Conventional PAR Cans

in Buyer's Guide

To download a PDF of the the August 2010 PLSN Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE.

Bring up any topic with anyone remotely involved in lighting and the topic turns to LEDs.

"How's the weather?"

"It's hot! Not like those LED PARs I bought last month."

"How's your family?"

"My mom's in the hospital. You should see the cool LED lighting on that building!"

But this month's Buyer's Guide is about conventional PAR cans - you know, those old school lights that get hotter than the streets of New York in June? The ones that throw away 95 percent of the energy they consume? The ones that they tried to ban in California, New Jersey, and about half of the rest of the free world? Yeah, those ones.


They're terrible, I know. But we still love them. Why? Let me count the ways.


First of all, they're cheap. As inefficient as they are - and they are very inefficient compared to most any other means of lighting a stage - they're still the least expensive way to get a lighting rig off the ground. Sure, LEDs are much more efficient, and in the long run, they're usually more cost effective when you factor in labor savings, electricity consumption and HVAC savings, and in new construction, electrical infrastructure savings. But when your budget is as anemic as last year's stock market, using PAR cans beats sitting on the sidelines.


Secondly, they're bright. Yes, LEDs are getting to the point where they can compete with PAR cans in terms of brightness and in some cases they are even brighter. But it's hard to beat a good PAR wash.


Thirdly, they're easy to find. Go to any theatrical supply house, production company, or musical instrument store for that matter, and you can walk out with a fully loaded lighting rig.


And if you need more reasons, just look at the quality of light. Incandescent light is the measuring stick by which all other 3200K light is measured. It renders skin tones well, it doesn't flicker, and it has every color in the rainbow.


LEDs are great tools and they're getting better all the time. When the budget is tight, the best way to get off the ground is with the power of good, old-fashioned PAR cans. And there are still plenty of manufacturers who are cranking them out, as witnessed by this month's Buyer's Guide. Now put on your 501s, your desert boots, and your Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers 33 (OP shirt and puka shell necklace are optional), and get ready for some Chipmonck PAR magic.