ETC S4WRD Color?

JChenault

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seattle, wa USA
does anyone know if the “blue” emitter is blue or indigo? Or if there is a blue option as in ColorSource fixtures?
 
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STEVETERRY

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New York
I have a possibly unpopular opinion but at some point in the next ~5 years I think it has to be OK to forfeit the old reflector assemblies and bodies. ETC, representing a global market with millions of units out there obviously needs to diversify their offerings and take care of existing customers without tossing a bunch of metalwork and optics into the scrap bin, but I was thinking the other day that the Colorsource Spot Jr might be one of the few recent fixtures that ETC has made that didn't come with a laundry list of legacy dependencies, such as must be compatible with x from 5 years ago, y from 15 years ago, and z from 30 years ago and the engine needs a form factor so you can tilt the fixture past 50/50 to get connectors around the yoke without having to unplug anything.

Seems like by not shouldering the burden of legacy fixture designs from years past, the CS Spot Jr, aside from not being able to zoom down to 19° is a pretty bangin' fixture for the cost while also being nice and lightweight.

Even Series 2 feels a lot like the evolution of a DSLR camera system to me -- heavy, with a lot of slightly different configurations (not to mention console personalities), and in 2020 made largely irrelevant by smartphones. Not saying there isn't a market for that because there is, but it might be refreshing to let go of legacy form factors and in the case of 4WRD, let go of life support accessories that are a still a hefty investment just to eek a few more years of juice out of before that paradigm of fixture designs is swallowed up entirely by more evolution in the marketplace.

And yes, I'm one of those people who - while reluctant at first - hasn't minded losing my headphone jack and I don't miss it in the least. Please go easy on me with the forthcoming voodoo dolls in my likeness.
Good feedback, Mike. It lines up with our thinking on the CS Spot Jr.

ST
 

STEVETERRY

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New York
So from pictures I have seen. The color array looks to be smaller than the white array from the original. Can you speak on why the white post didn’t go away completely or shrunk considerably in order to fit in double the array or possibly add a ring of lime to get you that 5 “secret” weapon. Also how is the array lined up out of curiosity. Is it RBGA down the line or a single color per side hard to tell from the video. I can assume doubling the array would draw more heat I feel that the heatsink would be capable of still dissipating the extra.
The dimensions of the array are tightly constrained by the prescription of the reflector, which was designed precisely for the HPL filament. Making the array even 1mm bigger would have a large negative effect on lumen output. Therefore, "doubling the array" is not possible purely from an optical point of view. Each of the four sides of the array contains four rows of R, G, B, and A. Symmetry is required for excellent color mixing. As far as power dissipation, the heatsink (or "fin stack") is not the limiting factor--it's the ability of the heatpipe to move the heat to the fin stack under a very wide range of conditions and physical orientations.

I can tell you that the engineering in this device is some of the most advanced work ever done at ETC across a wide range of disciplines--led by the legendary Dave Cunningham. Four years ago, it seemed unlikely that this color version of S4WRD could ever happen. But if I've learned one thing in my time at ETC, it's never to bet against Cunningham in doing the impossible. :)

ST
 
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rsmentele

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I do not at all intend to dismiss all of the time, effort and engineering that went into this product. I think it is actually a wonderful idea and it certainly is a good product for a lot of customers that dont quite have the money for full LED fixtures, but would like the flexibility that the color mixing and energy savings provides.
I agree with MNicolai on the nature of the product itself. It serves a dying customer/product space. I think the biggest flaw with the product is its reliance on the inefficient optical system of a Source Four compared to current options.
The optics were great for what they were designed for and the technology available at the time, but by todays standards, they are quite inefficient. Even ETC suggests using the EDLT lens tubes to increase output of their LED fixtures. Even with that change, the optics could still be improved.
Again, I don't want to degrade any work done by a very large team of people, all of them much more intelligent than myself. Think of it as trying to put a hybrid engine in an 1990 Cadallac Deville. It'll work, but not as well as a new Prius.
 
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STEVETERRY

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Location
New York
Not surprisingly, it's much dimmer than I think most venues might hope for. 4880 lumens at full. Obviously, when in saturated colors it will be ok vs 575, but most folks are using 750's these days it seems. But, the design required for this device doesn't leave much room for a bright array so i'm sure it's about as much as they could do at this point. It will certainly allow more facilities to get into the technology at least due to price point and existing inventory of S4 bodies and lenses.

View attachment 20731
"Most folks are using 750's." This is a very common misconception about which HPL lamps are the most popular. Ranked from most volume in the market to least volume, they are:

1. 575X long life 2000 hr (by a very wide margin--many multiples of the other types)
2. 575 300 hr
3. 750 300 hr

This goes to "What is bright enough?" For comparison, a 26 degree S4 with each of those lamp types:

575X 7,666 field lumens
575 11,226 field lumens
750 13,390 field lumens

So, starting with the 575X used by the vast majority of S4 owners and then looking at where that gets knocked down to by gel in saturated colors, the S4WRD photometrics clearly place it in a brightness range that is going to be very usable for a great many users.

Just sayin'.

ST
 
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techieman33

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Location
topeka, ks
I do not at all intend to dismiss all of the time, effort and engineering that went into this product. I think it is actually a wonderful idea and it certainly is a good product for a lot of customers that dont quite have the money for full LED fixtures, but would like the flexibility that the color mixing and energy savings provides.
I agree with MNicolai on the nature of the product itself. It serves a dying customer/product space. I think the biggest flaw with the product is its reliance on the inefficient optical system of a Source Four compared to current options.
The optics were great for what they were designed for and the technology available at the time, but by todays standards, they are quite inefficient. Even ETC suggests using the EDLT lens tubes to increase output of their LED fixtures. Even with that change, the optics could still be improved.
Again, I don't want to degrade any work done by a very large team of people, all of them much more intelligent than myself. Think of it as tying to put a hybrid engine in an 1990 Cadallac Deville. It'll work, but not as well as a new Prius.
I look at it more like a PC than a car. It’s a modular system. Sometimes you need a whole new one, and others you can get away with adding or replacing one or even a few parts of it. It’s up to each of us and our varying uses cases to balance out what we want vs what we can afford. It‘s not the answer for everyone, but it will be for some. Nothing wrong with having another option to choose from, especially when it hits an underserved price point.
 

techieman33

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Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Location
topeka, ks
"Most folks are using 750's." This is a very common misconception about which HPL lamps are the most popular. Ranked from most volume in the market to least volume, they are:

1. 575X long life 2000 hr (by a very wide margin--many multiples of the other types)
2. 575 300 hr
3. 750 300 hr

This goes to "What is bright enough?" For comparison, a 26 degree S4 with each of those lamp types:

575X 7,666 field lumens
575 11,226 field lumens
750 13,390 field lumens

So, starting with the 575X used by the vast majority of S4 owners and then looking at where that gets knocked down to by gel in saturated colors, the S4WRD photometrics clearly place it in a brightness range that is going to be very usable for a great many users.

Just sayin'.

ST
I think that view of things makes more sense with the white only unit. I would think the spread looks a lot different when you remove all the ones being used in architectural settings that will never see a piece of gel, and maybe never even move after it’s initial focus.
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
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May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
The dimensions of the array are tightly constrained by the prescription of the reflector, which was designed precisely for the HPL filament. Making the array even 1mm bigger would have a large negative effect on lumen output. Therefore, "doubling the array" is not possible purely from an optical point of view. Each of the four sides of the array contains four rows of R, G, B, and A. Symmetry is required for excellent color mixing. As far as power dissipation, the heatsink (or "fin stack") is not the limiting factor--it's the ability of the heatpipe to move the heat to the fin stack under a very wide range of conditions and physical orientations.

I can tell you that the engineering in this device is some of the most advanced work ever done at ETC across a wide range of disciplines--led by the legendary Dave Cunningham. Four years ago, it seemed unlikely that this color version of S4WRD could ever happen. But if I've learned one thing in my time at ETC, it's never to bet against Cunningham in doing the impossible. :)

ST
well I think you answered the Color V2 design improvements. A reflector that can still fit into the original housing that is big enough to allow 2 sets of arrays for more output.

I also think a round post with vertical lines of color would net more LEDs instead of a square. But I’m sure that’s in RnD still trying to figure out the logistics of wrapping hard material and the emitters not popping a corner from heat. Speculation.
 
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MNicolai

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I think that view of things makes more sense with the white only unit. I would think the spread looks a lot different when you remove all the ones being used in architectural settings that will never see a piece of gel, and maybe never even move after it’s initial focus.
There's also themed attractions, museums (natural history more than art museums in this case), clubs, cruise ships, churches, cafetoriums, etc. Lot of different applications/markets to consider where fixtures may not run at 100% and may almost never run at white. If you're retrofitting 100 fixtures you can also always do 40 in 4WRD II and 60 in Color, or leave your 750's as-is but do Color's in your high side/effects/boom lighting.

The other layer of complexity here is that once you get away from the white spectrum and get into medium saturated colors, human perception of brightness is not linear so mid/deep colors may still pop even if white doesn't seem as punchy.

I'd still say it's of questionable value if you have 100 fixtures to spend $60k upgrading so you can defer an eventual upgrade of $100-150k a few years later and I wouldn't think of this fixture as a good solution for those venues looking for a temporary bridge, but in an appropriate application these can serve as a permanent solution without an intention to be a bridge to another later upgrade. Unfortunately I think the capital "T" Theatre community is probably not served as well by this option as the other applications are because they often run at 100% and if they can get by on their current fixtures a little longer, the prices for modern LED solutions like a Colorsource Spot Jr v2 will bridge the gap between price and punch. Right now I'm not sure if the extra 500 or so lumens at 3200k is worth jumping 4WRD Color to CS Spot Jr, but wait for the next generation and it's probably worth getting a brand new fixture rather than propping up existing ones. If you have 10 fixtures in a cafetorium or 3000 fixtures in themed attractions though, by all means Color is a good way to kill off those HPL lamps...if they haven't done that already.
 
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theatricalmatt

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New England
Funny -- I'd lean the other way. I know a few dozen small theaters or school auditoriums that each might have just a few dozen Source Fours. Switching to 4Wrds (CWrds?) means less maintenance cost in lamp replacement, less energy use in dimmers, and better experience for the end user, since the same plot now gives them color choices built in. The investment to switch to Lustrs would be huge; but a cupcake or T-shirt fundraiser each year would yield enough to switch over, say, four at a time. If they were dealing with a hundred fixtures, it'd be ridiculous to upgrade that way, but their small inventories means they could actually upgrade their entire stock in four or five years if they keep at it.

It also means they won't end up with a room full of unused fixtures or shelves of unused bodies ... just a milk crate full of unused lamp caps. And some stage pin cable. And their IT guys will wonder where all the CAT-5 cable went to. ... I digress.

But, really, for a community theater with a modest inventory and modest budget, but Broadway dreams, it looks like a good deal.
 

gafftaper

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Funny -- I'd lean the other way. I know a few dozen small theaters or school auditoriums that each might have just a few dozen Source Fours. Switching to 4Wrds (CWrds?) means less maintenance cost in lamp replacement, less energy use in dimmers, and better experience for the end user, since the same plot now gives them color choices built in. The investment to switch to Lustrs would be huge; but a cupcake or T-shirt fundraiser each year would yield enough to switch over, say, four at a time. If they were dealing with a hundred fixtures, it'd be ridiculous to upgrade that way, but their small inventories means they could actually upgrade their entire stock in four or five years if they keep at it.

It also means they won't end up with a room full of unused fixtures or shelves of unused bodies ... just a milk crate full of unused lamp caps. And some stage pin cable. And their IT guys will wonder where all the CAT-5 cable went to. ... I digress.

But, really, for a community theater with a modest inventory and modest budget, but Broadway dreams, it looks like a good deal.
Yeah I was just talking about these with a friend who has a small budget. We had the same conversation about doing this one bake sale at a time. I pointed out that the beauty of that is this is an ETC product and you know it'll be available for at least three or four years... Longer if it's highly successful... and it'll be of the same consistent quality over time. So making a three year fundraising plan to buy a few each year is a great strategy.
 

Lextech

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Dec 2, 2013
Location
Virginia
"Most folks are using 750's." This is a very common misconception about which HPL lamps are the most popular. Ranked from most volume in the market to least volume, they are:

1. 575X long life 2000 hr (by a very wide margin--many multiples of the other types)
2. 575 300 hr
3. 750 300 hr
I think that view of things makes more sense with the white only unit. I would think the spread looks a lot different when you remove all the ones being used in architectural settings that will never see a piece of gel, and maybe never even move after it’s initial focus.
I have been using S4 lights in my university theaters, IATSE road houses, convention centers and high schools. The only time I have seen a 750 is when I arrived here and they were in specials. That quickly changed, as did the idea that if someone painted 19 on a body it had to have a 19º barrel. Everywhere I have worked has used 575w long life lamps. Saves so much in time and money that people can't justify 750's. And if a rider comes in that has S4s must be 750w, well I have a pen to fix that.
 

tdrga

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Location
Central TX
Everywhere I have worked has used 575w long life lamps. Saves so much in time and money that people can't justify 750's.
My experience has been the opposite - 750 is the standard in the theatres I work in. In my former job (thanks Covid!) there was a ill-planned switch from the 750 regular life to the 750 long life lamps for a couple of years, during which we found a great loss in perceived brightness and little savings in lamp costs, as the 750X lamps seemed to be more fragile and blew at the same rate as the regular 750 lamps.

As far as cost difference between the 575X and 750 - you pay ~$3 more (about 20%) per lamp for about twice the brightness, sounds like a good deal to me.

For the convention/events market, 575 seems to be more prevalent due to the companies standardizing to the lowest common denominator and dealing with power limitations in the party venues.

-Todd
 

Lextech

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If you need the brightnes, then it makes sense to use 750s. For most of the shows I am been involved in that are theater and dance, I'll take rock and roll shows out, they like bright, I hardly ever see lights on full. In my concert hall the front lights normally run at 40%. I would rather have 2000 hours on a lamp then 300, if I have enough output. As the person responsible for the budget the fact that the lights last six times as long trumps brightness. This is why I love the idea of LED, 50,000 hours, color changing so no gel, no replacement lamps and energy savings from both heat, draw and the need for less fixtures. Going back to the original topic, I look forward to a demo of the S4WRD color. I have well over 160 S4s between three spaces so we will see.
 

RickR

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Location
Spokane, WA the great "Inland Northwest"
On the cost front: the major cost of relamping is labor.
How long does it take you to;
  • get to the fixture,
  • diagnose the fixture,
  • retrieve the new lamp,
  • replace and test the repair.
If $3 is a significant share of that you are essentially a volunteer or have an exceptionally easy space.
@Lextech almost says, you can buy and run a 2nd fixture for about the same cost. I haven't done the studies to prove it (with S4), but I've done enough power studies to recognize it's likely.
 

macsound

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Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
On the cost front: the major cost of relamping is labor.
How long does it take you to;
  • get to the fixture,
  • diagnose the fixture,
  • retrieve the new lamp,
  • replace and test the repair.
If $3 is a significant share of that you are essentially a volunteer or have an exceptionally easy space.
@Lextech almost says, you can buy and run a 2nd fixture for about the same cost. I haven't done the studies to prove it (with S4), but I've done enough power studies to recognize it's likely.
But most venues, by nature of how they operate, have downtime built in. Maybe touring houses or union only places don't have staff that work in the building 40 hours a week, but most churches, schools and non-touring theatres have some sort of staff who's always there.
I think this is also why the Source 4WRD is such a great replacement for these type of venues.
If the manager has a budget for lamps, there's nothing stopping them from converting a few fixtures at a time using that same budget.
 

MNicolai

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But most venues, by nature of how they operate, have downtime built in. Maybe touring houses or union only places don't have staff that work in the building 40 hours a week, but most churches, schools and non-touring theatres have some sort of staff
The X factor here in terms of market share of 575X versus 750 is that most venues are schools. The number of professional theaters in the world is dwarfed to the tune of several orders of magnitude by the number of K12 theaters and cafetoriums who do not have labor budgets or staff to relamp those fixtures. Even a Universal Studios or Disney with almost unlimited resources is going to prioritize their inventory based on streamlining or reducing labor.

Most of the schools I've encountered ran 575X. Lamp life aside, there were considerations for matching across a combination of Jr's and Sr's and rooms that had limited power also preferred having more fixtures at lower intensity versus being forced to max out at a lower number of fixtures at 750.
 

tdrga

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Location
Central TX
The X factor here in terms of market share of 575X versus 750 is that most venues are schools. The number of professional theaters in the world is dwarfed to the tune of several orders of magnitude by the number of K12 theaters and cafetoriums who do not have labor budgets or staff to relamp those fixtures. Even a Universal Studios or Disney with almost unlimited resources is going to prioritize their inventory based on streamlining or reducing labor.
I am sure that the folks at ETC know their market and are offering this product where it has the most potential- as a replacement/enhancement for venues that are running the 575w incandescent fixtures. For the professional venues (like my former venue) where an incandescent 575 would not cut it, the S4WRD Color isn't the best option for a retrofit. It's still looks to be a great product and will probably sell like hotcakes.
-Todd
 

STEVETERRY

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Aug 12, 2007
Location
New York
I am sure that the folks at ETC know their market and are offering this product where it has the most potential- as a replacement/enhancement for venues that are running the 575w incandescent fixtures. For the professional venues (like my former venue) where an incandescent 575 would not cut it, the S4WRD Color isn't the best option for a retrofit. It's still looks to be a great product and will probably sell like hotcakes.
-Todd
My friends in the UK have a great saying that applies here:

"Horses for courses"

ST