# Moving Fixtures for a Theatre

#### wctctech

##### Member
Good Day all,

We are currently looking at purchasing some moving fixtures for my theatre. It is a community road house managed by a professional producing Theatre company. The theatre is rented out for about 80% of the year and it sees a variety of shows. Live concerts to professional theatre shows. The push for movers comes from a number of areas. From me wanting to add that pizzaz to our shows (we are doing disneys Beauty this year for example) and the push also comes from the road shows asking what do you have for movers. To which we say errr arrgh nothing. We have demo'd a few units. My first inclination for to look for wash fixtures so we demo's a Martin TW-1 and a VL 500. I like the tuungsten fixtures for sure. Our thought was that the theatre show and day to day we could use the wash fixtures as our topwash. Reduce the number of instruments hung and speed up our turnarounds. But after talking as a group the TD of the space, my technicians and anyone that came through, we realized that a purely wash fixture may not be the best use of our money. It was suggested to look at a couple of other fixture the VL 1000 with shutters came up and I like the idea, but also we were suggested to look at the martin 700 profile although they are arc source. So all that being said, and opening the can of worms I just have, what do you have to say. Who have used these fixtures and what do you prefer.

Chris

#### icewolf08

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Well, first off, there are dozens of threads on this, use the search feature. Next, what is your budget for this, and what do you want to be able to do with the fixtures? I assume you must have a pretty large budget if you were thinking about purchasing a bunch of TW1'a or VL500s. If you are on a tight budget and need spot fixtures, you might look at the ETC Revolution, the people in the music world will scoff at them, but for theatre applications they are good fixtures and you can get 3 of them for the price of 2 VL1000s. On the other hand, the VL1000 is a nice fixture and if you have the money you will get more features. I am sure others have more opinions, and like I said, search around a bit, because most of these fixtures have been discussed in other threads.

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Also, what are you using as your current lighting console. If it is anything made by etc that is not the EOS or Obsession, you might want to look at adding a new console into the budget.

#### jmabray

##### Active Member
Also, what are you using as your current lighting console. If it is anything made by etc that is not the EOS or Obsession, you might want to look at adding a new console into the budget.

I would have to disagree with this. (as much as I like ETC, and I do) you don't necessarily need an ETC desk to do moving lights - nor does it have to be the EOS or the Obsession. You can also do it with the Congo, Congo Jr., and SmartFade ML (to speak only of the ETC Product line - there are numerous others)

I think that what footer means to say ( and correct me if I am wrong here) is that you might want to consider looking at a desk designed to be in control of moving lights- and he is very correct in saying that. It will make your life significantly better to do so if you do not already have a console to do that. Can you program moving lights on a standard theatre style desk (i.e. an express) Yes - would you really want to? No.

Do make sure that you look at your control needs - not only your moving light needs.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
While we wait for answers to those other questions: Two quick notes...

-Robe makes a Tungsten Wash light.

-Martin may have plans for a Tungsten Profile in the near future. (A Martin rep at LDI last fall told me that it was very likely depending on how the TW1 sells).

#### Grog12

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Well, first off, there are dozens of threads on this, use the search feature. Next, what is your budget for this, and what do you want to be able to do with the fixtures? I assume you must have a pretty large budget if you were thinking about purchasing a bunch of TW1'a or VL500s. If you are on a tight budget and need spot fixtures, you might look at the ETC Revolution, the people in the music world will scoff at them, but for theatre applications they are good fixtures and you can get 3 of them for the price of 2 VL1000s. On the other hand, the VL1000 is a nice fixture and if you have the money you will get more features. I am sure others have more opinions, and like I said, search around a bit, because most of these fixtures have been discussed in other threads.
Stay clear of the Revolution. It isn't worth your money. Sure you can get 3 for the price of 2 VL1K's but for that extra fixture you lose functionality because of their module's.

I would have to disagree with this. (as much as I like ETC, and I do) you don't necessarily need an ETC desk to do moving lights - nor does it have to be the EOS or the Obsession. You can also do it with the Congo, Congo Jr., and SmartFade ML (to speak only of the ETC Product line - there are numerous others)
I think that what footer means to say ( and correct me if I am wrong here) is that you might want to consider looking at a desk designed to be in control of moving lights- and he is very correct in saying that. It will make your life significantly better to do so if you do not already have a console to do that. Can you program moving lights on a standard theatre style desk (i.e. an express) Yes - would you really want to? No.
Do make sure that you look at your control needs - not only your moving light needs.

#### bslproductions

##### Member
for a road house the grandMA full edition (if you can budget it) and 8 to 12 robe colorspot 700 and colorwash 700 fixtures each would set you up for pretty much any small to mid sized show. You do need to look at profiles and washes, they each have their strengths and weekness's.

I prefer Robe when it comes to movers. They have all the same features as the Martin fixtures at a lower price and a higher quality. Robe used to make everyone else's fixtures for years. They just didn't advertize much till recently.

VL1000's are a great fixture, but you need more options than they afford for a road house.

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
I would have to disagree with this. (as much as I like ETC, and I do) you don't necessarily need an ETC desk to do moving lights - nor does it have to be the EOS or the Obsession. You can also do it with the Congo, Congo Jr., and SmartFade ML (to speak only of the ETC Product line - there are numerous others)
Odds are they do not have anything that ETC has put on in the last 2 years, if they have anything made by ETC at all. Because they are a road house, I am just guessing here, odds are they have either an ETC console or a strand console, and its not a congo, smartfade, smartfade ML, or any of their offsprings.

My feeling is that doing any type of intelligent light on an expression, insight, express, though doable, is the most infuriating process that a person can ever have.

If you are going to buy movers, take a look at your console and make sure it can actually handle it. If you need a new console be sure to bugdet it in.

#### jmabray

##### Active Member
Well the Eos is even more recent the the congo.... ;-)

You're right about moving lights on an Express though - infuriating - an Expression 3 (or 2x) that has encoders - less so- but still not exactly a breeze.... especially compared to a console that is set up to do movers - like an EOS, Congo and the like. (Again there are other manufacturers out there that do nice products as well.)

But you are absolutely right in that they do need to take a look at the control situation and budget accordingly...

I will be very interested to see what s/he says that they already have for that...

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
I'm in a similar situation - a road house that has many rentals, as well as in-house produced events.
We debated long over whether to purchase ANY kind of ML's - wash, focusable specials, or even SFX spots. We finally decided on 6 Studio Spot CMY/Zooms to give the in-house events some flashier looks for appropriate Vegas style events, at which they work very well. Note that the monies came from a NYC Arts Council grant. We also expanded our Express 48 with a 500 channel Emphasis system.
Our general manager is normally of the opinion that for any rental that wants the ML's they need to pay a supplemental rental fee. Of course, no outside renter wants to do this and after a year, those events wanting ML's brings their own, even though the SS's are hanging there, unused. Part of the problem was our production manager was doing simple math - Console Op. @ $300, Console @$300, 5 - SS @ $50 ea., plus wear and tear, say$1,000 per day. Of course, I was laughed at when I suggested this fee to rentals. Thus we have never used them on a rental. Part of the problem is the console. To max. out my $50,000 I went with 8 fixtures, then had to give back$12,000, so ended up with 6, plus about $5,000 for a console with the stipulation that it not be a 2nd console, as we didn't want to have to hire a 2nd operator just for the ML's. Thus the Emphasis, which was a mistake. I probably should have gotten a Laptop, Light Jockey and a Fingers add-on, as Emphasis is a terrible on-the-fly ML console (I do like it for a lot of other things, though). In reality, those events that want ML's, usually know in advance that they need them, via a rider, etc... and will provide the gear the rider calls for, HogIII, GrandMA, Martin 2k profiles, etc..., though we often get a couple of less-then-top-of-the-line rental packages that use Light Jockey with Fingers and Elation gear. But for us, thus the whole concept of making money on the rentals is unworkable. We do use the gear for our in-house events, where the producer paid for the gear, thus there's no fee for usage - Dionne Warwick, Freddie McGregor, Mandy Patinkin and similar events. All told, I think I put 300 hrs. on the fixtures last year. We also found them useful for our college opera dept., but that's because the LD is our PM and he has fun (he designs as a freebie as well). I also insisted on using them for our 7 dance school recitals, even though the schools are supposed to pay for them. I insisted we had to give them away the first time, as none of the dance school directors would want to pay in advance, when they had no concept of how they would improve the show. In truth, I was able to make the case that instead of a major re-hang to a plot that works for dance schools (Lot's of cyc gobos), our rep. plot with the ML's could work, thus saving 2 electrics calls. The schools did love the look and excitement the ML's bring to the event, and all the schools were universally NOT going to pay extra for them next year. So when the money comes around again, I'll buy gear that makes our life a bit easier. I'm not getting stuff that would get used for our 6-8 major dance companies, as they too are specific if they want something, and we always have the time and budget to rent and set it all up (or plan for time and budget in advance). Probably some ML wash units, to save focus time on our Vegas style events, when Audio needs the deck time for set-up. Eventually a set of 30ft. front trusses with a lot of VL1000's to give us some decent FOH positions. And a new console - actually that's first on the list. Steve Bailey Brooklyn College #### Footer ##### Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member I'm in a similar situation - a road house that has many rentals, as well as in-house produced events. We debated long over whether to purchase ANY kind of ML's - wash, focusable specials, or even SFX spots. We finally decided on 6 Studio Spot CMY/Zooms to give the in-house events some flashier looks for appropriate Vegas style events, at which they work very well. Note that the monies came from a NYC Arts Council grant. We also expanded our Express 48 with a 500 channel Emphasis system. Our general manager is normally of the opinion that for any rental that wants the ML's they need to pay a supplemental rental fee. Of course, no outside renter wants to do this and after a year, those events wanting ML's brings their own, even though the SS's are hanging there, unused. Part of the problem was our production manager was doing simple math - Console Op. @$300, Console @ $300, 5 - SS @$50 ea., plus wear and tear, say $1,000 per day. Of course, I was laughed at when I suggested this fee to rentals. Thus we have never used them on a rental. Part of the problem is the console. To max. out my$50,000 I went with 8 fixtures, then had to give back $12,000, so ended up with 6, plus about$5,000 for a console with the stipulation that it not be a 2nd console, as we didn't want to have to hire a 2nd operator just for the ML's. Thus the Emphasis, which was a mistake. I probably should have gotten a Laptop, Light Jockey and a Fingers add-on, as Emphasis is a terrible on-the-fly ML console (I do like it for a lot of other things, though).
In reality, those events that want ML's, usually know in advance that they need them, via a rider, etc... and will provide the gear the rider calls for, HogIII, GrandMA, Martin 2k profiles, etc..., though we often get a couple of less-then-top-of-the-line rental packages that use Light Jockey with Fingers and Elation gear.
But for us, thus the whole concept of making money on the rentals is unworkable.
We do use the gear for our in-house events, where the producer paid for the gear, thus there's no fee for usage - Dionne Warwick, Freddie McGregor, Mandy Patinkin and similar events. All told, I think I put 300 hrs. on the fixtures last year.
We also found them useful for our college opera dept., but that's because the LD is our PM and he has fun (he designs as a freebie as well). I also insisted on using them for our 7 dance school recitals, even though the schools are supposed to pay for them. I insisted we had to give them away the first time, as none of the dance school directors would want to pay in advance, when they had no concept of how they would improve the show. In truth, I was able to make the case that instead of a major re-hang to a plot that works for dance schools (Lot's of cyc gobos), our rep. plot with the ML's could work, thus saving 2 electrics calls. The schools did love the look and excitement the ML's bring to the event, and all the schools were universally NOT going to pay extra for them next year.
So when the money comes around again, I'll buy gear that makes our life a bit easier. I'm not getting stuff that would get used for our 6-8 major dance companies, as they too are specific if they want something, and we always have the time and budget to rent and set it all up (or plan for time and budget in advance).
Probably some ML wash units, to save focus time on our Vegas style events, when Audio needs the deck time for set-up. Eventually a set of 30ft. front trusses with a lot of VL1000's to give us some decent FOH positions. And a new console - actually that's first on the list.
Steve Bailey
Brooklyn College
Very true, having just a handful of fixtures is great for a bit of flash, but in the long run, they are pretty useless. Unless you can actually replace an entire system with movers, you will find yourself using them less and less. Have an entire backlight/top of 10 or 15 movers is a very nice thing to have around.

#### SAWYeR

##### Active Member
If you can look at other boards, try the Martin Maxxyz. Nice board, small, but full of features. It's also very easy to learn to use, very intuitive. As for the lights, Vari*Lite's VL1000s are great lights. 10-45 degree zoom, CMY color mixing plus two preset wheels, two static gobo wheels, one moving, and it has lots of options. These include Arc or Tungsten source lamp, motorized framing shutters or iris. The Tungsten w/ shutters turns it into Source 4, but with loads more to offer. The MAC 700 Profile is nice if yuo don't mind Arc source, along with the VL2500. Just mah two cents for you.

#### stantonsound

##### Active Member
I would disagree with the statement that just a few movers are worthless. I worked in a club that has live music acts about 5 nights a week, with about 4,000 people a week average coming through the doors (not a very big club). We had a few dozen par cans, 4 lekos, and 10 movers. The movers made our jobs so much easier. We had 6 on the truss behind the bands, and 4 in front of the stage. We never had to focus the cans or lekos, we just adjusted the movers from the console. The pars give a great wash, and the movers provide the specials.

We are getting ready to put in some scrollers, and then we will have the versatility to do whatever we need to do without having to pull out a ladder.

All you really need are 4 colors of stage washes and a few specials and you can do just about any show and make it look pretty good. Lets face it, unless you are doing Les Miserables, it is all you need.

#### Charc

##### Well-Known Member
Lets face it, unless you are doing Les Miserables, it is all you need.
... I think my sense of self worth has been crushed. ()

Now, all I need to do is suggest Les Miz for next years season! rolleyes

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
I would disagree with the statement that just a few movers are worthless. I worked in a club that has live music acts about 5 nights a week, with about 4,000 people a week average coming through the doors (not a very big club). We had a few dozen par cans, 4 lekos, and 10 movers. The movers made our jobs so much easier. We had 6 on the truss behind the bands, and 4 in front of the stage. We never had to focus the cans or lekos, we just adjusted the movers from the console. The pars give a great wash, and the movers provide the specials.
We are getting ready to put in some scrollers, and then we will have the versatility to do whatever we need to do without having to pull out a ladder.
All you really need are 4 colors of stage washes and a few specials and you can do just about any show and make it look pretty good. Lets face it, unless you are doing Les Miserables, it is all you need.
10 is a great number to have, you can easily cover a stage with that. What I personaly hate is when people drop 10-20 grand on 4 wash fixtures. They dont have enough to actually do anything. In a concert situation any mover is a welcomed addition, in theatre, its a glorified special that probably wont be able to do exacly what you want it to do in ever situation. I would rather have the extra 60 source fours and a nice rep plot then 3 or 4 studio colors or save that money and rent occasionally when I can and when I need to.

If your going to get movers, figure out what you want to replace in your current plot. If you have 20 specials plotted that you have to focus for every group, replace those with 8-10 fixtures, if you want a poppy backlight system, go with 10 or so wash fixtures... If you have a position FOH that is just horrible to get to, go with a VL1000 or the like.

#### wctctech

##### Member
Thanks for all the input,

A console is part of the equation. I was looking at either a ETC congo, although I did Demo the new strand product, but have never really been a strand user, and would wait until Strand has a year under the new ownership to produce something of there own not a repackaged Marquee product. Although the Marquee was interesting. They made a strange addition to the theatre about two years ago and purchased a emphasis server, so Moving lights is a bit doable, but still a pain. The emphasis was brought in to solve a problem and it created its own set of issues. So as far as console it is part of the equation. The reality is the hope would be to replace an existing four colour top wash with something that is a little more flexible, and when we go to Dance season (12 dance schools rent the venue for two months and do end of year shows) give the users the ability to have a "bigger more professional" looking show. MEaning lots of flash and flam. We would not be looking at renting them to users as it is not part of our mandate. I would love to go to a whole house of movers but. One problem in our space has always been an shortage of availble electrical power so limited dimmers. The power is routed into the theatre by the High School attached to us and getting more than I have is a problem, so I am limited to the total number of dimmers. Hence why I purchased 8 i cues, for those shows where you need dozens of specials. My designers love them and have even used them with a bit of a retro fit to attach to my wybron wash fixture. What I am trying to say is that with limited number of dimmers (150) I can only add so many fixtures and still have flexibility, hence why every thing needs to serve more than one purpose. Anyways, Thanks

Chris

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Congo's effects generator... I don't remember what they call the feature exactly... would make it really easy for you to program some cool moving lights tricks on a short time schedule. Unless you get into the Strand Light Palette consoles that cost like $15k more than Congo you just don't have the easy moving light access with the other Strand consoles... the ability is there but it's all done with a mouse and keyboard. Remember that Congo Jr. has almost every feature of the full console so you can save like$8k by purchasing Jr. if you don't need all the extra DMX universes and channels. Also you might want to wait and take a look at ETC's new board "ION" coming this fall... it appears that its' going to be basicly an "EOS Jr."

#### jmabray

##### Active Member
Congo's effects generator... I don't remember what they call the feature exactly... would make it really easy for you to program some cool moving lights tricks on a short time schedule. Unless you get into the Strand Light Palette consoles that cost like $15k more than Congo you just don't have the easy moving light access with the other Strand consoles... the ability is there but it's all done with a mouse and keyboard. Remember that Congo Jr. has almost every feature of the full console so you can save like$8k by purchasing Jr. if you don't need all the extra DMX universes and channels. Also you might want to wait and take a look at ETC's new board "ION" coming this fall... it appears that its' going to be basicly an "EOS Jr."

It's called an Effects Engine. Plus there are going to be Step Based Effects (not a typical Step based chase or the like, that's already in there) in the next software release - some pretty powerful stuff to say the least. Congo Jr. has the exact same number of channels and outputs as the full version - the difference is only in the hardware - and with the master fader wing addition - there isn't much of a difference.

As for the ION, I am sure I will be able to tell more about next week as I am heading to the factory tomorrow...

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
It's called an Effects Engine. Plus there are going to be Step Based Effects (not a typical Step based chase or the like, that's already in there) in the next software release - some pretty powerful stuff to say the least. Congo Jr. has the exact same number of channels and outputs as the full version - the difference is only in the hardware - and with the master fader wing addition - there isn't much of a difference.
As for the ION, I am sure I will be able to tell more about next week as I am heading to the factory tomorrow...
We always get the ETC inside scoop from jmabray... look forward to hearing more on ION.