LED Stage lighting around the world

Stage Lighting and the introduction of the LED

Today’s LED stage lighting fixtures are a combination of technology and creativity and truly allow designers to let their imaginations take flight – beautiful illumination for the action on stage.

LED stage lighting technology seems to be everywhere.  Every bar or club has either already added LED based stage lights to their stock, or is looking to.  

LED stage lights are now the most popular means of lighting stage and performance areas. LED lights have several key advantages over conventional incandescent (tungsten or halogen) lighting fixtures.

In this post we will try to clear the fog on the pros and cons of LED lighting. Hoping to help you the novice with the difficult choices choosing which LED lights are going to work in your space and for your specific needs.

Table of contents

Advantages of LED Stage lights

Low Power Consumption – Because the LED uses a fraction of the power of an normal light bulb (lamp), the power consumption of LED lighting fixtures is very small, meaning you can use a lot of fixtures on small power supply such as a 13A domestic socket. This is great for small band lighting rigs and the disco/party DJ.

Low Heat Radiation – Although LED stage lighting does produce heat; the fixtures produce light without getting extremely hot. Modern stage lighting lamps produce more heat (and light) than they ever have and this has been coupled with improved lantern casings to minimize the risk of burning the operator. There are, however, some environments where the low heat properties of LED stage lighting are desirable.

Lightweight and Portable – The hardware that LED lihgts are packaged in does not need to be heavy and, although the various power supplies and elements all add weight, LED units are usually fairly light.

Maintenance – No more lamps to change or filters to clean. Professional quality LED lights have an estimated life of over 50,000 hours.

Color Effects (Multi Color) – The most common way for LED lights to be used for stage lighting purposes is using a combination of different colored LEDs. A fixture with all three lighting primary colors, Red, Green and Blue (RGB) LEDs blended together in different combinations gives the lighting designer loads of color choices. This is using a principle called Additive Color Mixing, where the colored LEDs mix on any surface that reflects the light.

Small and Compact – LED lighting fixtures can be made in small, discreet packages that suit applications where size and brightness are important such as exhibitions stands.

High Brightness – This really comes down to the ratio of light brightness to power consumption. The new high-powered LEDs are very bright considering small amount of electrical power they use. 

Dependable – No more blown lamps at inconvenient moments.

Slide LumiOS LED moving light Stealth LED STAGE LIGHT LumiOS LED moving light Cliff jumper LED STAGE LIGHT more info LumiOS™ Cliff Jumper KV 90
LumiOS™ Stealth 250
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Types of LED Stage lighting fixtures

Slide LED Stage lighting LumiOS LED Stage lighting LumiOS Hpar90 more info LumiOS™ Hpar 90
LED battery Par light
LumiOS™ LEKO 200WW
3200K LED Ellipsoidal
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Par Can / PAR Lamp – Stands for “parabolic aluminized reflector”,it’s a simple, inexpensive and popular flood light for concerts or touring.Similar to a conventional incandescent wash light, but using LED light the color and brightness can be controlled remotely.
Par Cans are most commonly available in 3 types – Tri, Quad or Hex. Tri lights have 3 colors available – red, green and blue. Quad lights have 4 colors – red, green, blue and white. Hex lights have 6 colors – red, green, blue, white, amber and UV.

** Outside of the visible light spectrum, some LED stage lights also support Ultra Violet (UV) emitters as part of their color armory.  However, the UV LEDs still aren’t a patch on an old-fashioned UV canon or even UV strip light as they produce too many light waves in the visible violet spectrum and this can wash out the ‘black light’ effect. **  

– A profile fixture allows a perfect beam or ‘pool’ of light to be projected, they are sometimes referred to as ‘spotlights’. The size of the pool can be changed, sometimes with a zoom facility, but generally by changing lenses in the nose of the fixture. Available as a pure white or multi-color output.
Profile fixtures also allow the use of ‘gobos’ – a gobo is a glass or metal disc incorporating a design, which can be projected onto a wall or floor.

Fresnel/PC SpotThis basic spotlight’s name comes from its lens type. Fresnel/PC lights project a distinct beam of light, although with less control and less well defined edges than a Profile fixture. Used in conjunction with lighting gels to create innumerable colors and atmospheres on stage, Fresnel lighting is soft and rich and provides most of the ‘fill’ in stage lighting.
The Fresnel/PC fixtures offer a manual zoom facility (set-up with a control knob on the light itself) and a motorized remote zoom adjustment, controlled via the desk.

Ellipsoidal Spotlight, or Leko
These lamps are versatile and able to be highly controlled – A Leko provide a harder-edged, stronger light whose beams can be easily manipulated or changed with shutters, gobos (cut out shapes and patterns), and more. Your basic stage lighting setup is usually accomplished with a mixture of Fresnels and Ellipsoidal spots.

Strips, Battens or Bars – A linear bar of lights, ideal for up lighting or down lighting flat areas such as drapes or scenery. Using a suitable lighting control desk, the color and brightness can be controlled remotely.

Moving Head (Wash) – Similar to a Par Can fixture, the colors can be controlled, but with further control functions allowing the beam to be directed up, down, left or right. Some Moving Head Wash fixtures can adjusted the size of the beam with a ‘zoom’.

Moving Head (Beam) – A very versatile light with a range of pre-installed colors and patterns which can be controlled by the lighting desk, as well as allowing the beam to be directed up, down, left or right. Some Moving Head Beam fixtures also allow bespoke metal or glass gobos to be inserted for special theatrical effects, logos, etc.

Blinders & Matrix Panels – These are large panel-type LED lights, suitable for wash lighting a wide area or creating dramatic effects.

Follow Spot – A Follow Spot is normally placed on a tripod and allows you to track a performer around the stage or even around the room.Follow spots are large, oversized, separate and expensive spotlights. LED follow spots, advantage over conventional incandescent, it runs cool, lighter and use less power.

The Differences Between Colored LED Fixtures

Tri, Quad, 5-Way & 6-Way

Tri LED stage lighting fixtures contain red, green & blue LEDs. To change the color, the intensity of each LED group is adjusted. This can be done locally, or via a suitable lighting control desk. To produce a white light, the colors are mixed equally proportions.

Quad LED fixtures contain red, green, blue and white LEDs. To change the color, the intensity of each LED group is adjusted. To change the brightness, the individual intensities can be adjusted and/or the white light output can be adjusted.

5-Way and 6-Way fixtures also contain LEDs for amber and/or UV. Amber may be a useful addition if you need to produce orange hues. UV may be useful in picking out white areas on costumes or stage backdrops.

* We would rarely recommend Tri LED fixtures – Quad fixtures typically provide higher brightness and far greater flexibility. They may cost a little more, but they are generally worth the extra. 

5-Way and 6-Way fixtures are becoming more popular, but the extra colors they provide may not be used too often.

** Outside of the visible light spectrum, some LED stage lights also support Ultra Violet (UV) emitters as part of their color armory.  However, the UV LEDs still aren’t a patch on an old-fashioned UV canon or even UV strip light as they produce too many light waves in the visible violet spectrum and this can wash out the ‘black light’ effect. **  

Controlling LED Fixtures

The LED stage lights are linked to the DMX signal chain in the same way as other intelligent stage lighting fixtures and do not require extra dimmers to control them.

Stage lighting is usually controlled using the standard DMX512 protocol, and LED fixtures are no exception. Different DMX channels control the Red, Green, and Blue while other channels may deal with overall intensity or special chases and effects. 

The dmx controller desk typically allows each fixture to be controlled individually, although several can be grouped together if required. In the case of incandescent fixtures it is generally only possible to control the brightness. However, for LED fixtures, the color and brightness can be controlled, along-with additional functions including strobe, zoom and left/right/ up/down movement. 

Many LED stage lighting units can be used in “standalone” mode or can have control locally, using a simple controller/power supply that enable you to change the color and run simple effects.

A new LED par  come with battery power and wireless DMX systems.  This allowed low power LED fixtures to be completely wire-free and while cable-based power and control systems are still used in the majority of stage applications, the available and use of battery/Wi-Fi LED stage lighting has greatly increased.

Important: Specifications & Manufactures

There are many types of LED fixtures out there with different specifications mentioned.

The LED light quality can be influenced from various things:
Brightness – manufactures will quote brightness, but many do not. Even where a figure is quoted it can’t necessarily be taken at face value, since the different color LED groups emit at different wavelengths with different energy levels and at the same distance from the light.
Power rating – In Watts (W), again this needs to be treated with caution since an inefficient fixture may have a higher power consumption, but lower brightness.

Build Quality – An LED lighting fixture is only as good as the components used to build it, the LEDs themselves and their power supplies being the most critical components. 

There are, unfortunately, a lot of LED fixtures on the market, which may look good on paper but have an appallingly high failure rate. 

GTR Industries

At GTR Industries we offer the correct solution through our valuable experience and a wide range of LED light Fixtures with LumiOS™.

There are many differences between various manufacturers and models of LED Fixtures in the market. All of our moving lights, static lights, Blinder Lights and Strobe Lights are designed and engineered in Canada.

We design and consulting for lighting design to new commercial construction and remodeling projects for: venues, theatres, conference centers, hotels, stores, clubs and bars. We offer a superior service, cost and warranty on all of our products.

** All of our products are QPS certified **