Tag Archives: Bay Stage Events

How LEDs Have Changed The Event Lighting Industry

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Since 1879, we’ve all been using the same incandescent light first created by Thomas Edison. Until about five years ago. That’s when LED technology popped up, and began radically changing the lighting world.

On a similar note, you’ve likely heard a smattering of information about switching to LEDs at home. Although the focus of this post is on LEDs in event lighting, many of the topics listed below will also apply to how LEDs are used in homes. For that reason, we’ll explore how LEDs stack up to incandescent bulbs as well as CFLs (compact fluorescent lights).

  • An LED has a longer life span. LEDs last longer because they require less energy to work properly. An Incandescent bulb lasts around 1,000 hours before it completely blows out and becomes unusable. In comparison, a CFL bulb averages 8,000 hours of usage while an LED bulb lasts up to 50,000 hours!

{TIP} As your LED approaches the end of its life, the light will become dimmer. Buying bulbs with built-in heat sinks will help your bulbs remain cool to the touch and ensure a long lasting LED.

  • An LED has reduced power consumption. The power consumption of an LED is significantly less than an incandescent bulb, and slightly less than a CFL. A 60 watt incandescent bulb is equivalent to a 13-18 watt CFL and an 8-12 watt LED. The lower power consumption results in a lower energy bill, which means more money in your pocket.
  • An LED has decreased heat output. All light bulbs put out heat. And as anyone who’s touched a working light bulb knows, they can get quite hot! Any additional heat buildup leaks out into the surrounding space, causing your air conditioner to work harder at cooling down the air. Here’s how much heat you can expect from each type of bulb:

One 60 watt incandescent bulb produces 205 Btu’s/hour. An equivalent LED bulb produces 27 Btu’s/hour, and one CFL produces 44 Btu’s/hour. In this real world example, the incandescent is generating 7.5 times as much heat as the LED!

{TIP} You can easily convert any wattage to Btu’s/hour using the equation: 1 watt = 3.414 Btu’s/hour.

  • An LED has fewer cables. LEDs need fewer cables because they need less power. Since each cable is limited in the amount of power it can handle, the only way to add more power is to add more cables. LEDs are a great workaround to this particular problem. Using incandescent bulbs, you can only get 3 fixtures on one cable. With LED bulbs, you can place 30 fixtures on one cable. That’s 90% less cable required for the same amount of light output!
  • An LED has a lower long-term expense. The cost of an LED bulb has greatly decreased since they first hit the market. Although it’s still more expensive to initially purchase an LED, you will pay less over the long-term because you won’t have to replace them nearly as often as a CFL or an incandescent bulb. What’s more, those energy savings we mentioned previously should also be taken into account when viewing your long-term expenses.

At Bay Stage Live, we’re big supporters of LEDs! They’re easier to work with, they save energy and money, and they last far longer! Most companies agree, and are making the change to LEDs; however, some are still hanging onto the old technology.

The next time you need lighting for your event, choose a company that utilizes the newest technology and equipment!

For questions, concerns or guidance – call us at (813) 877-1089.

 

Getting Started with LED Lights, Fixtures and Colors

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In the world of event lighting, it’s all in the details. As lighting often plays a large role in how your event looks and most importantly, how your guests feel, getting it right is crucial.

The Good and the Bad

To start with, there are good LEDs, and then there are not-so-good LEDs. Besides price, the major difference is typically quality. Typically… but not always. Unfortunately, a lot of non-reputable rental companies will buy the cheap LEDs yet still charge the high price of a quality LED! However, you can easily avoid this situation by choosing a trustworthy company.

When you purchase or rent LEDs from a reputable establishment, you’ll notice the better quality ones are also a bit more expensive. In return, these lights provide optimum performance, lasting for a number of years. In fact, if you ran a high quality LED 24 hours a day 7 days a week, it wouldn’t even begin to wear out for 20-30 years! Furthermore, if you want your LED colors to match (i.e. all the blues are the exact same shade of blue) then you need a high quality LED. If you opt for the cheap version, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The drastic differences in appearance occur because each LED manufacturer has their own process for color matching LEDs. Each color is made in its own batch, such that red LEDs are made in one batch, while the blue ones are made in another. Trustworthy manufacturers give you the most consistent color from your LEDs by (1) Sending LEDs from the same batch and (2) Spending extra money testing and calibrating machines to ensure each batch uses the same color mix.

Wired vs. Battery-Powered Fixtures

ColorBlast, Wireless and Hex all refer to LED lighting fixtures. Some are wired (ColorBlast), while others are wireless (Hex). Fixtures also come in various sizes and styles, making it pretty easy to find what you need.

When comparing wired and wireless LED fixtures, we find the wireless to be pretty incredible! They save on labor charges because they don’t require our lighting experts to run a bunch of cable. They also save money on electricity charges due to their energy-efficiency. Additionally, wireless is more user-friendly for anyone interested in running the lights for their own show.

Besides the lack of cables, the biggest distinction between wired and wireless fixtures is their output. Wireless components don’t yet provide the same output as their wired counterparts. As such, these battery-powered units are best for events which last 18 hours or less. At that point, the lights have to be removed from their location and placed back in their cases to recharge the batteries.

RGBA / RGBW / RGBWA / RGBAU

Every fixture is built to create certain colors. Each letter correlates to a color, such that R = Red, G = Green, B = Blue, W = White and A = Amber. Using this guide, an RGBA fixture can provide red, green, blue or amber color combinations.

For most events, an RGBA or RGBW fixture will suffice. They both use red, green and blue to create numerous color combinations. Keep in mind that RGBA will produce warmer shades, while RGBW provides cooler variations of the same color.

RGBWA contains red, green, blue, white and amber which allows you to make any color imaginable! It’s a little more expensive than the RGBA or RGBW so make sure you really need all the colors before choosing it. This type of fixture is ideal for live TV and video recorded events.

The RGBAU is a UV fixture which makes an amazing black light! RGBA or RGBW can “kind of” make a black light but the RGBAU is your absolute best option for a themed event. The UV offers that extra bit of punch to make your lights really stand out. While the RGBAU is versatile, offering many colors in addition to the UV option, it’s higher price and lack of wireless options make it more of a specialty fixture.

By now you should have a good grasp on how to choose the right LED for your next event! Avoid overpaying for low quality LEDs or fixtures you don’t need by choosing a reputable event lighting company like Bay Stage Live.

Our family business has been around since 1957. We have a tremendously talented team of designers, producers and production support ready to customize your next event. In fact, see what our past customers have said about us on our TESTIMONIAL PAGE. Then CONTACT US to discuss your event lighting options!

A basic introduction to the wonderful world of LED walls

BSL blog post - LED WallMaybe you’ve heard of an LED wall, maybe you’ve seen one. Either way, you’re probably wondering what the heck it is.

It’s exactly what it sounds like – a wall full of LED screens.

Only that’s just the beginning. The viewing quality of these super-sized screens is already awesome yet it’s still continuing to get better! The screens are brighter and crisper than ever before, thanks to persistent progress in technology. Additionally, the software is becoming easier to use, empowering more people to seek out the LED wall as a cool feature for their events.

Did you know that you can use an LED wall to display your logo, change color and showcase special effects? There are really no restrictions to what you can do, especially since you can now upload anything you want.

Want custom graphics? Done! Would you like to do a live feed? You got it! The LED wall is nothing if not versatile. And, as it becomes more mainstream, it’s a good bet that everything associated with it will become less expensive to do. That’s the beauty of electronics.

As we discuss the greatness of the LED wall, we realize there are some people who will try to measure it against the projector. There is no comparison. An LED wall does everything a projector does, and better. An LED wall is brighter, crisper, and it allows more creativity & customization.

Yes, video mapping may be the one area where the projector still reigns supreme. But let’s be honest… video mapping is not what most people will need and want from an LED wall. And if you so desire, the same mapping effect could ultimately be achieved with a mounted LED wall.

To be clear, we feel the awesomeness of the LED wall is quickly turning the projector into the eight-track of the event lighting industry. We’re not the only ones.

We’re excited to continue exploring the world of LED walls and sharing what we’ve learned. If you’re interested in including an LED wall at your next event, simply contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you!

This One Event Fee Surprises Almost Everyone

Fire Flame via SkitterphotoLet’s make one thing clear – if you hire the right company, there won’t be any surprising fees. A great production company will ensure you’re aware of all costs associated with your event. At Bay Stage Live, we pride ourselves on consistent and full communication with our clients. Event fees are always disclosed and discussed.

That being said, here’s the one fee which surprises most people looking to host an event… Permits/Fire Marshals.

Did you know that 99% of all events require a fire marshal on-site during rehearsals as well as the live event? Additionally, if you’re including any special effects such as pyro, fog/haze or lasers – it must be approved by the fire marshal beforehand. Even decorating passageways can require fire marshal approval!

Permits cost money, sometimes as much as $10,000 to $12,000. If you’re building an outdoor stage for over 200 people, it requires a permit. Any structure that’s bigger than 10×10 – requires a permit, plus it must be approved by the fire marshal.

The best advice we can give is to make friends with the fire marshal. They can shut things down 2 minutes before your event starts – for any number of reasons. Don’t give them a reason.

There you have it, the one most surprising but completely necessary event fee. It’s worth noting that this fee is not billed to or by your production company. It is a separate charge from the City based on your venue, its location and the special effects of your event.

The easiest way to avoid a surprise like this is to choose a great production company! Are you in need of lighting and/or production services for your next event? Contact Bay Stage Live today!