I just stumbled across this site today: http://www.hdri-studio.com/ and thought it was a really interesting concept to share (no I don’t work for them :P)
They’ve gone and set up professional photographic studio lighting rigs, with softboxes, gels etc and captured them into HDRI files, to use with 3D. I guess it’s aimed at people using 3D for visualisation, product presentation etc, who can just model something, then just plug in the pre-built studio lighting setup nice and easily. The reason that I find it interesting is the crossover between traditional techniques and virtual techniques in 3D. It’s nicely integrating the advantages of the wealth of knowledge and experience of pro photographers and realtime feedback when lighting in real life, with the obvious advantages of 3D. As technology advances, I’m looking forward to see more clever things like this.