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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Lighting Forum => Topic started by: Stephen Swaffer on October 27, 2013, 04:13:13 pm

Title: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on October 27, 2013, 04:13:13 pm
Our church does an annual live animal Christmas play with full theatrical lighting during the rest of the year our services are traditional and rally only have spot lights on speaker.  It as an old (mid 1800's) auditorium with a high peaked ceiling running parallel to the stage.  Main stage is about 40 feet wide and 13 feet tall and is choir area most of the year-we use 2 auxillary stages on either side for variety and to facillitate scene changes.  Lighting has been done from about 15' out and about 15' high with roughly 14 PAR 64's and some other downlighting/elliptacles and follow spots for emphasis.

We were given $5000 to install permanent lights vs renting every year.  The main stage wash lights would double as platform/choir wash rest of the year.  For appearance sakes, we would like to move lights back and up  against far ceiling-putting them roughly 30-40' from platform. 

From my research I am thinking maybe a mix of led/incandescent-perhaps LED for main stage wash to use all year and incadescent for lower cost to provide greater flexibility on side stages other areas.  Can LEDs handle this throw distance?  Any thoughts on angle-the farther back we go the lower the angle-how high is too high?  How many fixtures will it take to cover this stage? My day job is an electrician-and though I like LED I have not always felt they were as bright as the salesman said-and some (probably cheap) LEDs we rented for an event last spring were a fail, so our pastor is skeptical.  I know LED technology is changing quickly-so finding someone local with experience is almost impossible.

Thank you!
Steve Swaffer
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Ron Hebbard on October 29, 2013, 02:18:02 am
I know LED technology is changing quickly-so finding someone local with experience is almost impossible.

Thank you!
Steve Swaffer

Steve;
Give a hint of your location, you never know who's out here with what equipment and experience.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on October 29, 2013, 11:19:36 am
Steve;
Give a hint of your location, you never know who's out here with what equipment and experience.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

Central Iowa
Steve
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on October 29, 2013, 12:29:42 pm
Our church does an annual live animal Christmas play with full theatrical lighting during the rest of the year our services are traditional and rally only have spot lights on speaker.  It as an old (mid 1800's) auditorium with a high peaked ceiling running parallel to the stage.  Main stage is about 40 feet wide and 13 feet tall and is choir area most of the year-we use 2 auxillary stages on either side for variety and to facillitate scene changes.  Lighting has been done from about 15' out and about 15' high with roughly 14 PAR 64's and some other downlighting/elliptacles and follow spots for emphasis.

We were given $5000 to install permanent lights vs renting every year.  The main stage wash lights would double as platform/choir wash rest of the year.  For appearance sakes, we would like to move lights back and up  against far ceiling-putting them roughly 30-40' from platform. 

From my research I am thinking maybe a mix of led/incandescent-perhaps LED for main stage wash to use all year and incadescent for lower cost to provide greater flexibility on side stages other areas.  Can LEDs handle this throw distance?  Any thoughts on angle-the farther back we go the lower the angle-how high is too high?  How many fixtures will it take to cover this stage? My day job is an electrician-and though I like LED I have not always felt they were as bright as the salesman said-and some (probably cheap) LEDs we rented for an event last spring were a fail, so our pastor is skeptical.  I know LED technology is changing quickly-so finding someone local with experience is almost impossible.

Thank you!
Steve Swaffer
LED throw distance is determined the same way as conventional throw distance - beam angle.  If you buy LED fixtures with a narrow beam angle, they will behave accordingly.

Inexpensive LEDs - $500/fixture or less - are good at saturated colors, and any of the fixtures that have 36 watts of LED emitters or more will keep up with 500w pars for most gel colors - the darker the gel, the more the LED will outrun the par, closer to open white the par may win.  For white light and a reasonable budget, I would stick to tungsten.

The other advantage of LEDs is the ability for one fixture to make multiple colors, potentially replacing more than one conventional fixture with a single LED.

I own 16 Chauvet SlimPar Pro RGBA fixtures, and there is a 15 lens kit available for them.  I find they keep up nicely with 575w Source-4 type lights in the applications I use them.  My usual stage size is 24'x24' to 32'x24', and I tend to put 8 fixtures on front wash and 8 for lighting the backdrop with good results, depending on what you're trying to do.

For lighting angle - 45 up from head height is about ideal.  A 40' throw will be a challenge unless you've got 25' of trim height or so.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Cailen Waddell on October 29, 2013, 12:30:57 pm
Steve

My original background is lighting, and I am pretty current on what is out there, as I just finished a theater renovation in one of our spaces a couple years ago and I am about 2 months from completion on another.  The technology changes very fast. I think you will not be happy with the LED fixtures you can get for the money you have.

Since you are an electrician, I assume a large part of installation costs will be pro bono, still, led fixtures will need some control, and that could possible eat up most of the budget if you don't have some already.

Regardless, you didn't post here so I could beat you up on how much money you have to spend.

For a low-budget option, I would look at the chauvet fixtures.

This one won't get you great whites but good
Colors. http://www.chauvetlighting.com/colorado1-tri-tour.html

There are some others that use rgbw LEDs that will give better but no good whites

For gold standard fixtures at support, look at the electronic theater controls desire range for wash lights and the led source 4 for ellipsoidals. Your budget won't last long but the lustr units do great white and colors.

For reference, the fixtures and cable alone we just bought for a 200 seat black box theater, was about 100k. This doesn't include any control or infrastructure.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Kyle Leonard on October 29, 2013, 12:54:43 pm
Steve,

I think you may want to hire a consultant. Or you can make a 3D drawing and submit it to Lightronics explaining what you'd like to do. That at least would give you a good idea of the type of fixtures you may need.

I don't think you'll be able to replace everything with LED with a $5000 budget, especially with a 30-40 foot throw. The price points just haven't come down that much for lights that can do that.

You also need to know what kind of power you have available. If you use incandescents, you need dimmer packs. Don't forget, you'll need to get a DMX signal to everything. So figure the cost of an optosplitter (~$400) and cabling, too. You also need to determine how you can SAFELY hang any lights and dimmers.


Take a good look at Mega Systems http://megasystemsinc.com/ for some good inexpensive lights. Blizzard has some good ones, too.


For more professional lights, look at lightronics.com or etcconnect.com

A good resource is Lighting Design for Modern Houses of Worship by Richard Cadena.
http://www.amazon.com/Lighting-Design-Modern-Houses-Worship/dp/097981071X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1383065338&sr=8-3&keywords=richard+cadena (http://www.amazon.com/Lighting-Design-Modern-Houses-Worship/dp/097981071X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1383065338&sr=8-3&keywords=richard+cadena)

Kyle
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: duane massey on October 29, 2013, 09:31:29 pm
These are very cost-effective ($330 online):
http://www.americandj.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ItemNumber=2128&MainId=2&Category=L.E.D.

I have used these in a theater @ 40' and the client was very pleased ($200 online):
http://www.americandj.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ItemNumber=2126&MainId=2&Category=L.E.D.

Same fixtures available w/ white instead of amber, and the bigger guys are also available in white+warm white.

I assume you have a controller? If not, your budget may not get you where you need to be.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on October 29, 2013, 10:11:34 pm
Tom, not to ask stupid questions, but what do you mean by trim height?

I know the budget may not be enough-it was given as a designated gift, so we need to spend it on lighting-but right now don't have a lot to go with it.  If we were in this to make $$$ we would sell tickets and base their price on the budget, still we want to do the best we can with what we have.  We can rent a controller for a reasonable cost for 2 weeks-rest of the year we should be able to get by with a basic controller.  Not the best scenario-but may be necessary.

I can get whatever power I need where we need it-but that obviously is a big part of my headache and LED vs incandescent makes a big difference.  Even if we have to do this in steps to make the money work it would be nice to know where we are going from that standpoint.

Any reason not to mix LEDs with incadescent?  The locations we might put incandescent are different than what I am thinking for the main stage wash-so infrastructure wise it makes sense to me to make that split. Given timing we may rent/buy what we have used in the past-and wait until spring to do LEDs. 

Thanks for many helpful comments!

Steve Swaffer
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Cailen Waddell on October 29, 2013, 10:57:07 pm
Trim height is the height of the pipe you would
clamp the fixture to.  But I'm guessing you probably don't have a pipe to hang the lights from?  In that case you are looking at bringing in a structural engineer (maybe there is one in the congregation) to design a pipe grid or just a pipe.  Schedule 40 1.5" ID pipe suspended in a way to accommodate 30 pounds per linear foot is a great place to start. If you anticipate moving lights in your future you may want to go a bit higher.

I think that putting blizzard/American Dj/lightronics in an install is a poor choice. The long term performance of the product is at best untested, and the brand reliability is not stellar. 

I think $5000 a year is a reasonable rental budget to rent the lights you need for 2 weeks and a production company to install them competently.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Cailen Waddell on October 29, 2013, 11:00:54 pm
Steve,

Perhaps a better approach here is to better define what you want.  What are the dimensions of the spaces you want to light?  How many foot candles of light do you require?  How would you like it controlled. Who is the end user on non theatrical days?  How will they need to control the lights. 

I think a consultant that would help you answer these questions and them develop a long term phasing plan to get the lighting you need might be a better use of the $5000 you have.

Again - good lighting can be as expensive or more expensive than good sound.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on October 29, 2013, 11:14:42 pm
I think that putting blizzard/American Dj/lightronics in an install is a poor choice. The long term performance of the product is at best untested, and the brand reliability is not stellar. 

I think $5000 a year is a reasonable rental budget to rent the lights you need for 2 weeks and a production company to install them competently.
While it would be wonderful if every church had $50K+ for lighting, that's just not the reality.  I've had fine luck with my Chauvets, and if they fail, they can be easily replaced.  I would love to get something like that for my church - $2000 Seladors, while nice, aren't 5X as nice as my Chauvets for what we do.

It would be good to figure out a way to switch power to the fixtures so they're not on 24X7 - that would extend their life.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on October 29, 2013, 11:15:49 pm
Tom, not to ask stupid questions, but what do you mean by trim height?

I know the budget may not be enough-it was given as a designated gift, so we need to spend it on lighting-but right now don't have a lot to go with it.  If we were in this to make $$$ we would sell tickets and base their price on the budget, still we want to do the best we can with what we have.  We can rent a controller for a reasonable cost for 2 weeks-rest of the year we should be able to get by with a basic controller.  Not the best scenario-but may be necessary.

I can get whatever power I need where we need it-but that obviously is a big part of my headache and LED vs incandescent makes a big difference.  Even if we have to do this in steps to make the money work it would be nice to know where we are going from that standpoint.

Any reason not to mix LEDs with incadescent?  The locations we might put incandescent are different than what I am thinking for the main stage wash-so infrastructure wise it makes sense to me to make that split. Given timing we may rent/buy what we have used in the past-and wait until spring to do LEDs. 

Thanks for many helpful comments!

Steve Swaffer
There's no reason to not mix incandescent and LED if they do what you want - it's done all the time. 
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: duane massey on October 29, 2013, 11:16:35 pm
Hate to disagree, but the ADJ Flat Par series has held up quite well in the cub environments I have used them in, which are much more demanding than than the intermittent use here. Moving fixtures, maybe not so much.
Certainly could mix incandescents and LED's, and it is quite common around here due to budgets and availability. Used PARs can be found for under $20 w/ lamps, and 4-channel packs for under $100. Ellipsoidals might be hard to squeeze in unless you could find some used.
You will need some type of control, even if you use some of the freeware out there on a PC, or pick up a used Show Designer ($200 on Ebay) to get you by until you can grow into a better system.
$5000 won't get you a perfect system, but it should get you enough to function and add on as you can. Rent for one year, and you have nothing to show for it.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Cailen Waddell on October 29, 2013, 11:19:23 pm
I think Chauvet makes a fine product. They meet a very specific price performance ratio. I have used them many times. I didn't include them in my list of install fixtures to avoid BUT it is difficult, to impossible, to get a good white out of them with a high CRI that looks ok on skin.

The OP implies that white light is required 50 weeks of the year.

I also agree everyone can't have a 50k budget. The trick is not to try to stretch the budget too much.  If you can only afford 8 good fixtures, the get 8 and make do until you can get more.  Don't get 12 marginal fixtures that don't meet your needs.

One last word of note, LEDs output degrades over time.  Try to buy whole system at a time, like all your downlight, so their performances degrades together.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on October 30, 2013, 08:45:31 am
I think Chauvet makes a fine product. They meet a very specific price performance ratio. I have used them many times. I didn't include them in my list of install fixtures to avoid BUT it is difficult, to impossible, to get a good white out of them with a high CRI that looks ok on skin.

The OP implies that white light is required 50 weeks of the year.
For those 50 weeks, as Duane mentioned, 8 conventional pars and two dimmer packs will set the OP back about $500, leaving the bulk for control and a few LEDs to at least get started.  They may find that once they have the capability, color gets used more often than just for this one event.
I also agree everyone can't have a 50k budget. The trick is not to try to stretch the budget too much.  If you can only afford 8 good fixtures, the get 8 and make do until you can get more.  Don't get 12 marginal fixtures that don't meet your needs.

One last word of note, LEDs output degrades over time.  Try to buy whole system at a time, like all your downlight, so their performances degrades together.
The sweet spot seems to be $350 - $500/fixture.  Cheaper than that gets iffy, more expensive is probably overkill.  Even assuming they get used for 3 hours every week, that's only 160 hours of runtime per year.  Loss of brightness won't be an issue, but color temperature of one batch to another may be slightly different.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Cailen Waddell on October 30, 2013, 09:16:56 pm
I would be hard pressed to find a reliable dimmer pack for $300. But then again when I buy equipment I purchase for a 10 year life minimum.  Dimmer should have a 15 to 20 year lifespan.  I'm sure some crap dimmer can be had for far less with shitty dimming curves and non UL listed and you can run 8 300w par 56s on two of them. I'm just not sure that is going to meet the OPs needs.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: duane massey on October 31, 2013, 02:22:38 am
I've got several NSI/Leviton dimmer packs that were far less than $300, and they still work after 10 years. Other than a few fuses have had no issues, and had the same luck at several installs with Elation/ADJ dimmer packs. We're talking 5-6 nights per week. Is the dimming curve as accurate as a $1000 big guy? Probably not, but a budget is a budget, and compromise is not a bad thing. Since they have been using rental systems with dimmer packs on trees, I have a hunch his specific needs are nowhere near as demanding as yours.
Cheap/inexpensive stuff can work and be very cost-effective for some of us.
Title: Re: LEDs for permanent install
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on November 04, 2013, 11:01:55 pm
I think I have a better handle on our options, it seems like we may go with incandescent for now-and maybe add LED's later-perhaps in spring. Just pushing the envelope a bit to get install done for a Dec 14th showing.

I do appreciate the input-and patience of those of you with much more experience.

I also appreciate the safety concerns.  Happen to have a man in the church that builds overhead conveyors for the meat packing industry-using 1.5" pipe for the track.  I am thinking if it they handle a dynamic load like that overhead more than likely we can safely build something that will handle a static light load.

Steve Swaffer