What’s the catch about LED stage lights?

What’s the catch about LED stage lights?


LED stage lighting is cheaper than ever, uses less power, is smaller and doesn’t get hot. It also offers you a range of light colours, without using lighting gels. What more do you want?

Well, there is a few things you might want to know about LED stage lighting, before you go out and buy a van full.

  • LED arrays can’t “focus up” like a conventional lantern. Because there are many sources of light in the fixture, you can’t get a sharp spotlight or project a gobo using an LED fixture.
  • The “endless” colour choices have limits. Different LED stage lights have various colours that they just “don’t do”. A good quality white light is one of them. Because of the way that all three colours (RGB) are mixed, a good even white light is near impossible to achieve with most fixtures.
  • LED lighting fixtures are bright – but not that bright. Although power for instensity-wise LED stage lighting fixtures are really efficient, they do lack the punch of their conventional lantern relatives (for the moment). A PAR can with LEDs in it is nowhere near as punchy as a PAR64 CP62 (or even a PAR56, for that matter).
  • Intensity drops off quicker over distance. Or at least , it appears to. Because most LED lighting units have neither a lens nor a reflector, the light they produce scatters and struggles to maintain intensity when thrown much of a distance.
  • Colour mixes better over distance(?). Because the three coloured LEDs need to mix on a surface to create an even light, this mix improves further away from the light source. This produces the dichotomy of a fixture that colours mixes well when it is too far way to mantain a good intensity.
  • You get what you pay for. All LED stage lighting fixtures are not the same. Even though you can buy them cheap doesn’t mean that you should and all of the above points are more apparent in cheap LED lighting fixtures. A good quality lighting manufacturer will always be more expensive but, in general, the quality of the light and fixture will be far superior.
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