Flat PAR LED Lighting!
Last Sunday our church was packed to standing room only for the first youth and children's Christmas program in our new building. As they have in our worship service, LED lights played a big role in helping our creative team provide impact and versatility to our set design. We use a combination of low and mid power LED TRI-PAR lighting instruments in our 300 seat sanctuary. Now that we have had several services in our new building, my tech guys are overflowing with compliments about how versatile and easy to use LED lights are for them. They are creating looks that they never even dreamed about a few months ago because LED lights give them the capability to easily experiment with and change the look on the platform. In fact, our volunteer lighting director was counting the number of conventional PAR lights and gels, along with the complex power wiring and rigging, he would have had to use to create the 24 scenes he created with LEDs on Sunday. He stopped when he reached one hundred!
Low & Mid Power Instruments
We use a combination of low and mid power LED lighting instruments for our 24' x 30' stage area with a 20' ceiling. Our lower power MEGA TRI-PAR and TRI-PAR7X instruments are perfect for accent lighting. We used them to light close-up elements of the set design such as the large wrapped presents that were placed upstage. The larger and brighter TRI-PAR18X instruments are used for side wash and back lights. We leaned heavily on their wonderfully saturated blues to create well lit and very impactful night scenes combined with a dimmed incandescent PAR focused as a single key light on the nativity scene. Yes, a mix of standard incandescent theatrical instruments such as PARs and ellipsoids work perfectly with LED lights. You don't have to throw away your old lights, just apply them where they work best, as great key lights.
Unlike some LED theatrical lights which use separate Red, Green and Blue LEDs, TRI-PAR LED instruments use a single lens with an RGB LED in each lens module. Brighter instruments simply use more of these 3-watt tri LED modules. Within a brand, you typically see instruments with 5, 7, 12 and 18 tri-led lens modules as you go up in brightness.
What You See Is What You Get
With TRI-LED modules, the color you see on the face of the instrument is the color you are "projecting" onto the scene. The is can be very effective when you don't have the height to put valance curtains between the lights and your audience. With a 20' hard lid ceiling, that's exactly our situation. TRI-PAR style LED instruments work perfectly for us by providing a uniform appearance between the light that the audience sees if they look up at the instrument and the color of light being painted onto the scene. In fact, this is particularly effective for our row of backlights and helped us create rich, saturated night scenes like we have never before been able to do.
Let's take a look at three of the popular, and extremely reasonably priced, TRI-PAR lighting instruments we use at our church. I believe these will be useful for your church, too, in a variety of applications.
Although this is the smallest and least bright of the three LED lighting instruments we will look at, ADJ calls it a MEGA TRIPAR because it has MEGA output for its price point. ADJ has packed five 3-watt TRI LEDs into a compact and feature rich package making it a very practical and versatile light. This instrument excels at providing accent lighting with a practical throw of 3-10'. We use it to uplight drum kits during worship. It provides a really rich pallet of colors, including some fantastic rose and lavender shades which look great when uplighting cymbals and drum rims from the floor. Since it is based on the ADJ "profile" body style, it can sit flat on the floor with small rubber bumper feet provided on the back of the instrument. It also has a split hanging bail, or "scissor yoke" that provides a stable base from which to tilt the instrument when placed on the floor. That's the method we used to light some of our set design elements for Christmas, including the oversize wrapped presents that were placed upstage of the main set.
This instrument has daisy chain capability for both power and DMX. When we use a couple under the drums, we'll daisy chain the power feed as well as DMX control. When we split them around the stage, we'll power them separately, but daisy chain the DMX control wiring to save on DMX distribution costs. They work perfectly either way. With a 40 degree beam angle, they are wide enough for close up accent lighting, but narrow enough to be able to control spill lighting onto our center rear projection screen which is mounted at stage height to form a virtual backdrop for our sets. At under $150 each, you can afford several to keep around for accent lighting. The MEGA TRIPAR also has great application for children's church and youth worship as a main light in a low ceiling room. If you need to have a reasonably bright, small light and are lighting something that is under 10' away, this is your light. If you need to light that will be effective in a 10'-16' range, read on. Details >>
Flat PAR TR17X
Tri and Quad LEDs have become extremely popular as their power output has increased and price has come down. TRI LEDs have all three primary color LEDs (Red, Green, Blue) contained in one lens assembly. The result is that color is mixed in the lens assembly and shows visually as the same color on the face of the instrument that is being cast onto the stage. That makes TRI and QUAD LED instruments ideal for wash, backlight and special lighting. I have several ADJ TRI-PAR 7Xinstruments at my church, with most of them in use for "special" lighting of set pieces. The TRI-PAR 7X features (7) 3watt tri-color LEDs. That is sufficient brightness to light set pieces or provide accent lighting from up 12-15' away. I use a pair straight down from the truss hanging directly over the middle of our stage to provide a little bit of color shading between the backlights and the key lights. This is an extremely cost-effective instrument to move into a TRI PAR style fixture. It also features through power and through DMX control connectors to allow you to loop as many as 15 into one power and control circuit. I'd suggest stocking up on this instrument as a great mid-power accent light. I also use one on each side of the stage to provide a red color wash across the face of the wall behind our projection screens. They give great relief to the wall and just a hint of glow behind the screens. Perfect! Details >>
The 18X features (18) 3-watt Tri-color LEDs with common lenses. This amount of light output is perfect for backlighting, side color wash or a strong accent light. It is effective from as far as 25' depending on the amount of ambient or key lighting on the stage. The 40 degree beam-spread makes it perfect for wash lighting. I use a handful of these as my only backlights. Because they are a Tri-LED instrument, the color you see on the face of the instrument is the color that is being projected on the stage. These lights look incredible as backlights. They feature rich, saturated colors such as deep blues and reds, while having enough output to be very useful as a backlight to counter the punch of a 500watt conventional key light. I've been so impressed with this instrument that I also use several for high side color wash on the stage. A ton of light output for only 60watts of input power. Like all of the Flat PAR series, these are easily daisy-chained for both power and DMX control wiring. Details >>
Common features for the Flat PAR Series
Every ADJ Flat PAR comes with two integral mounting bails that pivot on the instrument. For hanging, there is a convenient mounting hole in the center of the top bail. Just add a C clamp, which is sold separately. When placing a Flat Par on the floor, simply swing the two bails apart use them as a stand. Rotate the instrument to the desired angle. You can also place them flat on the floor and use the small rubber "feet" that are fixed to the back of the light. Each FLAT PAR features an IEC power connector for power input and one for power output. You can easily daisy-chain power from one light to the next using an available IEC style power extension cable available from CCI Solutions. Same for DMX. One 3-pin connector for DMX control input and another for DMX control output. Make sure you don't use standard mic cable for DMX control wiring, however. Use cable that is designed for digital signals such as designated DMX control cable or AES/EBU mic cable. Every ADJ Flat PAR features an incredible 3-year warranty! That is absolutely incredible for lighting instruments of this price! Stock up on any of these great lighting instruments at CCI Solutions today!