European -> American Fixture

SamSam

Member
Hey Team,

Working on a large production from Germany coming through our space. Having a great time working with their LD. However, I'm stuck on one type of fixture that is getting lost in translation both literal and figurative. It started as a " Neidervolt, similar to a single lamp from a Svboda". It arrived on the plot as a "Beam Light 250w 24v". Anyone have any insight on what these fixtures could be?? I am currently planning on offering Birdies, or Pin-Spots..

Thanks
 

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
Sounds like a headlight.

 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Sounds like a 500w Par36 if it's supposed to be like a car lamp.
but a quick look for Neidervolt comes up with a bi-pin 24v 250watt lamp that looks like it might be in a Ray light... Maybe its an ACL equivalent?
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
The term literally means low voltage. I would suspect a pin spot would be a decent enough approximation, just depends on what kind of throw its supposed to have. I'd agree with Van that its basically a 250w Beam Projector type fixture.

Lighting and Sound America in this article, specifically refers to neidervolts ( ‘niedervolt- parabolspiegelscheinwerfer manufactured by Reiche & Vogel)
in relation to beam lights. http://www.theatrecrafts.com/archive/documents/lsi_2015july_beamlight.pdf

Edit, here's an image of one of the 250w versions from a Reiche and Vogel Catalog
and a bunch of other examples http://www.revolux.com/PDF Dateien/Gesamtkatalog Juni 2004.pdf
Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 2.39.18 PM.png
 
Last edited:

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
American beam projector comes closest. Probably could substitute ACL or VNSP PAR.
Beam Projectors as the four used as high angle cross light follow spots on all full bore productions of Les Miz; three real follow spots out front, one in a rear booth on the centre line, one high atop a scaffold in an FOH box position on either side and four beam projectors, two per side at operating rail level back stage, one on either side behind the 1st pair of legs and another pair, one per side, further up stage between approximately legs 3 and 4.

1990 was three decades ago, please forgive my lack of more precise details.
The four R and V beam projectors each had a manually operated Variac beside them and were faded in and out to specific levels by their operators.
Small, self-adhesive, rubber bumpers were used to permit operators to fade to specific levels by touch without taking their eyes off their performers, the operators were already operating with VERY soft edges, keeping their eyes on their targets required concentration, especially when one of two operators were essentially the only light on some of the performers for much of each performance.
I'll crawl back in my cave.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
It's called 'Niedervolt', not 'Neidervolt'. 'Nieder' means 'low' in German, whereas 'Neider' means 'envier'. So you where asking for an 'envier voltage' unit ;)

A 'Niedervolt-Scheinwerfer' generally contains a transformer to transform the 230 volt input to the 24 volt that is feed to the lamp. They generally use a parabolic reflector and can produce very narrow beams. Dimming tends to be a little bit slow with these units.

Even in Europe this is considered an outdated type of fixture. Somme theaters still use them because they have them in their inventory, but they would probably not invest in new units of that type. Maybe your light-designer is a traditionalist. :)

Ass a replacement, anything that can produce a very narrow beam will work.
 

SamSam

Member
@josh88 @pyrotechnician Thank you for this great insight. You guys are spot on, no pun-intended. This is supposed to be a 'faithful, no substitutions' remount of a German Ballet from the 1970's. It will of course be updated out of necessity, however all best efforts are being made.

Thanks All
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Hey Team,

Working on a large production from Germany coming through our space. Having a great time working with their LD. However, I'm stuck on one type of fixture that is getting lost in translation both literal and figurative. It started as a " Neidervolt, similar to a single lamp from a Svboda". It arrived on the plot as a "Beam Light 250w 24v". Anyone have any insight on what these fixtures could be?? I am currently planning on offering Birdies, or Pin-Spots..

Thanks

I recall that it was likely this fixture used as the high side follow spots for the original Cats, as specified by David Hersey. There was nothing comparable in the US and the Cats fixtures were 24v.

I'm surprised actually that the Euro LD is not researching what fixtures to substitute. We always had a dialog (easy now with e-mail) with any overseas visiting designer as to what gear was in house and how we thought that compared to what they were used to. No doubt the US gear is different than a lot of what the Europeans might be using, especially if they regularly perform in a rep house. But generally, there's been a lot of US centric equipment in use in the Euro market where ETC gear has been widely accepted.

Agree with Derek that in this particular case a VNSP Par is the likely substitute and I would then recommend to the lD that they get a S4 Par and try it. Otherwise there's going to be an issue as there isn't really a US equivalent. I did once rent a lot of Altman beam projectors for this exact type of scenario. The Euro LD was very disappointed in the output and we substituted to VNSP PAR 64's.
 

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
You could try an ACL, but you'll have to do some work to light up a single can.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
It's called 'Niedervolt', not 'Neidervolt'. 'Nieder' means 'low' in German, whereas 'Neider' means 'envier'. So you where asking for an 'envier voltage' unit ;)

A 'Niedervolt-Scheinwerfer' generally contains a transformer to transform the 230 volt input to the 24 volts that is fed to the lamp. They generally use a parabolic reflector and can produce very narrow beams. Dimming tends to be a little bit slow with these units.

Even in Europe this is considered an outdated type of fixture. Some theaters still use them because they have them in their inventory, but they would probably not invest in new units of that type. Maybe your light-designer is a traditionalist. :)

As a replacement, anything that can produce a very narrow beam will work.
@pyrotechnician and @SamSam This would make sense in terms of the 1990 full bore productions of Les Miz.
The R & V beam projectors included an outboard accessory transformer with multiple primary taps, or dual primaries, to accept powering from 120 or 240 volts; either via a tapped primary or dual primaries to be connected in series or parallel.

(Again, three decades ago, my memories are more than a little clouded; my time with 'Miz I was parachuted in for six weeks when IA 58's operator injured his back after an evening performance.)
I arrived home from vacation to find a voice mail on my old-fangled dual cassette answering machine asking for a call back ASAP if I could make myself available for an unspecified period of time 'til IA 58's Jim Brett returned from hospital.
I'd worked with Jim for years in Stratford while Jim was at the Avon and I was in the Festival Theatre main stage.

Jim's a good guy, the money was GREAT, no rehearsals, 8 performances per week; how could I say no?
When 'Miz ended, Jim and I both toured with Mirvish's British / Canadian co-pro of 'Buddy Holly The Musical' all the way to Broadway's Shubert.

For six weeks, I sat behind a Strand Pro-Palette on one of the SL intermediate floors next to the turntable operator with the two SL R&V beams mere feet in front of me. The R&V spot op' on the SL side was a member of IA 129, my Hamilton, Ontario home local.
With IA 129's Jim Langham in front of me, as well as serving as my ride to and fro' Toronto for six weeks, I learned much about the R&V Beam Projectors while having ZERO to do with their installation and / or setup.
Bottom Line: I remember a lot about the R&V's but had nothing whatsoever to do with them other than supplying their raw, non-dimmed, power.
Forgive me for not being 120% up to speed on their exact details.

In either case, the secondary provided (from memory 24 VAC) a reduced voltage to power the specified incandescent lamp.
Dimming response would be understandably sluggish due to thermal inertia in the comparatively short, coarse, low voltage filament; sluggish but considerably more resistant to failure due to mechanical / handling vibrations.
In North America, 120 volt Variacs were used to power the transformer's primary(s).
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
I have four of these out of inventory and too many spare lamps. Problem in touring them is lack of support of the ballast in needing major re-supporting of the ballast. Something to open up and check before using. If Euro, a transformer if re-tapping for US power to look into very possible.

PM if problem or re-sourcing or working on - been a few years but I did the work on our four and can pull one down from my storage to look at. Beam projector... everything old comes back some years later, just after the purge.
 
Hey Team,

Working on a large production from Germany coming through our space. Having a great time working with their LD. However, I'm stuck on one type of fixture that is getting lost in translation both literal and figurative. It started as a " Neidervolt, similar to a single lamp from a Svboda". It arrived on the plot as a "Beam Light 250w 24v". Anyone have any insight on what these fixtures could be?? I am currently planning on offering Birdies, or Pin-Spots..

Thanks
I’m betting it’s an ACL Aircraft Landing Light
A par 64 lamp actually 28 volt
In the us they are or were most commonly on a 4 lamp bar and wired in series to use standard 120 volt dimmer outputs. In Europe it would need 8 in series or a transformer for individual use here or Europe.
There are some dimming systems that allow you to limit the output voltage of any particular dimmer. If you have newer dimming system it’s worth checking to see yours can do it. Those kind of settings will not show up on the console but are buried deep in the endless menus of the dimmer itself. Be sure to check it with a 120 volt fixture a few times and mesure the actual output voltage with a 120 fixture connected.
If it does not have this feature and it’s just a single light your going to need a transformer and not like the tiny thing in a par36 pin spot.
If you have a variable auto transformer often called variac of the apropate wattage that would work, could be fed from your conventional dimming, however it will be noisy compared to plugging it into the wall. It will also run a bit hotter due to the chopped up AC dimmers put out.
Dig around these were used to dim incandescent follow spots and are in use everyday in film lighting to dim just that one dam light or for effect
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I’m betting it’s an ACL Aircraft Landing Light
A par 64 lamp actually 28 volt
In the us they are or were most commonly on a 4 lamp bar and wired in series to use standard 120 volt dimmer outputs. In Europe it would need 8 in series or a transformer for individual use here or Europe.
There are some dimming systems that allow you to limit the output voltage of any particular dimmer. If you have newer dimming system it’s worth checking to see yours can do it. Those kind of settings will not show up on the console but are buried deep in the endless menus of the dimmer itself. Be sure to check it with a 120 volt fixture a few times and measure the actual output voltage with a 120 fixture connected.
If it does not have this feature and it’s just a single light your going to need a transformer and not like the tiny thing in a PAR36 pin spot.
If you have a variable auto transformer often called variac of the appropriate wattage that would work, could be fed from your conventional dimming, however it will be noisy compared to plugging it into the wall. It will also run a bit hotter due to the chopped up AC dimmers put out.
Dig around these were used to dim incandescent follow spots and are in use everyday in film lighting to dim just that one dam light or for effect
I KNOW I'm going to regret opening this can of worms.
When you posted: "There are some dimming systems that allow you to limit the output voltage of any particular dimmer. If you have a newer dimming system it’s worth checking to see if yours can do it. Those kind of settings will not show up on the console but are buried deep in the endless menus of the dimmer itself. Be sure to check it with a 120 volt fixture a few times and measure the actual output voltage with a 120 fixture connected."


The lighting equipment rental shop supplying the ~400+ dimmers for the Who's Rock Opera Tommy in Offenbach / Frankfurt am Meine, Germany tried exactly what you're suggesting.
His 240 volt dimmers dealt with his 240 volt filaments fairly well and included two or three curves suggested for Rock 'n Roll or Theatre.
His 240 volts dimmers were less than desirable when either of his 120 volt Rock 'n Roll or 120 volt Theatre curves were selected.

TRUE: You could begin with one of his trim pots adjusted to minimum, connect your 120 volt lamp, connect your true RMS meter, then SLOWLY trim his trimmer up 'til your RMS meter indicated 120 volts but Oh how those poor little filaments cried when being slapped senseless by his ABUSIVELY chopped wave forms. Whack! One slap in the face from one direction. A fraction of a second's relief. A slap in the face from the opposite direction; repeat and repeat adnauseum. The poor little 120 volt filaments died untimely deaths with scarcely any knowledge of what was really whacking them.
240 volts dialed down to 120 RMS was seriously difficult to survive.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

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