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  • LED, Incandescent, or Discharge Lighting

LED, Incandescent, or Discharge Lighting

These are the three main types of lighting sources used in event, fashion, stage, concert and architectural lighting. As a specialist lighting designer and provider we understand all these types and use the correct source for the correct application.

When designing a lighting system, it is essential that the objective and purpose is considered so that the finer details are fulfilled perfectly by the chosen equipment. Here I will outline the main features and benefits of each type of lighting and the applications we might use each in.

Main light source types

LED Lighting

In recent years LED lighting has made enormous technological advancements. Just a decade ago LED was only good as an indicator light on remote controls etc. These days it is a staple of stage, special effect and architectural lighting.

Modern LED luminaires work on an 'additive' basis, which means there are at least three light sources within one luminaire. These are typically a red element, green element and blue element. When these are mixed at equal levels an overall "white" light is produced.

Due the highly specific colour ranges of each element, LED luminaires are ideal for highly saturated and bright colours such as reds, pinks, turquoise, green etc.

LEDs are highly power efficient, do not give off notable heat, and highly responsive to lighting control. Further for the purpose of event lighting, stage lighting and concert lighting, LED lamp life is virtually infinite and thus presents a very low ongoing cost.

However, LEDs do not produce full-spectrum white light. This makes them unusable for illuminating items that have deep colour definition such as human skin, artwork, detailed brand imagery etc. We would never use LED for these purposes.

LED is ideal for crowd-blinding, saturated colour washes of fabric of simple graphics, and colour toning of feature items such as truss structures.


This is the most common and conventional lighting source available and is to all intents and purposes a filament lamp. These produce large amounts of heat and draw a lot of power.

However, incandescent produces a near-perfect full-spectrum white light. This makes incandescent light the only suitable event light source for illuminating fashion shows, catwalks, clothing and people.

Further, due to the legacy of incandescent lighting, the range of lighting fixtures is huge.

In stage lighting, event lighting and concert lighting, incandescent lamp life is relatively low and these fixtures therefore present a high running cost.

We use incandescent lighting for all applications where colour accuracy and detail is important, which is the majority of our work. This includes fashion show lighting, art exhibition lighting, stage lighting and concert lighting.


This light source is produced by creating a spark between two electrodes within a small space - think tesla coils. This spark is maintained and can produce a range of different hues.

Discharge lighting is most commonly seen used for street light and in modern car headlights.

Discharge lighting is not perfectly full-spectrum but does present good white accuracy for general and functional purposes.

Discharge is reasonably efficient and, for the purpose of event lighting, lamp life is virtually infinite.

We use discharge lighting for high-brightness applications and architectural lighting. Personally I am a huge fan of the asymmetric HTI flood as these give a cyc-style wash for buildings.

Fluorescent Lighting >>

Which is the best lighting equipment for your event?

I would answer this question the same way for all types of equipment: "It really is down to the application and objective". Speak to one of our experienced designers to produce the perfect lighting solution for your event.


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