operations homegrown.
Hive gets its bulbs from Luxim Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif., and Topanga Technologies in Canoga Park. Sheet metal and paint jobs are done in North Hollywood. Glass covering the bulbs comes from Sylmar, where another company supplies the rings surrounding the lenses.
The one element that comes from outside the U.S. is the electronics board in each unit, parts of which ship from China. A third Sylmar company, Mogul Manufacturing, puts it all together based on Hive's design.
"The more product we have, the more demand it creates. And the more opportunities we have," Miller said, "to show everyone what we can do."