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Mobile Lighting - Final Questions

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I am finishing up my proposal (mentioned in a thread several weeks ago) and I have a few final questions. Specifically concerning my PAR cans, and console.

    In order to keep wattage low, I'm thinking about 4 PAR 38, with 120watt lamps. How is my intensity gonna be from these badboys at around 25 feet. I am specing this system to have a maximum operating distance at around 10 yards (LED par cans too).

    Will I be disappointed with the output from these lamps? Any thoughts on Pars? (Trying to keep price down, but more importantly, keep total watts considerably below 1000)

    Next order of business is control.

    I was recommended a product like this one:
    I am weary of these DMX controller. It seems over my head. Too complicated for what I need. Though there were plans for the package to contain other DMX DJ type effects (scanners, moving heads, etc.).

    I'm much more inclined to purchase a board like this:
    That badboy is a classic. Who could go wrong with 12 channel 2 scene greatness? That looks like it's rack mountable. Do I need a rack for it? I may have one that is 4 RU, is that 4 RU, can't quite tell. I'm worried I won't know how to properly interface any DMX controlled instruments. Will I even have enough channels for all my instruments, if I don't how am I supposed to work around that?

    So thoughts on control are very important. Another quick concern, can I use mic cable instead of DMX cable? This is to keep the cost down. We are looking at 10-15 feet from board to stand, 3 feet between each of 8 max instruments.

    I think that is about it. Thanks.
  2. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Seattle, Washington
    Have you seen the LED PAR's? I've seen the Am DJ ones at a local music store. They were struggling to put out a decent circle of light from a little over 10 feet away. The light output is way too low for 10 yards. Someone (I think Soundlight) has commented in other threads that the Weidemarks although great products aren't much good beyond about 15 feet.

    Same for the PAR 38 w/120 watts. I think if you were thinking about a 15 foot throw this combination is probably pretty good but 10 yards you are really going to be pushing your luck.
    Jezza likes this.
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    NJ & NYC
    If you are going to have any moving lights at all, you're going to want something with a joystick. Otherwise, if you've just got intensity, color, etc. parameters, then you'll want the 24ch board that you listed.

    You're gonna want narrow spot PAR38 bulbs if you use PAR38's, but they should work just fine. I'd reccomend some Elation OPTI-30 fixtures if you can afford them ($50/ea), they'll work great with 100W par38 lamps (which, it just happens, are available at most hardware stores - easy replacement). At that distance, you shouldn't worry about substituting mic cable - it should work fine.

    And yes, I'd keep your throw under twenty feet with the Wiedamark cans. This reccomendation is based on the numerous reviews and performance tests of these that I've seen.
  4. jfitzpat

    jfitzpat Member

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    I don't know if rather or having a joystick is that big an issue. Plenty of shows are run with moving fixtures patched to larger theatrical desks and the intelligent fixture doesn't care if the value for pan comes from a joystick, and encoder wheel, typed in as a percentage, or pulled from a slider.

    I think the more important questions (which my well have been what soundlight meant) are channel capacity and intelligent fixture awareness. Low end intelligent fixtures use 4-8 channels, higher end fixtures typically use 16-40. Either way, 24 channels won't go very far if you want to maintain individual control (as opposed to putting to fixtures to the same address and having them always be identical in settings).

    Also, if you fade between settings on a normal two scene board, you are going to get a linear move on position, but a lot of weird behavior on other settings. Intelligents typically cram multiple features on to individual channels.
    The DMX-4/5x series have a reputation of being a little flaky and a little hard to program, but plenty of them are out there running shows and some vendors sell them pre-programmed with small rigs.

    On the flip side, plenty of fun can be had bumping and flashing with a 24x2.
    As far as a 25' throw with a small PAR, I wouldn't expect a blinding alien arrival scene, but under good ambient conditions they could still look nice - though with others, I'd agree 10-18' throws would probably be better.

    Good Luck,
  5. beam_1973

    beam_1973 Member

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    Sydney, Australia
    A console like that I find is great for staionary fixtures (PAR lamps etc) but can be not so friendly with intels. Yes, you can set scenes and record for use later on, but using a console without encoders, joysticks etc can make for difficulties when programming intels on the fly. As for "enough channels?" ... perhaps let us know what you have in mind as far as fixtures go, as the number of channels they use will provide guidance on the console required.

    Mic cable instead of DMX cable ..... NO!

    Yes it might be cheaper and yes the cable does work mostly, but plain and simple, DMX signal should be transmitted over DMX cable to ensure everything stays clean and fixtures work as they should (further reasoning is discussed in other posts on this forum, if I'm not mistaken).

    Couple of other things ... check whether your fixtures are 3 pin or 5 pin DMX (some have both options) as this will help you decide what plugs you will require on your DMX cable ... and don't forget to terminate at the end of your DMX chains (this also heavily discussed in other posts).
  6. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Boston, MA
    this is the bad boy i just bought my orders pending,

    it looks decent we will see how it goes when i get it, i'm still going to have to buy equiptment.
  7. taylorjacobs

    taylorjacobs Member

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    this works really great with intelligent fixtures. i ran it for a musical once with 8 intelligents and 200ish cues and it looked really nice

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