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Wednesday 20th February 2013

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?LED technology has been used in electronics products since the late 1960’s but only in the last few years had it become a viable, popular alternative to traditional halogen lamps when it comes to lighting effects.

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?LED powered disco lighting effects started a few years ago with simple moonflower effects such as the best-selling Equinox Blaze which has been a massive hit thanks to its’ budget price tag and simple plug-and-play operation. Other simple effects followed and these new LED lights were a great addition to mobile discos and house parties but there wasn’t really anything available that was suitable for larger venues such as nightclubs.

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?ACME hugely increased the popularity and diversity of LED effects with the release of several unique effects that were not only suitable for mobile discos but were bright enough for installation in bars and clubs. This pioneering range included the ImpossibLED [right], MiracLED and MarveLED which raised the bar for LED lighting effects.

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?Upto this point, despite the improvement in technology and the uprated power of LED fixtures, a lot of the effects were very similar. Moonflowers made up of 3 or 4 different coloured LEDs were the order of the day and the result was generally a spread of multi-coloured ‘blobs’ which chased and flashed across the dancefloor If you wanted a scanner, moving head or any light with a gobo (the pattern you often see projected by a scanner or moving head effect) then there was still no real alternative to traditional halogen effects.

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?ACME were, once again, the first to break the mould and evolve the LED species with the launch of the LED Dynamo [right] and LED Penguin scanner and barrel lights. These revolutionary models opened the floodgates for a wave of new models from many of the top manufacturers including Chauvet and ADJ. For the first time we were seeing the LED effects that eventually replace their halogen counterparts but there was a way to go yet...

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?Even with all the progress made to this point, nearly ALL LED lighting effects were still using ‘clusters’ of LEDs to create their effects. These clusters were made up of a large number of different colour LEDs which would create patterns which would then be projected onto the dancefloor. Unlike a traditional halogen effect where a single lamp is passed through filters to achieve the desired effect, LED fixtures were restricted as to the type of projection they could create. With very few exceptions, the end result of most LED effects was a number of bright coloured dots on the dancefloor in a pre-set pattern…This all changed with the introduction of high-power LEDs to the world of effects lighting.

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?A 10w LED is comparable in brightness to a traditional 150w halogen lamp and their introduction to effects lighting made possible a number of new effects that would secure the future of LED lighting. Traditional lamps could now be replaced ‘like-for-like’ with a single LED. Suddenly it was possible to generate gobos effects, water effects and use filters just like with traditional lamps. This led to host of scanners and other effects (such as LED mirrorballs) that could accurately recreate effects that were only previously possible with halogen lamps.

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?20w, 25w and even 50w LEDs are now common-place, moving LED fixtures one step closer to complete domination of the market. Professional moving heads can now be found fitted with LEDs rather than halogen lamps, nightclub centrepieces are now LED powered and even stage blinders and strobes are using this new technology. High Power Tri-LEDs are now being used meaning a single high-power LED can produce its own RGB output making on-board colour-mixing a reality and, for the first time, creating an effect that simple wasn’t possible with Halogen fixtures.

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?But why use LEDs in the first place? Imagine never having to change another lamp…LEDs have an exceptionally long life (upto 100,000 hours in some cases). Imagine a light that can be run all night and doesn’t get hot…LED fixtures require no duty cycle and produce minimal heat. Imagine being able to run your whole lighting rig off a single mains socket…LED fixtures draw a fraction of the power used by traditional halogen effects.

Are LED's the future of effects lighting?Looking for some new lighting for your mobile disco, band or venue? Why not check out the lighting section on our website HERE for our huge range of LED (and more traditional) lighting effects. Alternatively, if you want any advice or information on any of our lighting products then don’t hesitate to give our friendly and knowledgeable sales team a call on 01206 845125.