Mover selection help

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
The community theatre I volunteer with has been charged by a benefactor (who is also in a lot of productions) to buy moving lights. He was in Mamma Mia! This past season and they had a stock of old Martin 2K profiles and washes and now he’s in love.

The issue comes in with our venue. I’m not a lighting guy by trade, but I’ve managed to get by with our old (OLD) system with our (OLDER) director, who basically wants around 150fc illumination so “the old agers can see”. (Have I mentioned age enough?)

I’m not afraid to learn new systems, and I have some basic experience with a Hog console during concerts, but this is a problem. Our venue has no fly space, so the grid is about 18’ off the stage deck. From the FOH, the first electric is 11’ away from the plaster line and the second electric is 26’. We’ve been using a mix of old (there’s that word again) Altman and ETC ellipsoidals from the front and mostly PAR56 and fresnels on stage. Limited, but it’s worked.

Now, our benefactor has already talked to two rental houses who have various flash and trash they’d be willing to rent, but it’s all large venue lighting. I’m afraid he’s going to get the Martin 2Ks from one of them and then find out that there’s enough light to melt his face off when they turn on.

I’m looking, like I said, at a 20 to 35 foot throw, and I still would like to be able to use the ellipsoidals as either specials, spots, washes, or something, but I also don’t want everyone to be blinded by a 1200W fixture. Ideally I’d like a few for FOH and a few on stage (I’m aware of all the new power requirements and DMX issues I’m going to have.)

What fixtures would the experts here recommend. The board voted to explore options with the hopes of having some sort of moving lighting for, you guessed it, Mamma Mia! In spring of 2021. What fixtures do you like using that have the typical flash and trash, but can also be useful? I’m not against the MAC 2Ks per se, but I think looking at the output, it’s going to be too much. I do love the options the Profiles give, but again, I’m the sound guy by trade, so I’d appreciate any input, especially with our limitations on the venue.
 

Zachary Tarantino

Active Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2018
Location
United States
So, are you looking to rent or buy units? Ive been loving the HE SolaFrame 750 units for venues on the smaller side. They are plenty bright, but wont melt your face off (Plus them dim pretty nicely). The framing shutters and color mixing are great to have as well.
 

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
So, are you looking to rent or buy units? Ive been loving the HE SolaFrame 750 units for venues on the smaller side. They are plenty bright, but wont melt your face off (Plus them dim pretty nicely). The framing shutters and color mixing are great to have as well.
The local rental houses have a lot of movers but mostly large venue equipment. The board is pretty budget conscious but feel like outright purchasing is better than renting (though I feel opposite). Money is, of course,a problem, but if he’s throwing some cash behind his demand, we could probably put in 25,000 if it’s financed through a bank.

It’s not that I’m against a MAC or Viper or anything, I just feel like our stage is so small that they’re too much. I’m willing to listen to opinions.

Quick reference story, a few years back our former vendor was pushing LED pars and the theatre bought 4 Elation Opti Tri-Pars. Heavily suggested by the vendor, very adaptable, very bright. After we hung them and realized that they had nearly no output from our grid, a huge fight ensued and he’s no longer our vendor. So now, the brighter the better.
 

Lynnchesque

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Location
East Bay, CA
Too bright? There's no such thing.
Before you dive too deep in this rabbit hole, I would check to see how much constant (non-dimmer) power is available in the space, you wouldn't want to spend $25k in lights only to tritap them all to the same wall outlet. Once you know that, you might decide to go with LED movers instead.
I would consider- do you get a couple of big heavy profiles with gobo wheels, or twice as many small and quick LED heads (like the chauvet R2)
 

Zachary Tarantino

Active Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2018
Location
United States
If you are looking for something that can spin around and change color, look at the Chauvet R2 washs. They are pretty cheap, so you would be able to get a nice handful of them, but they put out a bright enough wash, and its LED so power shouldnt be an issue

Something along the lines of the Chauvet Maverick MK1 Spot might be up your alley for profile units. Its on the pricer side of cheap at around 3500, but a few of these over stage might give you nice moveable top/back lighting, as well as audience scanning or beam effects for big musical numbers.

I would call local rental houses to ask for some demo units or have one of their lighting techs go by your venue to get a hands on look at the space to see what they could offer you
 

Judge

Active Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2013
Location
Somerset, UK
Dont get the Martin 2ks. They were great in their time but are really unreliable. I was lighting a production in a theatre in Sydney a few years back and had about 20 of them, washes and spots. Every day I would get in and fire up the rig and notice one that was playing up. Crew chief would call rental house, and a van would turn up with another unit. This happened every day until finally the rental house sent a truck over with ALL their stock of Mac 2ks and the theatre gave us a storage room for them. Made the daily swap out faster.
But even with motorised lx bars this took time.
Too bright? Nah. As soon as you start layering gobos and adding animation wheels and then a colour, you will need al the lumens you can get. As a face spot? Well yes maybe smaller is better.
A key issue in a theatre is noise. All moving lights sound quiet enough in fitup. But in a live show when the house lights go down and there is total silence in the room - thats when you will notice all those 12cm fans whirring away. Check that out, really, and see if units your are looking at have a quiet mode - many do.
I would agree that the Maverick Spots are a good deal.
 

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
Thanks for the help so far everyone. A few things:

We have a 400 amp service dedicated to the lights, and I’m only using about 240 so far, so running a few more lines isn’t an issue.

Sound... yes the fans whir, and as a sound guy, that annoys me. However, the traffic outside is loud, as is the wind, and the ancient boilers... Did I mention the freight train that seems to run through town during every quiet scene? I am aware of the fan noise, it seems to me that every new invention brings more noise. Of course, I argue that a mp3 isn’t as clear as an uncompressed file but no one seems to care, just as long as they are heard.

The edict from the board of directors was that the other theatre had the 2Ks so we “need” something similar. What scares me is that we have a decent rental house a few hours away and two rather shady rental houses close. If the board decides to contact the shady ones, we’re getting the 2Ks or some cheap adj or Chauvet dj junk they couldn’t pawn off on any other sap. Those fixtures are fine for certain places, not here. They got burned on the elations but still seem to act rash when they want. And they want.

I’m not against getting used tour equipment either, though they like shiny new things. I know you run the risk of breakage, but if it’s a reputable house they take care of it usually.

Personally, I’m still old school and would be happy with a 1k fresnel washing from the front, but I know times change. Can anyone answer why most people (and I’m staring down Chauvet) don’t list photometric data anymore? The old Altman and ETC data sheets all had beam info, but it seems to have gone by the wayside. Again, showing my age, but those were nice to reference. I see lots of dazzling numbers that are supposed to be impressive, but I’d like to see something like telling me the fc or lux or anything at different distances. Makes me not trust their product if they don’t want to give it out.
 

Ben Dickmann

Product Manager, Chauvet Professional
Joined
Jan 14, 2014
Location
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Can anyone answer why most people (and I’m staring down Chauvet) don’t list photometric data anymore? The old Altman and ETC data sheets all had beam info, but it seems to have gone by the wayside. Again, showing my age, but those were nice to reference. I see lots of dazzling numbers that are supposed to be impressive, but I’d like to see something like telling me the fc or lux or anything at different distances.
I'll be your Huckleberry here...and I'm only mildly offended ;)

Which specific products from Chauvet are you referring to? For the Chauvet Professional Range we provide a multitude of photometric data and are more transparent than most on it. For the lines I develop and manage (Ovation and COLORado and most all the other static fixtures) I've got several options for you.

1. We provide IES files for everything current and most of our historical fixtures. A simple IES file reader can give you beam, field, lux, footcandles, spread at any distance you want.

2. Take the @5m lux reading we provide on every product page and put it in to a lighting calculator to get your desired lux or footcandle measurement at any distance you like. (I've added a simple Excel one that I've built and use for you)

3. Refer to our user manuals. In the back of those documents you'll find the "photometric charts" I believe you are referring to. I've attached a screen shot of the one of our Ovation F-265WW Fresnel, since you mentioned 1K fresnels.

I hope one of these will help quell your concerns over our photometrics. If there something more specific you are looking for, feel free to reach out to me directly on DM.
 

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Michael K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Location
San Jose, CA
In addition to Ben's post: just about all manufacturers provide photometric data in the product's specifications sheet (along with gobo, color, and effect wheel images).

For fixtures I'll agree with the Rogue R2 Wash and Solaframe 750 recommendations, and add ETC's Releve (and extremely modular and user serviceable fixture) and Chauvet's Rogue R3 spot (simmilar to the R2 spot, but with zoom).

Use the opti-par incident to insist on a demo, or better yet a shootout of some options. If you don't have good vendors out there, manufacturers and national dealers love to show off their gear, and will work to fill your needs over making a quick sale.
 

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
Ben, thank you and apologies as I’ve never worked with, or have seen the Chauvet pro line in action. The photometric charts are exactly what I was talking about, and none are found in the DJ line that I can find anywhere. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous vendors, instead of actually finding out what’s needed or what it will be used for sell packages that become doorstops after the group realizes it’s no where near what they need. I had someone offer to donate 16 SlimPAR 56’s to us after they were told they’re “much better” than a old PAR 56 and you won’t need gel anymore. I quickly said no thanks.

I apologize if it seems like I’m trashing your line, because again I have no experience with them. A quick call to two local houses, one has no Chauvet products, the other had Maverick Storm 1‘s only. Both said that they didn’t see Chauvet on enough touring riders to justify replacing what’s in inventory already.

Two bigger vendors both stock Chauvet products, but our local reps didn’t return phone calls to me yet.

Again, I’m a sound guy by trade, my lighting experience is minimal, and I’m not trying to rule anything out. My fear is that we’re going to end up with equipment that won’t work with the venue. I’m not too keen on setting up my ladder, lugging up a 100 lb unit, hanging it, and the board doesn’t like it.

Thank you everyone so far, keep them coming please and smack me upside the head if I get out of line.
 

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
Also, try to get and photometric report off Martin right now. All the files are one a separate web page which is a broken link. And find anyone at Harman, or Samsung, who cares.
 

James Suit

Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Location
New Jersey
Hey - I think, honestly, you're in pretty good luck right now market-wise for smaller LED-source profile and spot fixtures. If you haven't considered anything from Ayrton - or aren't familiar with the company at all - I would check out this little dude: https://www.ayrton.eu/produit/diablo/

At less than 600w each and with about the same size and spacing as a Source Four, these could work pretty well in a smaller space that's still high demand for events.

No matter what route you choose, I would ABSOLUTELY DEMO THE FIXTURES in your space. It's a buyers market - don't take no for an answer when asking to evaluate the equipment before purchasing. And if you can't get satisfaction from your vendors, go the manufacturer directly!

Good luck!
 

ACTSTech

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Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
No matter what route you choose, I would ABSOLUTELY DEMO THE FIXTURES in your space. It's a buyers market - don't take no for an answer when asking to evaluate the equipment before purchasing. And if you can't get satisfaction from your vendors, go the manufacturer directly!
Thanks, I’ll check it out. Unfortunately, if you haven’t seen my other posts, the owner of the venue and the fire department are in a semi-political battle and basically we’ve been evicted. We’re in the process of searching for a new home, which is progressing quickly, but none of the places are even set up for performance. That means a total build within the existing infrastructure, and I don’t know that we can demo units until the space is ready. And demoing in the storage unit is less than ideal. I’m hoping to get to other venues to pick their brains and I’m calling some old contacts to see if I can see their spaces.

I am curious whether any vendors in this (culture-less) area have consultants on staff, because the salespeople seem to be in sell mode and not necessarily advice mode.
 

James Suit

Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Location
New Jersey
Oh, I hadn't seen that - that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish indeed.

Ideally, sales people (myself included) should at least make a pass at trying to have the customer's best interest at heart. Some vendors, however, I'm sure are better than others. If you'd like, I'm more than happy to offer a relatively agnostic opinion - as I'm sure many others on here would be as well - but finding a vendor that you trust is certainly key.

If you're willing to share - what area of the country are you in? Maybe others here would have strong recommendations on companies that they trust for their own use.
 
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ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
Hey everyone, hope the times have NOT been too hard on you. (Thanks @RonHebbard for catching my mistake!)

We’re surprisingly still pushing forward with our retrofit of an old church. After several donations of old (not that old) lights a local high school didn’t want, mini ellipsoidals from a shuttered theatre, and the promise of two MAC profiles from an out of business rental house, we’re in much better shape than any of us anticipated. I’m still looking for some suggestions on movers.

Basically, our grid will be fixed and about 17’ above the stage deck. All of the fixtures we acquired are 575W incandescent, like Altman Star-Pars and various ellipsoidals. The board still wants (even with the promise of the MACs) three small movers for the stage. They‘ve obviously been watching Hamilton on their streaming service, because they keep talking about “down lighting” and “back lighting” and “overhead movers”. Power won’t be an issue, but cost will. They keep coming to ask me about ADJ and Chauvet DJ instruments off of eBay. As much as I’d like a Chauvet R2, the cost is something they don’t want to see.

Any suggestions (including used) for something that will be effective, bright enough, and not break the bank?
 
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soundlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
If you can get by without color mixing, check out the Chauvet DJ Intimidator 475Z and the ADJ Focus Spot 6Z. They're still not "theatrical grade" as it were, but they'll be reliable little movers that have enough zoom to be used, whereas a lot of the lower level DJ units won't. If you're able to get them to go wash units - which I think have a lot more versatility for theatrical situations at a lower price point - check out the Chauvet Rogue R1X Wash, I used the original R1 Washes for top/back light for a few theatrical shows a few years back and they were certainly up to the task. Those will be considerably cheaper than either of the spot units I mentioned.

IF YOU CAN GO USED - there are a ton of places dumping gear right now, and lots of it, at good prices. However, if you do go used, make sure you're buying from a reputable vendor and at least able to get some sort of warranty on the gear, even if it's just a 48hr non-DOA warranty, and make sure to fully test things when they arrive. Also, don't buy stuff that's too old - there's a lot of deals out there on older stuff right now, like VL3000s/2500s, old HES gear, and I've even seen some Alpha Spot 575s for sale as companies clean out their back rooms to find anything that they could sell right now - and a lot of that, while it might test out right now, will be hard to keep in service. And unless you can get them donated, don't go for the MAC2Ks you mentioned - those things are a money pit of problems and despair! They were 10 years ago and they still are now.
 

Ford

Sr Product Manager, Chauvet Professional
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Location
South FL
What is your budget?
If you’re going to have a fixed grid, access is going to be an issue. You’re going to be much happier getting new(er) gear, which is likely to need less frequent servicing, and may have a warranty.

@soundlight pretty much nailed it.
also... encourage your board to keep watching Hamilton. If they get inspired, they’ll find the money.
 
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ACTSTech

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Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
Thanks for the quick replies everyone.

Here‘s the long and short of it, the new venue is still being spec’d out, but the renovation initially was supposed to be around $150,000, but has since grown to $225,000. My initial guess of a $10,000 budget for electric was eaten up by the fact that, while most of the wiring had been redone, there’s still knob and tube which has to be replaced, emergency lights and exit signs added, etc... The board is applying for grants, so it’s a wait and see approach to see what comes in from where.

At the moment, my “budget” sits at $2000 for movers. I sort of laughed at that figure, but I’m following through. I’m afraid that the renovation is going to keep ballooning, as they always do, and we’re going to run out of money before we even start. With no income since March and no future shows in sight, especially for a community theatre that draws between 80 and 120 people per night, this is a lofty project. Interesting, yes. Challenging, yes. But fruitful, we’ll see.
 

sk8rsdad

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Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
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Aug 15, 2008
Location
Ottawa
For $2K you might get lucky and pick up several good used fixtures. They would be discharge lamp fixtures. Relamping and maintenance can easily cost $2K every year or so depending on usage.
 

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