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L.E.D. I missed the boat!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gpdesigner, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. gpdesigner

    gpdesigner Member

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    The LED phenomenon passed by me so I am unfamiliar with it.
    From what I remember LED's are a low output, low intensity bulb. Since when have they been using them a a major light source? Are they able to output as many Lumens as lets say a S4 Par, 575w?

    I haven't had the chance to work with these fixtures yet but it seems to me that you would need a boat load of them to get the same luminosity as an old fashoned 1000w par 64 . . . .

    Some clients that I run into seem to think these lights are the in thing, I personally don't know why they ask for them. From a designers point of view, if you can put together a system that will draw small amounts of power this is a bonus, but a client wouldn't know of these things, so what is their attraction to the LED?
    Someone enlighten an old timmer.
    gp
     
  2. G2Entertainment

    G2Entertainment Member

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    Some reasons they would be requested would be less heat on the performers, the ability to change colours without physically swapping out the gel or using a scroller and less weight to deal with. The Colorado 1 and 3's have the same intensity and roughly the same beamwidth as a 500WMFL P64 at 20foot--roughly because the Colorado 3 is slightly wider, less than 6 inches.

    Source: Another webforum (PSW Sound Reinforcement Forums: Lighting => Chauvet Colorado vs PAR64 results)
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  3. quarterfront

    quarterfront Member

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    I'm something of an oldtimer myself, or at least I feel old a lot of days. Maybe I can help...
    LED is the next big thing. LED's are brighter than they used to be, more colors are available, and the light output is more of a full spectrum so you can actually do RGB blending with them to get a pretty decent color gamut. A single LED still isn't enough to do useful stage lighting, so the approach is to build an array of LED's that as a whole put out enough lumens. Most of the instruments using LED's are striplights and floods, and usually you see a three color system built into them, R, G & B arrays that can be dimmed separately and mixed to a gamut of colors.

    The advantages are many and attractive. Lots of light for very little current draw to begin with, multiple colors from one unit without scrollers or even gel, and very low heat leap to mind.

    Take for example, an LED unit roughly equivalent to a PAR64. You can power, say, a dozen or more of these units on one 15amp circuit. You daisy chain DMX to them and depending on how you address them you can control them individually or as a bank. You get a good range of colors via mixing, usually some strobe settings and effects as a bonus. Hey, there's even one fixture out there I've seen ads for that lets you program which LED's do which colors to make your mix so you can make the face of the unit look like a peace sign in red and blue to project purple light, for example, and then have it suddenly turn into an orange and blue yin-yang and project sort of white (or something like that, I only glanced at the ad but I belive that's the gist of it - pretty snazzy).

    Downsides? Well, the color gamut is good, but there are colors it can't do. You need a lot of data cable. Currently it's pretty much all about floods. And you have to, you know, buy them. They're getting cheaper every day, and I don't see it being too long before I go asking for the money to buy a bank of them, but money is always a factor, right?

    As for an LED replacement for the HPL-575 or the FEL.... Well, we can all dream, right? Hopefully that's not too far off. I think it's in the works. Yes, even in our oldtimer lifetimes we may see the dawn of the age of light without heat.

    Okay, somebody else take a turn....
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  4. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Well, I wouldn't say it has passed you by, but you are stepping into the middle of it!

    Current LED's are 1000 times the output of the little dudes that used to be a pilot light. 1, 3 and 5 watt units are the most common. (as compared to 5 and 10 mw indicator lights) There is a company that has just released a product that claims to use a 100 watt LED. You can spend between $80 and $6000 on LED wash lights with predictable differences in performance. Can an LED follow spot be that far off? ;)
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The boat hasn't even left the dock yet.

    Many/most lighting shops have some form of LED fixture available for rental. The Philips/CK ColorBlaze72 striplight and the ColorBlast12 washlight are especially popular units.

    LEDs have come a long way, but are currently still better for lighting/creating scenery than performers.

    High End Systems SHOWPIX FUN
     
  6. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    While I don't have any LED lights in my inventory and have never actually worked with them, I am seriously considering them for future upgrades to my lighting inventory. The power savings and the color mixing capabilities would make them an excellent choice for certain applications at the Pageant. While the technology is not quite where I need it to be just yet, its getting closer every day.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah JD's right. There currently isn't anything that is a true replacement for say a 1000 Watt par but we are getting VERY close. The good stuff like the Colorados, Pixelrange, Color Kinetics, and Selador are fabulous products but they will cost you and arm and a leg. You can replace all your cyc lights right now with Seleador X7 Xtra strips... however it'll cost you $60,000 or so to do it (the color saturation is AMAZING). On the low end there are a variety of Par products for around $150 or less but they are quite low in intensity (but getting brighter all the time). The current trend is going toward a mix of 3 watt LED's which is a huge step forward... but we will need to get up into 5 and 10 watt LED's until we have a true replacement for our 575w and 1000w conventional fixtures. Those LED's do exist in the R&D deparments and its just a matter of a year or so until we start seeing them on the shelf. There is also the intelligent light out there from Neo Neon with a 100 watt LED source. No one around here has seen one yet but it sounds like a massive leap forward.

    While I'm sure Allthingstheater will be along to dispute me on this... LED's are for real, and they will soon be taking a huge place in the industry. Right now they are still either under powered or over priced... but the products that we need for normal theater use are already in R&D. In a few years they will begin to make their way out of trial on the expensive rock show tours and Vegas into the price range of your local theater.

    The next five to ten years are going to see a revolution in lighting that the conventional manufacturers are working hard to position themselves to survive. There have been a lot of discussions about LED's in the past on this board so do some searching. You'll note that while they must be working hard on their own solutions our friends from ETC who hang out around here are very quiet on the topic. The big conventional manufacturers seem to be playing the LED hand VERY close to the vest... allowing the smaller manufacturers to dabble while they develop. Altman's the only traditional manufacturer to produce an LED product so far and the previous model has had mediocre results... we'll see how the new one does. I have the feeling that in a few years we are going to see a massive barrage of LED products from the traditional conventional fixture powerhouses. They appear to be waiting for the technology and cost to get down to the point that it competes with their traditional products then they are going to have to step up big or loose big.
     
  8. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    You haven't missed the boat for everyone to get on but the 120 foot Yacht may be passing you right now. As has been said earlier LEDs right now seem to be in a point were they are either not strong enough or too expensive for most people. But there are exceptions. The advantages are out there for some.

    Lighting & Sound America recently (I wanna say the July issue) did an article on Radiohead's new "green" tour. They use all LED fixtures among other things to try and reduce the environmental impact of their tour.

    Also color mixing LED Par's are commonly used as truss warmers because they are light, for that purpose can be found for cheap, easily change colors, and can run all day long without great cost to the user (in both power and gel usage).

    On my show our deck truss is lit with Coemar PinLite LED fixtures. These are NOT cheap units and to be honest I'm not overly impressed with them in this application as they get washed out rather easily. That being said they are competing with a grid packed full of Clay Paky Alpha 1200 HPEs of the spot and wash variety so it isn't surprising that a 12w unit gets washed out, and to their credit these fixtures just don't break down.
    The truss that makes up the set for my show is lit with the 36w big brother the Coemar ParLite LED. At $1,300 each they are also out of the price range of most theaters, but these units are wonderful. They are amazingly punchy even when more powerful lights are competing with them and can mix to a surprising amount of colors for being just an RGB fixture (you say the LED stuff is a little new to you so if that last sentence didn't make sense, sometimes amber or white LEDs will be mixed in to help the array of mixable colors).
    Both fixtures run rather cold (that is the chassis stays touchable), have almost no heat at the object they're pointed at, and as I said are nearly indestructible. Add that to the fact that these models can take anywhere from 90V to 250V at 50 or 60 Hz and you have an amazingly flexible fixture as well. I can't wait till technology comes down in price and you start to see models like these in every day theaters as wash lights.

    Right now IMHO LEDs are toys that have some usage but nothing that I would expect to see on every lighting design. I think what will really start the revolution is when there is an LED fixture that can compete with the common ellipsoidals out there today. Once we get a fixture with similar output to you favorite variety HPL (or similar) fixture that you can focus for different degree throws, shutter, put patterns in front of, etc just like you can a S4 today that is when I think LEDs will come out of the toy box and into the mainstream lighting inventory. As a last note double awesome points if someone invents a viable S4 LED base that can be swapped out so that you can have all the features of the current S4 body and the connivence of LEDs.
     
  9. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    my problem with LED's is that if you have bought some over time (even if they are the same model) you will notice color differences amongst the LEDs. This really does need to become more standard. Also I saw some 100W LED's a few years ago, they were insanely bright.
     
  10. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Revolution-no
    Evolution-maybe
    Will I live long enough to see a Source 4 LED profile-probably not.
     
  11. hsaunier

    hsaunier Active Member

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    LED's are just like any other tool. To be used for the appropriate situation. S4's although a very common place fixture, are not the answer to every problem either. Never seen an inventory/plot of just S4's. Usually a few fresnels, pars mixed in.
     
  12. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    aww, don't say that, I'm sure you will live longer than 3 years from now! :mrgreen:
     
  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Amen!

    Won't be long now until the brightness is there. The bigger challenge for LEDs is going to be getting a good "tungsten white" color, with a solid broad spectrum. This issue may however be bypassed completely if we go straight to color generation and gels become (sort of) a thing of the past. It also means we get a comparable output with only a fraction of the light needed for our subtractive Mylar based friends!

    I remember once thinking how HID lamps would never replace incandescent for the same spectral reason.... There is some small seed of truth there, but for the most part, we are happy with out choppy bandwidth bulbs! (Still thought carbon arc was better ;) )

    The greater issue may be changing behavior. An LD that has been slapping gels in fixtures for years needs to undergo a near epiphany before he/she will even try using additive LED sources and give up his/her subtractive gel swash book. I'm even having that problem! The thing we all have to remember is that it is an "outcome" we are trying to create, and the "outcome" is how we should judge our efforts and decisions. If we achieve the color and "look" we are looking for with computer controlled DMX based LED units, or a fat old scoop with a 1000 watt PS52 bulb covered in a gel run off a resistance plate dimmer, does it really matter to the audience member?

    The culture shock is going to take some time. I can't envision the time I will not be standing in front of a PAR, holding up gels to get the look I want. But, let's face it, 50 years from now an LD will say, "Holding a what up in front of a what?"
     
  14. gpdesigner

    gpdesigner Member

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    that was an awesome response, I got more info from those reply's than months of random reading. Good to know I am not that far behind the curve.
    So I guess we are all waiting for LED's to jump in lumen out put and drop in price. I thought of using them in some tent reflection applications which will work well I think, but when I need some serious saturation I can either spend tuns of money on LED's or just toss up some S4's.

    Thanks you-all I guess I could do some research on LED companies now to get up to speed.
    gp
     
  15. RichMoore

    RichMoore Member

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    I do believe that the LED technology will come into its own before too many more years pass. It may not happen before some of us 'seasoned' hands hang up our c-wrenches, or as our Brit cousins refer to them, our 'adjustable spanners'.

    I have added 7 LED pars into my inventory in the last month or so and I must say that although they are quite inexpensive, I am impressed. I bought them online for $100.00 each and they will be quite adequate for accent light and set highlighting effects.

    I am going to use them in the coming spring to meet the rider demands of a symphonic percussionist who wants to have multiple color washes on her instruments. I also plan to use them as side lighting for small ballet programs that we do on my stage. They are fairly bright and being able to dial up any hue or color through my Strand 520i makes them pretty sweet.

    My primary color washes are done with 6 S4s that are mated to SeaChanger color engines and I get almost enough punch and saturation. As soon as I add 3 to 5 more of the SeaChanger units life will be very good and quite colorful. I am a firm believer in the SeaChanger units, mainly because they are totally silent...no scroller motor noise and no cooling fan noise. With the space that I work being a concert hall where it is all about the sound, having the ability to silently make strong light with vivid and deep color is a lovely thing.

    I look forward to the day when the LED units are a viable alternative, because it will lessen the amount of power that will be consumed and the color choices will be unlimited.

    My $.02.

    Rich
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Not quite unlimited, as a 3-color unit will still only produce 16,777,216 (256^3) colors, and a 4-color unit: 4,294,967,296 (256^4). [user]Gafftaper[/user] has a propensity for the Selador X7, but I don't think I could deal with 7.20e+16 colors. I only know about 150 Lux and Lee colors now.:rolleyes:

    On one show, I had CMY washlights in a slow "rainbow" chase and told the director "there's all the colors they can do." He said, "Well, I'm not really seeing anything I like.":( We "settled" for BLU: [email protected], [email protected]
     
  17. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I thought I read somewhere that the human eye can only distinguish so many colors as it is, so even though some future LED may be able to make eleventybillion colors, it won't matter.

    Am I imagining things?
     
  18. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    That's the beauty of LED's combined with the new generation of consoles. You just plug that bad boy in and call up your favorite gel color and the LED produces it. If you don't like it, go in and add a little more R, G, or B (Or in the case of the Selador add more amber, green, red, red orange, cyan, indigo, or Blue) .

    I believe Eos and Ion also have a color picker that represents the whole spectrum from which you can pick your color... Strand currently only has the gel catalogs of all manufacturers (but that could change as most features are only a software update away with the new generation of consoles).

    As for the "7.20e+16"... for those of us who don't speak math the Selador site says "72 thousand trillion colors"
     
  19. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Wow! That's like 2000 colors for every dollar in our national debt! If fact, if you looked at every color for one second, it would take 230,000 years to view them all!

    Wonder if you'd remember what the first one was....
     
  20. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Red :cool:
     

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