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Blacklight

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gafftaper, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I've seen a lot of discussions of what black light is, but only found a few references to specific instruments. As part of my new theater's inventory I want to spend around $1000 on black light instruments. The theater is a 50 foot square black box with about 20 feet from the grid to the deck. There are clearly a lot of options between Elation's $150 UV Wash to Wildfire's $3000 400 Watt zoom. The higher end arc units from Wildfire all come with good photometric data, but none of the fluorescent units I find have ANY photometric data. So it's very difficult to compare anything.

    I'm looking for the most UV Wash bang for my buck. I think I’m looking at purchasing fluorescents at this point to just go for the instant on wash effect. If I need a concentrated, super high power, UV effect then I'll go rent one of those bad Wildfire's. For now, I want the ability to light a drop with invisible paint, or make a creepy night scene creepier. How much output do you need to make UV paint pop on a drop without turning the rest of the wash down 30%?

    Anyone got a favorite? Should I go nuts on a bunch of the cheap Elation or American DJ units? OR is it better to get just 3 or 4 of the high end Wildfire (or similar) two tube units?

    Any thoughts on your experiences with specific units and lumen output would be great.

    (Here's a side question, probably for Ship: Are lumens still the correct measurement when you are talking about a form of radiation outside the visible spectrum?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2006
  2. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    [Hijack] gafftaper, the black font does not make for easy reading. Cheers. [End Hijack]
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I changed my forum skin and my text editor and somehow screwed up the text color... I'm trying to get it back to default this should fix it until I figure out what I did wrong.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2006
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Oh ! I thought it was a kind of clever little joke, Black light / black text .
     
  5. tss_rocks

    tss_rocks Member

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    In most cases, the UV effect when using florescent tubes is washed out with your halogen lamps/fixtures.

    I've used both the Elation and the Wildfire WF250/400/401. The UV Wash is great for small rooms, and uses where UV lighting is not the main effect.. eg. Dances, etc.

    Wildfire (whether you get the 250 or one of the 400 series) will ABSOLUTELY make whatever you paint pop right out of nowhere! I've seen some really great effects one, but I've seen them done poorly too if the blacklight isn't strong enough. But that isn't in your budget to get one, so your best bet would be to rent some.

    A great site to check out is www.uvfx.com, they use Wildfire exclusively...
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I wish I was that clever Van but I'm not.
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    The altman blacklight instrument throws some light out there, both the fresnel and the other scoopish version. From my experience you are best off just renting the blacklight instruments because (usually) they are used so few and far between that it doenst really make since to add them to an inventory. You might want to pick up some woods glass to use where you need then rent the units later.
     
  8. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    UV light is different than the visible light spectrum of light - phosphors in what’s projected upon heating up and luminating as opposed to reflecting. Can be washed out by intensity but not washed out by type of light.

    UV-A as opposed to UV-B and UV-C is what scale of output you are looking for in light output. UV-B &C being the bad UV light. Luminous output in the visible spectrum doesn’t include the radiation that heats up and activates the phosphors in what material the light is projected upon thus you can’t use such figures as color temperature, luminous output or center beam candle power. Incandescent/halogen lights will have some UV-A output but not enough to worry about. Still the noting of the competing UV verses general intensity is a valid note.

    UV lights can be metal hallide, xenon or most commonly mercury vapor. It’s a question of itself as to what’s most efficient. Look to the UV-A output as to the beam spread in comparison. These all much more efficient as lamp sources than fluorescent black light blue and better yet black light (no blue) lamps. What brand, where I work, we stock Wildfire fixtures and some black light wash light no brand fixtures and even some mercury vapor parking lot lamp type fixtures using black light lamps of varying wattage. All a question of focused light and ease of use. Altman and other companies make similar fixtures. Nocturn has just as presentable a name for UV as Wildfire, this beyond it as concept, it’s not difficult to do a UV fixture.

    400w in a UV fixture is often a good thing but I would tend to rent such things if I ran a theater for such wattages in balancing output with need to own such fixtures of high power. The 250w in wash range I would more base as with the fluorescent type UV fixture in being good for small applications or limited output but not worth owning beyond adding to what is in effect.

    As a theory, you might also be able to do UV out of some moving light fixtures.
     
  9. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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  10. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Ship, You are a Warehouse of info unto yourself ! I always look forward to seeing your answers on questions like this. If nothing else you always seem to be able to put to voice some of the obervations I've made over the years but haven't been able to properly quantify. < I'm not blowing smoke. I'm being sincere for once. :twisted: >
    Anyway I was talking to an LD here the other day < Jeff Forbes, Freaking Genius> He told me of a show where he had to install / construct some remote shutters, made out of roll up window shades, in front of some UV fixtures he was using. His issue arose from the fact that he had to give the fixtures enough time to warm up < they were Merc. vapor > and couldn't have the uv rays leaking all over the stage before the uv cue. I was able to sufficiently light an entire proscenium stage for a blacklight dance routine using 6, 2 tube shop light type flourescent fixture from the FOH posistion. I did have to constuct some extra reflectors the help focus the light, errr Radiation < sorry ship > :grin:
     
  11. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    And often an entire warehouse worth of gear I have constructed or wired at one point or another by way of start to finish my design, to at least coming up with the system and supervising it's implimentation. Didn't get used but a few months back I worked some long hours on some dial 90w lamp low pressure sodium vapor wash lights that were sort of like horizontal spears of light tube within the axis of some sports lighter wash light fixtures. Such things were needed as a wash light, but given their burn up to intensity time, we had to do DMX controlled dowsers for the fixtures. Interesting project, long hours and in the end not because of the fixture that did work but because of design and what the light really looked like it was cut from the show. Seven wash lights that took five days and lots of over time, and in the end never got used.

    Than was the time that I had to mount a combination 10" top hat with barn door to some PAR 64 sized black light wash lights... that's another story in what was soon afterwards cut from the production. Not lots, but it's not unusual for stuff I make to get cut from the production. No big deal on my part, I get paid either way and while making the stuff got to experiment.

    Still the DMX dowser option is there for stuff with long burn up times. Such options are much like scrollers you mount to the front of the fixture. DMX dousers shold be availalble to fit on most gel frame/accessory brackets that go with the fixtures.

    Never used a strobe cannon or UV cannon myself thus not advice I could convey on a different post. (Strobe lights also have a certain amount of UV-A output)
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Well I think I've found what I'm looking for. Although I'm sure the Wildfire and Altmans are great, the cost too much. Chauvet on the other hand, makes a 400 watt mercury vapor unit for about $300. While it's far from the same quality, it's a lot of power for not much money. Sold.

    As for why purchase instead of rent. It's about $40 for a week rental of a big black light at my local theater place. If I don't have one, I'm likely to say, yeah we could do that trick but it's not that important and it isn't worth the money and hassle to rent one. Having one or two in stock makes it easy to include a quick effect that might get cut otherwise... plus I can rent them out to the local high school at Halloween. No it's not a high priority, but if I've got a few hundred left in the budget it would be a nice toy to have in stock.
     
  13. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Where are you picking it up ? Hollywood ? or does DTC have an outlet up there yet ?
     
  14. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Those are the units I was talking about American DJ and Chauvet both offer them, if you troll ebay you can get them for under 200 dollars. We use them on occasion. Things to look out for, they are a very simple setup, with a cap and a ballast, and large screw in socket and the bulb. On occasion I have found that some of them just do not get the level of output that they should, usually it is a bad ballast. They take a while to heat up and get to the level of output you want, so they are not good for a quick turn on and get the UV effect, some sort of shutter system would help. They do generate a fair amount of heat, are large, but in the right situation , work quite well. The UV effect is different from the tube versions, you get the uv effect on "dayglow" type paints, but not as much of the purple coloration wash.
    Sharyn
     
  15. pattrick1

    pattrick1 Member

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    I personally own one of those Mercury Vapour 400W blacklights (the American DJ UV Canon), so I have a lot of experience in using these fixtures in and out of theatre. I got a good deal (until it crossed the border to Canada), so i couldn't resist.
    For theatre, unless your doing a glow-in-the-dark Shakespeare rendition, their a real downer simply because it actualy takes a good 10 minutes for the thing to boot up. Right now, I have a piece of fabric I velco loosely to the cover while it warms up (but I DO NOT suggest doing this, I only have it on for 10 minutes, anything more and it could catch fire, I'm serious... these fixtures heat up. Another option (if money is available, which it isn't in most cases) is again a shutter device. Wybron I believe makes a few models, but I am not sure if they fix correctly on the fixture.
    Today, I primarily use the UV Canon on mobile DJ events that I provide equipment to, so for this use, I must say the light is killer and really puts out an unbelieveable effect, but it is directional so it leaves back-sides dark and un-cool.
    This brings me to my final point. If I were to purchase a UV fixture, I would go with the good old flourescent tubes, and multiple ones for the following reasons:
    - More fixtures for the $$
    - Can place more in separate areas (ie, L - C - R and rear) to eliminate directional issues
    - Less wattage = more per circuit
    - Cheaper bulbs
    - Instant startup
    - Nice and light if you move them around (compared to a bulky mercury vapour fixture)

    However, there are a few upsides to the mercury vapour bulb fixtures:
    - produce a more "clean" UV light with less white light compared to the flourescent tubes
    - has a hanging bracket
    ... but on a big stage, is it really worth it.

    Anyways, thats my input, and like I said I own and regularly use the Mercury Vapour fixture... if you have anymore questions I might be able to help you out... let me know, I'm here to share.

    Patrick T
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hey Van, I'm building a shopping list for the inventory of a brand new theater. So these Blacklights are a low priority toy if there's enough money after all the important things are purchased. As far as where, I'm going to submit to PNTA, Hollywood, Barbizon, and a place in Alabama... (I don't know the name) for my package. One of the Universities up here just recently made a big instrument purchase from a place down in Alabama that blew everyone in this corner of the country out of the water. Notice a certain company down in your neck of the woods isn't on that list, I've heard way too many unsatisfied stories about them.
     
  17. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Which one is that ? OSL ? Not one of my Favs I have to admit. Who did the build out of the theatre ? Stagecraft ?
     
  18. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I don't want to blast a company in such a public place... check your private messages.
     
  19. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  20. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Also by way of structure by way of the fixture in holding the lamp, doing the yoke, attaching the ballast or in general, less rugged parts or thinner alluminum is also often used. This along with lower temperature splices and parts.

    In a lighting fixture, often you do get what you pay for. Doesn't matter the brand but often it does in stuff breaking which just was not so well designed or by way of corners cut.

    Working my way thru some ancient long past TMB wash light black light fixtures they no longer sell. One by one they are all simply falling apart by way of use as often the case of lots of fixtures that just are not made to be other than perminant installed.
     

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