LED PAR's

Logos

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Last night I went to a show by a local musical company. I saw some LED PARs in use for the first time. Talking afterwards to the tech in charge I discovered he knew very little about them as they were hired but he was pretty sure they were chinese.
I wasn't impressed. There were 16 of them in the rig and they were blown away by the conventional PAR 64 lanterns in the rig which had to operate at about 30%. The LEDs dimmed well down to about 20% (guessing visual) and then snapped out. There was definitely not a true white and I wasn't actually all that impressed with the colour mixing. A lot of it seemed muddy but that could easily have been poor programming.
I realise this may be the way forward but I suspect it's got a long way to go. Of course as pointed out these were Chinese.
 

gafftaper

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I was REALLY interested in getting some LED technology when I first started my research of purchasing for the new theater. But after nearly two years of reading studying and seeing a lot of demos. The only one that really impresses me are the 3 Watt Selador strips which come in 1',2',4' and 6' lengths. However, to wash a cyc with enough power to punch through you need to have a light covering about 60%-70% of the cyc top AND bottom... so a 40 foot cyc requires 50-60 feet of strips... and at $1,500 per foot you're going bankrupt quick.
 

avkid

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You get what you pay for comes into play again here.
The more you spend the better the product.
 

gafftaper

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Oh I forgot to say that the best LED par I've seen so far is the Altman Spectra PAR which is Color Kinetics technology. It's also over $1000 and it still won't out shoot a $30 Chinese PAR can.

If they can get those LED's up in the 5-10 Watt range we are going to have a serious revolution and the technology is already well on it's way. Give it 5 years to be perfected and 10 until you can afford it.

Oh yeah and the Color Kinetics technology is pretty good but doesn't have nearly as good of a white as the Selador. Color Kinetics strikes me as much more of an architectural product than a serious theater product. But they are busy selling their technology to theater companies like Altman so that theater products will follow soon enough.
 

domiii

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What about LED's in a small stage?



My stage to ceiling is 9'8" so I have a really short throw (which has it own problems). I have limited dimmers, only 40 1.2kw. LED's with their low power requirements and not using dimmers might be an answer. We have plenty of channels in the board, and ETC 48/96.



What is your opinion?
 

gafftaper

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Some of the cheap DJ ones would work ok for such a short throw... but it's only going to give you accent color. It won't have any sort of punch to out do your normal lights. There was a good thread on the topic of LED PARS about 6 months or so back that had one light that's got a lot more bang for the buck and a link to a shootout over on prosoundweb. Look for that thread. They look cool but even the expensive ones will not out shoot a standard par AND the white isn't very good unless you buy the expensive ones.

A lot of people are using them for DJ lighting or things like touring with a small church choir. And they are perfect for that when bright isn't as important as just color.
 

JD

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I've seen a number demo'ed but I'm not buying yet. It's like computers in the 90's, in a few years they will be 100 to 1000 times better. So, for now it would be a waste of money, kind of like the old IBM 8088's that sold for $2,000 and ran at 4.7mhz! (yes, meg, not gig) Such is the nature of tech!
 

Pie4Weebl

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I've seen a number demo'ed but I'm not buying yet. It's like computers in the 90's, in a few years they will be 100 to 1000 times better. So, for now it would be a waste of money, kind of like the old IBM 8088's that sold for $2,000 and ran at 4.7mhz! (yes, meg, not gig) Such is the nature of tech!
lol an 8088 was my first computer, it was such an odd feeling for me when I got a computer with more ram than that computer had in hd space..
 

SHARYNF

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System Ram ;-) how about ram on the graphics card! or cache ram in the drive itself.
It must be said that if those early systems had not been wildly successful, there would not be any systems at the price/performance ratios we have today.
If no one buys, then companies don't invest in upgrades and improvements

Sharyn
 

JD

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If no one buys, then companies don't invest in upgrades and improvements
Sharyn
Well, I think I single handedly funded the computer revolution judging by the amount of old computers I've thrown out, so I figure I'll let someone else fund the LED revolution ! ;)

I really do suspect we may see 10 to 50 times as much light out of the units within a few years, at probably 20% of the current cost. They are learning new tricks everyday. But, here is another reason to hold off: Most of the "blue" LED's in these units achieve their color by converting some ultraviolet harmonic output to visible light using phosphorus. (Think Florescent light) Phosphorus wears out. The "Whiter" the output, the more the LED relies on this. When you look at the fact that these LED's are "Cranked" you have to wonder what the real lifespan will be. So far, the designs I see use LED's that are only replaceable by changing out the whole block. The LED's will not "burn" out but what I suspect will happen is that the color will gradually shift. I'll let our friends in the DJ business give these things a workout for a few years before I drop 20 grand on a bunch.
 

len

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The issues I have with LED aren't brightness but light quality. Whites and ambers just suck. But that will be the next hurdle overcome, after brightness. In fact, I read an article about a coating that actually makes an LED less blue and more like an incandescent lamp. Once they figure out how to apply it cheaply, we'll be good to go. Next will be a good amber, which won't be too much farther down the road.

And once they figure out how to make a video projector with 20K lumen output in a small package and sell it at a reasonable price, the whole world will change again.
 

JD

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And once they figure out how to make a video projector with 20K lumen output in a small package and sell it at a reasonable price, the whole world will change again.
Now there's a product that needs to be built! (Anybody up for making a few million?)

A little off topic, but imagine taking a mirror chip, HMI source, and high speed color wheel (Same components that make DLP projection TV's) and putting them in a Varilite type unit! Think about this: Software gobos, 64 million colors, bright source, very few moving parts, and could actually project small video clips! Unlike LCD, the mirror chips don't care how much light you bounce off of them! And, the technology is already available! Look at the output the Theater based DLPs put out! We wouldn't need that type of resolution, and thus the cost would be much cheaper!
 

gafftaper

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Well, I think I single handedly funded the computer revolution judging by the amount of old computers I've thrown out, so I figure I'll let someone else fund the LED revolution ! ;)
I really do suspect we may see 10 to 50 times as much light out of the units within a few years, at probably 20% of the current cost. They are learning new tricks everyday. But, here is another reason to hold off: Most of the "blue" LED's in these units achieve their color by converting some ultraviolet harmonic output to visible light using phosphorus. (Think Florescent light) Phosphorus wears out. The "Whiter" the output, the more the LED relies on this. When you look at the fact that these LED's are "Cranked" you have to wonder what the real lifespan will be. So far, the designs I see use LED's that are only replaceable by changing out the whole block. The LED's will not "burn" out but what I suspect will happen is that the color will gradually shift. I'll let our friends in the DJ business give these things a workout for a few years before I drop 20 grand on a bunch.
I'm totally with you on the let someone else fund the revolution. It's just too expensive to play with this stuff at this point. Once it's got the power I'm there but until then no way.

As for the white situation... Selador really has taken care of it by using 7 colors of LED's. You can adjust your way from about 3000k up to 5000k or so. It's a really nice white... but an HPL 575 will completely wash it away. They just don't have the kick yet.

The good news is that 3 Watt LED's are now being used in Selador and other's gear, 5 Watt's exist and are being played with in the design lab for next year's product line, and 10 Watt LED's are not far away. Now a mix of 7 colors at 10 Watt's each... You are finally talking about some serious firepower. The beauty is the control technology is all pretty much set so it's just a matter of developing the right LED's to put in there. I would think, as long as the production costs don't go up for the brighter LED's, the equipment should get cheaper with each brighter generation. But I'm holding my money until it can outshoot a real PAR or a real cyc light.

And then there's my dream one day of the 60 Watt LED Source Four Replacement cap. Just swap it out.
 

JD

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Lekos, Varilites, and Follow spots are probably not that far away. All depend on a point source light source. This is one thing that LED's excel at. Remember the first generation of Varilites? They used the Marc350 lamp. (So did the Ultra Arc follow spots that gave Super Troupers a run for their money.) The Marc was only 350 watts, but the actual bulb was only 3/8 of an inch in diameter! The more light you can get at the exact center of a projection reflector, the better the efficiency of the instrument. LED's give almost their full output in a one millimeter area! Wash lights, on the other hand, just want horsepower, so I think LED's have a long way to go there.
 

Logos

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While we are asking for the impossible how about some hologram scenery. 3d projected. I'm not sure about the Leko sitiuation but I reckon we will have useable wash lights pretty soon. I did the same as you JD with computers I even struggled through a year at Uni using a Commodore 64 with Wordstar and a brother dot matrix printer because I refused to give up. I owned an 086 a 286 skipped the 486 and went straight to pentium. I'm on God knows what number pentium now. Let the more enthusiatic youngsters fund the LED revolution
 

len

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Now there's a product that needs to be built! (Anybody up for making a few million?)
A little off topic, but imagine taking a mirror chip, HMI source, and high speed color wheel (Same components that make DLP projection TV's) and putting them in a Varilite type unit! Think about this: Software gobos, 64 million colors, bright source, very few moving parts, and could actually project small video clips! Unlike LCD, the mirror chips don't care how much light you bounce off of them! And, the technology is already available! Look at the output the Theater based DLPs put out! We wouldn't need that type of resolution, and thus the cost would be much cheaper!
That is possibly the best idea I've heard in years. I suggest patenting it RIGHT NOW. Then sell the idea to High End (since they're doing the most with moving video lights now) or someone.
 

gafftaper

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Now there's a product that needs to be built! (Anybody up for making a few million?)
A little off topic, but imagine taking a mirror chip, HMI source, and high speed color wheel (Same components that make DLP projection TV's) and putting them in a Varilite type unit! Think about this: Software gobos, 64 million colors, bright source, very few moving parts, and could actually project small video clips! Unlike LCD, the mirror chips don't care how much light you bounce off of them! And, the technology is already available! Look at the output the Theater based DLPs put out! We wouldn't need that type of resolution, and thus the cost would be much cheaper!
I'm not exactly up on the technology so this may be completely wrong, but I thought that's what a High End DL and DL2 are. Plus there are a half a dozen similar products out there from lesser known brands as well. Maybe they are using a different technology approach. Anybody know?
 

gafftaper

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Well I guess I'm wrong on the DL2 at least. I just looked it up and they are using LCD procjection technology... but I'm sure I saw some DLP projectors at LDI.
 

JD

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Although the optics would be easier with LCD, there is a fatal flaw: LCD's use color filters that will not hold up too long with a lot of light blasted through them. DPL would require folded optics, but the DLP chip is just mirrors, no color, so they reflect the heat away. Color is added by a fast moving RGB color wheel. In the case of DLP color projectors, the mirror chip flips the "red" elements while the red filter is passing, blue when the blue filter passes, etc. So, it changes three times per field, or 180 times a second. The color wheel is done with diachronic filters, so you can see how easy it would be to get performance level light output, all with currently proven technology! The only moving parts in a DLP moving yoke fixture would be the X, Y, Focus, and color wheel motors. (unless you count the little mirrors, or the fans) The result would be almost any type of output you could think of, easily downloaded to the fixture.

Gezzz! I want one of these already! ;)