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The Future of LED Stage Lighting !

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by JD, May 10, 2007.

  1. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    So here's a thread for all you designers that are part science geek. When I first saw LEDs in the late 60's or so, they were dim little things. The thought of using them for stage lighting seemed as probable as a UFO landing in my back yard! Yet... here we are. The current LEDs are little blazing torches of light! Still, how far can it go? Will the led ever be on PAR (mind the pun) with filament lamps or arc tubes? Or, is there some block wall that prevents the core junction from producing more than a certain amount of light? I thought this would be a fun thread as all of our future equipment investments hinge on the answer!
     
  2. GeneralDoom

    GeneralDoom Member

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    That's a very good question, I don't know the answer, but I do know that LED's are also working their way in to flashlights as well; they are nice annd bright and they do have the advatage of a longer life, but I think that gels will have to be re-designed to account for the deferences between traditional lamps and LEDs
     
  3. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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  4. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    We all know the efficiency aspect, but the real question is "Will they work for stage lighting?" By that I mean, beyond special effects. They have some huge obstacles to overcome. Although the white LEDs broaden their spectrum with a phosphor add, the nature of LED's is to be monochromatic. Standard color mix is a challenge as there are some holes in the spectrum. Also, although wash lights can be achieved with grouping, spot lights require a point source, thus the question about the limits of output on a single device. This is going to be a high stakes money game for us all in the coming years. Look at the PC industry. For many years, the processor speed doubled each year. Then they hit a wall. For the last few years the speed is only creeping forward. The limits of silicon were reached and we will all have to wait for that wall to break. Could the same be true with LEDs? Although cool by comparison, the junction can only take so much heat. We now see that even LEDs have a short lifespan when pushed close to the limit. BTW, white LEDs only stay white for a defined amount of time before the phosphor fades and their output shifts.
     
  5. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    We did a show at my church last night on a small stage using 4 ADJ P64 LEDs. With all of the other lights in the room off, we could color the whole stage to whatever we want.

    Anyway, even though I was impressed by what those can do last night, when comparing them to conventional fixtures, I think that the place for LEDs is special effects, background lighting, and small stages.
     
  6. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Of course this is long term but with the groundswell that is growing to replace incandescents with lower cost lamps LED may be the way forward for us in the theatre. I cannot see CFL being a suitable replacement in our industry given the difficulties and expense of dimming them.
     
  7. JSFox

    JSFox Active Member

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    It's not just dimming them, there's also the huge mass of spectrum that they're kinda missing. Thats why people in Washington state (the home of SAD = Seasonal Affective Disorder) don't use them because those missing wavelengths are critical to our health. This is an issue thats still problematic with LED's though not a huge of a hole.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2007
  8. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I have a moving yolk LED wash. I was using it with some studio colors and some studio beams. I have also used it with mac 600's. They intensity of it is about the same as the studio color and mac 600. I used it at blackham Colosseum in Louisiana to silloet a dance number. It was hitting the back wall at 300' away. The head consists of 36 3 watt leds. We were also working on a building project using some new technology of 50 and 75 watt leds. They were changing a 30 story building colors.
     
  9. proaudio4

    proaudio4 Member

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    Hmm.
    This makes me wonder if it's wise to drop a lot of coin into 575W to 1200W moving head fixtures when the LED technology is making these advances.
     
  10. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    RGB fixtures are missing lots of color. Take a look at the Selador line of fixtures. They use a 7 color LED scheme. The colors are a lot better than with just an RGB mix.

    www.selador.net
     
  11. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    And that's the part that worries me! If you are a company that is going to expand, say, buy a dozen new Vari-Lites, Do you chance it? That's a lot of bucks and requires quite a few years of service to pay back the investment and make a profit. What if two or three years from now, LED units can function as well? Without all that ballast weight, shows will want to book the newer, lighter units, and you are stuck with product and no profit! We live in exciting times, but it can make things chancy! On the flip side, you delay new purchases to see what's coming to market. Two or three years pass without a major improvement and you have successfully stunted the growth of your company! It is really hard to predict if LED lighting is going to be a "nitch" field, or take over. My gut is telling me there are some physical limits, but I read Tim's post above and it causes my gut to feel like it is on a moving yoke!
     
  12. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    Still, with conventional moving yokes, you can project crisp gobos that LEDs can't.
     
  13. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I posted a link to an article I read on here a while back. it's titled Nanodots. I think the technology will get there, as far as LED lighting is concerned. The Nano dot technology is just one way the performance issues of LEDs can be improved. Just as the original lighting fixtures were floods, scoops, strips.... basically all "wash" fixtures, so we are seeing those areas being filled by LED light now. As folks get more and more creative, they'll discover how to get more and more out of those little guys, Who knows maybe some kid from Control Booth is sitting out there right now with an LED PAR can, and tomorrow he'll develop something to rival the Source 4 in performance, lifetime, operating costs, and projection characterisctics.
     
  14. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    we are already at 3 watt leds at reasonable price, I think we are not far from at least an order of magnitude increase, and building a small array and getting a reflector/lens system that will make led's an alternative to the 575w sources in a few years. I think that as soon as someone looks at them as alternative for street lamps and commercial vapor lamps that we will see another increase in the power level and then the designs will start to fall in place

    Sharyn
     
  15. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Here in Adelaide our traffic lights are LED and pretty bright I haven't actually looked into what wattage they are. I'll see what I can find out.
     
  16. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I was using my LED wash with two color pro II's to light up a stage. The LED would mix perfectly with any color i'd make with the color pro's. It was a more concentrated beam of light, but worked perfectly as a colored spot to light up the preacher.
     
  17. JSFox

    JSFox Active Member

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    5 years ago we made a few predictions. How'd we do? Have LED's reached the potential we thought they would by this time?
     
  18. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    We did say a lot of this 5 years ago. Not just [user]PadawanGeek[/user], I seem to remember most of us considering gobo projection a stumbling block. The mInspot kind of shook that notion up, but I think we all were still a little skeptical.
     
  19. cbrandt

    cbrandt Well-Known Member

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    There are several very nice moving head LED source units out there with great gobo projection. Mac 350, GLP SpotOne, Robe Robin DLX all have very nice crisp and soft focus gobo capability. I think the big current problem is color rendering/full spectrum ability, and intensity.
     
  20. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    The biggest obstacle with LED right now is being able to efficiently produce the same amount and quality of white light that tungsten fixtures can. Sure, it's possible, but it's not cheap, not as efficient, and there are all the spectrum issues as we have discussed at length. I think we are certainly at a point where hybrid LED systems are proving they are here to stay.

    I might be seeing a S4 LED today, so I will be able to weight in on that option soon.
     

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