Par Cans are possibly one of the most widely used pieces of lighting equipment you will ever find. Traditionally used for stage lighting, they have progressed to become popular lighting solutions for displays, retail outlets, band & bar lighting and occasionally even used around the home to hi-light areas of interest!
Why are they so popular? Probably due to their versatility! Available in a range of sizes, with a choice of fittings they can near enough fit into most applications. The Par lamps are offered in a range of beam spreads, normally ‘spot’, ‘flood’ & ‘standard’ meaning you can choose what effect you want for your individual can. Alternatively you can have further control of the light beam by attaching barn doors allowing you to adjust the direction of light on separate performances. In addition to this colors can easily be changed with the use of gel frames & coloured gel filters.
Progressing on from standard Par cans and with the development of LED technology there are now also a wide range of LED Par Cans available on the market eliminating the need for replacement bulbs, gel filters and with many offering simplistic control from the actual unit they are a popular choice for low maintenance requirements.
There are many size Par cans available and it can be difficult knowing what Par can to go for. To start with; the numerical reference they use is an indication of their size. For example you can get PAR16 cans and you can get PAR64 cans. The number quoted relates the diameter of the bulb in 8ths of an inch. So a PAR64 can takes the PAR64 lamp which will be 8 inches across.
OK so we understand the sizing of the Par lamp but what is most suitable for what application? For hi-lighting display areas, shop use or in bar set ups normally PAR16-PAR30 cans are sufficient and can be directed to hi-light your required area. For illuminating small stage areas such as in pubs and for general background lighting the PAR36-PAR46 are normally used. Then finally for large stage areas, rock bands & theater lighting the PAR56-PAR64 cans prove most popular. It is important to remember that the number of cans you will require will very much depend of what effect you want to achieve and how larger an area you wish to cover. Sometimes you are better using multiple smaller cans along one area than trying to achieve more light with fewer large cans as this can cause an overpowering flood effect (not to mention intense heat in one area).
When using standard Par cans rather than the LED version, users should be aware that the fittings can get extremely hot. This is particularly the case with larger cans and extra caution will be required if using the floor mounted types. In certain situations when inexperienced lighting technicians may be accessing the lights, such as in schools and youth theatre groups the LED versions may be more suitable as they generate very little heat.