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The Many Advantages of an LED Art Lighting Projector

An LED recessed picture light is the safest, longest lasting and most precise form of art illumination on the market, and it can be retrofitted into existing fixtures as well. LED picture lights have already earned an excellent reputation with art galleries and museums, and have been installed in major venues, including The Smithsonian and Sistine Chapel. LED lighting is not just available to the professionals, though, as collectors can harness its power and efficiency for their own artwork. LED framing projectors, in particular, offer an unbeatable combination of precision and aesthetics, making for a memorable display.


Advantages of an LED Optical Framing Projector:

Mesmerizing lighting effects – Nothing should distract from the subject, and Phantom’s LED art projector lighting won’t. That’s because a contour projector, when installed and configured properly, will not produce any glare or spill illumination. How is this possible?

Phantom’s art projectors offer excellent placement flexibility. They can be set in front of the subject, offset to the side or even placed far above the subject, if it is located in a room with high ceilings. This positional flexibility makes it easy to control glare, as the projector can be offset to bounce glare away from the observer. Light always bounces off of the subject at the same angle that it strikes the subject, so it’s simple to account for.

Spill illumination is also undesirable, as it lights up the surrounding wall rather than the subject. Spill may not seem like a major concern, but it flattens the subject out and keeps it from standing out from its environment. Phantom’s LED art projector lighting accommodates one of three masking methods, eliminating spill and ensuring the subject, and only the subject, is illuminated. Each of our masking attachments is detailed later in this article.

Combine one of those masks with a proprietary optical system, consisting of condensing and achromatic focal lenses, and the effect is something rarely seen in a residential setting. In short, the subject will appear as if it is lit from within or like it’s glowing. Even if you’ve had the art for decades, Phantom’s LED art projector lighting will show it off in a way never seen before.

Modern LED performance – LED lighting is currently the most promising development in the industry. LED lights have been around for decades, but only recently have they become a viable option for most applications. Now, LED fixtures can offer comparable or better performance than every other illumination technology on the market.

Halogen has long been the reigning champion of display lighting, as its color rendering capabilities are tough to overcome. High-performance LEDs, though, can achieve color rendering index, or CRI, values of 90 or greater, which means they are close to sunlight in representing color. While halogen still have a minute edge in this regard, the difference is something most people would never notice, and would be impossible to notice without a side-by-side comparison of LED and halogen.

LED art projector lighting also beats halogen in every other respect. High-performance LEDs last around 30,000 hours, compared to halogen’s 3,000 to 4,000. LEDs emit little heat and close to zero infrared or ultraviolet radiation, which means they are safe to use with any subject. That’s something that halogen cannot match. LEDs are also much more durable, energy efficient and controllable than halogen.

For our previous customers with Halogen projectors already installed, we now offer LED projector conversion kits for all our projector models including those with square or round housings, as well as surface mount models. This is not a simple lamp change, but a major upgrade that improves light levels, energy efficiency and overall performance. The conversion process involves changing the electrical power supply, updating the optical system and installing a high output LED light engine for maintenance free operation. The unique tri-dimming driver is compatible with forward phase (MLV), reverse phase (ELV) and 0-10V dimming.

Multiple housing options – Phantom can incorporate its LED art projectors into one of five housing designs, each built for a different and specific purpose.

The Remodeler Housing, which can be installed into existing ceilings without the need to patch and paint. It can even be installed between floors without having to patch or paint. This remodel housing designed for old work projects is a Phantom exclusive.

The Float Finish Housing is intended for a zero sight-line installation, which means it is built without a visible cover plate. The Float Finish model, then, is the least visible art lighting system on the market, and ideal for homeowners that want something inconspicuous.

The New Construction Housing is, unsurprisingly, designed for new construction and is perfect for high-end residential buildings. It is installed prior to sheetrock ceiling placement and is mounted to trusses or joists. The New Construction model is finished with a white cover plate to minimize visibility.

The Top Access Housing is designed for homes where there is no bottom access to the projector. The access panel is instead available from the attic, and only a small aperture is required to fire the projector’s beam through, similar to a Wendel installation technique.

The Surface Mount projector is designed for areas where a recessed model is not feasible or desired. Available in natural aluminum, white or black, the surface mount projector is perfect for blending into any decor.

Multiple masking methods – The XHP70 lamp and Phantom’s optics are what power and deliver the light, but it’s Phantom’s masking attachments that shape the beam to the subject. This is at the heart of the lit-from-within effect that LED optical framing projectors are known for. Phantom has a few masking options available, including:

Aluminum shutters – Phantom’s adjustable shutters are designed for use with paintings, photographs, illustrations and any other subject that is square or rectangular. The shutters can be moved around to screen out any light that doesn’t contact the subject, and they can be adjusted quickly to accommodate a variety of subject sizes and shapes.

Custom cut template – For subjects that are irregular in shape, a custom-cut template makes the most sense. Sculptures, models and art installations are best served by a custom cut brass template, because it is designed to fit the subject’s curves and edges perfectly.

Stainless steel gobo – If advanced lighting patterns are needed, such as theatrical lighting, a stainless steel gobo can provide the pattern.

Improved safety – Most lighting experts are confident that LED fixtures are safer to use with artwork, compared to halogen, incandescent and other options. That’s because LED lighting emits a fraction of the heat and radiation that halogen does. About 90 percent of the energy that goes into a halogen bulb is wasted as heat. LED lighting, by contrast, is often cool enough to touch. It is therefore safe to use in close proximity to heat-sensitive materials.

LED lighting is also ideal for subjects sensitive to UV radiation, including prints, fabrics and paintings. Like with heat, LED lighting emits a small amount of UV radiation, compared to other options. With reduced UV output, subjects will hold onto their color much longer.

Some LED contour projectors are also insulation contact, or IC, rated. An IC rating means the projector can be installed adjacent to insulation, without risk of fire. This is due to the projector housing’s design, which does not emit substantial heat. As such, the projector housing can be blanketed with insulation and remain safe. In buildings where there is a lot of insulation (this is common for energy efficient structures), an IC-rated projector is typically recommended.


If we can help with your art lighting project or answer any questions about our series of LED contour projectors, give us a call toll-free at 800-863-1184 or request a quote using our online form.