Cheap Moving Lights


Hi - my high school is drastically underfunded in the arts/theater department. We have 3 Legend 150R dance club lights. Can anyone recoment a cheap, good moving light that might be purchased in the price range of around 1000$, so I can propose an actual stage light addition to our moving light "squad." We are in a black box, with a 30' by 20' stage, and the audience extends out on each side about ten feet. Our DMX control board is a Marin Freekie, yet another night club item, but it seems to have good control of the system.

Most high schools have drastically underfunded performing arts departments. :( I would suggest thinking long and hard before spending so little on moving lights. Having worked for a Martin repair contractor I will tell you that you get what you pay for, not only in terms of quality, but in terms of something you should really think about, sound. The less expensive moving lights tend to be very noisy (that is not to say many of the expensive ones aren't noisy).

One of the reasons for slow adoption of moving lights in theater (other than for special effects, which is the way you typically see them used on Broadway) is that they are really noisy, especially in small black-box type theaters. Companies recognize the problem and are working on quiter lights for theatrical use; however I doubt you'll find many for under $1k. One of the premier regional theaters in the country (The Guthrie, in Minneapolis) only has a few Martin Roboscan 418's (old) scanning mirror lights, this is because of the noise that moving head lights generate and the little use for them in theatrical lighting. Moving lights are best used for musical concerts where noise (except in the wrong place) can usually be covered up by a band, choir, or orchestra.

Instead of moving lights I would suggest looking into a real theatrical board or expanding the number of conventional instruments you have.
I've seen some of the S-4 mirror add-ons advertised, but tyet to see any actually in use, I wonder how they'd hold up in a high use environment? More typically I see S-4's mounted in motorized yolks; however, for concert use, not theatrical.
In response to the question about cheap moving lights, ckeck out this website: They have some nice looking gear for under $1k.
wemeck said:
I also saw some moving mirror add-ons for the Source-4.

Has any one played with these?

Ah we at WWCC just bought 2 of them they are called Eipscans and they are very cool. Dont know the price of them just know that they are a b!#&$ to hand on the end of a sourche 4 that is on a 3 foot arm hanging out the ante pro position off the back of the lighting beam.

Rock Springs Wy.
Does anyone know where I could get a Martin Mac 250+ moving head DEMO UNIT? I am obsessed with moving heads but I do'nt wanna buy them and spend money, so I was looking for a moving head that was a store's demo unit that I could get. Anyone know of any web sites that I could look at or phone numbers of places that I can call?

I don't wanna purchase any moving heads I just want to get a moving head that was a demo unit so that I don't need to buy it. I just want to try it for a period of time and if I like it keep it!

Know of any other sites?

If you want to demo a unit... talk to a production house in you area. I highly doubt that will let some kid take a moving light for a test drive without a dealer or trained tech around but hey it's possible. Let me know if you need any help finding dealers in your area.
I need help finding dealers in the area. I can call them I just need help finding dealers in the zip code area of 60062 or 60015 or nearby those zip codes.

Thanks again,
ILC and Upstaging are the major north side dealers, plus Preformance Lighting .

Than the Chicago area dealers would be Design Lab, Grand Stage, Chicago Spotlight and TLC - sorry but I don't have a link but similar to ILC and Upstaging in every way to your extent.

As the major suppliers and dealers in lighting parts and supplies in the Chicago area. There are other companies with these supplies and lights just not as large in being more ma and pop dealers.

Company policy for most dealers proper would be, nope you don't get to try a fixture for a period (Yea right you are a big enough buyer to matter in l"et me try it for a few shows than I decide if I want it." We get that from the manufacturers in buying around a hundred fixtures in this test drive option, have to step up your purchase and budget a bit to qualifiy in reality beyond at best rental if you can get it.) For the most part, you probably won't even be allowed to rent it unless they know you are compitent in using it. You can come in for a demo even some training and talk about it, but for most moving lights you would need to rent it than also pay a programmer to both supervise the programming and ensure it's not abused. Sorry but that's reality and nobody is going to take the chance of the local crew dropping even a Mac 250 given it's a demo unit. ILC perhaps but also with supervision on the install.

Design Lab, Grand Stage and Chicago Spotlight might be a little more lax in these policies however and be more flexible in show length instead of tour length or very short term rentals normal to the north side companies. This all beyond the fact that it's a busy summer in the industry and there is a good chance that there is no fixtures available for a day's demo much less a few weeks worth of one.

The above three Chicago sources are stage and studio rental houses primarially specilizing in stage type rentals, the others are production companies which also do sales and rentals to those that they can trust. You can buy from any company but for the most part a production house will have a bit more stringent guidelines about rentals to those not able to care for the fixtures much less the rental amount of time you would require as opposed to their own needs.

A MSD 250/2 lamp costs me about $69.00 for you in retail about $95.00 this as the cheap and easy to fix part of the rental as opposed to a dichroic or power supply. Just not for the most part cost effective to rent to those that are not assured of knowing already what they are doing with it. We all have our cherity case schools and productions we give to, but for the most part still have to supply a trained crew to supervise the gear.

Look around and call around to the above companies but don't get your hopes up too high in the company you want gear from doing a extended loaner or demo that allows you to have the power of final choice of purchase. Just ain't going to happen with companies that spend the cost of a fixture per day just in lamps to outfit the inventory, much less labor involved often plays a major role in the loaner.

Come in for a demo, perhaps work out a rental for a show if available, call all eight major shops for feeling them out and pricing but don't expect to sit in the power seat of I might or might not buy one.

Hope it helps.

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