PAR cans or PAR lights

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Parabolic Aluminized Reflector light, or as they are more commonly known, PAR cans are by far the cheapest and most robust lighting fixtures available for bands, theatres and events. They are cheap, simple and easy to use providing a soft edged, unfocussed area of light that can be coloured with the use of coloured gel sheets. They come in many different shapes and sizes though, and knowing which ones you need will save you a lot of trauma come show-time.
When buying Par Cans, ensure you are buying full fixtures including bulbs as a good deal might be nothing more than some nicely shaped sheet metal!

The standard PARCAN

Your standard Parcan is made up of 4 parts.The body or the 'can,' the gel frame, the connector block and the bulb. Often the buld will cost just as much as the fixture itself, so be careful when bidding to see if the seller is including bulbs or not. If you are in a country area it may be difficult to find suitable bulbs.

Different Types

Par Cans come in a few different shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific purpose.
Standard - provides a neat beam with a good spread. Great for use through smoke or haze and provides a good area of light for bands and feature lighting.
Stumpy or Short-Nose cans are for areas that require a wide flood of light. These work well as floor standing fixtures to light curtains, trees or other background items. They are not as effective as the standard cans for bands as their wide throw tends to light up a lot more than you would want in most situations. They work well in theatre where a lot of spillage isn't an issue.

Different Sizes
There are lots of different Par Can variants, the main one you will see around is the PAR56. It's a very versatile light, and are a small band favorite as 8 of these on two lighting trees will provide more than enough light for a spectacular show. They tend to run 500W bulbs, meaning a set of 8 will draw a maximum of 4000W running at 100%. Running them through a chaser or switchpack will make them much more appealing.
The PAR64 is a larger, brighter light usually outputting 1000W making it quite a difficult light to feed power to in a household situation without blowing fuses. These are really only for dedicated purposes only such as theatres, major trade shows or anywhere with 3 phase power. They are very bright though and provide a lot of light for very little effort.
PAR 36 or a Pinspot is a great choice for household or shopfront lighting. The pinspot variety throws a very tight beam ideal for use with mirrorballs or through smoke as a spotlight. The wash varieties are small, draw very little power and provide an economical way to give yourself some neat feature lighting.
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