What It Does

Yes, I know, most of you have LED overload. If you see — or hear about — another LED luminaire, you are going to scream. Well, before you scream, read this, and then decide if it's worth it to get a demonstration of the fixture. I think that the Coemar ParLite LED luminaire is definitely worth taking a closer look.

The ParLite LED is a compact luminaire that uses 36 1W Luxeon LEDs to create colors with a convergent RGB color system. The body is made from die-cast aluminum, which aids in heat dissipation. The standard unit has a 12° beam angle. You can manually adjust the beam angle by changing lenses and reflectors. These are not your standard PAR56 glass lenses but an assembly with a lens for each LED as well as a wide reflector that can be dropped in over the LEDs. Coemar refers to these as optical groups, of which there are several options available. The lens/optical groups — narrow, medium, and wide reflector — allow you to manually alter the beam spread of the light. To further increase the beam angle, the wide “R” flood reflector is available and must be fitted instead of the lensed optical group. Coemar also suggests using varying levels of frost to aid in changing the beam. These optical groups will need to be a shop-prep item, as there are a lot of small screws and washers to deal with — nothing that you want to be on top of a ladder doing. The other issue I found is that the lenses are not labeled and not too intuitive. The instruction manual is in both Italian and English, and some of the terminology translations are not that apparent. (I do admit, however, that Coemar's English is much better than my Italian!)

The luminaire weighs 7.9lbs (3.6kg) and is 8.35" (212mm) wide, including the side locking knob, 8.3" (211mm) high without the yoke, and 7.24" (184mm) deep. It measures 10.55" (268mm) from the bottom of the unit to the top of the yoke. This is the same dimension from the front of the unit to the yoke when it is extended behind the unit. It is available in black or silver finish and is CE-listed.

The fixture uses standard 7.5" accessories and has a nice spring-loaded lock that will lock closed or open for easy use. It includes an innovative double yoke that can stabilize the unit for floor use. The floor stand tucks under the yoke when hung with a clamp, though you will need a Philips screwdriver and a small wrench to adjust the secondary yoke. The unit is available in either IP20 or IP66 versions, depending upon your use. Coemar changes the backplate to make the luminaire meet the higher IP standard. Most interestingly, the unit has an auto-sensing internal power supply that will operate from 90V-250V and 50/60Hz, so you do not need a separate outboard power supply for the lights. Just add DMX, and away you go.

Now, when you use DMX, the ParLite LED requires six channels of control. There are three for the red, green, and blue LEDs, then channels for master dim, control, and strobe. The units come with four built-in automatic color-changing and fade programs with user-definable variable rate, as well as a synchronized master/slave capability. This allows the unit to operate in the absence of a controller; the data can be cables taken away, and the units run on their own in a fixed color or in a series of colors. For some events or one-off productions, this will allow the units to be set up and left to run on their own. The strobe is variable from 0 to 100Hz, with synchronized, random, and pulse effects. It also has a fading pulse effect. The DMX connections — In and Out — are 3-pin XLR connectors.

Nick Freed, president of Inner Circle Distribution, the US distributor for Coemar, describes the unit. “The ParLite LED is a very bright, compact, color-mixing PAR with many special features and is designed to fit perfectly into a 12"×12" truss. With its internal power supply, you just power up and go.” Chiara Pellicelli, marketing manager for Coemar Italy adds, “It is a replacement for a standard PAR light, a color changer with infinite colors, and a dimmer with incredibly high light output compared to the very low power consumption — great technology in a small unit.”

How It Came To Be

“The demand for LED PAR fixtures is greater than we ever imagined,” comments Freed. “This fixture was actually created by Fausto Orsatti, chief engineer for Coemar SPA, six years ago and had been sitting in his garden. When Inner Circle Distribution requested an LED PAR, it was a no-brainer for Coemar.” Pellicelli gives the Italian perspective on the product. “Nick Freed, Noel Duncan, and Gary Mass [Inner Circle] pushed us to finish a project that we had started few years ago. They helped us in designing details, size, yoke, and the final result is a very strong and reliable unit. We would like to share the success of the project…Coemar Italy had the technology; the US strongly believed in the product.”

What's Next

“We forecast a lot of future developments, on which we are already working,” says Pellicelli. “We have had requests of a version of the unit with 3,200°K white light.”

Freed looks to future developments. “We are working right now on the next fixture in the ParLite range. It should debut at Rimini 2006. Coemar has always been a leader in technology. You can look for a slew of new innovative products this year again.” There has been a good response to the ParLite LED. “We had a lot of very positive feedback,” says Pellicelli. “In general, we have answered the market requirements, and it seems that the product is very well accepted.”

What End-Users Have to Say

“I love this fixture. I am using them as sidelight on an R Kelly theatre tour,” comments lighting designer Nook Schoenfeld. “They hang on side torm pipes mere feet from band members. I never get any complaints about heat on low trim days.”

Matt Dillon, owner of Dillon Production Services in Norcross, GA, has 24 ParLite LED units in his inventory and is looking to add more. “Right now, we like everything on the unit. They've beefed up some metal pieces on the unit, and they have changed the AC cord on it, so it has a more flexible piece, which is good. I would love to get better pricing on them, but I'm still looking to get another 24 soon.”

Dillon Production Services handles corporate work. They currently have an inventory of 96 moving lights and 300 conventional units. The Coemar luminaires are the firm's first LED lights. “We were just trying to find a better animal to do some stuff, and this one is really cool,” continues Dillon. “We use them in a couple of different places. We use them mostly indoors, in truss as warmers, and we are also using them as drape washes. We really bought them for our clients that like to go to places that have no power. It is a really big plus when they are having a big dinner, and they want to dress it up and make it look nice. We normally have to go through all kinds of stuff to get power in there, but now, we just need a 20A circuit, and we can make things look nice.”

The internal power supply is another plus for Dillon. “That is why we went with them instead of other units. To me, if one unit goes down, that is one unit instead of one power supply running 16 units. It is just one less piece to be concerned with. I do like that they are self-contained. The other really cool thing is that you can set it on a color and unplug the control cable. It will stay on that color. You can also use the onboard program to run some color changes, but again, you can take away the control cable.”

Dillon concludes his thoughts about the Coemar ParLite LED luminaire: “We've been using them pretty continuously on every show for a couple of months now. I have nothing but positives, and they already fixed any negatives from the first run that came over. The units are working really nicely. If they hold up, then I think they will be real winners.”

For additional information, visit www.coemarusa.com.