LED Stage Lighting – The Future is Bright!
LED Stage Lighting – The Future is Bright!
LED stage lighting has come of age over the last few years. The latest series of specialist LED fixtures punch out enough light for virtually any large stage venue, including schools, theatres, broadcast studios, places of worship, clubs and hospitality venues.
Advances in LED design, lens manufacture and power supply technologies have resulted in a range of high quality LED fixtures suitable for any lighting scenario.
LED fixtures have several key advantages over conventional incandescent (tungsten or halogen) lighting fixtures:
Low Power Consumption - no need for costly re-wiring when the system needs to be modified or extended. Add additional lights as and when required - new lighting fixtures are easily ‘patched-in’ to the existing set-up.
Cool Running - safer to handle, safer near small children & safer near combustible materials.
Maintenance Free - no more lamps to change or filters to clean. Professional quality LED fixtures have an estimated life of over 50,000 hours.
Multi Colour - LED ‘wash light’ & ‘beam’ fixtures contain multicolour LEDs which can be controlled via the lighting control desk, so no need to change coloured filters when you need a different colour.
Dependable - no more blown lamps at inconvenient moments.
Climate Friendly - low power consumption and cool running mean minimal environmental impact.
Here at Active Visual Supplies we specialise in providing and maintaining lighting installations for the education sector. Virtually all new stage lighting installations we undertake these days are LED based systems. No need for expensive 32/63A power supplies, no cumbersome dimmer packs, no excess heat generated by the lamps, no need for coloured filters and no blown lamps. Add to that the low cost of ownership (ultra-low power consumption and no lamps to replace) and the decision is easy – it’s LEDs every time!
Retrofit and Upgraded Installations
This is where our clients tend to need more advice. You may have a considerable number of conventional lanterns – tungsten, halogen or HMI and the cost of replacing them en-masse may be prohibitive. There is also the question of compatibility – LEDs cannot be used on a conventional lighting bar connected to a dimmer pack. At best you will notice some unscripted and unanticipated lighting effects; at worse you will blow the LED fixture! Fortunately we have considerable experience in upgrading older systems, allowing you to continue to use your existing lights side-by side with new LED fixtures. Then over time, as your budget or requirements dictate, you can upgrade the system to selectively replace the older lanterns with LED equivalents.
Most users discover, however, that they need fewer LED fixtures than they think. Conventional lanterns can only ever display one colour - white or a fixed colour using coloured filter gels. An LED, on the other hand can display an almost infinite range of colours, making it a far more versatile light source.
Add in a motorised zoom facility and/or a moving head and you’ll quickly appreciate why LEDs are displacing conventional lanterns in every area of stage lighting.
Tri, Quad or Hex?
Tri LED fixtures contain red, green & blue LEDs. To change the colour, the intensity of each LED group is adjusted. To make white light, the colours are mixed in equal proportions. This can be done locally, or via a suitable lighting control desk.
Quad LED fixtures contain red, green, blue and white LEDs. To change the colour, the intensity of each LED group is adjusted. To change the brightness, the individual intensities can be adjusted and/or the white light output can be adjusted. This can be done locally, or via a suitable lighting control desk.
5-Way and 6-Way (Hex) fixtures also contain LEDs for amber and/or UV. Amber may be a useful addition if you need to produce orange hues. UV may be useful in picking out white areas on costumes or scenery.
We would rarely recommend Tri LED fixtures unless the budget is very tight - Quad fixtures typically provide higher brightness and far greater flexibility. They may cost a little more, but they are generally worth the extra. 5-Way and 6-Way fixtures are becoming more popular, but the extra colours they provide may not be used too often.
Compatibility & Colour Temperature
The other concern we frequently encounter is the ‘quality’ of the light output by LED fixtures. It is entirely true that early generations of LEDs output a distinctly blue form of white light which can be too harsh, especially for operators used to the warmer tones produced by conventional tungsten lanterns.
The latest series of LEDs, however, can be ordered as ‘cool’ or ‘warm’, indicating the colour temperature of the light. A warm light is far softer and echoes the output from a conventional tungsten light, whereas a cool light is more akin to daylight and provides more punch, which may be advantageous in some circumstances.
Quality and Longevity
We would be remiss in not mentioning the issue of build quality and longevity in this article. LED fixtures come in GOOD, BAD and downright UGLY! A GOOD fixture will perform well throughout its life, while a BAD fixture will perform badly from day one and likely fail prematurely. The output from any light source tails off as it ages, but a poor quality LED will tail off very rapidly, assuming it lasts that long.
All of our LED fixtures come with a 3 year warranty and an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 hour operating life, so you know you are buying a quality product, designed and built to last.
Please get in touch if you need further advice or if you’d like to see what LED stage lighting could do for your drama studio or school hall. We offer FREE nationwide site surveys and FREE demonstrations. Call us on 01952 250166, email email@example.com or visit our website www.active4staging.co.uk
Active Visual Supplies Ltd, 5 High Street, Wellington, Telford, TF1 1JW
Tel: 01952 250166 firstname.lastname@example.org www.active4staging.co.uk
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