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Lighting (LED Instruments vs. Conventional)

There are two basic types of conventional (non-moving) light sources that we rely on in our events and trade shows: ellipsoidals and par lights.


 

Ellipsoidals are typically used as a front lighting fixture that allows you to choose the size of the lighting beam, and it allows you to use shutters to frame the light fixture. With ellipsoidals (also commonly referred to as “Lekos”) you can build a front lighting “wash” that lights the staging area, and they have the ability to project “gobos” – these are typically seen as patterns in the light, text, or company logos.


Ellipsoidals began with candle-lit stage fixtures that had mirrors as reflectors, and this progressed through gas lighting fixtures, electric incandescent fixtures, and now are commonly seen in today’s LED fixtures.



 


Par lights serve multiple purposes, and their popularity is traced back to the early days of rock n roll lighting. When stage lighting needed to be enhanced, roadies would see the airport landing lights and how bright they were, and the technology of those runway “par” bulbs were then adapted into a steel can (hence the name Par-can).


The modern Par-can that we use is an LED version, and they go hand-in-hand with the LED ellipsoidals.



 

LED Vs. Standard Conventionals:


Conventional lighting has been a very consistent medium since the 1950s, and it consists of a lighting board controlling dimmer packs, with the dimmer packs supplying power to individual lighting fixtures (lekos and pars). Controlling the intensity of the lights for camera and live production is key in painting a picture for the audience while maintaining evenly-lit faces on screen.


In the past 15 years, the rise of LED lighting has given us more tools as lighting designers in that we can control intensity, color, and effects all from a lighting console for each individual fixture (no more changing gels on lights mid-show). The power consumption has dropped from the typical 575 watts per light (1000 watts per light in the 1970s) to under 100 watts per fixture with LED lamps. We can have many more lighting fixtures on a single power run, and we save time and energy in the process.


As we continue to expand in the LED market, we adjust for the higher costs of LED lights, but we are able to eliminate cumbersome dimmer racks and more than half of our cabling for each show. Many venues are beginning to outlaw standard conventional lights around the world, so LED fixtures give us the ability to maintain a much smaller carbon footprint.

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