Followspot recommendations?

I know there are a couple old posts about this, but I am looking for more up to date info, and to be honest I'd really love to hear about what companies/products people have had good, long term experiences with rather than hearsay.
I am in the market for new followspots. The throw from the the booth to midstage is 110'. The rest of the rig is primarily conventional 575 and 750wt fixtures with some 750wt movers and a few LED fixtures. We do A LOT of musicals, so the spots are heavily used, but the operators change from production to production. We currently have 2 15 year old Lycian SuperArc 1266's. Even when new, they didn't seem to have enough punch for the space, but I believe that this was because they were not the correct fixture for the venue size- when they were purchased I do not know how good the advice was. I am a fan of the ease of operation of these fixtures, their simplicity, and the customer service from Lycian has been great (I've done a number of repairs over the years and Lycian was super helpful). I am hoping to stay under $8,000 each and I am not adverse to an LED fixture- if it can stand up to the conventional lighting. Thoughts? Feelings? Fixtures to avoid? Thanks!
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I know there are a couple old posts about this, but I am looking for more up to date info, and to be honest I'd really love to hear about what companies/products people have had good, long term experiences with rather than hearsay.
I am in the market for new followspots. The throw from the the booth to midstage is 110'. The rest of the rig is primarily conventional 575 and 750wt fixtures with some 750wt movers and a few LED fixtures. We do A LOT of musicals, so the spots are heavily used, but the operators change from production to production. We currently have 2 15 year old Lycian SuperArc 1266's. Even when new, they didn't seem to have enough punch for the space, but I believe that this was because they were not the correct fixture for the venue size- when they were purchased I do not know how good the advice was. I am a fan of the ease of operation of these fixtures, their simplicity, and the customer service from Lycian has been great (I've done a number of repairs over the years and Lycian was super helpful). I am hoping to stay under $8,000 each and I am not adverse to an LED fixture- if it can stand up to the conventional lighting. Thoughts? Feelings? Fixtures to avoid? Thanks!
Paging @PeteEngel Mr. Engel Sir; would you care to up date poster @HollyRawls ?
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
I don't think you'll find anything brighter than your current SuperArcs if their spec sheet is to be believed - 256 fc at 100' - near the $8000 mark. I think I would test the SuperArcs with a good illuminance meter and see if its close to the spec sheet, but probably in the 2K xenon range to be brighter than that 256 at 100'.
 

JD

Well-Known Member
I wonder about the optic and reflector alignment. Generally, the optical train can be set up to produce a very wide beam at a lower brightness, or a small beam at a higher brightness. If you find yourself pretty irised down at most times, then you might want to reset your optics so that you have a wider iris at a smaller diameter, which will bump the brightness up. At 110 feet, those things should really cut through well.
The reflector is another area to check. Unless the lamp and reflector settings are correct, a lot of light can be lost inside the followspot.
Always good to check for the free answers first!
 
The first thing I think when I see this thread is: Can the optics on your SuperArc 1266 be upgraded to the 1267, as suggested in this old thread:

https://www.controlbooth.com/threads/followspot-suggestions.38152/

That'd be my first suggestion! Check with Lycian, see if this is an option. Swapping over to the long throw lensing system should, in my opinion, work wonders. You're currently at the middle to upper end of the range for the standard throw, and at the bottom of the range for the long. My bet is that you're having to heavily iris right now, killing your intensity. I'm more in the events world, but can say that our 1267 rocks the comedy shows we do in small basketball arenas, which is a bit longer of a throw than what you're looking at.

Maybe Lycian can get you a demo, and if you can retrofit, it'll likely be a hell of a lot cheaper than new! Spend the extra on some fun toys!
 

JD

Well-Known Member
Check your Iris. A 20% aperture means 80% of your light is being wasted. If that is the case the answer is in your optics. (see suggestions above.)
 

Michael K

Well-Known Member
To farther what JD said, first off, you should make sure the zoom (not iris) is set to smallest size it can be comfortably be, while still having enough coverage for the shortest throw/most down stage performing positions used. (It's quite possible this never got set right, or got 'fixed' up by an inexperienced spot op at some point.) If the output is still not satisfactory, definitely look into smigit2002's suggestion above and convert the spots over to the long throw version, which will definitely much cheaper then new spots.

If you do decide to go new, go for LED if you have the budget, otherwise go the used 1.2 kw units to use for the next 5-10 years while the LED followspot market settles out.

I don't think you'll find anything brighter than your current SuperArcs if their spec sheet is to be believed - 256 fc at 100' - near the $8000 mark. I think I would test the SuperArcs with a good illuminance meter and see if its close to the spec sheet, but probably in the 2K xenon range to be brighter than that 256 at 100'.
True, but that number is a little misleading, as that's with a 25" (!) diameter pool, which is barely a shoulders up shot.
 

Mac Hosehead

Well-Known Member
The SuperArc is somewhat unique in that as you iris down the lamp is moved towards the front. So the beam actually increases in intensity as you iris in. I would agree with @smigit2002 that if you can retrofit to the long-throw lenses, it might be a good way to go. Keep in mind that a more powerful spot in a different model might be appreciably larger. Even the long-throw lenses will add some length to the spot.
 

PeteEngel

Active Member
the 1266 is a short throw fixture and 110' isn't the proper distance for the fixture, regardless of what the photometrics say. Lycian themselves state that photometrics should not be trusted. That being said, if you can upgrade the unit with the long throw lens, making it a 1267, that at least will give you a more properly lensed fixture for the facility. Regardless of anyone's personal followspot favs (after using a wide variety of different manufacturers fixture, I'm still a RJ fan), what works for you budget and optic-wise is what you should go with. As you know, followspots stick around for a long time and your purchase should reflect the long term investment such a decision requires. I would frankly lean toward a LED fixture for this throw now. there are a number of different fixtures out there and you should get them all in the room side by side and see which one you like the best. If a company is afraid of a shoot out, their product should be dismissed from your consideration. Good Luck.
 
All of this is super helpful, thank you all! I am going to investigate the iris/zoom relationship and see if I can get some more light out of it in the short term. I forgot to mention, that the watt watch meters and tap switches no longer work- we are adjusting the spots visually. Also, I am on the second power tray in one of the units and have replaced the tilt knobs on the other unit (they just crumbled to bits one evening!). These spots have been workhorses and are tired. I absolutely get that spots should last forever, but I am willing to send these units out to pasture. I appreciate the info about the Oz vs the Topaze. If there are other favorites, I would appreciate hearing about them.
 

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