Discussion in 'LDI 2011' started by dvsDave, Nov 2, 2011.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Altman Phoenix.
To bad they don't actually have any info on their website. I am interested though since I'm not a big fan of the source 4, and we really need to update our inventory.
I found it funny to think the rep. tells us to go to the website, yet they have not as yet added the fixture to the website. Typical Altman.
- The Shakespeare is 4" longer then the S4. That's huge and can be a PITA when installing in trusses. The Phoenix is an inch shorter, so no real improvement.
- It takes an HPL, which may well save the fixture, PROVIDED they can handle 750 watts. My experiences with Altman is they "say" 750 or 1000 for their stuff, but the parts don't hold up. In any event, I have many problems with Osram/Sylvania TP22 type sockets AND Osram GLC lamps making poor contact and am glad to have "donated" my Shakespeares to the Theater Det so I don't have to deal with them anymore.
- I wonder if they still have the lens in the gate ?. The lens that is nearly impossible to get to to clean.
- The locking shutter assembly seems like a nice concept. But only useful on long run shows and I've never had problems with slipping shutters on my S4's.
- From the video is appears they enlarged the standard gobo slot, which is good, as on the Shakespeare the slot is too tight and makes insertion of gobo's difficult.
- I'm not sure I like the enclosed color frame holder. Makes it easier to stand on end and not fall over. I hope they made the slots possibly an 1/8" larger then 6.25", to allow other then OEM gear to fit easily. I also hope the top door is not spring loaded, though it appeared not.
- If it's the same price as an S4, why bother ?. No the S4 is not perfect, but it's the most common unit out there at this point and that has a weight all it's own.
I think it looks pretty slick. The rear housing is almost a 360Q throwback. I see that they also implemented some of the best qualities of the Strand SL with the 360 degree rotation and enclosed color frame holder. I always liked the 360 degree continuous rotation on the Strand SL, but never was crazy about its implementation. It looks like Altman's setup is better designed. The fully-enclosed front end never gave me trouble on the Strand SL, and it made loading color frames easier. You don't have to worry about missing one of the color frame runners and dropping the frame to the floor. I am with Steve on hoping there are some wider tolerances, though.
It appears that they have duplicate knobs on top and bottom for focus and body rotation. If so, that's a nice touch. No switching knobs around based on your preference and hanging position.
The shutter locks may be a good thing in practice for someone clumsy like me. I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally bumped the shutter of an adjacent fixture when focusing high density rigs.
All-in-all, I think there's a market. If it actually sells for $20 cheaper than the competition, that could be a deciding factor for some low-budget companies. It's hard to improve on the Source Four, but I'm glad someone is at least trying without completely knocking it off.
The real question to me is the optics. If they really are better than S4 then this could be a really strong contender.
The most interesting thing to me is the choice of name. Is it rising from the flaming ashes of the Shakespeare? That's an odd thing for a manufacturer to imply about a past product.
Strand Lekolite makes some major advances to the Source 4 ERS, countering their assertion there have been no major advancements made. At least a year before the Phoenix. Better bench system, short or long yoking built in, lens is better yet (the Altman looks like it still sucks) and way lighter. The Phoenix ix still heavy, long and appears to have a crappy tilt system.
Seems to me like Altman ran out of things to copy from the Source Four (other than the HPL lamp, does this mean the patent has expired?), so they are now copying features from the SL/Lekolite/SPX lines.
360° barrel rotation: I don't see why this is needed. The 45° on either side of center has always been enough for me. If a gobo is upside-down, I would never dream of rotating the entire fixture. What keep the gobo or rotator from falling out?
Locking shutters: Never needed it. Just another thing to break. I've never had a shutter move due to heating cooling. One of the European manufacturers (CCT, ADB, Neithammer?) once had a profile spot that used a removable shutter cassette for repertory situations; I'm not sure how successful that idea was; it probably cost too much.
Zero light leakage: A benefit in some situations, but I have to think it comes with a cost--decreased ventilation. Nothing that can't be solved, where necessary, with some Blacktak and/or Blackwrap.
Thumbscrews on the iris slot: I suspect these would get too hot to use bare-handed. What electrician doesn't carry a Leatherman/Gerber with Phillips bit?
36/26/19° vs. 40/30/20°: I'm kind of disappointed Altman has acquiesced on this point. Why are we still using sizes based on obsolete 6x9/6x12/6x16 s? To me, it further reinforces the popularity and ubiquitous-ness of the first fixture to use those denominations.
I've never seen a touring group use a Strand/Selecon ERS. Only once did I have an A/V company bring Shakespeares. I suspect it will be long time, if ever, before I see an Altman Phoenix in the wild.
I haven't actually seen or touched the new Altman unit, so I don't know yet if I'm a fan or not. But, just for the sake of discussion, I thought I'd comment on a couple of Derekleffew's points.
I have experienced cases, especially in small, tight, ill designed side wall light ports, where at least a 90 degree rotation is a good thing. No electrician would rotate the barrel to flip a gobo, but I can imagine a scenario where a 180 rotation would be desired to KEEP the slot on top. IMHO the 360 thing is just a advertising gimmick and my engineering sense says that once you have made rotation possible, limiting it is more work and tooling than just allowing full rotation.
Don't know about legit theatre on long running shows, but we have had clients in museums and movie theatre lobby displays ask for custom gobos to replace shutters due to drift over time. In these instances the light is usually tight cut on a display, work of art or exhibit area and the light fixture is hung in a very difficult to get-at location.
Cooling can be handled by two methods, Air flow (passive or forced) or structure-convection. Structure convection can be very effective if done right. The video clip discusses cool to the touch knobs and controls so, maybe they've got a handle on the cooling issue.
As for the black wrap solution, if your electrician has to harness up and clip in while he climbs 50' - 75' up to walk a truss in a large arena, hauling along black wrap (or having to go back after it) is a loosing choice in terms of time and labor costs. If it is a FOH cat walk where one can just walk up to the unit, not so much of a deal.
My take on this is they would be convenient, the cool to the touch lauded by the demo may or may not be real, have to see. My take would be to make a Phillips or slot in the top of the thumb screw so it could be hands or tool operated.
As we all know, the reason for the choice in the first place was that LD's and electricians had learned over 3/4 of a century just how big a beam was at a specific distance. The intent was to maintain that relationship. When the S-4 first came out, they didn't want LD's and electricians to avoid them due to unfamiliar beam angles and coverage.
Have to agree here.
Anyway, all the above is just IMHO and certainly open to discussion and rebuttal.
We discussed using a custom gobo to replace shutter cuts in this thread.
Also, the Phoenix comes with an HPL option. Isn't it great when patents expire?
This fixture was likely created so that Altman could continue to provide complete packages without the buyer asking for "genuine Source 4's".
This thing will get dropped into highs schools and churches all across the country if it comes in at least 10 dollars less then the S4. It won't ever go into any rental stock or professional venues. Its not a rider freindly light no matter what, and it takes years for riders to change. All anyone wants now is a S4 or something like it that has an LED package in it AND it does the exact same thing as a S4.
All in all though, riders drive the pro industry. There are better things out there then the most rider friendly gear out there... but everyone knows what the standards to and accept it.
I got a look at LDI. To answer some comments.
It did seem much shorter than the Shakespeare. Ehen measuring from the pivot of the yoke to the gel frame holder it seemed roughly equivalent to a S4. (just general impression I do not have numbers)
There is no extra lens in the gate (according to their rep)
The gel frame holder seems nice. You can open it and it stays open.
Hot knobs. I believe they plan to use plastic knobs that will not get too hot to handle. The thermal management seemed pretty good and the unit did not seem terribly warm.
A few of my opinions:
The Phoenix looks like an improvement over the Shakespeare, but it's still no Source 4. If the price difference is only $20, why would anyone bother with it?
Let's see how hot the back of that instrument gets after it's been on for a while and it's pointed down. I'm not throwing away my gloves yet.
Shutter locks are an interesting feature that I don't need. Kind of like a lighted ash tray in a car. I have to wonder if pressing on the shutters to lock them might reduce their life. And what will happen when a newbie tries to adjust the shutters while they're locked? A better idea is to make the lock an option and knock off $10 if you don't want it.
I like the HPL lamp option. I've struggled with GLA socket failures in Shakespeares before (I swear the GLA sockets are designed with altitude sensors that cause the instruments mounted the highest to fail). Personally I would have just gone with the HPL lamp and eliminated the GLA socket. When I see an S4, I know there's an HPL lamp in it. Now when I see a Phoenix, I will have no idea what lamp I need until I take it apart. Also, does the HPL option add to the price of the Phoenix?
If the barrel rotates 360 degrees, does the gel frame holder lock? It didn't look all that secure in the video.
If you're revealing a new instrument at an industry trade show, you might want to be sure all the correct parts are on it. That "makeshift" long screw on the bottom that he apologized for didn't exactly make me feel great about the instrument.
If they wanted to produce a product that would make them leading edge, Altman could have come out with a retrofit kit to convert the Shakespeares to LED. Or even a retrofit kit to make an S4 into an LED. THAT would GREATLY interest me.
The industry doesn't need another heat-generating-hi watt-amp sucking-halogen lamp instrument. They're on the way out.
It fits a seachanger, so it has the same body as a source four. It's compatible with source four lenses, so it has the same barrel and optics as a source four. It even uses the same lamp?! The source four came out in what, like, 92? So it took you almost twenty years to add shutter locks and little knobbies on the iris slot? None of these features sound like features ETC didn't think of - they didn't implement them, and for a reason.
The Source Four barrel has gone through revision...J? If they wanted a little box around the color frames, they would have done it by now.
What I'm getting at is that I'm a little offended that the rep claims "it's been a while since anyone's really innovated the ellipsoidal." ETC just announced a freaking LED source four, and that doesn't count? But what does count is that you produced a fixture with such similar design and optics to your competitor's that it takes the same lamp, lens trains, and after-market parts?
Makes me mad.
Why the anger? Why waste your time being mad over a standard, world wide, business practice? Remember, the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. Altman is just playing the "if you can't beat 'em - join 'em" game. I'm an ETC dealer and I'm not the least bit disgruntled. This kind of imitation is every where, the cars we drive, the phones we use, the computers we buy....... as soon as someone has a good idea, a certain Asian country starts selling knock-offs and American and European companies do the same as soon as they figure a way around the patent laws.
That's exactly right.
The iris slot thumb knobs have always existed on the Shakespeare, to my knowledge (or at least since 1995). I've always thought of it as a good idea, I just wish they were captive. I've lost a few of them because the threads were shorter than I expected.
In my opinion, Altman has been doing a lot of innovation, but in other areas thus [seemingly] neglecting their conventional line. They have the Spectra CYC, Spectra Par and I believe a Spectra Strip now. I've heard that these are very good products, perhaps way underrated. Let's keep in mind that Altman is designing and manufacturing these fixtures themselves (not to knock ETC, but they simply bought a company who had already done a lot of the technical work). I wouldn't be surprised if Altman is working on an LED ellipsoidal.
I think Altman is just an old-fashioned company that is slow to adopt change. The Phoenix is no Source Four, but at least they've done something with the Shakespeare.
The LED s4 is really not that improvement its a selador in a smaller box "supposedly" and even then the only one I've seen was at etc's cue. So they haven't come out with it at all. The ellipsoidal is stuck where its at because designers aren't needing or wanting more. The industry drives the gear. So you should expect to see "high wattage" (i laugh a little inside I work with 1k units daily...) ERS units for close to twenty years.
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Duck, Duck, Duck. The LED S4 is much more than just a "Selador in a smaller box". I've gotten up close with this unit at LDI 2011 and the optics alone make it quite a different beast from a Selador fixture. Blanket statements like this are not really helpful.
Has it been officially released? No. Have most of the people in the industry who's company will sell the unit seen it? Probably. It's more than vaporware, but it hasn't been released officially yet. However, this thread is not about LED ERS units, it's about a new conventional ERS from Altman. It's simply not fair to say, "Why bother with conventionals, just do LED's!" This is a really horrible statement. Given a normal venue that has a large number of ERS fixtures in inventory, lets say 150. For the price of LED ERS units, that 150 ERS fixtures would only amount to 26 LED ERS fixtures, and that's assuming a pretty good deal on the LED ERS units. When the price of LED ERS fixures comes down to less than double a conventional ERS, then the arguement has merit. Not really until that point, not for the majority of CB members.
Hi watt, heat generating??? You don't even know. When I first came in this business, 8" and 10" 2K units were common. Talk about heat, they only put out about as much light as a 750 hpl, so watts = either heat or light, you figure it out. Put a T-40 mog bi post lamp in a mostly steel and iron housing about 42" long and 16" diameter at the housing, and what do you have??? Answer, a moderately efficient space heater!
Oh Yeah! At the other end of the line was a 3K or 6K plate, AKA piano board resistance dimmer. the 3K plates had two 1.5k unit on it or 3 1K units. Had to load the plates up so they would completely dim out. The 6K plates usually had 3 2K units, 4 1.5 units or strip lights. If you used a lot of 750W or 1K units for specials, you might have to use ghost loads to dim them out. If you were using 500w units, you were using 4 to 6 on a single 3K plate. 4 500w units on a 3K plate would not completely dim out, needed a ghost load. The board ops loved bright musicals with beach scenes, "Nothing Like a Dame", "Wash that man right 'outta my hair" hated scenes like "Bali Hai" and "Carefully Taught" . Bright scenes = heat at the lights and stage. Dim/romantic scenes = Heat in the booth/dimmer room. One summer in Boston, (14 6K plates and 28 3K plates, think 100 1K space heaters in a 20'x30' room) it averaged 115F in the booth, with warehouse fans at both doors for cross ventilation, during Student Prince ( lots of dim romantic/heart tug scenes).
Oh, and BTW, LED ERS units are still in the R&D stage. It will still be a while before they are a true projector grade, framing shutter hard focus, economically feasible for the mass market viable product. Will it happen in my life time, maybe, in yours, probably, but don't hold your breath.
I agree with you Dave. I was just explaining how being an etc fan boy can really get on peoples nerves... I would love to see these altman phoenix replace all our lekolights in our inventory...
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