This is the second test of my Python script written for Maya. It took about 20 minutes (or less!) to swap out the maps on a sphere surrounding the scene, and then generate lights to match. It took a few tries, starting with the color and intensity of the fill lighting, and then with the spots, to get a good image.
Using a script to automatically generate and place the lights made creating this light cloud quick and easy.
This render, 240 frames at full HD, took under 2 hours to complete. Using real lights vs. HDRI works amazingly well.
Factory Catwalk panorama provided by HDRI Labs, makers of the Smart Image Based Lighting system.