Best Cyc Light

fosstech

Active Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Location
Tacoma, WA USA
We're getting some money to buy some new cyc lights very soon. I'm looking at a few already and have narrowed it down to a few choices. We need 3-cell, 3-circuit versions. I'm looking at the Strand Coda, Altman Sky Cyc, Colortran Cyc Strip, ETC Source Four Pars (individual units, not the Multi-Par...those are too expensive), and the L&E Broad Cyc. If anyone has experience with any of these instruments, how do you like them? What would you change, and if you had to do it all over again, would you have gotten something else?
 

sound_nerd

Active Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2004
Location
Toronto Ontario
We have the Stand Coda's and the Colortran equivalent....the Strand Coda's are amazing. I wouldn't change anything, except maybe the price.
 

propmonkey

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Joined
Jul 22, 2004
Location
Milwaukee, WI
we have the altman sky cycs....theyre ok. i dont have anything to compare them to.
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2004
Location
Boston, MA
We have the Altman Sky Cyc individual fixtures. Great even light, lamps last for a while, take a beating and still working great. Never had a problem with a single one.
 

propmonkey

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Joined
Jul 22, 2004
Location
Milwaukee, WI
im a senior and i cant remember once changing any of those lamps since ive been at this highschool. although they burn gels quickly.
 

avkid

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Fight Leukemia
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Feb 17, 2004
Location
Howell, NJ
All I have used is the Altman Sky cyc, they take a licking and...
 

3guk

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2004
Yup its the codas for me too, we have 4 of the 3unit ones and i think 12 of the single unit ones. Superb lights, nice even spread, and built like tanks !!
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
I'm in a four year upgrade program with both the Altman Ground Cyc and Colortran cyc lights. The Altmans are solid like a rock, just some bad ideas on our own people wiring them that is causing problems, and the Color Trans' after a few years of touring use, not a rivet or bent piece of aluminum flange on them holding them together have not problems with ripping out in a very unsafe way.

This given the stage is different than contcert scene, but even at an old theater, the colortran in this case three cell cycs had a nice beam spread that seemed to increase in spread due to sag each show. The colortran if not re-designed is very light weight but uses aluminum parts that sag and break with bending. Much less rivets that pop out of the frames. Such equipment years later in touring need total overhauls and I don't recommend them in a structure of the fixture type of way even if half the weight of the Altman. The Colortran gel frames also leave something to be desired.

The Altman Ground Cyc like that of the L&E is very rugged and also able to fly. It's kind of heavy but very rugged. As for the Sky Cyc, where I work, we have both the single and three cell units. Well over six years since I started wiring such things, I'm yet to see any come to me for problems so while less used, they are good fixtures it would seem.

Been looking into other types of cyc over the years. The Strand while I have not been able to get a sample of one seems like a nice design both for floor and hang. In general, play test any and all brands.
Times Square also would domestically have similar no doubt to L&E and Altman in equipment. L&E makes good gear as an alternative to Altman - for the most part standardized parts I would expect, not that Altman cycs are bad.

As another option, the MR-16 mini-cycs might be worth a play test. Pop a wide flood MR-16 lamp in any of the various designs and you have a wash. The ETC S-4 PAR based Cyc light might also be interesting to look at.

Done some design work with R-40 and A-Lamp cyc lights also. Nothing beats a total wash of the stage with sufficient cyc light washing - no matter how ancient in technology. R-40 and A-Lamp type cyc lights are probably much less cost effective however.


Should you buy a RSC based lamp cyc light, ask before you buy lamps for it. There is energy saving lamps out there that are more powerful and efficient than the standard lamps. Also dependant upon the intensity you need lots of other options in lamp than those normal.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I'm going out on long limb. I'm going to recommend MR16 striplights.

Our problem, and a problem common to any flying cyc light pipe, is if you don't have depth, you don't have coverage with open faced units.

T3 series Cyc Lights, of which Coda's, Sky Cycs, C-Tran's, etc.. are part of a family of fixtures that work really, really well when the pipe they hang on is 6-8ft from the drop/cyc. Further is better, especially when you can lamp to 2kw or so.

In this scenario, the coverage from these units is terrific.

It's when you don't have the depth that T3 units fall short. When you get inside 5 ft or so, and note that the height of the cyc is VERY critical, you can't get top to bottom even coverage. With shorter drops, you can get closer.

We had an original set of Strand T3 lamp Cyc Lights - by original, I mean they were designed for glass filter ONLY. The distance of cyc light pipe (#5 electric) to cyc was 4 ft. The coverage was the top 10-12 ft. of a 30 ft. high cyc. Our ground row fixtures (just as old) covered the bottom thitd, leaving a 10 ft horizontal hole in the middle.

We changed to a set of L&E 6ft/ MR16 fixtures, 6 across in spot lamps, hung below 6 across in flood lamps. All in 3 circuit. We use 75w lamps all across (10 per circuit per fixture) with 12x2.4 dimmers for 3 - 9,000 watt washes.

The strips are ALWAYS used with Rosco R104 linear diffusion and/or the R124/125/126/127 series diffused colors. The strips typically hang 2-4 ft from Cyc and/or drops.

We have never had a complaint in 20 years of use, as to the lack of even coverage and/or intensity, and these units put out a wash that we would need a set of 2kw SkyCycs (or whatever the C-Tran version was at the time - Far Cyc's ?) at 8ft. depth to duplicate (I know this as we' tried it). That setup was 8 fixtures across a 40ft. wide cyc, PER WASH, which totalled out to 48kw for 3 color washes. It was a little bit brighter and even then the MR16's, but not much and used a LOT more dimmers.

My $.02

SB
 

soundlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
Whatever you do, make sure to get four circuit models for red, green, blue, and amber. I have never been able to make a consistent amber with red and green.

I reccomend R-40's. Those are the standard strip lights, and the large number of lamps, with alternating colors, provides a very even wash of light, even from only a very short distance from the cyc.

Altman really does make good stuff (I'm looking for some of their 3.5 ellipsoidals right now.)
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2004
Location
Boston, MA
As far as the distance goes from the cyc, I light our 15 foot tall cyc very evenly being 5 feet from the drop and I am able to light it all 40 feet wide with just 5 lights with the Altman Sky Cycs.

Altman does make good products, especially the R40 Strip Light and the Sky Cyc, but I'd have to go with the ETC S4 over the Altman Shakespeare.
 

soundlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
yes. ETC still rules standard theater ellipsoidals.
 

fosstech

Active Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Location
Tacoma, WA USA
That is very true...all we use are ETC S4's for our ellipsoidals ;)

I would love to do four circuit, but all our electrics are wired for three-circuit for toning and cyclights. The electrics are still those dreaded Electro-Controls Channel Mount strips. The old EC dimmers and board were replaced by a complete ETC rig this summer, but due to budget constraints they didn't give us new connector strips. But I guess I could maybe eat up one of the six (yes, 6) other circuits on the third electric for an amber.

The only thing that's driving me away from the Altman model is the requirement to use 6.61" FFT style lamps. These (according to Altman, at least...that may not say much however) are only available down to 1kW...and a 2.4kW dimmer isn't going to like three of those FFT's. If there's an FFT-length lamp out there that is 800 watts or less, then that'll bring Altman back into the running.

The Codas are kind of discouraging considering they are only rated to 500 watts. However, I haven't seen them in operation (that I know of), so I wouldn't be able to compare its light with that of an L&E cyclight running on a 750w EJG.

So by what you're saying Ship, avoid the Colortrans due to (relative) flimsy construction.

The MR-16 striplights and the ETC striplights are looking too expensive for our budget, so unfortunately, those will also probably have to be nixed. However, using individual S4 Pars looks like a more cost effective solution. Plus, when we don't need a cyc wash, we can use them in other parts of the system. They can be had for about $150 a piece and with 9 of them closely packed in groups of three with wide flood lenses, it should give a good wash with a Rosco cyc silk. Plus, the long life HPL lamps last longer than the lamps used in the other cyc lights. Gotta love 1500 hour lamps!

Any thoughts on this plan? Our cyc (actually a scrim) is behind a traveller which is behind the third electric, so it's a reasonable distance from the electric to the cyc.
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
#SC - Sky Cyc (8" oc) 1cir/1 lamp, 2cir/2 or 4 lamp, 3cir/3 lamp, 4cir/4 lamp: (R-7s) FDB, FFT, FGV, FGT


Your RSC lamp (R-7s) recessed single contact lamp - stop calling them a T-3 lamp or I will start throwing single ended T-3 lamps at you, is going to have to be 6.9/16" in MOL. These lamps specifically are available in 675w, 1Kw, 1.5Kw, and 2Kw wattages. Sorry you Euro's the 165.7mm lamps are not really available in 230v.


How's a 675 Watt lamp instead of a 1Kw lamp? Dependant upon what brand of lamp you buy our luminous output is going to be 26,400 to 27,000 Lumens in output. The 675w HIR lamp is only 26,500 Lumens but eeks out 3,250°K in color temperature which is 50°K more than a FFT = the normal lamp. Probably won't much notice the difference in color temperature other tan it's more crisp.

If the lamp is still made and I think it is:
FFT/HIR G.E. #20884

The HIR series of lamp has for the most part similar respects to what it represents in older lamps, they just have less due to their size. Highly efficient in lamp life.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Ship wrote:

"stop calling them a T-3 lamp or I will start throwing single ended T-3 lamps at you"

Fine, throw me some FCL's and EHZ's, preferably new in original box, maybe 12 -24 ea. ?, and I'll learn a new trick.

Chanting "It's NOT a T-3, It's NOT a T-3".

Grinning

SB
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Interesting that your 300w lamp requested is frosted, yet your 500w lamp is clear. While both have uses (I prefer frosted in a cyc), normally it's one or the other in use.

T-3 is a measurement of the lamps' dia. that in calling it a T-3 lamp, probably goes back to the early 70's or earlier.



Can anyone confirm or correct what I'm thinking is the start of why people started calling them T-3 lamps?

The double ended halogen lamp from what I can gather came onto the market before that of single ended ones. It in being by far less in size than a T-14 or T-28 lamp otherwise normal for stage and studio type lamps would be something easily noticed about it.

This is what I can surmise in lor about how the general usage term of calling a RSC lamp a T-3 came about. It in a 4.11/16" length would also differentuate it from a RSC based 2.3/8" T-4 lamp as used on some old Kliegl Lekos and Fresnels



T-3 means a lamp 3/8" in dia. There is also T-2.1/2, T-4 up to T-8 RSC lamps on the market in all kinds of wattages and sizes. The dia. of the lamp has little to do with which type of lamp base it has on it.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Ship wrote:

"Interesting that your 300w lamp requested is frosted, yet your 500w lamp is clear. While both have uses (I prefer frosted in a cyc), normally it's one or the other in use. "

No designer has complained (yet) about difference in light quality between frosted and non, and I'm using the FCL's in Altman work lights and Ground Cyc's, with the EHZ in our ancient Strand ground rows, so the Cyc and G-Rows seemingly blend fine. Once you start a lamp type in a mulitiple fixture, having purchased spares, well.... you know the story.

Couldn't say about why the T3 name sticks for ALL double ended RSC's. Probably as it's so different then any other - PAR, HPL, FLK, GLC, etc... that its become more a generic description for this type of lamp. In our house we only use 2 type of RSC lamps, those mentioned above and it's sometimes common to say "T3" instead of "long tubular, double ended recessed single contact", to the newbies. I and some of the regular electricians have been doing this since the 70's, and you know - old dogs, new tricks.....

By the way Ship, a thanks for a recommendation a long while back to replace my FLK's with GLC's. Bulbtronics replaced something like 30 shock blown FLK's and we are having no shock related issues with the GLC's.

Steve B.