A Quick Guide to Conventional Lighting Fixtures

Lighting can make or break your event. And the basis for much of event lighting continues to be conventional fixtures. While these tried-and-true workhorses aren’t as flashy as some of today’s new intelligent lighting fixtures, there are many conventional lighting options available that can make your next event a success.

Using simple lamps with a single function, as opposed to intelligent lighting which can be programmed to change color, brightness, focus, and more, conventional lighting consumes more power than LED lights, and brightness must be controlled with a dimmer. But in order to choose the right lighting for your event, it helps to understand some of the more common types of conventional lights and their function.

Lekos, or Ellipsoidals, are one of the most used fixtures in television and stage productions. These fixed-beam spotlights produce a round, focusable stream of light. Four shutters positioned on the top, bottom, and sides allow the beam of light to be precisely shaped. A template, called a Gobo, can be placed in front of the lens to create a pattern or a projected image such as a company logo.

Fresnels (pronounced fer-nells) are lighter and smaller than Lekos. Concentric rings in the lens (originally designed for use in lighthouses) help focus the beam, providing a high power, soft-edged stream of light. The light Fresnels produce can be shaped by external Barn Doors, but they do not provide the sharp edges that a Leko fixture does.

Parabolic Aluminized Reflector (PAR) fixtures are self-contained, with the lamp, reflector, and lens housed in one unit, and function very much like old-fashioned car headlights. A PAR is a simple point and shoot fixture, providing an even beam of light with soft edges—perfect for creating a softer white or colored light wash. In the industry, they’re sometimes known as “birdies”, because whatever is being lit is “under PAR”.

Other common conventional lighting fixtures include Convex Spotlights, which allow users to change the distance between the lamp and the lens to adjust the width of the light field; Floodlights, which offer a soft, wide field of light without lenses; Cycs, which are specialized floodlights used to light backdrops; Borderlights, compartmental fixtures that provide a general wash of light on backdrops; and Follow Spots, large, manually operated fixtures designed to provide a concentrated beam to light a specific performer or object.

Conventional lighting accessories include colored filters called Gels, used to change the color or adjust the color temperature of the lighting fixture; Tophats, which allow a fixture to be pointed towards the audience without them seeing the bright light of the lens; and Irises which can be added to an ellipsoidal light to help shrink the beam.

With a long history of offering versatility, quality, reliability, and value for the money, conventional lighting remains an important part of many events. Elite Multimedia offers a full range of conventional lighting options that can make your next event dazzle.

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