Lightning Strikes! is the trademarked brand name
of a line of lighting units
which mimic natural flashes of lightning. They are used primarily to create the simulated lightning you see in your favorite movies
The units are, fortunately, weather proof. This is handy because they draw either 70,000 or 250,000 watts of power (depending on which size light you're using), at 208-250 volts for a momentary current of 300 or 1000 amps. That much juice'll make your hair stand on end long after you've fried and died.
Lightning Strikes!'s light has a color temperature of 5600K, which looks like daylight to film. The manufacturers claim that it can be dimmed 20% without a shift in color temperature.
Your gaffer can flash each instrument as many as 24 times per second (which, if sunc properly will look like a steady light), or shine it for as long as 1.5 seconds. Each flash can be preprogrammed to have a different brightness, again mimicing actual lightning. Combining varying brightnesses with 24fps sync will produce a "wavering light" effect.
Other common uses include creating the muzzle flashes of off-camera machine guns or the pop! of fake flash bulbs.
The developers of Lightning Strikes!, David Pringle and Yan Zhong-Fang , were recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1996 and given a Technological Achievement Award for their invention.