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Chauvet LED Followspot 120ST - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by John Scrip, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. John Scrip

    John Scrip Member

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    So I'm at a 450-seat auditorium with 2 Phoebus Ultra Quartz II's -- 360W or whatever they are. They punch like that guy that back-handed a cop in CA last week (that means, they're really, really wimpy).

    That said - We rarely use spots. THAT said, one of the reasons is that these PUQ's have no punch. Hoping these things are the "Meh, they're okay" that I'm looking for. Anyone have any experience with them? I vaguely remember a production that rolled in with a couple and they actually had a decent amount of horsepower. And the whole DMX control concept doesn't suck (we could theoretically use them as lectern specials or what not).

    I realize - No banjos, no gel changes, no frost - But again, 99.7% of the time, when we need spots, we just need a decent looking and relatively punchy circle of white-ish light.

    Love to hear from anyone that hit some target with these things.
     
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  2. lonasindi

    lonasindi Member

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    I repaired one of these, or something very similar, once. I only fired it up in the shop, but it was definitely in the "well, that's a follow spot" category. It was a while ago so I don't have a good guess at how well it would do in a real space competing with stage lights. I only took one mostly useless photo. IMG_20170412_124817.jpg
     
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  3. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Calling @Ford Possibly you'd care to comment?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  4. Milt Hathaway

    Milt Hathaway Member

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    That's not even close to a Chauvet 120ST.
     
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  5. Milt Hathaway

    Milt Hathaway Member

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    I have four of them in my rental inventory. Seem to be very well made. They are brighter than the cheap 1k incandescent spots we used to rent out, but not as bright as the 400W Altman Voyagers we have either. Best part for us was the 'color correction' position on the color wheel, although it's not quite enough correction. There is a tight gel slot at the end of the spot where I'm likely to eventually place a better color correction gel. The rest of the colors on the wheel are super-saturated "DJ" colors.

    Bad part is there are very difficult to operate using solely the push button panel on the back. Pushing and holding buttons to fade in and out sucks, and the button next to them when held starts the strobe effect. Yes, I have accidentally 'flashed' a debutante. For our use we've begun taping a little six channel DMX board to the top of the spot so that we could control the fades better. Yes, I could run the spots via DMX but that takes away the safety factor if I have a console issue or brain fart during a show.

    My dry hire clients (churches, etc.) have enjoyed them very much for their one-off productions, but they seldom have a full lighting rig to compete with.

    Oh, and the stand it comes with absolutely sucks. Maximum height is barely 3', and it has to be disassembled for transport. Luckily the mount on the spot's yoke fits many standard speaker/lighting stands.
     
  6. lonasindi

    lonasindi Member

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    I dug through historical tickets - you're right in that it's not the Chauvet 120ST - it's an older ADJ 60 watt unit. I suspect the newer Chauvet spot is probably better all around. They do share a lot of similarities, though - they're both small, inexpensive LED follow spots with a color wheel and buttons for color selection.
     
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  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I haven't used it, but I want to point out that the 120ST is from the "Chauvet DJ" family and not the "Chauvet Professional" family. There is a big difference in those two lines.

    I've played with the Chauvet Ovation SP300 follow spot on the trade show floor, and it is a serious contender to be compared against the other LED spots from the likes of Strong, Lycian, Ushio, and Canto. It's also a $3,000+ product. The 120ST is a low budget option that should be compared to products from ADJ, Eliminator, and the classic "Source Four on a stick". In that class, I'm guessing based on data sheets and reputation, that it's a good option and compairs well, but that's just a guess.

    There is a product for every budget. The options, performance, and quality increase as your budget incrrases. That's just the way it is.

    The 120ST is not going to look sad compared to the competition in the pro market, but if you need a spot and that's what you can afford, it may be exactly what you need. I am very concerned about it not being bright enough to cut through the rest of the light on stage. My advice would be to buy it from a major dealer with a great return policy so you can easily try it out and return it if it doesn't meet your needs. If it doesn't meet your needs, save up a few years for a pro-model.

    And whatever you buy, come back and tell us how it works out!
     
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  8. John Scrip

    John Scrip Member

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    Understood on the "DJ" side -- This is one of those situations where I'm in a corner.... Our Phoebus UQ2's are *so* [SELF-CENSORED] that we almost (ALMOST) never use them. 500-ish events last year, I think we used them for 5 or 6 of them. Partially because they're just somewhat rarely asked for, partially because if someone wants spots, I feel it my duty to tell them that they aren't going to get "that look" out of them. Under a decent amount of wash light, even the spot ops can hardly tell if they're on target. Some Jr. High rolled in with a pair of similar units 8 or 9 years ago - even cheaper, obviously older. I silently laughed at them -- until they turned them on and realized they were like putting a typical pen-light up against an "Atomic Beam" flashlight (still cheap, but surprisingly bright). [SIDENOTE] They wanted spot for their show, ours on on FOH catwalks, no one goes up unless you're an employee, they wanted their kids on tech, so they brought their own spots). [/SIDENOTE]

    Anyway - *If* these things actually have a little punch and people start requesting more spot use (and we start saying "Yeah, they punch pretty good" instead of talking them down), I can probably upgrade in a few years. But for as little as we use them currently, I'd rather tie up the $$$ in things we use more often.

    But yeah, the plan at the moment it seems is to grab a pair, open one, plug it in right there in the seats and compare it to the PUQ2's. If it kicks, we open the other one and figure out how to mount them on the grid. If they're awful also, box it back up and send 'em back. And if they *do* work out and spot usage goes up considerably, if we upgrade a few years out, they're DMX controllable so we can just mount them as "fixed" lectern specials or something.
     
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  9. John Scrip

    John Scrip Member

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    So, left and right here are our Phoebus Ultra-Quartz II followspots (under varying degrees of ambient light - Quite a bit SR, not so much SL, music stand down center with towel) -

    Yes, the HL/SR unit definitely has more kick than the other. And then we kicked in the Chauvet... Absolutely no comparison. Not even a fair fight. So far, so good. We'll have to figure out exactly how to mount them with what's up there but I'm not too worried about it at this point. Just glad they punch. You're looking at roughly 45-50' from spot positions to cyc. Maybe just a bit more. Even downstage, you couldn't really tell that the brighter PUQ was hitting the downstage target unless it was in motion. So I think, even with the controlling shortcomings (they will certainly be a bit more of a pain to *fade* up and out vs. the slam-out with the switch. But we'll get over that.

    Don't ask about the set piece up right. Long story.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Okay. Now let's see it with a cut of L204 or L205 (and maybe some L279) in the boomerang. Many shows want the intensity, but not the "stick out like a sore thumb" quality.
    .
     
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  11. John Scrip

    John Scrip Member

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    There's one of the negatives -- Several built-in color filters (which also punch like Ali for the record) but no banjo/boomerang. These things are definitely "spots to have spots" - Utility pieces.

    Excellent and very smooth dimming - and that's great, because I can't imagine needing them at 100% often (which blew my mind), but they're really just for the occasional renter/performer that really wants that "Hollywood" spot (about 95% of those who request spots here). Which as you can tell, the PUQ2's couldn't even come close to doing. I have a feeling we're going to just be using the warm white * (shown) and the cool white (no filter - hits even harder).

    If I could wish anything for future revisions (I understand a Chauvet rep hangs out around here), a "snap" on/off (which it does) and a 1 or 1.5 count on/off (as opposed to using the dimmer buttons). ** That would put it over the top as far as a simple utility spot.

    Don't get me wrong - I wasn't expecting a Zot or ML Drama out of this -- I was just hoping for "Meh, that's a decent spot" -- And I think it covers that. Even our in-house productions - we've basically worked around spots because they were so terrible. Last year, we had a ballroom dance showcase where just about everything had spots, but one dance was *spots only* and that was the trigger for me. Even with everything else OUT, our spots were too dim. I vaguely remember them letting us put up a floor pattern so at least there was some additional light on the floor. It was - humiliating (?) embarrassing (?). And at this point, I'd rather have a lack of features than a (severe) lack of lumens. If they work out and spot are used more frequently, moving up to Sia or Lycian or Mega-Lite won't be a big problem. Just couldn't make that call at the moment.

    * You wouldn't know it by the iPhone photo, but the warm white was actually very convincing. In the photo, it looks rather 4-4200k range. In person, it was very similar to incandescent 3-3200k.

    ** With in-house and even some rental events, we're already tossing around a protocol of using more of a "Spots on target?" (as opposed to "stand by") and then using the DMX control to allow the board op to fire them up.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
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  12. Milt Hathaway

    Milt Hathaway Member

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    Agreed, but I'd like to see one simple fader replacing the functions of the on/off AND dimmer buttons. Since that's unlikely maybe they could at least correct dimmer channel three (strobe) to be full-on between 0 and 20%, then various strobe speeds above that. The would allow the use of a single fader DMX console (I've see a couple out there) and gel color correction for complete operation. Maybe they have a Pro version in the works that already includes some of this.
     
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