Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let There Be Light!: A PAR Can Guide for Your House of Worship

Recently the house of worship lighting market has been inundated by options for PAR cans. Although the features of these PAR cans seem to be multiplying constantly, the essential decision for the beginning HOW lighting designer remains the same: should I use a traditional a PAR can or a LED PAR can? This article will discuss the pros and cons of each within the particular context of the church and worship service and hopefully it will help clarify your own thinking on the matter. One somewhat neglected but important aspect of this decision has to do with the church layout itself. Many older churches were not built with lighting systems in mind and can present the problem of mounting lighting systems in easily accessible places. Because of this, some churches may require trusses to be mounted higher up or in a hard to reach place. If this is the case, you may want to consider LED PAR cans. LED PAR cans have a much longer life hour rating (30,000hr – 50,00`0hr) than traditional par cans. Furthermore, LED PAR cans do not require the replacement of color gel filters. In short, if your PAR cans are hard to reach for maintenance, it is best that you get one that requires as little as possible.

LED PAR cans are not always the best choice for the situation. If your church worship service features musical acts using fog or smoke machines, you may want to consider traditional PAR cans. LED PAR cans are not quite as bright as incandescent PAR can lamps and sometimes lack the punch to cut through the fog and get the most out of the lighting effect fog machines yield. If there are LED PAR cans mounted up-stage to illuminate the audience, the flicker of the LEDs, if there is indeed one, and the sight of the individual bulbs rather than a coherent light source may be distracting. Some LED PAR cans, particularly lower end ones, may flicker on camera as AC current modulates and the LED lamp cycles, producing flickering perceptible by video cameras. For this reason, if you videotape or plan on doing so, you may want to determine how high end a LED PAR can you can afford, as any flickering in your recording will probably ruin your recording. To get the most out of your lighting system, you may consider choosing a combination of traditional and LED PAR cans. This will of course depend upon your lighting and personal priorities.This also presents its difficulties, as much matching color and light quality between the sources can sometimes be difficult. If you are willing to sacrifice lighting performance for a greener lighting system, you may opt for a complete LED system.

Like most important questions, there are no simple answers and more often, there really isn’t an answer at all. When it comes to choosing between LED and incandescent PAR cans it is best to know the limitations of each technology so you plan accordingly and use one’s advantages to compensate for the disadvantages of the other. BulbAmerica has both traditional and LED PAR cans to make your choice that much easier, be sure to check us out!

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