LED Stage Lighting

Led Moving Light Review – Studio Due NanoLED

The Studio Due NanoLED (.pdf) was shown as this years PLASA Show 2007 in London amongst a truckload of LED stage lighting fixtures that are coming on to the market. So what’s up with this tiny, manic waggly LED thing?

LED moving lights are a marriage of two stage lighting technologies popular at the moment, the moving light and RGB colour mixing using LED. Much stage lighting technology development at the moment seems to be a technical answer to a problem that may not have been asked yet! //end of cynical old LD mode.

Studio Due NanoLED

On Stage Lighting recently got to put some of these units through their paces in the UK.

Technical Stuff

The NanoLED moving light has 14 3W LED’s arranged in array on the front of a unit with a cute moving yoke with pan and tilt control. The fixture has the 3pin DMX In and Out connectors and a menu screen and four buttons to control the settings, like many moving lights.

Out of interest, the maximum 12 DMX channels of control for this LED moving light are:

  • Ch1 = Red – Intensity of the Red LEDs.
  • Ch2 = Green
  • Ch3 = Blue
  • Ch4 = Strobe/Rainbow – Preset LED colour and strobe effects
  • Ch5 = Pan Coarse – Control of sideways movement
  • Ch5 = Pan Fine – Fine control of moving light Pan (many lighting controls have a feature to easily access fine control.
  • Ch7 = Tilt Coarse – Up and Down movement of LED
  • Ch8 = Tilt Fine
  • Ch9 = Dimmer – An overall LED intensity master control. Some LED fixtures don’t have this feature meaning that, to lower the intensity of the whole fixture, you have to fade down each set of Red, Green and Blue LED’s – boring.
  • Ch10 = Motor Speed – Control of the movement speed can be adjusted. Some basic moving light controls have poor or non-existent DMX fading capabilities that can overcome by setting the “Mspeed”.
  • Ch11 = Fade Speed – Similar to Mspeed, this can be used to set the fade rate of the LED intensity.
  • Ch12 = Reset – Reset Functions and other housekeeping.

In Use

The Studio Due NanoLED is neat, stylish and QUICK. Because it is so lightweight, the LED head can move quickly, although slow movement effects were best achieved using the Mspeed control, as DMX fades on the Pan/Tilt Coarse channels were a bit steppy/jerky.

The LED colours are good enough and mixed well on a surface a little way from the fixtures. The rainbows and strobes are useful if you don’t have a high end professional moving light controller or any time to program effects.

A problem I have with LED moving lights is that, because they use an array of LED’s, you don’t get to see a single colour point source. If you put an amber gel in a PAR can, when you look at the PAR can, you see Amber. With LED array moving lights you see a load of Red and Green LEDs. This spoils your looks when pointing your lights back towards the crowd.

The way to get a single colour light source from an LED array is to fit a highly diffused lens (not available for this moving light at the moment). But this stops any beam throw from the lights and is more useful for the “look” on television.

The brightness of LED’s in stage lighting, and now LED moving lights, is a question in the industry at the moment. Yes, they are fantastic, efficient and a great leap forward. But don’t expect this little moving LED to blow away your small PARs in the brightness stakes. Why Buy LED Stage Lights looks at some of the pitfalls of using LED fixtures.

Because this LED moving light is so small, it is best used in bulk. Two fixtures in your DJ rig will add a couple of colour changing beams to your truss (but not the cheapes way of doing it), but 20 of these units in a light curtain with smoke or haze better.

I can see a high tech replacement for the 9way PAR36 Areo (or ACL – AirCraft Lights) behind the drum riser.

Cue smoke!!!

More at LED Stage Lighting

  1. jeremy guest-smith

    Do you think RGB will be able to provide the full colour spectrum over time? I have seen a few fixtures which incorporate an Amber Led, due to RGB’s inability to generate a decent yellow, or warm (say 3200k) white. I feel this is the LED’s biggest issue, besides output. What do you think Rob?

  2. Rob

    Hi Jeremy,

    The new generation of RGBA LED fixtures do create a much nicer white. Some LED’s at PLASA had improved output too. I am sure all these issues will be ironed out including LED deterioration. Currently the older some LEDs are, the bigger variation in colour temperatures.

  3. Ville


    About the description on channel 9… I just thought I’d say, that controlling some of these LED fixtures, which don’t have a separate master dimming level for reds, greens and blues, was quite easy with Chamsys’ multiply function in the patch window. That way you could create a “ghost” dimmer channel which acts as a master for the three real color level channels.

    Doing this made it possible to adjust dimming separately and using colors eg. from the palettes easily.

    Nothing special,

    just found this blog of yours today and it’s lots of good stuff!

  4. Rob

    Hi Ville

    Thanks for pointing that out. Lately, many consoles now have some kind of Virtual Dimmer channel function (usually defined in the patch or fixture personality) that behaves in the way you describe – acting as a “master” for all LED colour channels.

    This “dimmer” is also pretty useful when pixel mapping, using a black and white map for opacity. How it works varies from desk to desk, though. It’s something we will probably cover in the not too distant future.

    Thanks for your comment.

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