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  #1  
Old 05-02-2014, 10:48 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default LED stage lighting

I really can't stand the look of LED stage lighting. It makes people look washed out and ghastly. Saw a local band last weekend. The guy had a PRS guitar. I had one exactly like his before, same red finish. It's a really beautiful shade of red, but under the LED stage lights, it looked like an old weathered barn, kind of a dark grayish nothing color. It looked bad. As do the people onstage. That doesn't seem to be a concern. The LED's do save a lot of energy, and generate much less heat, but they look sooooo bad. They have plenty of applications for sure, but IMO stage lighting should not be one of them.

Does this bother anyone else out there in drummer land? I would rather see compact fluorescent lighting through a gel than a colored LED. The compacts save 75% of the energy compared to incandescents and are fairly cool running. The regular incandescent PAR lights look the best. If I was a band leader, I wouldn't allow LED's. The look of things is kind of important don't you think?
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Last edited by larryace; 05-07-2014 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

I'm with you on this Larry, but there's led's & LED's. The cheaper stuff lacks colour depth, but the more professional gear hits the mark - well, almost. Yes, even compared to the very best LED stage lights out there, I'd still prefer some good old PAR64's & gels, but the pro grade LED's get so close, it's hard to ignore the benefits.

More reliable, less heat, less consumption, etc, especially less consumption. That aspect allows us to take some pretty powerful lighting rigs into venues operating domestic supplies. Something that would not be possible with incandescent lighting.

Here's a clip of our band using only a few barn door floods via a foot controller. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8XNqDPXaqA

And one of our band using a bigger setup with more units plus LED effects lighting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZVMWr5YxXg

Nice rich colours pretty much equal to any traditional rig, despite the difficult unit placement in both clips. We drive very high power (for LED) RGBW units.
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2014, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

I guess I never saw the good LED's.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2014, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I guess I never saw the good LED's.
Larry, the first picture (x 4 floods on a bar) is typical of a bar band setup, & you're right, they're better than nothing, but not great. The second picture is the units we use. Each individual colour wash fitting is 4 times the power of the other 4 fittings combined. The cheaper stuff uses single colour LED's (RGB) in combination to make up the required colour. That means washed out colours when in combination, & only 1/3rd of the "bulbs" are active if you want red, green, or blue. The RGBW units produce any colour you want within the same bulb. That means all the bulbs are operating all the time, including a true white spectrum, instead of just combining RGB. Am I making sense?
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  #5  
Old 05-07-2014, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

As the unofficial lighting guy in the band, I own the Chauvet 4 Bar's and am getting the 4 Play's that mount under them. They aren't ideal but they are compact, light, durable, cheap (I'll have $1200 of my money into the two trees) and the .2a draw is a huge bonus when running amps on 15a circuits that these bars/clubs offer.

Having a complete lighting set up on two poles makes set up easy and flexible. If I was using trusses like I did a decade ago, I wouldn't be able to use them in more than half the places we play.

I do miss the warm, soothing glow of a proper par64 but technology trumps them today. Here's the Chauvet video of them in action. I don't intend to use the moonflowers as strobes. That's a little excessive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi0ZSrlg9XQ
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  #6  
Old 05-07-2014, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

We run 2X MBT Lighting PARPACK for the sides and 2X 15ft LED strips with a sound triggered controller for backlighting. Does a decent job for our small gigs. In all I have less than $400 into the setup.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

For color washes, I think LEDs are the way to go. They use less power and put out pure RGB light, as opposed to white light that has to be filtered. It's a purer color and it's possible to get really truly deep blues and purples with LEDs that you can't quite get with standard PARs and gels. Not to mention, it keeps stage temperatures drastically lower and the colors look better in photos and videos.

Incandescent still rules for white light, though; it's more natural. It's slightly yellow and is a truly white light as opposed to LEDs, which often combine RGB channels and you typically end up with a horrible fluorescent-bluish tint that looks awful on any exposed skin. Just like how LEDs produce better colors on film, incandescent produces much better neutral colors (though they can often be too warm) in reproducible media.
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  #8  
Old 05-07-2014, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

Andy your RGBW units.... I never realized your light show was pure LED. Still, I can't judge lighting from a video at all, I would have to really be there in the room. To really convince me, I would have to see the good LEDs right next to incandescent PAR lights. That would be the best way to evaluate them. I wholeheartedly agree that the almost non existent power draw and negligible heat factor and the crazy long lamp life and superior durability of the lamps compared to PARs are super desirable advantages. Impossible to ignore.

It just irks me...as an electrician, because I understand how lighting can really transform the look of a room, and as a by-product, people's moods. Lighting is critical in such a visual medium as live music. So a drop in lighting quality in my mind is not acceptable. If LED's could do 90% of what a PAR light would do, then the other factors are irresistible. I guess I would be forced into compromising my stance. I have my doubts that the good LED's can do 90% of what the PAR's do, but I can't speak intelligently about that. I just don't like the quality of lighting to drop. It's a huge aesthetic IMO. Sadly, all progress is measured in money, not in the quality of the lighting.

Ask yourself this, would you settle for food that tasted less than 90% of what it used to taste like to save money too? That's what I'm talking about. The lowering of standards.

Not aimed at you Andy, just throwing that out there.
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  #9  
Old 05-08-2014, 09:31 AM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
If LED's could do 90% of what a PAR light would do, then the other factors are irresistible.
Larry, I'd go as far as to say that good pro LED's can do 95% plus of what traditional PARs can do, & in many cases, a whole lot more. Some units produce colour washes that gels can't get close too. Really rich colours. In the case of dedicated white units, also crisp whites that incandescent can't touch either. Put all the other advantages into the mix including ease of DMX control, & it's a clear winner IMO.

It can go wrong though. Here's an older clip where, due to room restraints, we only had two lower quality LED washes & some stand alone LED RGB PARs of the colour mix variety. I suspect this represents what you're talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g1b-cabdDg

Note yellow faces, etc. (It's also the only time you'll ever hear me play fast (for me) double bass drum)



Edit: I'd like to add that the budget priced LEDs are getting better all the time. Moreover, they offer an economical, transportable, & flexible lighting solution that was never available before to the small band. They're pretty effective if used well, & certainly better than no lighting at all. Nothing worse than an up tempo band stuck in a dark recess, so I say - LEDs, brim 'em on!

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Last edited by keep it simple; 05-08-2014 at 09:53 AM.
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2014, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

What they found out is the tight grouping of LEDs creates a shadowing effect, this is what larryace described as "washed out" looking colour effect.

In Andys post #4 pics you can see the old style tight grouping and the newer style which cleans up the shadowing.
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2014, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

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Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
What they found out is the tight grouping of LEDs creates a shadowing effect, this is what larryace described as "washed out" looking colour effect.

In Andys post #4 pics you can see the old style tight grouping and the newer style which cleans up the shadowing.
Ah, good info. I didn't know grouping/spacing was a factor.
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Old 05-10-2014, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Larry, I'd go as far as to say that good pro LED's can do 95% plus of what traditional PARs can do, & in many cases, a whole lot more. Some units produce colour washes that gels can't get close too. Really rich colours. In the case of dedicated white units, also crisp whites that incandescent can't touch either. Put all the other advantages into the mix including ease of DMX control, & it's a clear winner IMO.

It can go wrong though. Here's an older clip where, due to room restraints, we only had two lower quality LED washes & some stand alone LED RGB PARs of the colour mix variety. I suspect this represents what you're talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g1b-cabdDg

Note yellow faces, etc. (It's also the only time you'll ever hear me play fast (for me) double bass drum)



Edit: I'd like to add that the budget priced LEDs are getting better all the time. Moreover, they offer an economical, transportable, & flexible lighting solution that was never available before to the small band. They're pretty effective if used well, & certainly better than no lighting at all. Nothing worse than an up tempo band stuck in a dark recess, so I say - LEDs, brim 'em on!

.
Well Andy if you endorse them, high standards that you have, then I have to believe that you know what you're talking about. Glad to hear it actually. The LED's I see all suck. I guess the addition of the white really makes the difference.

As Roseanne Rosannadanna would say....Nevermind...
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
As Roseanne Rosannadanna would say....Nevermind...
That was Emily Litella.
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Last edited by JimFiore; 05-10-2014 at 10:24 PM.
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  #14  
Old 06-09-2014, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

After playing a number of gigs with this set up (4-play's under 4 bar's), I am really liking this set up. Super easy to set up and tear down. I've got power cable and the two footswitches ready at foot for me to activate.

Usually, we have one in front and one in back so the singers get some light on their face. Saturday we tried it with both in back and a couple of LED panels on the floor by the monitors. Worked great! Having the 4-play's shoot their multi-beamed goodness through the smoke is great. We have two of those Chavet Geyser LED smoke machines back on either side of me. Such a great effect.

Light, portable, durable and relatively cheap, I can forgive the lack of warmth from a traditional 64. I certainly don't miss the heat or the power draw.
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Old 06-10-2014, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

My band usually plays daytime gigs so the question doesn't relate to me but I was never a fan of the old light cans. Sometimes I felt like I was melting and once I felt like my back was on fire. Anything would be an improvement on that IMO, even if it doesn't look as good.
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
My band usually plays daytime gigs so the question doesn't relate to me but I was never a fan of the old light cans. Sometimes I felt like I was melting and once I felt like my back was on fire. Anything would be an improvement on that IMO, even if it doesn't look as good.
You got that right Grea, but the point is, with the correct specification, the colours can look as rich as the best Par64's of old.

Biggest bummer about the old incandescent cans was getting to the gig only to find half the bulbs had damaged in transit. The upkeep costs associated with a good light rig used to be horrendous. Good quality LED has brought theatre calibre light show potential to the pub/club gig, especially in terms of power draw.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: LED stage lighting

Quote:
I really can't stand the look of LED stage lighting. It makes people look washed out and ghastly.
As a technologist, I can say with some confidence that LEDs are the new sunlight.

You're correct about the cheap LED lights. They're under powered, unfocused, and the poor color temperature results in an anemic look.

The expensive/quality LEDs are the real deal, and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between high quality LEDs versus an incandescent.

Other benefits: They last longer. They are harder to break. They're lighter. The draw less power. They generate less heat. They're easier to focus/direct. They're smaller / you can put more on a rig.
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