Stage & Architectural Lighting
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LED colour washes, par cans and light bars can be used to project walls of colour across any surface. Perfect for uplighting in venues or marquees, this kind of stage lighting is versatile. They can product static colours, fades, mixes and sound activated lighting displays.
Par can lighting works by housing one of a variety of different lamps in metal, reflecting it and mounting the whole thing, usually overhead on trusses. They can usually be seen being used in a large number, as to illuminate a certain area. The width of the beam of light is determined by the shape and positioning of the reflector. They can come in different shapes and sizes to suit, and are measure in 1/8th’s of an inch, so if something is PAR32, it is 4 inches long, and 4x8=32.
If you are looking to create an overall lighting scheme, then wash lighting is what you are after. For instance, with the correct programming and mounting you can transform and whole white wall into a different colour, or as you progress towards the higher end of the scale you can make subtle shifts in colour, by using different colours and lenses. The types of lights used can vary from more traditional lighting, to LED lighting.
As with other lighting, a lot of wash and colour changer lighting can be sound activated, as well as strobes in their arsenal. So if you are playing on stages that vary in width, having several units that can be daisy-chained together can be very useful. On top of this, certain fixtures are battery operated, giving you more versatility to where you can play.
PAR Can Lighting Fixtures
These lights are a staple of stage and live-sound lighting. These basic fixtures have a metal housing, mounting bracket, reflector, and socket that can accept a variety of different lamp types. They’re often used in large numbers to illuminate certain performers or stage areas and are usually mounted on overhead trusses. They do not offer a true hard-edgebeam; the width of the beam is determined by the shape and positioning of the PAR can’s reflector.
PAR cans come in a wide range of sizes and are identified by their diameters in eighths of an inch. A PAR64, for example, has an 8" diameter (because 64 eighths of an inch equals 8"). Most include a holder allowing coloured gels to be mounted in front of the lens.
Wash lighting is used to create an overall ambient lighting scheme. If you want to transform a plain white wall to a different colour, a properly mounted and programmed wash light is what you are looking for. Fixtures range from simple PAR-can units that project a handful of colours to more sophisticated units capable of subtle colour shifts choosing from thousand of colour combinations and multiple lenses.
Most wash lighting and colour changer lighting fixtures can be either set set up on the stage or mounted on a truss depending on where you want to direct the lights. They are available in a broad selection of formats from rectangular colour bars to square panels to spotlight-like fixtures. Spot-type wash lights are a good choice for mounting on overhead trusses. Bar-shaped units are ideal for wide colour washes on backdrops and curtains.
Some units are equipped with traditional lamps while many models today feature LED lights. As discussed above, LED units offer the advantages of lower power consumption without the heat generated by traditional lighting fixtures. Most LED wash lights are programmed to mix various combinations of their red, blue, and green (RGB) LEDs to produce many hue variations. Fixtures designated as “RGBA” include amber LEDs that allow you to control the relative warmth of each colour.
LED panel fixtures are often especially versatile since many models feature multiple sections with individual colour control.
With their broad wash of colours, they are excellent choices for backlighting and sidelighting
As with effects lighting, many wash and colour changer lighting fixtures can be sound-activated and some also include strobes adding to their versatility. If you play on stages that vary substantially in width, having several wash units that can be daisy-chained together can make sense to handle various venues. Some LED fixtures can be battery powered—a big advantage when playing outdoors or when access to AC power is questionable.