An LED framing projector is a substantial upgrade over halogen, offering superior optics, efficiency, longevity and safety. LED lighting is surging into the market, according to the Photonics Industry and Technology Association, or PIDA. In a study produced by PIDA, LED lighting represented about 20 percent of the market in 2014. That number is certainly higher today as LED lighting is the most technologically advanced form of lighting available.
LED framing projectors make the most of LED technology as they operate with high performance diodes. These LED fixtures produce more light while maintaining the compact build that LEDs are known for. The result is a projector that can impress in any setting.
Framing projectors are installed inside the ceiling, so they must not represent a fire risk. Therefore modern LED framing projectors are designed with insulation contact (IC) rated housings. An IC-rated housing does not emit enough heat to combust nearby materials, including insulation or soundproofing. This is normally achieved using a double can design, effectively providing another layer of metal between the projector and nearby materials. IC-rated housings are so effective that they can be blanketed with insulation without fear of fire.
Energy efficient residential properties are usually built with additional insulation, and IC-rated projectors make sense for these structures. Finished basements may also require an IC-rated projector, due to the presence of soundproofing.
The lingering question between halogen and LED has been performance, as halogen has long reigned as the king of art lighting. Better engineering, though, has evened the playing field, and LED framing projectors can now offer comparable performance in a much more efficient package.
High performance LEDs lead the charge, with lamps like the Cree XHP series offering improved lumen density and reliability. A challenge with projector design is keeping everything compact while still producing a sharp, powerful beam. The Cree XHP series makes this possible, and the manufacturer states that its XHP70 lamp produces twice the light as the brightest single die LED. That’s a huge improvement over older generation LEDs, and critical for art displays.
Further, LED art framing projectors can achieve the coveted 90+ CRI (color rendering index) rating that is essential for art. With a 90+ rating, the projector can represent color with incredible accuracy, ensuring those subtle hues and color gradations remain visible.
LED framing projectors are also built with enhanced optics, which improves performance and precision further. The standout feature here is variability, as the onboard optics can be modified for any setting or subject. Each optical system is designed with a pair of focal and condensing lenses, and these can be arranged in any combination to create a range of projector throws. It is possible for an LED framing projector to emit a sharp, finely shaped beam at close or long range. In settings where extremely long throws are needed, special focal lenses can be placed to allow for it. This is ideal when the art is displayed at the end of a long hall.
Art projector manufacturers can customize these optics to the owner’s specifications, so the projector will work without the need for additional configuration.
LED framing projectors create mesmerizing displays because they light the subject, and only the subject. Most art lighting systems produce spill illumination, and this makes the subject appear flat or washed out.
An LED framing projector avoids spill with the use of a mask, and this produces the powerful lit-from-within effect that is impossible to find anywhere else. A mask can be developed for most subjects, no matter their shape, so even intricate sculptures can be lit with precision. Mask options include aluminum shutters for paintings and prints, custom brass templates for sculptures and installations, and stainless steel gobos for theatrical effects.
It’s tough to find proper lighting for an oversized piece of art, but LED framing projectors also work in this instance. Multiple projectors can be used in tandem, their beams modified to produce an even level of illumination across the subject.
LED lighting has an enormous longevity advantage over other illumination technologies. Where a halogen lamp will only provide a few thousand hours of light, at best, an LED fixture will remain viable for 100,000 hours or more. That means several years of museum-quality lighting between lamp replacements. In addition, LEDs are more durable than other lighting fixtures, so they can operate essentially maintenance-free for years. For homeowners and venues that want a light they can install and forget about, LED framing projectors are a compelling choice.
From every angle, an LED framing projector is the ideal art lighting source, with outstanding precision, lighting quality, reliability and visual impact.