Shining considerations for worship space fixture specification.
LED lighting fixtures represent one of the most rapidly changing areas of theatrical lighting technology. In the span of a few short years, LED has gone from an expensive technology with low brightness (compared to traditional tungsten fixtures) to becoming the main go-to fixture type in houses of worship. In just the past few years, the introduction of profile fixtures has become prolific—with homogenized beams that rival or exceed tungsten ellipsoidal fixtures in brightness, color temperature, clarity of pattern projection, and that also add color-changing capabilities. Beam homogenization means that the light from multiple LED emitters is optically merged to make it seem like the light is from one emitter, eliminating the multiple and rainbow-colored shadows that earlier un-homogenized beams would create.
"It’s now possible for churches to easily get entertainment-style looks from their fixtures with brighter whites and saturated jewel tones—all from a single fixture."
—Jim Uphoff, Fixture Product Manager, Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC), Middleton, WI
Jim Uphoff, fixture product manager for Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) in Middleton, Wis., adds, “Prices are continuing to come down on LED fixtures as well. This allows venues with more economical budgets to bring in colored LED fixtures and have some fun with their light. Because of advances in technology, a wider variety of LED emitters is now available as well. This means a more complete range of color and higher output than ever before. It’s now possible for churches to easily get entertainment-style looks from their fixtures with brighter whites and saturated jewel tones—all from a single fixture.”
John Fuller, global brand manager for Chroma-Q distributed by A.C. Lighting Inc. of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, agrees, but adds some words of caution. “With the influx of cheaper products, prices have fallen. At the same time, there are many new products with a measurably higher quality of light, both in output and color rendering. Often lower prices and better light don’t go together. Unfortunately, the LED lighting revolution has happened so quickly, the understanding of what qualities differentiate a good LED product from a commodity is confused in the marketplace. Users, now more than ever, need to take extra effort to educate themselves about important metrics such as foot-candles, lux and lumens, and their meaning in lighting.”
Color rendering index (CRI) is also an important measurement to understand because it is an indication of what range of color, when illuminated by that fixture, will look accurate. The higher the number (with 100 being perfect), the better the fixture’s ability to render colors accurately.
Another key aspect of LED fixtures is binning—how manufacturers approach selecting the components that go into the fixtures for consistency in color and light output. Fixtures where binning requirements are not very stringent can produce slightly different colors from unit to unit under the same control inputs. Fixtures with high binning expectations will produce the same colors.
With these rapid changes in LED technology and product offerings, Church Designer requested several manufacturers to send in recommendations from their product lines for stage illumination in a house of worship. Specific fixture recommendations, of course, would depend on a venue’s physical layout, lighting system infrastructure, and lighting goals. However, these fixtures are what the manufacturers feel have a strong fit in today’s church facilities.Arri L7-TT LED Fresnel
The L-Series from Arri reportedly offers the first LED fixtures to truly incorporate the Fresnel characteristics of continuous focusability from spot to flood, as well as a smooth, homogenous light field. The series' L7-TT fixture is fully tuneable from 2,600-3,600 K, is fully dimmable, features low power consumption, has plus/minus green correction, and is designed to be ideal for color matching to conventional tungsten lamps. MSRP: $2,828Chauvet Professional Ovation E-910FC
The Ovation E-910FC is a full-featured color-mixing ERS-style fixture. It offers full RGBA-Lime color mixing for superior colors and brighter whites and an output rivaling an incandescent fixture. Control options include modes providing full 16-bit dimming, selectable PWM, RDM and on-board dimming curve selection. Also accessible is a Virtual Color Wheel that matches popular gel colors when projected by a tungsten source, as well as color temperature presets from 2,800 to 6,500 K that match a tungsten source. MSRP: $1,769Chroma-Q Color One 100
The Chroma-Q Color One 100 is one of the first LED fixtures to use the innovative fully homogenized beam. The unit uses a tuned RGBA light engine to deliver outstanding consistency, color choices and extremely accurate color matching across the spectrum. The RGBA color mixing also provides a high CRI of 93. Convection cooling, a choice of IP20/IP65 models and an included infrared remote control make this fixture suitable for many lighting applications. MSRP: $710Elation Fuze Wash Z120
The Fuze Series of LED wash luminaires uses single-lens RGBW COB LEDs for an extremely homogenized field of light and wide palette of colors. All Fuze Series fixtures include a wide zoom range, 100% electronic dimming, variable dimming curves and high-speed strobe. With a lens face that appears as one color instead of individual LED diodes, designers will value them for their non-pixelated look as well as their versatility. They are available in moving head and IP65-rated PAR versions. MSRP: $1,699ElektraLite elektrabar Mini
Featuring eight professional-grade, 12-watt, six-in- one LEDs, Elektralite’s elektraBar Mini is capable of generating red, green, blue, white, amber and indigo colors. With individual control of each pixel, the unit offers cost-effective pixel-mapping capable of great effects and low-resolution imagery. MSRP: $699ETC ColorSource Spot
The ColorSource Spot achieves excellent performance thanks to its combination of red, green, blue and lime emitters. ETC’s extensive color-mixing knowledge ensures it achieves brighter, richer, and more believable colors than other budget LEDs. It accepts several accessories, including Source Four zoom and fixed-focus lens tubes, and CYC and Fresnel adapters. Two variants of the ColorSource Spot are available: the Original for truer whites, and Deep Blue for more saturated colors. MSRP: $1,495Lightronics FXLD1218FRP5I
The FXLD1218FRP5I is a RGBWA LED wash lighting fixture. Its 45-degree beam spread and 18 10-watt five-color LEDs make it a versatile fixture for houses of worship. It has several stand-alone control modes and can operate via a DMX-512 external signal. A double yoke enables the fixture to be hung, to be used as a floor-based fixture, and to be adjustable to several positions. MSRP: $1,139Mega Systems Drama LED 50W
The Drama LED 50W is a compact, powerful ellipsoidal. This single-source 50-watt LED fixture has a robust 2,557-lumen output. It has four lens options including 19-, 26-, 36- and 50-degree. The fixture comes standard with four framing blades, a gobo and gel frame holder, and a manually focusable lens tube. The Drama LED W50 is available in an on/off lighting fixture or a controllable unit via DMX 512 with 255 steps of dimming. MSRP: $559Osram Kreios Fresnel 80W RGBW
The Osram Kreios Fresnel 80W RGBW fixture is an LED color-changing wash fixture with adjustable beam width. The zoom angle ranges from 14 to 77 degrees, adjustable via a knob that slides along the length of the lens barrel at the bottom of the fixture. Barn doors for shuttering the beam are available as an optional accessory. DMX input and pass-through are provided through standard five-pix XLR connectors. MSRP: $1,599