PAR fixtures have long been a staple of stage lighting. Before the moving light, before video screens, PAR cans were the clear choice to provide color washes, color blinding effects and even low LOW res patterns behind performers. It may have taken a huge number of fixtures, dimmers and power, but it was done.
To download a PDF of PLSN's Oct. 2012 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE.The PAR fixture as we know it has grown up and transformed into something that, technically, is not a PAR at all, but similar in shape to the venerable fixtures we all know. PAR-style LED fixtures, once scarce, have flooded the market, covering every price point. From the less expensive to the top of the line, LEDs in a PAR are here to stay.
Just like their big brother the PAR, LED PARs provide excellent washes, backlights and sidelights. Call them the good old standby for filling a hole. Compared to a moving light or the LED PAR fixtures cousin, the LED Profile, the LED PAR can be thrown in at a significant cost savings.
Did I mention the cost savings in energy? Compare a PAR64 to almost any LED PAR, and you are using about one-fourth the energy. Depending on the color mixing system of the LED PAR, we are also getting a MUCH wider range of colors, even when compared to a PAR64 with a gel scroller. Another thing to consider when switching to LED PARs: eliminating the need for dimmers. Since we are using less energy and dimming is controlled at the fixture, say goodbye to banks and banks of dimmers backstage.
There are a number of variables to consider when researching LED PAR fixtures. While many look the same, the LEDs used can vary greatly — not just the wattage per LED, or even number of LEDs, but the style. There are single-color LEDs and multi-chip LEDs to consider.
With a conglomeration of single LED sources, you see the individual LED colors coming out the lens. With multi-chip LED fixtures, the color is mixed before it emerges from the front of the fixture, so the output color looks similar to the color onstage — an important consideration for backlighting applications.