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Discussion Starter #1
hi everyone,

many of your will agree that lighting is a very important aspect of your show because after all, what good is all that hard work if no one can see it?
over the years, I've seen many styles of lighting used for Halloween --- with the recent advances in technology, LED spotlights have become a very popular way to light up props, animation, and scenery because of their durability, compact size, and low energy and safety factors.

i just wanted to point out a few key things to lookout for when you're using various types of LED spotlights:

1. colored LED lights will wash out your details. You may have found taking a pure blue LED and shining onto your elaborate artwork tends to make the piece look completely blue --- you might as well have painted in black and white. Reason: The colors you see from an object are those reflected back to your eyes. White light is full spectrum, therefore when it illuminates an object, you see the object's colors reflected back. With a pure blue led, you're ONLY emitting a very narrow band of blue light (you'll notice colored LEDs have very vivid and saturated colors), therefore the only colors that can reflect back are blue. This goes for all other colors like red, green, amber, etc...

EXAMPLE:
white.jpg
Rubik's cube with standard white light

blue led.jpg
Rubik's cube with pure blue LED

2. white LED light with colored filter will give a much "softer" tone. White light is full spectrum, meaning that it contains all colors. By placing a filter over it, you eliminate some of the colors that pass but not all. The passing colors tend to cover a much broader bandwidth than that of a pure colored LED. This means you'll see a lot more of the original colors on your set. White LED lights with filters will also give you a MUCH wider selection of colors (several hundred) than standard colored LEDs, which are mostly in primary colors. You can get filters from theatrical gel companies such as www.gamonline.com

EXAMPLE:
blue filter.jpg
Rubik's cube with white light and BLUE filter


So what does this all mean? is one better than others? No. It simply means the user should pay attention to where to use these types of spotlights:

1. I would reserve colored LEDs for special effects, animations that pop out for scares, or things that you want to look very eerie or unnatural since we rarely see pure and saturated colors in nature.

in the image above, you only see pure colors but it works well because the piece is meant to really "pop" out of the scene.

2. I would use white light with colored filters to "tint" your set, use it for general highlighting of scenery --- it adds dimensionality to your set without washing out all your detail work.

in this image, you see the natural colors of the blood on the body and the wood in the background with a tint of yellow/amber light.


I hope this little blurb will help you create a more effective show this season! cheers.

- Quan
 

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Thanks! As a first time haunter, this should really help me come October.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info. I taught color theory for a while and didn't realize the difference using white lights with a filter would make such a big difference. my home display always looked a little flat at night.
yes, this is exactly what I'm talking about. some haunters like that look, some don't like it but settle with it because that's how LEDs are... but using white LEDs and filters will largely alleviate that problem.

we found this out experimentally because we carry a line of led spotlights that come in a variety of colors, the problem is most customers don't know ahead of time what colors they need and end up guessing and usually they'll be off once they start installing and go through a scramble to get more lights. It's difficult for us because we have to predict how much inventory to carry of each color...

so this year to come up with a solution to that, we decided to go with white light and filters which means the customer doesn't have to choose colors ahead of time since each white light comes with a pack of gel filters. We tried really hard to match the same color output on the white+filter lights (Precision Alpha) to the original colored LED spotlights (Precision Z) --- we found out from many tests that we just could not because the principles are fundamentally different. But when we shined the Precision Alpha on actual set pieces, we were pleasantly surprised by the soft colors rendered by the fixture and it actually enhanced the natural colors of the set rather than making it "flat"
 

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Good info. I've learned the hard way that you can't shine a red light on blood...ouch! Blue on white looks incredible though. It seems like if you're ever in doubt, just go with a clear light. You can even dim it if you want. This way, all the color on your scene or prop will show. Something I find to be cool is shining spotlights BEHIND a prop. It really makes the prop stand out and look more evil from the front.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have one of these that I bought for my photography business and it works perfectly with LEDs. Lots of colors and really cheap.

http://www.adorama.com/ROSB.html
our new Precision Alpha uses filters smaller than a dime. so with the gel book you mentioned above you can cut out several hundred colored gels with umlimited color and diffusion possibilities.
 

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I too learned the hardway. My first blucky build was a groundbreaker (I use him as my profile picture), painted him an awesome color of blue with black shadows and brown highlights like the dirt from him coming out. It Looks great in daylight. At night I used a green CFL flood on him. You could not tell that he was Blue, he looks green.

That is when I went over to Darklight LED's and I'm one happy camper now.
 

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thanks Thrill. The examples cleared alot up. do u know what temp those gels can handle? i wanted to put them in my existing yard lights but i didnt know if they would melt or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks Thrill. The examples cleared alot up. do u know what temp those gels can handle? i wanted to put them in my existing yard lights but i didnt know if they would melt or not.
theatrical gels are designed for high temperature (i haven't personally measured what temp because we use them on LEDs, which don't get nearly as hot as incandescent bulbs) because most theatrical lamps can get quite hot. with that said, the gels are designed to be kept a certain distance away from the bulb. you can look at www.gamonline.com for certain high temperature gels, or just simply make a rig that keeps the gel away from direct contact to the hot surface of the bulb. Generally, I would say if the gel isn't directly saying ON the bulb, you'd be quite safe.
 
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