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York University's first LED theatrical lighting symposium
posted on 9:12 AM, January 5, 2010
Professor James McKernan, Victor Wolters, Renee Brode and various industry partners have teamed up to provide the York University community with an LED theatrical lighting symposium. Their goal is to increase familiarity with the evolving world of LED technology and look at how this technology can be an effective design tool for theatre and dance lighting designers.  

They are providing two sessions.  The first session will include a mediated discussion with manufacturing representatives as well as one on one time with LED products and industry representatives.  For the second session York Faculty, industry professionals and Lighting designers will have the opportunity compare and contrast LED lighting technologies by combining it with traditional tungsten/halogen theatrical lighting fixtures. 

The first session on January 14th is open to all, the second session on the 15th is by invitation only, if you wish to attend the second session or if you have any questions, please contact Professor James McKernan at mckernan@yorku.ca

Below is an outline and schedule for the two sessions:


Thursday Jan 14 - Show and Tell 
Faire/Fecan Theatre 
Open to all

The purpose of this session is to showcase a range of LED products in the marketplace to the performance community at York University.  Included in the day will be a moderated discussion with the product representatives aided by a review of preselected questions (see below for a draft sample of the questions). Following the discussion there will be an opportunity for people to have hands on interaction with LED products and meet with the product representatives one on one.

  • 18:30-19:30 / Moderated Q&A in FFT with students, faculty and staff from Theatre, Dance, and FAPF. 
  • 19:30-21:00 / Hands on open house with LED products and product reps 

Draft Questions for Moderated Discussion. (Thursday Jan 14 - 18:30-19:30)

1.  Can you explain the life cycle of the LED's used in your fixtures including the predicted life expectancy of the LED..  Does the performance of the LED shift as the fixture ages (ie change in colour temperature, intensity, etc).  What happens to the fixtures when the LED's burn out?  Are the LED clusters replaceable, the same way as a traditional theatrical fixture bulb?  If you put a new cluster into an older fixture will the LED's perform in the same way (ie - be the same colour, brightness, etc as the older clusters)?

2. Can you explain the concept of "bidding" in manufacturing LED's.  What are some of the challenges that the bidding system brings to manufacturing a consistent product?  How do you chose the right LEDs to put into your fixtures?

3.  Fixture noise is always a concern for lighting in theatrical situations.  As LED's get brighter and hotter how do you plan on dealing with heat in fixtures used in performances were fan noise is undesirable?

4.  We have seen manufactures deal with the colour mixing in LED fixtures in a verity of ways including a conventional tri-light LED system as well as a number of other Multi-cell designs.  How do you decide how many LED should be in a cluster?  How do these discussion effect colour rendering, creation of "white" light, brightness, and ease of control?

5. One challenge for theatrical lighting designers using LED fixtures is consistency from one LED manufacturer to another.  This is particularly evident when touring a show using "in house" equipment where one theatre has purchased one manufactures product and a second theatre has product from a different manufacture.  Is there any discussion in the industry on developing standards?  Are there suggestions for ways of controlling LED fixtures in a touring situation to insure consistency in colour and intensity when using products from different manufactures? 

6.  One of the challenges facing theatrical designers using LED lighting is the ability to control the light coming out of a fixture to the area that it is being light.  Conventional theatrical lighting fixtures have tools to help with this like shutters and barn doors.  Are there ways of controlling light from LED fixtures in the same way?

7. We want to make sure we give you the opportunity to talk about what you are doing that is new and exciting and/or is there something  we have missed you would like to bring to this discussion.


Friday Jan 15 - Compare and Contrast 
Faire/Fecan Theatre 
By invitation only

This session will engage professional lighting designers in a discussion about using LED lighting fixtures in conjunction with traditional theatrical lighting equipment.  Invitees to include York community lighting designers and technicians as well as other selected professional lighting designers.  These designers will look at a verity of lighting applications with an emphasis on combine incandescent and LED lighting in performance situations.

  • 9:00-10:00 /  Set up demo - looking at the various kinds of LED fixture and differences in hanging, addressing, patch, etc. 
  • 10:00-11:00 /  Focus demo - spend time looking at the process of focusing LED fixtures and how this compares with traditional fixtures focus. 
  • 11:00 - 12:00 / Lunch 
  • 12:00-15:00 / Q-ing - Incorporate LED lighting as an element within traditional incandescent theatre/dance lighting design.  This section will focus on creating tableaus and be divided into three parts - colour mixing, "white" light, and dimming. 
  • 15:00-17:00 / Designers use breakout rooms to continue discussion / participate in seminar. 

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