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Fixture Selection

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by wolf825, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Here's a general consensus question I am having a debate about-- Which do you think would be a better purchase option for a theater if you had to purchase 75 new leko's--a variable degree fixture, such as the Strand SL Zoom 15-35 degree fixture, or just go out and buy 75 Source 4 fixtures, each with 19, 26, 36 degree barrels?? I think the previous...a variable degree fixture. However I know folks who disagree strongly and think you should get different fixture degrees--mostly cause they are ETC and ETC is become the "standard" for theaters...but they cannot give me any other explanation. Why would this be better then a variable degree fixture--or does the variable degree fixture make more sense to you guys?? IMO, a variable degree fixture can be any of the above--and with teh money you would spend on 75 ETC S-4s AND 75 barrels of each flavor, you could get more than 75 SL's--and you could jump with that and add higher zoom fixtures such as the 26-50degree or next zoom up. Comparatively--the Strand SL zoom is lighter in weight and size vs the ETC which I use in my example--the big suck factor is the lamp housing which is a pain to change out.

    Looking forward to hearing the logic from others in either direction...I'm for the variable zoom fixture myself for cost, size and weight. Is there a real huge lumen difference between the GLC and the HPL (I know this question will titilate an answer from you Ship ;) ) Or is the S-4 the only way to go in Theater use? What are your views on which is the better buy in the long run of things?

    TIA...
    wolf
     
  2. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    Have you ruled out the Source Four Zoom? I don't know what its price is relative to the regular S4 units...
     
  3. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya, thanks for the reply. :)

    Well actually I ruled out the S-4 zoom because it is 34 lbs, and the Strand SL Zoom is about 10-12lbs lighter--a huge difference on arbors and in lead or steel bricks needed, or when hanging a side light package on a boom stand...plus the footprint of the S-4 zoom is twice that of a normal fixture--the barrel is huge and sticks out almost 3 feet, while the Strand SL zoom is the same size as a regular S-4. I'm not too concerned with the price difference...just in relative size and output. I wish ETC would make a zoom fixture the size of the Strand....

    -wolf
     
  4. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    I have palyed with a lot of the altman zooms and have never been happy with the optics or the intensity when using them with our collection of Kliegl 155x series and our Source-4s. The Altmans worked fine in a Black-Box setting, but just did not blend well with other lighst.

    I can feel your pain with the weight issue though. We are planning to change out our 8" Kliegl Fresnels for S-4 Parnels, we are just running out of weight room on the First Electric.
     
  5. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    When it came to Fresnels I was never a happy camper with what was out there--but I have to say the 8inch Strand Fresnels (The Fresnelite)--surprised me in a HUGE way. Not only are they bright and EVEN in field, they are actually light weight coming in around 16lbs. While I can't find any other fres that will be as bright as the kliegls, for coverage and even spread I was surprised. The 6" fresnelites are also a really good light--and IMO they rival the 8" fres. If you knew how much I loathed Strand gear--you would be surprised to hear ME saying that they are starting to make a decent durable fixture...

    We are also at that stage where our first electric is out of room for weight...which is why we are looking into lighter weight fixtures like the strand, and also "doubling" in wash ability with the use of scrollers in place of two systems of color. In an 8ft arbor--loaded completely with LEAD, you would think we would have enough to do the 2 color upstage washes, high side lights, gobo specials, C&QL spec's, and 3 color down wash with NO problem whatsoever :lol: We need something heavier than lead I guess... Of course, our dream is to cut down all our electrics, make the cable drops soco mult ends to the raceways--trimmed down to 20ft lengths for raceways that can then jumper together and sit on truss, and replace all our electrics pipes with portable system on 12x16 minibeam or other truss we can roll around while on stage, and hoist with 3 or 4 1-ton motors..so we can have electrics anywhere they are needed for special shows and never have to build a false electric on a pipe again cause our house electric is 4 feet downstage or upstage of what the designer wants--just shift the motor points....and never have weight be an issue again..plus with the minibeam we could also double-hang & do ladders. Ahh....


    wolf
     
  6. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    Three Feet?! Wow... Even the Source Four jr Zoom? Or are juniors unacceptable?
     
  7. seanb

    seanb Member

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    if you are replacing older lights, the source 4 jr zoom might give you enough "oomf" and still give you the flexibility with a zoom instead of variable lens barrels. Brand debate aside, go with the Strand. They are a consistant performer, and though not quite as common as the ETC still very widely used with plenty of accessories.
     
  8. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    Is a "leko" what I would know as a profile or pc?
     
  9. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Yup! "Leko" is our slang for an ellipsoidal or profile fixture as you know them...


    wolf
     
  10. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    Except PC, that's a pebble-convex (or plano-convex if you swing that way) fixture, similar to a fresnel but with a funkier reflector. We had four back in Australia; IIRC you get a beam that's more defined that a fresnel but not hard-edged like an ellipsoidal.
     
  11. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Strand does make a good fixture when they try. Their last generation before the SL series sucks and is dangerous but I have not tinkered with any of the SL series. From the old series I can say they are lighter but that’s because they are using thinner materials in making them up. Those thinner materials during unnatural circumstances will be much more prone to catastrophic failure than on a ETC or Altman fixture. Again I have not tinkered with the SL series much less the zoom. Reason for this is Strand is a bitch to get parts from and it’s always more expensive. I have a bunch of Bambino fixtures. Great lamp bases and in general, good lights, but hard to get parts to.

    I used to love working with a Zoom fixture as long as it’s not a architectural designed Colortran Mini Ellipse which was never designed for theater use or a true zoom. I worked with some older Altman Zooms and in spite of the extra weight, I did not note too much a difference in lost light. But it’s been a long time and I was not actively looking.

    Weight is a big thing. Changing lenses is cheap and fairly easy but still takes time. I would do a shoot out between fixtures at given ranges to tell what the Strand verses the ETC will do for you. Plus than abuse the fixture to see if it breaks easily. You know at least with the ETC fixture what’s going to break and it’s easy and fairly cheap to get parts for. The only fixture I do hate is the S-4 Junior. One of your lamps break and you have to completely disassemble the fixture to get it out, much less cleaning is a hassle with them screws to take it apart inside the barrel. I had to service some once, they were not fun.

    Think part of my chasing down rental gear was in finding something like 100 rented 19 degree lens trains from six different companies. Should you need extra lenses, everyone has them so it’s not something you have to invest too much into.

    Lamps, Philips makes the best GLC in balancing output to life, but the Osram has a higher color temperature. Neither is as bright in output as a HPL 575w lamp of the same wattage. That said and if Strand’s specs are right, the reflector and filament make up for this lower output in making the SL either more or the same in intensity. I don’t remember for sure what the catalog or reviews say about this line, and nothing about the zoom. Pop a HPR 575/115 lamp into the Strand fixture and I would assume it’s going to be much more powerful than a ETC fixture. Again I have not looked at the Zoom to see if it’s going to loose efficiency or if the improved lamp will fit. I know a FLK lamp while similar does not have a compact enough filament to work in the SL line. For theater use, I would be going with long life lamps anyway such as the GLA. Philips makes the best GLA lamp and it is more powerful than the long life HPL lamp in intensity and color temperature. Darn good lamp, only slightly less intense as a high output one.

    Also I don’t know if you can put the new range of 750w lamp into the Strand zoom. I would given Altman Zooms were rated for 1Kw lamps and the Shakspere was always rated for a 750w lamp unlike with ETC, I would assume you can at least put a 750w lamp into the SL series. That’s the GLD/GLE range. Again it’s the same story with the high output lamp being lower in output but the long life lamp being better in comparison to the HPL. On the other hand, the High End Color Command uses a Philips #6982P OEM 750w lamp with the same specifications as a GLD or EHG. It’s also the most powerful 750w lamp on the market, at least for a non HPL lamp. I would use it instead of a GLD for high output. Again, if the Strand claim of being the most efficient fixture is true than this improved lamp should easily both be brighter than the HPL given a more efficient fixture, and at least in your zoom given less efficient make up for a lot of that.

    One note about this GLA series of lamps is that not a huge amount of suppliers stock them yet, especially the 750w ones. This means a much more expensive lamp to that of the HPL. In other words, operating costs will rise for the very industry standard lamp base, but not yet standard lamps for it.

    Selcon I hear also makes some really good fixtures. Tried the 90 degree version of it at one point. Interesting. Some say they are the next generation.

    I take it budget is not a factor in this number of fixtures thus buying 75 of something instead of buying the S-4 plus a few extra lenses to save money. I’m not a extreme fan of any brand at the moment. Given they all have the same output, and you need to cut down on weight, I would determine what’s necessary to go Zoom, than get the rest in conventional fixture especially if it’s taking the same type of lamp as the rest of your equipment. If you already are a S-4 house, I might give a bit of extra thought to keeping to one lamp. If not than the Strand’s lamp could become the lamp for the rest of your fixtures as an upgrade and for simplicity.

    As for weight, you realize that now you are going to have to drop DMX to the 1st electric, plus this cutting down on weight is only a temporary fix. A 8' arbor is decent for normal uses but for a true 1st electric probably insufficient in a pro house. Might look into a triple pipe or truss first electric and a double arbor or at least a 12' one given the rest of the fly gear can take it. I would go for a double carriage and beef it up plus rig the first electric for more weight given it’s only a single or double pipe now. That will also expand the room available because as we all know, all fixtures must be hung in the same position, and once you add scrollers, even if it counts down on fixture count, it’s still going to take up more space. Than of course, using a couple of hoists for the first electric might also be easy.
     
  12. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hi Ship,
    The Selecon is an interesting fixture--the company I play with part time is a Selecon dealer and I've gotten to play with a few Selecons often--and I like the 90 degree.. I'm just not sure how it will catch on..its got a few neat ideas.

    Well we had our raceways redone 2 years ago with the new Dimmer installation and we planned ahead--so DMX is already installed in the raceways for us, and so is our scroller cable runs already located on each electric. As for fixtures--we are a mixed house--70% older altman 360's, S-4 FOH coves, and Strand SL Zooms for our Centers and QL's on overhead electrics and FOH. We're working on some grant money possibilities..so I'm trying to get a few ideas cooking. I will try the GLD--we currently use the GLC, but I'd like a bit more "umph" out of the SL zooms. They are brighter than our FOH S-4's... I'm just shooting for ideas...I agree I hate the 8' arbor...but I also want to be snazzy if possible so I'm hoping for making the electrics portable via motors. We have the points--may as well use them and balance out the electric positions the way they should have been done during the original build of the place. Currently--we have 1st and 2nd about 8 feet apart, and a GAP between 2nd and 3rd that is about 14' which irritates me a ton--and that is where we usually end up building a false electric. The distance between 3rd and 4th is same as 1st and 2nd--about 8 feet. If we could space out the electrics better for a more even coverage(what a concept)--the universe would be happy. I would love to shrink down the lamp inventory to a specific lamp style...instead of FLK here, GLC there, HP575 here and a HP750 there, FEL here...and EHG for backup...argh!! what a waste of space... We'll see tho..its all in the hoping. :)


    wolf
     
  13. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    For the record, LEKO comes from the names Levy and Kook. Levy was the original accountant and Ed Kook was the founder of Century Lighting, and they 'invented' the ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight.

    Ultimately, in the race between the S4, theSL and the Shakespeare, it all comes to $$. The tooling is a little loose these days on the SL, and the Shakespeare does have a weight issue, but, shootout don't really tell much considering the variations that a fixture can be tuned to and the 10% variation in bulb output from one lamp to the next. (ie, two side by side identical fixtures could be up to 20% different in output and still be operating within the specs of Philips, Ushio, Thorn, GE, et al). Virtually none of the manufacturers have independent photometrics available, so at the end of the day, what works, what's cheap, and what can you get serviced.
     
  14. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    Yeah, Profiles its all good now!

    I like to use PC's for a deep colour wash, Generally out here par64's and fresnels are used for colour washes, but I tend to swing a bit more towards a PC for a colour wash.

    Although there is notable differences between a Profile and a PC people here for some reason now just tend to refer to em as the same thing.. meh *shrugs*
     
  15. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    You could get rid of the FLK lamp and just stock the GLC, or what ever wattage/life version of it you have. Than, should you so wish, I can probably come up with at least 20 heat sinks to convert a GLC into a HPL lamp. One lamp all fixtures. Call around and get the heat sink lamps remaing in inventories and there you have it - the one lamp world again. The FLK in general is too tempermental to not be upgraded. I still have not physically tested why the GLC lamp with less output will be more bright - given it's smaller filament, but your shootout confirms that.

    Still, if you want high output, play test some HPR lamps. Instead of going back to three fixtures per dimmer from the 750w lamps, perhaps the HPR will suffice. It's designed for both the SL and the Shakespheare and is going thru the approval process right now by each. This lamp will certainly be more bright than the GLC. Perhaps up the wattage of the S-4 fixtures, and just use the reflector lamps for the others.

    A customer brought his Shakespheare lamp cap in today. I was surprised to see a discontinued aluminum heat sink high-temp lamp base on it. Do they still come with it or are the more modern Altman fixtures still coming with the improved base? Anyway, it was for a high school so I sold him the GLA. You are working the pro scene so the high output lamps would no doubt be better.

    By the way Seadog, welcome to controlbooth. Good info I knew the Century reason for the name but not it's reason.

    Your view on go by cost is also very good to hear as a good consideration. Interesting to hear the SL will outshoot the S-4 on Wolf's observation, but the lamp verses lamp detail is also a factor.

    What would I buy? I have had bad experiences with more modern Strand lights at least in the little I deal with them. As with hearing about little fragile knobs on the Selecon, hearing that the Strand fixture is still suffering from thinner materials is unfortunate. I'm an Altman person thru and thru, even if I have never really seen more than the lamp cap of a Shakespeare and supervise at least a thousand or two ETC fixtures. (Hee Hee Hee, ETC just rented some lights from us including some 6-cell Altman Cyc Lights, like 30 of them - the poetry of it.) I would avoid the mini ETC fixture, but on a zoom, I don't know what I would buy given that's the goal. Think we have like six of their mini zooms but they are not powerful enough to be of value here.

    By the way and not that it's a problem for you but at times I used to run a double lineset first electric. One for specials and bulk cable weight and the other for the prime fixtures. I'm still more of a fan of replacing the arbor or tying two together, but in a pinch, perhaps you can hang or tie off to even hang some from the first leg for some gear. The hoist first electric is a good idea as long as you know the maximum loading. Far too easy to over stress stuff with a hoist - thus the 8' bars. Have you verified that the grid and parts can hold the extra weight? Or was it a economy/ceiling height type thing in choosing a 8' bar? - fine in most circumstances but not much use for the first electric especially once you add the gutter strip if it was not already pre-designed into it. Still your eyes on site are no doubt aware of these things. But lighter instruments in my view point won't solve the problem. There is always going to be more crap added to the first such as scrollers now. More capacity is what I would work on.

    Good to have the DMX pre-wired, but also unfortunate. Had it been individual you could have mounted transformers for such as the Chroma Q and Color Ram elsewhere than just run control cable to them. Instead given one of those types you also have the weight from the transformer on the pipe. That's at least one less light you can hang.
     
  16. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    As for a choice between SL's and S-IV's, I would choose ETC any day of the week. I have worked with both, and everything about the source four outdoes the new SL's. For starters, the Source 4's have a much brighter light output. Their pattern imaging and manipulation is paramount, and the price range is very competitive. The ETC's are just better lights. The SL's are ok, but the beam is alittle on the amber side, and the lamp socket's Twist-on, Twist-off design often ceases; causing frustrated ME's and lamp failures. A feature that is supposed to be helpful (360 degree unit rotation) is a great concept, but the set screw on the side of the instrument often fails to lock the fixture securely in place. To sum up, buy Source Fours; not SL's, because the Strands are alittle on the dangerous side. ETC's are time-tested, and the unit looks great, whether its on or off.
    -Les.
     
  17. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    do tell more on the twist off/twist on lamp base this is a interesting thing to hear about. Also since I have yet to touch a SL, how are they dangerous? A good review on the SL good and bad is long time in the coming. Usually it's good lamp, and optics, typically shotty materials. Normally observations on them say they are brighter and better optically especially for patterns. More detail please if you can with your observations, there is no vendor reps on the website that I'm aware of, or if there is they are respectful of stated opinions.

    The S-4 seems to be a good fixture but it does have it's own problems especially centered around the lamp base. Our Leko prep area has now as standard equipment a 1" dia. aluminum pipe and rubber mallet to seat the lamps in new fixtures, and pry bars to get the lamps out, or the cap won't go down all the way. Than with all fixtures, especially those made of cast aluminum, the probablems of stripped holes or dinged up holes especially on the screw that retains the lamp cap. All fixtures have their problems but a good review on the SL is long in coming. What lamp were you using for instance, was it a GLC? Which brand...

    By the way, welcome to the forum post as much as possible, the more info out there the better pool to learn from.
     
  18. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The SL Series of ellipsoidals are a good design concept, however, it seems to need a little refinement. My wording in my last review was perhaps a little hard to follow. The Source Fours have a brass screw similar to an altman 360Q wich holds the assembly in place. The SL's on the other hand have a more complex design. To gain access to the lamp, you grasp the rear of the lamp holder assembly. By twisting to the left, the lamp holder should "click" thus allowing it to be pulled out with the lamp. By inserting the lamp holder and twisting to the right until it clicks (about 25 degrees), The assembly will be locked in place. Out of our approximate inventory of 150 of these SL instruments, about 30 fail to lock, preventing the assembly to be properly locked in place. The lamp and holder will stay in, but not securely. If the instrument is focused upward, or the leads are pulled on, the lamp and holder will simply slide out. This is a little scary to me, as people (audience/performers) are below 90% of the time. Some premature lamp failures have occured due to "forceful" use of this ceasing holder (whick promotes abuse to the leko). The lamp centering mechanism is also a little procarious. There is a small knob mounted to the rear of the lamp holder assembly. By twisting the knob to the left of right, the entire holder will move forward or back, thus moving the lamp into or out of the reflector. This knob sticks sometimes, too. I have also heard reports of the lens train and gelframe holders popping loose and falling to the ground below. I have not experienced this first hand, as none of our instruments have had a problem quite that severe. And as for the lamp we are using, it is a Phillips GLC. Oh, and check out their line of GLC/Sink Lamps. These lamps come with a removable heatsink like an HPL allowing it to be retrofitted for a Source Four. You can insert the sink alone, and continue using GLC lamps in the Source Four, if removing HPL's is a problem.
    On a completely different note, we also have about 20 SL Zoom ellipsoidals which have seemed to have done just fine, however, each of the design features I have described above are still incorporated into these nearly $600. instruments.
     
  19. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Failure to lock! Youch! What’s the cause of this? Is it the cap or fixture - swapping caps being the way to tell and assuming you already figured out the problem.

    Reports of shooting lenses would be from me but an observation on the last series of them only slightly confirmed lately as possible for the SL line but not so far observed. Believe me, let that lens train slam into flood focus and you would be able to tell if it’s going to shoot or not.

    GLC/Sink... hmm a person after my own hart. I still have a case of them left but the lamp with the heat sink has been discontinued for at least a year now. In other words, after your supplier runs out, they can’t get any more so hold onto them heat sink adaptors. Actually the heat sink adaptor could be an interesting idea for those lamp base sticking problems. Unfortunately the main reason besides lack of sales that Philips discontinued the #6989P/S was because ETC would not recognize that lamp for use in their fixture and thus heat sink or not you were voiding any warranty and UL listing for the fixture when using the lamp. Instead after the first few lamps the new lamp bases become easier to work with. Just a too tight of aluminum thing, perhaps the spec for the base is done before the powder coating is done or something, last lot numbers etc. Very common problem however that the lamp does not fit well.

    Zooms usually are a little more dependable even if more expensive and frequently less optically pure. On the GLC lamps, that is certainly interesting your shoot out results between them and the ETC are leaning towards the ETC. How do patterns look? Is the SL more pure in that way? What is your voltage at the fixture by the way? Have you tried a HPR lamp out of curiosity? Plus the bench focus. While I don’t doubt for a minute the S-4 is brighter, it’s lamp has a higher color temperature and it’s output is almost 1,000 lumens brighter, everyone else on the question says the SL is magically brighter. Give a shot to the Osram GLC lamp, it is supposed to be the same color temperature as the HPL even if still 1,000 Lumens less. Everyone else attributed better optics to the SL so far that I have read about, that would say bench focus issues, but given your word and the lamp’s less output it could be they were the ones off also. Curious. Keep the notes coming. Now all we need is the Shakespear to be so well looked into.
     
  20. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    On my point of view, we have Shakespeare 15-35 here, very good lights, although also heavy. the SL series is very good, although I still prefer the Source Four. Although ith the weight issue in mind, yup, I'd go with the lighter SL series.
     

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