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Conventional Fixtures LEDs for the theatre

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Kelite, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    So I asked myself the other day, "Why don't we see a few white LED PARs or battens offered to the theater crowd?"

    Realizing the need for a full spectrum of color for gels to actually look like they are supposed to- who would be interested in these fixtures?


    Let the games begin! :)
     
  2. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    .....Wouldn't this be kind of contradictory to LED's being a "green" light? I mean kind of the draw of a LED PAR or ERS ect, to me at least, is A) Not having to replace lamps, B) Color mixing and not having to buy gel.
     
  3. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    < A) Not having to replace lamps, B) Color mixing and not having to buy gel.>


    Yes, absolutely right. The replacement issue would save plenty of time, risk, and lamps themselves. Do you find the current theatrical offering of RGB LED's able to reproduce the gel colors you've grown accustomed to?

    Wouldn't it be easier to use your favorite gel in the frame of the white light LED?
     
  4. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    In a house here in Wyoming there's LED mood lighting all throughout the house and the selling point on it and why it was actually installed (IMHO of course) was because the LD could go you know I think the house needs to be a soft blue for this show, and a few keystrokes later it changes from whatever color it was to blue. If they want to make slight changes no reordering or regelling necessary it can all be accomplished quickly and easily from the board (or a nearby computer in this case).

    I could see the need for white LED fixtures if they are going to be used with glass gobos, or if you are going to try and use the conventional type of CMY color mixing used in most automated fixtures today that involves diachroic filters (they are diachroic right, that's what I've always called em).

    I think the gobo option is a likely one that we'll see eventually in some kind of LED ERS type fixture. The filtered color mixing only make sense to me in a single white LED source intelligent fixture and I guess it is a possibility and in theory could give you more consistent lumens throughout the color range. But as for now I think that since color mixing is already easily accomplished through RGB (and sometimes A or W too) arrays of LEDs in the fixture that it is unnecessary until we have very good very bright white LEDs.

    AFTER THOUGHT:
    Kelite, after reading your second post (posted between the time I started this and posted it the first time) that actually does make a good bit of sense. To my knowledge white LEDs aren't actually able to produce the full color spectrum that an incandescent lamp does, but if it could my limited experiance with LED fixtures tells me that gel would last a whole lot longer as I don't think it would produce as much heat at the gel. I would file this in the some day file though because I really don't think that LED fixtures are cheap enough to make viable for that purpose. I think the upfront cost (including the R & D for the full spectrum white LED) vs a conventional PAR or Fresnel would more or less nullify the overall savings of virtually no lamp replacement. That cost statement has no statistical backing, but if I was wrong I think we would have seen a fixture of this type.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  5. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I don't find the current offering of LED's worth the price.

    See that's the other thing...would this white LED A) Be punchy enough to compete with its incandescent bretheren and B) Be cost efficent up front and in the long run?
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm brainstorming 10 years+ down the road here so nobody freak out on me. Let's assume that technology is able to create a true white LED source eventually. It's not there yet but there's no reason they can't figure out a way to do it... perhaps through an additive combination.

    Then we could have a new LED Gel line that is tuned for LED's. I suppose it wouldn't work as each LED manufacturer has a slightly different color spectrum.
    From there it seems like we would need a new USITT Standard for what is a "white LED". Then you guys could make Gel to match. The biggest problem for Apollo is that LD's will die of old age before the gel needs replacing.
     
  7. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    Wow! If that's my biggest problem, I've got it made! :)

    But seriously, the calibration of true white LEDs would have to be pretty consistant to allow general use. Assuming all challenges are solved and pricing continues to drop- would the energy savings cause more theaters to look seriously at LED use?
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Member

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    I recently was looking to replace my altman sky CYCs with an LED inventory, mainly as a long run cost saver but the cost per instrument is still too high and I believe that many LDs would want to suppliment the LEDs with the sky CYCs because of the limited mix range. Also, especially in those with only RGB (no A or W) the amber mixing is really lacking in my opinion.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The five-hundred year-old practice of depositing colored light on the stage via subtractive filters is inherently wasteful and inefficient, and will not/can not continue much longer. At some point sooner rather than later, Apollo Gel, Roscolux, Lee, and GAM will go the way of Brigham and Roscolene. Additive mixing may be the answer, but I suspect new light sources and fixtures, which haven't been developed yet will be the true panacea. Imagine sitting at the lighting desk, and typing in the nanometers of the color you want, the amount of lumens you want on the stage, and the size of the pool desired. Yes, all of this can somewhat happen now, but there are better ways of achieving the desired results--they just haven't been invented yet.

    Sorry Keith, I find it short-sighted of you to even consider putting gel on an LED source--big step backwards. A forward step is to look at a fixture such as the CK IW ColorBlast 12, which has both "warm" and a "cool" sets of LEDs, and allows the user to select any desired color temperature from 3000K-6500K. I'm surprised no other manufacturer has yet to take up this idea and put it into a more familiar form factor, such as a PAR housing.

    I also take exception to your phrase "for gels to actually look like they are supposed to-". Who's to say what gels are supposed to look like? Today's designers are quite adept at mixing T/H and Arc sources and balancing them with the wide range of color correction filters offered. It's ironic that in the old days we were told RGB rondels or gels did not mix to white because theatre filters were not "pure" enough. Now we have trouble because RGB LEDs are too "spiky," emitting only a narrow band of their portion of the visible spectrum. And so the RGBA, or Selador's R/RO/A/G/C/B/I X7 fixtures.

    Many, as yet undeveloped, light sources are on the way, which I predict will invalidate the need for both subtractive and additive color mixing systems.

    Oh, also. Gobos: on their way toward obsolence. Buy stock in Blue Pony.:) However, [user]gafftaper[/user] and [user]gafftapegreenia[/user] should be happy to hear that gaffer's tape will always be necessary, until we get that wireless power thing worked out.;)
     
  10. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    At that point, especially if they got there through additive combination, you wouldn't need gel. If the light can additivly mix to white, why not spend the time to make it a full RGB/CMY (however they get there) instrument that color mixes on its own.

    Not to hate on Apollo, Rosco and the others, LED's when they reach their hay-day, are cost effective, and are saturating the market there's not going to be a need for gel. Designers will have the option of mixing their favorite color on-board on the instrument.

    Currently we have lights that do this...just not very well. While the development of a "true white" LED will be a great stepping stone I think research into a flexible fixture is the better road to travel.
     
  11. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    White light in 'cool' and 'warm' color temps is grand, but color is needed as well. Perhaps the current LD that sits at the desk would prefer his choice of a particular blue from a gel, rather than RGB color mixing.

    There are several budget levels that purchase gel, as we all know. Until the LED or whatever new light/color source is available, gel is the cheapest way to get there and the demand will remain (as will the steel gobo church or community theater w/o digital lighting fixtures).

    We were told PAR cans would be obsolete by now too, and that isn't the case. Not yet-
     
  12. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    There's still a long ways before LED's take over. Even once they reach a point where they have long throws and can pull equal weight compared to a S4, it'll be years before everyone replaces their lighting inventories. In the meanwhile, my impression of LED's is that they work fine for bright colors, but the amount they can output in the same color of L343, in comparison to a 1kw fresnel or S4 PAR, is not anywhere near comparable.

    Plus, Apollo, Lee, GAM, Rosco, and anyone else will still have plenty of business in gobos, fluorescent sleeves, barn doors, template holders, rotators, etc. That doesn't even include new technologies we can't even imagine yet. Mind you that people are still using EC Parallipspheres from the 70's regardless of how terribly inefficient they are. Aside from that, the convenience of being able to plug a light in and have it work without having to hook up DMX wiring and program colors will be important for a while yet.

    Also, there's a benefit to the dimming of incandescents. If you have a copy of the Summer 2008 edition of Protocol, that explains the issue quite well. They also have an article in the Spring 2008 edition, it's a series called "When White Light Isn't White"

    Don't get me wrong, I think LED's will be an integral part of future lighting technology, but we're at a point in time where there will be a lot of companies performing more R&D than normal, and who knows what that might result in. Consider that with the addition of LED's to the industry, companies involved in dimming and conventional fixtures will have to keep working on newer products that either further advance dimming and conventional fixtures, or take a new route of product lines entirely. In the mean time, LED's aren't developed enough to become a mainstay in the industry for at least a few more years, though they are advancing much further each year that passes. That said, I think it will be a few years before conventional lighting is permanently afflicted by them. Until then, LED's can work on taking over the Christmas lighting market, given that the prices come down. Let's face it, incandescent Christmas lights will continue to be cheaper at face value for awhile. Now for those smarter consumers that factor in energy costs, that'll not be the case.
     
    Kelite likes this.
  13. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Design LED 36WA - Elation Professional

    Not exactly a true PAR housing, but still...
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Touché, soundlight. But I don't see an integral color frame holder so I can put L343 in it!:( And would it be useful at any throw over five feet (with the 343)? And what happens to the 95% of light absorbed by the filter?
     
  15. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    When a new set of optical control systems have been invented and the power increased and the colour range improved and the cost reduced it may be viable for theatre, but maybe the development of cold fusion will mean that we don't need to worry about it.
     
  16. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Please explain to me again the Colorblast's situation for a color frame? Last time I checked it involved black gaff.

    The 95 percent of light absorbed by the filter will, of course, overheat the gel and burn a hole in it due to the proximity to the LEDs. And then the fixture will blow up.

    Oh, and I prefer R358.
     
  17. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    What about my R59 and R99? Where's the frame holder for those?!

    And where's the accessory slot for my [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]VORTEX 360 Dual Rotator?
    [/FONT]
     
  18. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    That's awesome. The idea of video libraries as apposed to shelves of steel gobos is really exciting, plus makes home made custom projections much more viable. Not more pie tins YAY!
     
  19. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    Yes, this is the type of fixture I had in mind BUT would this be useful with a gel frame? Yes, the darker transmissions will still absorb much light output (and heat) and colors will migrate from the hotspot/s. Presuming the fixture had enough lumen output to actually be considered for a stage wash- would you care to gel it?

    As advertised, the Elation PAR38 has the capability to mix through a wide range of color temps using 30 white and 6 amber LEDs, but I believe the output is still considered as 'white light'. Apparently the potential buyer of this fixture would not want any color? (Seems rather odd to me, but I've been slower at grasping simple concepts in the past....)


    Also- A very useful post by Mike Nicolai in regards to LED technology replacing incandescent lighting in the near future. Thanks Mike! :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  20. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Two points:

    1) The day that you can buy an LED instrument with the optical qualities of a competitive conventional for less than double the price of that conventional the revolution will truly begin. We are getting close to that point for PAR's and Strips... just a matter of price and firepower. For Fresnels and Fllipsoidals it's a little more tricky... but the day of the $500 LED ellipsoidal will come. If that instrument uses a true white source or if it is a color mixing source is a very interesting question. I think this day is not very far away.

    2) The conversion process will be slow. Everyone's got a collection of 360Q's in a back room. MANY theaters out there are still relying on them as their primarly instruments. If ETC announced the "S4 LED" tomorrow it would 15 years until you guys notice a substantial drop in gel sales. There are just too many of us out here with no budgets using ancient equipment WAY past it's life expectancy. The replacement process will be slow, a few instruments a year for many theaters.

    There is another option to speed up the slow replacement process. I've joked in the past about an LED replacement cap to upgrade a standard S4 to LED... but to me it's the brilliant solution to make someone a LOT of money. Since we have Gel we don't need the expense of color mixing technology in the light source. All we need is an LED that is a perfect match in color and intensity to an HPL 750, it needs to spread out in a way that works well in an ERS (shouldn't be hard), and find a way to plug it into a standard cap. It's an instant upgrade kit (don't bother thinking about it I'm sure CK already owns a patent on it;)). Someone made the comment why will we need gel when LED's can color mix. But there are a lot of expensive electronics involved in color mixing. What we really want is the theater equivalent to the "Mag LED upgrade kit". This way the upgrade is affordable, next time an instrument burns out just pop the old cap off and pop the new LED cap on and keep using Gel... if you do it right it will even be ok to mix LED and Conventionals in the same rig.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008

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