LED Help

Robert F Jarvis

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Location
Sebring, FL, USA
We run some Chauvet Corepar 80, ADJ Encore spots and a couple of ADJ Cannons on our small stage. But I have been asked to recommend some LEDs for our larger (35 x 40') stage to "add some color"! I've used a couple of the C80 and think they are fine but we there are no barndoors for them. If you had to put some LEDs up onto a big stage what would you go for? They'll be used alongside regular (legacy,) Fresnels.
 

dbaxter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2007
Location
Rochester, NY
We tested an Ovation P-56FC (among others) as a possible replacement for our down lights and it is the clear winner so far. Bright and excellent colors. Only reason we didn't order is they want money for them - that we don't have, but are working on.
 

Robert F Jarvis

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Location
Sebring, FL, USA
We tested an Ovation P-56FC (among others) as a possible replacement for our down lights and it is the clear winner so far. Bright and excellent colors. Only reason we didn't order is they want money for them - that we don't have, but are working on.
That is a nice light! In that price range there is also the Varylite SL155. - It doesn't have the lime doped led (vey good for broadband excitation) but is does have a manual zoom facility that takes it form a wash to a Fresnel. And that sums the LED market at this time. A huge amount of variation abut finding that "bang for Bucks" sweet spot is tough. Thank you for your input.
 

gafftaper

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Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
There are two different classes of LED lights with two different price ranges. Are you looking for something cheap that looks a little "digital" (like the fixtures you listed already having) or are you looking for the better class of fixtures that play well with incandescent lights? The good stuff looks more natural and starts around $650 per fixture and goes up from there. Something from either the ETC ColorSource or Chauvet Ovation line will make you very happy. If you don't care that there is no way to match colors with incandescent lights and gel then the DJ lines from Chauvet, ADJ, and Elation, or whatever house Chinese brand that you local lighting dealer caries are all about the same. These dont look as good and may not be repairable in the future, but they are cheaper.
 

Robert F Jarvis

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Location
Sebring, FL, USA
Nice notes, thank you. We are a volunteer none profit theater and though it would be great to buy some of the more expensive lights I don't see it happening. I'm stuck really because I need to find some - compromise performance / price - units up to get our (older) lighting guys and directors to buy into the whole modern lighting thing. It's a bootstrapping process.
 

gafftaper

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Location
Seattle, WA
Nice notes, thank you. We are a volunteer none profit theater and though it would be great to buy some of the more expensive lights I don't see it happening. I'm stuck really because I need to find some - compromise performance / price - units up to get our (older) lighting guys and directors to buy into the whole modern lighting thing. It's a bootstrapping process.
Sadly, there's a very clear line of more expensive technology that you have to cross to get the better looking LED emitters. The cheaper fixtures have really low CRI scores which means their white is not good, the pastels you want for Theater are inaccurate, and the saturated colors are too pure and have that overly digital unnatural look... Like cheap blue LED Christmas lights. Every year, that line is getting cheaper to cross so don't give up hope.

I'll be taking a look at the budget LED options at LDI next month and report on them in our Convention forum. I will start a "What do you want to know about?" thread in the LDI 2019 sub- forum in a week or two. So keep your eyes on the discussion there and if you have any questions post them over there or send them direct to me.

@Ford, if you have a minute, I would love to hear a few comments about the differences in LED technology and what sets the better class of LED fixtures (like your Chauvet Ovation) apart from the DJ class. Setting aside build quality, QC, and warranty... what is it we are paying for that visually makes such a difference?
 
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Ford

Sr Product Manager, Chauvet Professional
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Location
South FL
Briefly (I’m about to take off on a flight), yes build quality, yes quality of LED Drivers, yes quality of PSUs (and other components), yes custom developed reflectors and lenses, yes the hours spent in pushing the envelope in color mixing (new formulas to give the best colors)... pretty much all the small things that make a big difference.
 
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gafftaper

Senior Team
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Seattle, WA
Briefly (I’m about to take off on a flight), yes build quality, yes quality of LED Drivers, yes quality of PSUs (and other components), yes custom developed reflectors and lenses, yes the hours spent in pushing the envelope in color mixing (new formulas to give the best colors)... pretty much all the small things that make a big difference.
Not asking you to talk bad about the competition, but I assume the really low end LED fixtures you find on EBAY are just whatever combination of parts that the manufacturer can throw together that will sort of work with no real design. Then in the middle you have a variety of fixtures with increasing levels of quality and design. Thus the reason it takes around $600 to buy a true professional quality fixture is that you and your competitors all have to pay about the same cost for better quality components and fixture design.
 

Catherder

Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Location
Portland OR
Briefly ... yes custom developed reflectors and lenses, yes the hours spent in pushing the envelope in color mixing (new formulas to give the best colors)... pretty much all the small things that make a big difference.
I also see a significant amount of R&D time both on components and application, which I’m guessing also doesn’t come cheap.