How do we tell them....


here's my idea:

you have a roblem confronting some authority about something going wrong...and you tell me how to say i don't die.

ok, my question: the band/orchestrs dept. recently bought themselves backlighting by the brand name of "american DJ" they burn thorught our gels in a grand total of an hour... how am i supposed to deal with t5his ropositon without making them feel like they wasted money...(mainly on our gels)

well, they make GREAT worklights!
Patches said:
here's my idea:

you have a roblem confronting some authority about something going wrong...and you tell me how to say i don't die.

ok, my question: the band/orchestrs dept. recently bought themselves backlighting by the brand name of "american DJ" they burn thorught our gels in a grand total of an hour... how am i supposed to deal with t5his ropositon without making them feel like they wasted money...(mainly on our gels)

well, they make GREAT worklights! could tell them they have to buytheir own gel from now on. ;)

What exactly do you want to tell them "diplomatically"? That they bought junk or that you don't like having to replace gel on an hourly basis? Any more info about this would be helpful...

tell em the truth, make it from a technical perspective eg. we feel that these lamps are...... and give them a reason why and say what they are good for and not good for and remind them to consult someone before just buying stuff!
his the big thing, i beleive that our TD may have been the one to urchase them.. although he told me this AFTER he said the music dept. iced them out...

its comlicated...

we use rosco gels. We even do the whole cutting slits to prevent melting...
I'm not shure of wattage.
I'm probably going for mostly "your crap is buring our stuff...and by the way... it's crap." (80% gel story, 20% crap.)

so i'll get back to you on the wattage... but now what?
Cyc lights are fairly standard in design. I would not all together say it's a crap instrument. At least not initially until I ripped the thing apart and saw how it was wired, what brand of lamp base it used and how it’s cooling vents were structured. I have vast experience with fixture design and things like that, what in your experience has led you to form the opinion that these instruments are crap just because they are burning gel. Please review them for others considering the fixtures with an open mind. Are they worth their in-expensive price or what specifically sets them apart from other fixtures?

I would not consider buying it where I work now, but my budgets are by far different than your school's no doubt. I have two versions of Altman, one from Moonlight and one of Colortran. I have also play tested one from Strand and one from L&E in replacing the above. I at one time also personally owned 5 banks of my own cyc light in addition to having experience with other than the above RSC lamped versions of cyc lights. There is no ideal or perfect cyc light on the market or I will have bought into it because I have a blank check book for replacing something like 50 of our current cyc fixtures insead of rewiring all of them which is one of my on going tasks.

If I were in your TD's situation and had the choice between some cyc lights and no cyc lights, I might seriously consider using even American DJ crap. There is so much you can do with a cyc light it’s use is amazingly important. Your school has cyc lights now and can afford other things because they saved money on them. $179.00 Each is very cheap, less than a S-4 Leko, that is a good value. A bird in the hand type of thing, you did not have any before these so what’s the difficulty? Currently you have a problem, what is it not a challenge for you as a tech person to solve? Simple as that. Think before you complain about them too much, instead turn lemons into lemon aid and fix them. Also the TD is always right, if you think he is wrong you must have misunderstood him. It’s a rule in life you will almost never find an exception to.

Figure out how to solve problems and you will be so much more useful as a tech person than someone that grumbles about everything. You will also learn some valubable things in the process. Learn this fixture and all others will be simple to also solve similar problems with. And all Cyc lights have the burning gel problems at times, how you solve this problem will help you next time you run into the problem.

I realize this is somewhat harsh, but it's time to roll up your sleeves and figure out the solution a tech person rather than hold up your nose. I was just grumbling about some crappy snow machines on Friday. The difference between me grumbling about them and it would seem you grumbling about these cyc units is that when I grumbled about them my boss knew I was both blowing off steam and making a point that we need to look into replacing them. Once I finished raising the cost of constantly fixing them verses newer and quieter ones, I was done complaining about them. He also knew that I was going to solve the current problems with them no matter how much I disliked the fixtures and so I did. In other words, you have them, there is a problem, solve it. Making the best of what you have and something out of nothing is the mark of a theater person, stomping your foot and not dealing with it is the mark of a primidona. Which do you want to be?

Here is what I would look into for fixing them to start you out:
American DJ’s recommended lamp is the FCL which is a clear 4.11/16" x 500w RSC lamp. That's the easy part to change. This is a open faced non-lensed unit there is no reason to us a point source lamp in it. Instead switch to a 500w FDN or better yet the long life equivalent FCZ lamp in it’s place. This will provide the same amount of power just disperse the source of light to a wider area which will be slightly cooler on the gel because it’s coming from a more dispersed source. It will also look better on the cyc or what you light in being softer.

Another option is to go with a Q350T3CL/Ultra-C, FDF/HIR, Q350T3/HIR, or Q500/350WM lamp. With the exception of the FDF/HIR lamp that’s higher output but shorter life, and the Q500/350WM that’s 130v, the other two have just about the same life output and color temperature as a FCL lamp but for lower wattage. Actually they have a slightly higher color temperature. This lamp is the equivolent of the difference between a EHG and FLK lamp in a Leko. Less wattage, more power. Because it’s less wattage it might run just a bit cooler. The IR-Film coated lamps are not available in frosted but can be of use. Otherwise if the 500w lamps are too powerful and usually on a dimmer the Frosted 300w EHZ lamp is highly recommended to reduce amber shift and will run cooler. I stock them for the more theatrical events.

This is a four channel bank. Such fixtures run hot especially in the center where there is not a cool side panel as opposed to hot lamp adjacent to it. Given it’s four channels, I might attempt to cool down the center of the unit by making one of the center positions my non-gelled work light circuit if using it. You might even attempt 300 watt lamps for the work light circuits. There is no gel in it and I presume there are a few cyc lights on stage, perhaps the 300w work light in combination with other cyc light lamps will be sufficient.
Otherwise I would install my lighter colors/lower transmission gels in the center slots. As has been theorized in other places, the higher the transmission ratio, the less wattage you need to balance it with lower transmission ratio gels. In other words, you might be able to use a 300w lamp in the center of the fixture with say amber or green gel and leave the 500w red/blue lamps towards the edges. This can be done even more in depth than that in matching color. I list 4.11/16" lamps down to 50 watts with about 25 to 50 watts between them up to 1,050w at 120v. Take a yellow with a 88% transmission and another with a 4%. A 500w and 200w lamp given the gels will provide about the same luminous output. Put the lower wattage lamp in the center and the heat in the center balances to that of the lamps on the end of the fixture which are probably not burning thru gel as fast. Experimentation with balancing your lamps with it's transmission can be of value in installing the lower wattage/cooler lamps towards the center of the fixture.

As for slitting your gel, it cuts down on the amount of color coming out of your fixture. In other words with that or pouncing it more white light gets thru and it makes a deep color less intense. Because of that you have to go with a deeper color yet to compensate for it or dim the lights so the amber shift dims it further. Full intensity and no holes in your gel - especially if it can have a higher transmission ratio is a better option given proper lamps and ventilation of the fixture. As has been discussed before on the subject of gel burning out, companies such as Lee produce heat shield that can be used to reflect away from the gel some of the IR in the light causing it to break down. You can try adding heat shield to it but without a space between it and the gel the heat shield is not going to be very effective. Heat shields need a slight space between it and your gel. Because these fixtures have what looks like bent leaf gel frames it will be more difficult to add a spacer to them unless you were to purchase or have made for you a second set of them which were added to the origional set of gel frames with a spacer such as a 1/4" nut between them. That minimum of a 1/4" air gap is the key to heat shield working. You can also look into adding some space between the gel and the fixture if the frame holder is large enough. This will allow more stray white light to escape but also allow more heat to escape the fixture when the gel is sealing that open face.

A final solution to your problem would be to attempt to cool down the fixtures more so they can be run at full intensity with what gel and lamps you have in them. Fixtures with more than three banks often have problems with retaining too much heat. You have 2,000 watts in an enclosed space that’s a hot fixture and going to tend to bake things if not ventilated well. - At least I hope it’s only 500w lamps because for a stage there is not much need for 1,000 watt lamps in such a blending/wash fixture. The fixture is getting hot and there is nowhere easy for the heat to escape. Could be that the fixtures are being used in the wrong position so the heat coming off them is going into places and not escaping easily, or it could just be because there is not adequate ventilation in the fixture and you might add more. Perhaps a few vent holes added somewhere not structural and to the body, even a fan added to the fixture so it runs cooler by pushing the heat out from behind the reflectors. Such re engineering will require the TD to figure out and certify but can be the solution. I hate the Colortran 6-cell cyc units we have but they definitely run cooler than that of the Altman units. Such fixtures have over twice the ventilation as the Altman. They are less rugged but operate cooler. Open up holes or introduce forced cooling behind the reflector and there will be less heat going towards the gel.

Hope the above helps to offer some options to think about in solving the problem on your new equipment. No, it’s not the greatest of fixtures probably but given the choice between some cyc lights and no cyc lights, I would go for the former myself. Study them and learn from them than offer the solution as a tech person instead of writing them off. Believe me you won’t always have such good equipment to work with. Wait until you have a 20' bank of 80 year old strips that has to change pipes or has a short. Than you will have something that is giving you real problems.
Or you could always spring for some nice glass filters.
I belive Rosco claims that theirs will never burn out. Fight the POC with a heavy square of color immortality!
Or do what ship said.
The only experience I have with glass filters is the roundels used in borders I have come to hate with a passion. They are heavy and I always worry about them breaking.
Good post Ship - I know that I certainly learned some things from that and will be looking into the lamps that you mentioned.

Also FWIW, I thought that your post was fair and you backed up your critiscism in a positive and constructive manner. This is one of the great things of this site.


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