LED lighting is all the rage these days. I often talk to churches that are considering buying LED fixtures to either enhance the functionality of these lighting system, to produce maintenance easier, replace old gear, be more efficient or any mixture of the above. But I also see lots of churches who have made poor decisions buying LED fixtures and been disappointed. If you appear out into the LED market nowadays, you will see it is flooded with lights in all price ranges- literally from $100 to $3000 and above! Which will be the right product for you and your congregation?
So can I Buy Cheap LED Lights?
I wish I really could just offer you a simple, 1 word answer, but I can’t. Yes, you can buy the lowest priced thing you will find, but you will oftimes be disappointed. I have seen churches buy LED lights from companies I’ve never heard of that don’t carry much of a warranty. They’ve been disappointed when, 1 year down the road, a number of the units are breaking and not as bright or consistent while they used to be. Cheaper LED lights in many cases are poorly designed and allow heat to dim the LED’s early within their life and poor electrical connections may cause units to fail prematurely. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Moving past the negatives, I do advise churches that are looking to get into the entry level to get less expensive LED’s from reputable lighting companies who have been with us for some time, such as for example Chauvet, American DJ and Elation. These companies have great fixtures in the lower price range. They might not be as cheap as others you’ve seen, nevertheless you do get everything you pay for! I read late the other day of a cheaper, newer name of LED fixtures that is going out of business at the end of this year. Which makes it really hard if you want replacement parts as time goes by or want more matching lights!
Listed here are two things you have to know and consider before buying LED fixtures.
1. Consider the caliber of light appearing out of a RGB-only fixture. These only have red, green and blue LED’s inside. You could have seen some marketing material saying why these fixtures can create “16 million colors”, and while that may be technically true equine red light therapy pad, I bet you can only tell the difference between a hundred or so of the at most. You’re not going to obtain a good brown, amber, or white color out of these irrespective of how good they are. The laws of physics will win every time. They’ll make your flesh look pink if you make an effort to utilize them as front light. However, with these fixtures you may get a number of good colors for a good price and these are good for lighting set pieces or walls.
2. Non-“tri”, “quad” or “homogenized” LED’s have individual red, green and blue LED”s as you are able to see. So, whenever you mix up a yellow, purple, aqua or anything that’s not pure R, G or B, you’re planning to see multiple colors whenever you consider the light. This may be distracting if you’re using it as backlight, or anywhere that congregation members can see leading of the light fixture. The good news is why these non-“tri” LED fixtures are good for lighting set pieces and other items that hide the fixture from the congregation’s view.
3. Cheaper fixtures will flicker whenever you videotape them or use IMAG to place the video on screen. If you are shooting video, make sure that you purchase fixtures that are guaranteed “flicker free”, because fixtures that aren’t will flickr on video- I have seen it myself a lot of times! Some units may look okay at full, however not when dimmed as a result of way that LED’s are dimmed. If you have this problem with lights you already own, try running your units only at full which regularly looks okay on camera.
4. Always buy lighting products that have a warranty of at the very least 90 days – if the organization won’t stand behind it, I don’t feel safe doing this either!
5. Think about the construction of the fixture vs. actual light output. You don’t need something built like a container if it’s just planning to be installed in your church and not move often. Those units are manufactured for production companies. You will find budget fixtures from many companies that have the same LED’s as expensive fixtures, in a cheaper and less durable unit.
6. Bear in mind that different manufacturers use different tinted LED’s within their fixtures. Fixtures may also vary in color by each run, or batch, of fixture. For the best color consistency, buy every one of the LED fixtures you’ll use at once. If this isn’t possible, buy in groups based on use- such as for example buying every one of the units to light your backdrop at once, then later buying the ones you utilize for backlight, etc. It is best to stick to one manufacturer for all of your LED fixtures for color consistency, but if you have to alter, it’s not the end of the entire world when the colors don’t match perfectly.
7. If you are buying significantly more than 4-6 units, be sure to get something demo unit! Local dealers can demo and/or let you borrow products for FREE in hope to create a sale! Otherwise, many manufacturers will ship you a fixture for merely a deposit and the cost of shipping it back in their mind so you can try it out. You want to see the way the light works together your present setup, if is is bright enough, how it works together skin tones and if the beam angle is correct for your room.
LED lighting is a popular, new technology that is making its way into our churches. Like any major purchase, LED lighting requires the best opinion to produce the right choice in fixture. It’s important to produce the right choice to be the most effective steward of the resources given for your requirements, and to get something which won’t later malfunction and result in a distraction.