PAR lights, or Parabolic aluminized reflector light, are often referred to as Parcans. They are normally a single lamp/reflector unit, that looks similar to a car headlight inside a metal can, which has the appearance of a sausage. Parcans can come in a variety of different sizes, anywhere between a Par16, which is based around an MR16 lamp and the whole unit is approximately 3 inches long, to a Par64, which utilizes a much bigger lamp and is around 2 feet long.
The number following PAR [PAR 64, 38, 16 etc] refers to the diameter of the lenses of the lamp. The formula being n/8 inch = diameter. [ie: a Par64 is 8 inches in diameter]
Parcans have a much greater usage outside of the theater industry, and are used large amounts for music concerts and tours. If large areas need to be lit, a 3 x 3 grid of Parcans is useful, which is known as a "nine-light".
It is now possible to get LED PARs, which are very similar to Parcans, except, instead of using halogen lamps, they use LEDs, to output light, most also have three different color LED's: Red, Green and Blue allowing color mixing to some extent as well as white.
Parcans cannot be focused, but you can change the beam angle by changing the lamp. You can get lots of different bulb sizes for them, and some of the most common are show below:
- CP60 - 1000W, 240v - VNSP (Very Narrow Spot)
- CP61 - 1000W, 240v - NSP (Narrow Spot)
- CP62 - 1000w, 240v - MFL (Medium Flood)
See /Lamps for more information
Parcans don't have any methods of focusing, and limited methods of beam shaping; as such, they are mainly used for color washes, instead of tight focused areas. They can also be used effectively for blending colors. Their fast flash time makes them good for chase sequences.