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Parcan length


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Three main reasons:


1) Gel Life.

If you keep the gel cool (eg by moving it away from the hot lamp) it lasts longer.


2) Beam angle.

The stupendously wide angle lamps (eg EXG, CP95) would have the edges of their beams cut off by a longer parcan


3) Aesthetics.

In some situations (eg wall uplighters, footlights), short parcans look nicer.

In others, the longer ones do.

- This is also why silver versions exist, as they simply Look Cool.

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To clarify,


If you want to use wide angle floods then short nose are better.


If you want to leave them on all the time, with gel in them, then long nose are better.


Other than that they're much the same other than the way they look, yes.



Don't forget there's also the 'floorcan' which is like a short nose parcan but with an extra yoke so the two yokes can be turned apart and both placed on the floor without the can falling over. You use them as uplighters for lighting up into a drum kit or up a set of tabs, for instance.

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Why are parcans available in long and short versions?


Let's see if I can get this correct:


In Olden Times, say - mid 70's, Par lamps were used in architectural applications, such as lighting football/soccer stadiums and the like. I believe the Par 56 and 64 lamps were first used in the entertainment business by the US company - Mole Richardson, the huge supplier of lighting gear to the Film and TV markets.


Pause for comment that my impression are from a USA based LD.


MR made shorty metal, but typically heavy steel housings for the Par lamps, which became popular in their market, for their efficiency.


R&R tours then found the MR Par fixture, liked them for the same reasons, especially as the R&R tours were effectively using ellipsoidals, fresnels and the like. Someone in the R&R line asked Charlie Altman at Altman Lighting to make a cheaper and lighter copy of the MR, which became the standard steel ParCan, with a short housing.


With the color filters at the time made from acetate (Roscolene and Cinemoid typically), the colors burned out quickly, with the obvious solution being to extend the fixture housing to prolong gel life.


Assorted other lighting manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon as this was a cheap fixture to assemble.


Sometime later - can't say exactly when (early/mid-80's ?), the UK based company - Thomas, got the bright idea (no pun intended) that the ubiquitous steel ParCan could use some improvement, making them out of shiny polished and pretty Aluminum (that's Al-Loom-In-Um, not Al-Loo-Min-Eee-Um), with locking washers etc.. as well as hard wiring them into 6 lamp bars with a multi-connector on the end. Brilliant idea. Thomas suddenly owned the market for touring Parcans and the like, that everyone else now had to copy. The Chinese are very good at this.


Steve B.

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