The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Cyc Light Recommendations

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by WestlakeTech, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    4
    I'm the Asst. Facilities Director at my high school and I've been given the job of shopping around for some new Cyc Lights. I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations. Don't worry about cost. They cannot be strip lights (teachers orders). The bigger the spread, the better. Links to sites showing any recommended devices would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    WestlakeTech
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,677
    Likes Received:
    341
    Location:
    NJ & NYC
    If money is truly no object, have Altman demo their Spectra-CYC 100 units for you and see if they're really worth it.

    If money would put the Spectra CYC 100s out of your price range, Altman's sky cycs and ground rows are standards. James Thomas Engineering also sells decent cyc lights, and Selecon Lighting sells 3 lines (HUI, LUI, and Aurora) of cyc lighting/groundrow products.

    What you have to realize is that however wide the beamspread is, you are still going to end up needing to put the units almost end-to-end to get strong saturation when you've got alot of frontlight.
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    These two statements appear to be incongruous. I suspect your definition of "strip lights" needs some refinement.

    The best cyc lights I've ever used are those from Ianiro/QuartzColor, which used to be sold in the US by Strand. The Iris model for the top and the Orion for the bottom. Link to catalog. Altman, L&E, and Selecon make adequate (but not as good) fixtures also.

    If space is at a premium, and it sounds as though it may be as "the bigger the spread, the better," the L&E MR-16 MiniStrip is likely your best solution.

    I've ignored LEDs, which I don't think are ready for prime time yet. (Although I am sorry I missed investigating the Altman Spectra Cyc at LDi.:() The CK Color Blaze and PixelRange Pixelines are fine products, but cannot achieve the same eveness of an assymetric reflector fixture. I'll issue a preemptive strike before a certain member jumps in and regales us with how great the Selador 7-color LED strips are: They're still not bright enough! (And technically, they're striplights.)
    [​IMG]

    Finally, what are you using now, and what are your chief complaints? Have you tried Roscolux Cyc Diffusion (R120, 121, 122) and/or Cyc Sliks (R124, 125, 126)?
     
  4. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    230
    Occupation:
    Performing Arts Center Manager
    Location:
    Macomb, MI
    We have been using the Selecon HUI's for a few years now, and have been pretty happy. We have found in our instance that the ground row configuration does indeed trap heat much more so than when the units are hung from a batten.

    ~Dave

    Selecon Lighting - Hui Cyc
     
  5. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    4
    Right, width of the spread isn't quite our issue, but I'll explain that as I respond to Derek's post.

    Well, for starters, despite the fact that I'm a high school senior in my 4th year of Tech Theatre, I'm still learning... even many of the basics. Also, there are some differences in what my school teaches and what's used in the real world. Most people call those on a running crew who move scenery and set pieces "stage crew", whereas we (for some unknown reason) call them "grip crew" often.

    As for the chief complaint...
    Right now we're using some form of Altman strip (border) lights. Problem: HEIGHT of spread is not as great as we'd prefer.

    Here's the scenario for those who care to read this much; recently we put on a play and one of the set pieces was a big window (probably about 6' x 8') placed upstage. There was no glass, just empty space where there normally would be glass. The design concept was, light the cyc to represent the daylight (/time of day) outside. Well, none of our Altman strips' washes traveled far enough UP the cyc, so we ended up having to put PARs on the floor behind the window. We made it work, but it didn't really give us the look we were hoping for.

    (also, yes, we did use diffusion gels)

    So we're trying to make sure problems like this cease to occur.


    And Thank You all for your recommendations. Please keep 'em coming. I'll take any help I can get.


    ***Also, now my teacher/boss is saying strip/borderlights are OK... couldn't even remember telling me that they weren't.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  6. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    1,304
    Likes Received:
    151
    Location:
    Southern California
    That's really too bad as I'm going to be getting rid of eight ancient R-40 strips sometime in the near future.:twisted:

    Despite the fact that I'm in my twentieth year in this industry and about to start my tenth year as ME of the Pageant, I'm still learning too.:lol: That seems to be one of the never ending facts of life. If we want to retain our status as knowledgeable and competent in whatever field we pursue, we have to keep learning.

    Just a little something to think about as you move forward in your career.;)
     
  7. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    4,412
    Likes Received:
    827
    Occupation:
    Projectionist
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    To me it sounds that your cyc electric is close to the cyc itself. When you were having difficulty lighting the top of the cyc, no strip light will be able to help you with that, their beam spread is not intended for such a tight proximity, even with silk and diffusion. Your best coverage will be a combination of cyc lights and a ground row (if you can mask their location).

    While I love some Selecon fixtures, I have issues with their cyc fixtures. I hate that you have to take apart any fixture depending on where you decide to hang it. Once they are properly configured, they seem to do the job well. I like some of the other fixtures, like the Altmans that Derek pointed out.

    There are many benefits to strip lights as well, but make sure that they are the right light for the job.
     
  8. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,416
    Likes Received:
    577
    Occupation:
    Screw gun for hire
    Location:
    Chicago
    As has been said, if your lights are really close to the cyc, no amount of spread will help, they won't travel.

    I"m still trying to understand, were these strip lights on the stage floor, or were they hung from an electric?
     
  9. propmonkey

    propmonkey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Beloit/Milwaukee, WI
    thats what we always referred to them as in high school. i dont see anything wrong with it. i think it comes from the film industry.

    just think like soda, pop, coke, etc all mean the same thing but usually regionally specific
     
  10. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    4
    Stage floor. We have no fly system of any kind in our black box.
     
  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    In that case, you cannot rule out striplights, but you want an asymetric reflector striplight, sometimes called a T-3 strip. I forget which manufacturer calls theirs the CycStrip™. As I said, I like the Ianiro Orion the best, but the Altman EconoCyc is a good substitute, and reasonably priced. These are individual fixtures, which have a provision to attach to each other to form a striplight.
    [​IMG]
    Don't lamp them greater than 500W, (use more fixtures if you need more intensity) or you'll have issues with them burning gel. For best coverage, each "cell" (color) needs to be spaced linearly an equal distance as that from fixture to cyc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    The phenomenon shown in this picture from the R-40 strips is known as "scalloping," and the only way to prevent it is to move the fixtures farther away and/or use Cyc Diffusion/Cyc Silk. A 2' high scenic groundrow, as wide as the stage, would have also helped not only to mask the instruments, but also the bottom 2' of the cyc, where the color fringing is at its worst. LED striplights (Selador, ColorBlaze, Pixelines) would have worked also.:) R-40 lamps USED to come in 150W/300W Spot/Flood. Starting in the late 1980s, all I could get was the 120W ER40 Watt-Mizer™. Not sure what is available today, but the "energy conservation" nuts have essentially killed what used to be a pretty good theatrical fixture.
    [​IMG]

    Some theatres are built with a 2' deep by 3' wide cyc trough just downstage of the cyc to mask the fixtures and allow for more throw distance and better blending. (Probably not the best idea to start digging up your black box.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  13. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,677
    Likes Received:
    341
    Location:
    NJ & NYC
    L&E Runts. Great little fixtures, lampable to 750 watts, but you shouldn't push 'em over 500 watts with that proximity to the cyc. If you could put them just a foot more away from the cyc you could probably get somewhere. Available in 1, 2, 3, and 4 cell units.
     
  14. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,078
    Likes Received:
    687
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    Derek brings up a very valid point. If you have no fly system then you can't rule out strips lights. As has been said though, there are many types of strip lights. What you want is cyc lights with an asymmetric or "J" type reflector. These will give you the spread you are looking for. I have also found that you can't effectively evenly wash a cyc when you light it only from the top or only from the bottom. This can be seen in the photo derek posted above.

    I am a big fan of the L&E Broad Cyc Which can be purchased as single cells, pairs, triples, and stacked quad. For a ground row you could get a bunch of single units, connect them together (all have hardware to attach to the next unit in the line) and there is a ground row. As you work in a black box you probably would want to use the triple bar or strip for top lighting the cyc.

    The other good option is the Altman GC-6-3. This is a 6 window, 3 circuit cyc light that was originally intended to be a ground unit but can also be hung. We own a bunch of these at my theatre and they get used a lot.

    Here is another thing to keep in mind when you are working with cyc lights. The distance from the cyc to to where the lights are should equal the distance between the centers of the units. So, if you are hanging the lights 5' from the cyc then the center of each unit should be hung 5' from the center of the previous unit. However, if you can afford to get enough units to just hang them next to eachother across the drop that is very effective.
     
  15. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    4
    Yeah, that particular show (about two years ago) was far from our best Technically or Dramatically. But that "scalloping" worked well enough for it. It was the other two pics [in this post] which featured the troublesome set, though I don't know quite how well you can see the cyc lighting in either.

    Again, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the knowledge you (and everyone else) are sharing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2008
  16. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,416
    Likes Received:
    577
    Occupation:
    Screw gun for hire
    Location:
    Chicago
    The team is right, if you are using them as a ground row, you pretty much are stuck with strip lights - and thats ok.

    Really don't have much to add to the topic - other than if you are stuck with R40's you might want to try increasing the distance between cyc and light, and using diffusion silks - (R104-clear, R124-red, R125-blue, R126-green, R127-amber). They work pretty well in PAR's as well.

    Derek, while the 300 watt R40 might be dead, its cousin, the 300 watt BR 40 lives. It's shape is supposed to be more efficient.
    300BR/FL [21213] - $16.70 : Light Bulbs at Bulbman.
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,780
    Likes Received:
    2,847
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    I use L&E Broadcycs in my theater and I'm quite happy. I love the ability to connect them together to build strips or not. Just get a set of floor trunnions and your hanging lights are floor lights. L&E make great products and they price them very competitively.

    Don't overlook the advice above to stick with more lights of a lower wattage. Also have to agree with the advice about GOOD strips as a solid option.

    As much as I love the Selador X7's your situation just isn't ok for LED's. At this point to get enough coverage from even the brightest LED lights you need a top and bottom row with lights placed along at least 60% of the drop... so you are talking a LOT of money and you need a way to hang them. That may change very soon as we move up to 5 watt or higher LED's but for now the reality doesn't work for you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  18. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,119
    Likes Received:
    906
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Only issue I have with Altman Econo-Cyc's is they can not be configured (correct me if this in error) to allow feed through wiring. You end up with a lot of deck wiring as a result.

    The L&E version - ECHO cyc lights are more money, but allow feed thru, which can save on labor.

    As to terminoligy:

    A Grip is a film term, and has a few variations:

    - Camera Grip, pulls the camera dollies around
    - Rigging Grip, rigs the overhead equipment for any scenic elements, or scaffolding, towers, etc. Not to be confused with the Rigging Gaffers (electricians) who usually only rig positions related to electrics. Sometimes the Rigging Grips will rig lighting positions as well.
    - Grips. Everyone else, moves scenery, loads trucks (or hands stuff to Teamsters)

    WiKi has a decent explanation, Grip (job - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) though my understanding is that there is now a specialty of Rigging Gaffers, who are specific for rigging overhead lighting positions. NY and Hollywood have different IA locals and the titles and job descriptions vary somewhat.

    Stage Crew - Everybody in theater, Electricians, Props, Carpenter and Riggers, Costumes, Sound.

    Steve B.
     
  19. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Single cell cyc lights DO require a lot of twofers and cables, especially when using 4x 500W units per circuit. I'm curious as to how this feed-thru works, as the side plates appear to be solid. I've always thought fixtures like this with both a male and female connector, allowing one to "daisy chain" units, would be a good idea.
    [​IMG]

    BTW, for those budget-challenged individuals, fixtures such as these, available for around $10 at most hardware stores, are pretty good substitutes, but one must be inventive when improvising a mounting bracket and color frame. I wouldn't want to light a full stage cyc with them, but for that little patch of sky outside the window, or to light a backing flat, I've found them handy. (Follow all electrical and fire safety precautions when using an outdoor fixture indoors, and when using any fixture for other than its intended purpose.)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  20. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    4
    I'm not sure who's a forum mod, but in the future if you move a topic of mine, please send me a PM letting me know. My internet's got some issues so I was getting a bit concerned before I looked in the lighting section.

    Perhaps the connectors for the feed-thru are at the back of the fixture?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice