PixelArc C (real world check)

JD

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Just got back from Disney World, where I always take joy in seeing what they are doing. I was very impressed with how the PixelArc-C put out in a very difficult application. The show was on their outdoor stage in front of the castle. They have swapped out a lot of the par cans for these units. The show was late afternoon under partial sunlight.

The show was lit by 28 PixelArc's, 24 Par 64's (1k), 2 xenon troupers, and a few odd add ins. The PixelArc's were on the two double-Genie's they use. (About 50' throw, see photo.) They were competing with the pars which were all gelled with what looked like RL34 (flesh pink.) Highlight were picked up by the Troupers. I was really surprised that the LED units cut through the way they did! Although the facial and front angles were primarily lit by the pars, you could easily pick out the work being done by the LED units. I guess we really have hit a turning point.
 
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David Ashton

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The day we reach the turning point you can be sure the led industry will let us know, when you go to a led exhibition and they have leds sitting next to conventionals, that will be the turning point day, but whether or not you live to see it is a totally different question.
 

avkid

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There are already LED replacements in various stages of development.
The most promising one looks to be light emitting semiconductors.
 

Hughesie

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Yeah LED fixtures are currently just a great expense for "nice" ones but in the energy conserving world that we are moving slowly into, something will have to be done and LED's look like the future. but they still need development, and lots of it :)
 

avkid

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The development is done, pure white LEDs have been developed by Japanese scientists already.
The $10,000 price tag is a bit much to swallow though.
 

gafftaper

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Yeah the technology is here... the problem is price. Those pixelarc's are using 44 Luxeon K2's in a combination of 1 watt reds and 3 watt blues and greens. The 5 and 10 watt LED's are a reality being played with by the R&D guys. You swap those 44 LED's for 5's and 10's and you've got an instrument that can play with conventional gear any day. You also have yourself a $10,000 PAR... so they aren't available quite yet. The technology is done. It's a mater of the manufacturing process catching up and bringing the price down. They know how much money they can make when they get that price down, it won't be long.
 

JD

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Yea, off the shelf I think the C's run for about $3600 each (A little too pricey for me!) but are RGBA units. I do think that the price will plummet as more come to market, so I would not recommend running out and buying any! (Disney has a ~~slighly~~ bigger budget.) But, it's nice to see that they have developed!

I love Disney, but it also makes my stomach churn when I see 27 Source Fours being used for general lighting for the food court at The Land. Geeezzz..

As for the "White" LED's, most of what I have seen involves a UV LED that contains phosphorous which converts the light to visible spectrum. As with CFL's, the phosphor balance is the trick to near "true" white output. I can't help but think that there will be a color shift as the phosphor ages.

Still... we are moving forward!
 

avkid

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As for the "White" LED's, most of what I have seen involves a UV LED that contains phosphorous which converts the light to visible spectrum. As with CFL's, the phosphor balance is the trick to near "true" white output.
None of us here are going to be seeing the true white LED's anytime soon.
 

gafftaper

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None of us here are going to be seeing the true white LED's anytime soon.
While it may be a while until we get the big bad white LED that can power a Source 4, the mixing is getting good enough that it may not be a problem. Have you seen the Selador X7 xtra? Using seven colors of 3 watt Luxeon K2s, they can mix a very nice white in any color temperature. It's very impressive plus it has a much greater range of colors it can mix compared to RGB.
 

David Ashton

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All you super optimists explain to me how to make a led fresnel or a led profile or a led cyc light?All our theatre light optics depend on a [near] point source of light so in addition to getting leds better and cheaper you also have to develop a completely new optical regime.I am deeply sceptical that this is achievable.
 

jmabray

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Its absolutely achieveable. There will even be an LED profile style moving light on display at LDI (from what I hear)

LED Cyc lights are already a reality. Check out the Selador website. Check out the Pixelrange web site. Those are already of the been there, done that variety. There will be more.
 

David Ashton

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OK I checked out that site but found absolutely nothing like a cyc light, please give some detail as to model number etc, I await with baited breath.
 

soundlight

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The selador strips can be used to light cycs quite well. You usually use one set of strips from the top, and one from the bottom.
 

David Ashton

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I just found the Selador leds on a cyc sequence, great "effect" and that is all; it is it is not in any way remotely close to being near to a cyc light in the theatrical sense of a light which evenly lights a cyclorama.Now what really annoys me is the time I waste explaining to clients that there is no practical application for leds in theatre and for the occasional effect it is best to hire them in.But please let me know when that first led cyc light comes out.
 

jmabray

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Just because the fixture does not look like your typical cyc light does not mean that it is not a fixture designed to light a cyc.

The effect that you are looking at is lighitng a cyc. True, it's a neat effect and not in any real way a practical one that can be used in a typical theatrical show, but it shows you some of the capability of the fixtures. I don't see how you say that this does not light the cyc well. The effect that you see covers the cyc cleanly from top to bottom.

Please explain further what you are looking for ....
 

gafftaper

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I just found the Selador leds on a cyc sequence, great "effect" and that is all; it is it is not in any way remotely close to being near to a cyc light in the theatrical sense of a light which evenly lights a cyclorama.Now what really annoys me is the time I waste explaining to clients that there is no practical application for leds in theatre and for the occasional effect it is best to hire them in.But please let me know when that first led cyc light comes out.
First off as far as the point source problem, it's just a matter of shrinking the current technology down as much as we can and a little redesign work on the reflector. I'm sure Steve Terry's buddys at ETC already have the reflector problem all figured out and they are just waiting for the LED technology to become affordable and appropriately sized... which won't take long... They would be fools if they weren't already working on it.

I've seen several demos of Selador. The product is killer and would blow away any conventional cyc light... IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY to purchase enough of them. The problem is even with the 3 Watt LEDS you still need to cover somewhere around 60-70% minimum of the cyc top and bottom. At around $1500 per foot a 40' cyc would cost over $80,000 to light.

As for your statement that LEDS have "no practical application in theater". I think you are way off there. No AFFORDABLE application at this time yes. But as the prices come down we are going to be blown away by what LED's can do. The colors look so much better than Gel. They are far more energy efficient. They run cooler. What's not to love? You can light a whole cyc in nearly infinite color combinations with the touch of a button. Imagine programing a sunset with an LED cyc wash. Imagine the colorful design possibilities for "the big love song" in a musical. It will be amazing!

There are so many possibilities that we can't even begin to imagine. It truly reminds me of the big moment when the guys from Vari-lite first fired up the entire set of VL-1s for Genesis. They were building a light that could change colors and reposition itself. They had no idea how cool it would look when 30 of those lights all moved at the same time while changing colors. Today, having lights moving, changing colors, and spinning gobos, all in unison is a standard part of good concert lighting design. I think we are going to find a similar revolution in design as LED's become affordable. Now true many of those features will be more useful to concert lighting than theater, but not all. Imagine always having the right color at hand without ever changing gel. No need to hang multiple instruments of different colors in the same place so you can mix the perfect combination of warm and cool... you can get it out of one instrument and change it at the touch of a button. We have no idea how far it will go, but it's going to be quite a ride.
 

David Ashton

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I would like to see a cyc which is lit evenly from top to bottom, the sort of thing we've been doing for 50 years.It will take a revolution in optics, the imagination has run so far ahead of the possible that it is heresy to say your $20,000 set of leds is blotchy and uneven and irregular colouration .I get sent pictures of led lit surfaces which are there to show me how great they are, they're not. it's hype, the Emperors got no clothes, again show me a picture of a led wash at any price which evenly illuminates a cyc and just for a laugh lets see the photometric data.
 

Les

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I am with Gaff on this one. Ten years ago (even 5!) to most of us an LED was no more than an indicator light on a stereo system or sound/lighting board. Then we began seeing them in traffic lights, turn signal lights on trucks... I was amazed when I saw the SoftLed in concert.

Now we have decent pars, strips, even a moving head...

It's all in time. I remember when the idea of a T.V. that could hang on your wall like a picture was far-fetched. Or an apple macintosh LCII for under $3,000.00. You can get those for $20.00 on eBay now.

I think it's going to happen. When Ben Franklin discovered electricity, they could not imagine a feasible use for it... Sure am glad they got that one all figured out...
 

Logos

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I am sitting right in the middle here. I am prepared to accept that LED has a future but I have yet to see any LED fixture in use that has impressed me even a little.
The two or three shows I have now seen with LED parcans in have shown me muddy inconsistant colours and jerky dimming. There is no real white and no saving in units as you need three times as many anyway to get the light you need.
Yes I am sure that they will arrive in usable forms and I wait with bated breath. I am not going to buy any yet.
 

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