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Automated Fixtures Moving lights with an Ion

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by koimystic, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. koimystic

    koimystic Member

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    Hello all,
    Our school bought about 70 Source Four lights by ETC and a few Source Four Juniors and cyc lights along with an Ion and Cem+ 96 Dimmer Rack with an extended architectural Unison controler. It is about 9 months old. I honestly think that buying 70 Source Four lights was a waste of money when you could of bought intelligent lights instead. We have the full setup in out chapel for conventional lighting, 3 electrics (distros?) in the front of house and 3 electrics (distros) behind the stage. Each electric (distro) has ETC Net ports on them. We also already have 3 ETC DMX Net Gateways and are powered over the Ethernet.
    So since we have the FULL capabilities to add some intelligent lights, I decided to pick some out to present to the fine arts director who will buy them. I have looked mainly just on guitar centers website at iLights and picked out a few, around a $1,500 budget. I don't want to overwhelm him so I think 4 iLights would be a good start. Here is a list of the lights I liked, and what do you think of them keeping the compatibility in mind of the Ion board:

    1) Chauvet Q-Spot 200 Chauvet Q-Spot 200 DMX Moving Yoke Lighting Fixture and more Moving Head Fixtures at GuitarCenter.com.

    2) Chauvet Q-Spot 300 Chauvet Q-Spot 300 DMX Moving Yoke Lighting Fixture and more Moving Head Fixtures at GuitarCenter.com.

    3) Chauvet Q-Spot 575 Chauvet Q-Spot 575 Moving Yoke DMX Lighting Fixture and more Moving Head Fixtures at GuitarCenter.com.

    4) Elation Design Spot 250 Hybrid Spot and Wash Elation Design Spot 250 Hybrid Intelligent Spot And Wash In One and more Moving Head Fixtures at GuitarCenter.com.

    5) Elation Design Wash 250 Hybrid Spot and Wash Elation Design Wash 250 Hybrid Intelligent Spot and Wash Moving-Head Fixture and more Moving Head Fixtures at GuitarCenter.com.

    6) Elation Power Spot 250 Elation Power Spot 250 250-Watt Moving-Head Fixture and more Moving Head Fixtures at GuitarCenter.com.

    7) OmniSistem Omni 250 Spot OmniSistem Omni 250 Spot Moving Yoke DMX Lighting Effect and more Moving Head Fixtures at GuitarCenter.com.

    Number 5, I am not sure if i necessarily want a wash. I am not sure if washes are the most common. I assumed Spots would be better, especially if some have the frost anyways.
    I know those are a lot of different lights, but help would be REALLY appreciated.
    I can answer any questions you have also.
    Thank you SO much!
    Marshall :)
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    They are raceways, not distros. As to 70 ETC Source Four fixtures being a waste, see The Gafftaper Method. One does not purchase quality moving lights at Guitar Center, as they do not carry the brands Vari-lite, Martin, and High End Systems. All of the fixtures mentioned above would have difficulty competing photometrically with a 750W or in many cases a 575W SourceFour. Also, most theatre lighting designers would not consider an automated fixture that does not have http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/glossarys/9214-cmy-color-mixing.html. No one wants to be limited to the 7-10 color chips, more suited to disco than to theatre.

    One last thing: There's no such thing as an "intelligent" light. Call them automated or moving, but they're all pretty stupid.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  3. koimystic

    koimystic Member

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    Thanks for the quick response. I can see how CMY mixing is alot better than a "scroller" in the moving light. In response to the gaffertape method, we already have all the basic needed and all the conventional lighting needed. Now we just need to add on for more effects since everything is already wired and ready to go with ETC Net at the raceways.(Thanks for the correction on distros. lol) Since we already have the convetional lights, a few moving lights would be a nice addition was my thinking, we won't rely on them, just use them for special effects therefore a nice moving light isn't all that necessary. What moving lights would you recomend in the $1,500 price range that is decent? Thanks again for the quick response.
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I completely agree with Derek. Just because you have the capability to use something doesn't mean you need it. As the master electrician for a large regional theatre who owns moving lights I can tell you that my inventory of conventional fixtures gets used way more. It would be a waste of money to have bought anything aside from the 70 source fours that you have. With all the power you have, you should be considering buying more conventional fixtures before you add moving lights.

    Also, as Derek said it isn't worth investing in moving lights that you can buy from people who are not theatrical dealers. The only fixture on your list that I would even think of putting into theatrical use is the Elation fixture. While some may argue with me, I usually say that unless it costs $4000 or more, it probably isn't worth it.

    Then consider that you need to have the infrastructure to maintain the fixtures. It takes a lot of work and diligence and money to keep moving lights working. Most of the time, schools, even colleges don't have the resources to keep fixtures up and running. A source four can be tossed around, dropped, abused, and neglected but moving lights require lots of care. Even just letting MLs sit around unused requires you to some work on them. This is compounded when you buy low end fixtures. They are more fragile and require the use of kid gloves to keep them working at their best. Also, it is easier to get professional service for professional fixtures whereas service for low end gear is often non-existent.

    So, in the end, it would be a waste of your money to buy anything short of professional grade moving lights, and as has been said that money is better invested in gear that will be used more often.
     
  5. koimystic

    koimystic Member

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    Attatched is a picture of the chapel from the balcony where the tech booth is. I also agree with you all that the conventional lights are a very important and necessary part for theater, we have more concerts than acting so I was think moving lights would be could if we have th e money available. What would you think of some Studio Color 250's?
     

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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Re: Moving lights with and Ion

    Nine months with a system with 70 fixtures doesn't really seem to me like filling the "basic needs." Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should. Systems are built for future expansion.

    I just don't think that there are any moving lights worth your time in the $1500 or less price range. For most of the reasons that I listed in my last post.
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Please explain how you would use intelligent lights to add to your design concept for this space, and how these effects could not be produced with conventional fixtures.

    You should never, ever, ever use the Geetar Centar website as a reference for moving lights. It's just a joke. The only light out of your list that I would even consider purchasing at all is that Elation Design Spot 250. In short, use the money better elsewhere. Buy some good gobos and gobo rotators. Buy some Rosco Icues. Buy some seachangers if you've got the spare change laying around. Apply the Gafftaper method to its fullest.

    I will say this - I just was working on the budget for a large request for an upgrade of intelligent lighting. With the budget presented, we could get 8 nice moving lights. Instead, we're looking at a full overhead wash of Seachangers (12x seachanger wash), some more Icues, right arms, gobo rotators, power supplies, cabling, dmx irises, 4 regular Seachangers (non-wash) for the icues, and only 2 moving lights - VL1000TSDs in order to have two framing specials. Other than that, we're going all accessories, and we will have alot more functionality because of it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Looks like a nice space, koimystic. You didn't mention if there was non-dimmed power on the raceways, nor where in the world you are. A VL1000, which is about an $8,000 fixture, rents for about $150-300/week in most large US cities. Makes much more economic sense to rent for the occasional big event, than to purchase.
     
  9. koimystic

    koimystic Member

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    Makes since, I just think that we have almost everything, we even have foot cycs, some wash lights, pars, source four juniors, adn others that are laying around that we can't use because we have too many lights. There are soo many lights hooked up that it is hard to control all of them. I will look into some sea changers. those look really cool. Where can you buy them and how much do they cost on average for source fours? Thanks a bunch!
     
  10. koimystic

    koimystic Member

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    I am in North carolina, USA. I will add that to my profile in a minute
     
  11. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Seachangers are around $1700 each from Production Advantage. If you have the cash, I'd get 2 seachangers and 2 Rosco Icues and a power supply for the icues and go at it. Moving lights with CMY for a decent price.

    Also, strongly consider six Apollo SmartMove DMX rotators which can be powered off the same power supply as the Icues (get an Apollo Smart Power 250). This will allow you to wash the whole stage in rotating gobos with six 50 degree Source Fours.

    Smart move DMX x6 = $420 x6 = $2520
    Rosco Icue x2 = $540 x2 = $1080
    Smart Power 250 = $600
    Cabling = $500 or so
    Seachanger x2 = $1730 x2 = $3460

    Total = $8120

    Get that far and you'll be doing really well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  12. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I would disagree, slightly, since the venue is a school. We have a healthy inventory of conventional instruments, several I-Cues, and rotators. This year I purchased a pair of Martin MAC 250s, for the sole purpose of training. I considered going lower to Chauvet, but didn't want to deal with maintenance headaches and reliability. The 250 is versatile enough for theater applications when used judiciously, and more importantly it exposes my students to moving lights and programming of moving lights early on. Having the devices in my inventory allows us to practice or conduct training whenever free time pops up. If a school already has a healthy inventory and a console that will support the instruments, a small number is absolutely worthwhile. Don't go overboard, don't overlook the cost of lamps and maintenance, and make sure you have a plan for using them in your design.

    I certainly wouldn't go overboard, but this is one place where I think even Guitar Center brands are worth exploring. Keep in mind the reliability of the gear, but the lower cost can help to justify items used for training - although I opted to go for a better brand. Ultimately a pair of movers might cost less than a bank of computes in a lab, which a school may turn around and replace long before the movers are out of service. I've even considered a pair of cheap LED PARs for the same purpose - say, two instruments that could also be used for specials back in a set. I have considerably less experience and wisdom than others on this forum, though, but just wanted to toss out an alternate viewpoint. Others here can speak more to the quality of instruments, or the choice of brands.
     
  13. Jby007

    Jby007 Member

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    For a high school owning anything with a motor is a bad idea try to rent the equipment. First of all you said that you had a problem running 70 conventional lights that are one channel a piece. When you add moving lights to the mix each light take up 12 to 30 channels or more depending on the light. It sounds to me like you want the moving lights so you have something to play with and you can do flash and trash looks with.
    Try starting out by renting HES Studio Spots / Colors. If you want something that moves around and you want to purchase that product the Rosco I Cues work great as well as the Apollo Right Arms. Both those fixtures can work the conventional lights you already own.
    Try buying some color changers to start with Color Rams CXIs Forerunners all made from Wybron. The Sea Changers are great lights but way over kill for a high school.

    As far as moving lights are concerned the Elation Impression and design spots and wash are not bad. The Robe club spots and wash are great lights for the buck. As well as the Mac 250 fixtures.

    Hope it helps.

    Jeffrey
     
  14. koimystic

    koimystic Member

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    Hello all who have helped, I found some used studio spot 250's for sale for $1,450 a piece(Minimum of three due to road case) and Mac 250's for 1850 a piece (minimum of three). I would much rather prefer a spot over wash. Are the Studio Spot 250's good moving lights for the price?
    So it has boiled down to:

    1) Used Studio Spot 250's (1,450 w/ road case)
    2) New Elation Design 250 Spots (1799 w/o road case)
    3) Used Mac 250 (1850 w/o road case)

    These will be installed and not used on tour or anything damaging.
    Any suggestions?

    Thanks for the help!
    Marshall
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  15. Jby007

    Jby007 Member

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    If it is an install you do not need a case.

    Yes the studio spots are a good light its on ok price depending on there condition.

    Moving light get damaged from normal use.
    Do you have people on staff that know how to fix a light when it goes down or has a problem

    but what do you want the lights for?
    how much use are they going to get?

    have you considered renting the lights when you need them $200 or so per light and you dont have to take care of it.

    other things to keep in mind
    how are you going to power it? a moving light can not plug into a dimmer


    on a different note you can get mac 250's much cheaper then you have priced i have seen them for $1200




    Jeffrey
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  17. koimystic

    koimystic Member

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    Hello, We would use them almost every Thursday's. Also we have 3 trained professionals who could service them. Since most of you all are against moving lights for this purpose, what about just scanners? I just think they look tacky...
     
  18. Jby007

    Jby007 Member

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    By scanners you mean a moving mirror its still a moving light.

    We are not against moving lights they have there place high schools are not it. To many things can go wrong with them and students have problems using them. Sudents think they are toys but they are a tool.

    Try a Rosco I Cues and Color Rams and a gobo rotator it does the same thing as a moving light and most of the time less tempremental. You can use it on almost every light you alredy own.

    But if you still want a moving light RENT it when you need it. It's not cost effective to own your own moving lights.

    Moving lights should be used as an effect not as your primary source of light.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  19. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    It does sound like we are against moving lights, but as [user]Jby007[/user] said, it isn't so much that we are against them as it is that they have a place. Here is a lot of the logic. Lets say that all you have to spend is $4000. Well in the world of moving lights that might get you one ETC Revolution or one Elation Powerspot 700. But what are you going to do with one fixture? So people start to look at the less expensive alternatives. There are the 250 units from a bunch of manufacturers, but sacrificing output isn't always worth what you save in cost. There are also the "DJ" fixtures, which includes just about everything from companies like American DJ, and Chauvet.

    So where does that leave you? Well, the low end DJ gear you will probably never be happy with, and chances are it will break before you want it to. On the service end of the world, it is much harder to get this type of gear serviced. If you go with a reputable manufacturers smaller/lower output fixtures you gain the service aspect but loose some of the usability.

    Now think about this. What would you be using these fixtures for every Thursday? How long will they be on/in use in a week? Lamp life is 750-1000 hours (on average, depends on the lamp). So if you ended up running these fixtures for about 24 hours in a week, you would have to replace the lamps every 7 weeks. At $100+ per lamp, that gets expensive.

    Next, moving lights are not fixtures that can just be hung in the air and left there. They need to be cleaned and serviced on a regular basis. if they sit an collect dust, bad things happen. The lamps in moving lights get significantly hotter than your source fours, the potential to start dust fires is significantly higher. Also consider that it appears from your photo that your FOH electrics are fixed and can't fly in, and I am assuming that because it appears to be a renovated church there is no fly system over the stage. That being the case, we are talking about having to haul these fixtures up and down on a regular basis. Going up and down a ladder with a source four is one thing, but hauling around 50-90 pound fixtures sucks. For me to hang moving lights on my theatre's fixed positions takes 4 people who know exactly what they are doing. Plus, when hauling fixtures up and down to positions the potential for bodily injury or damage to the fixture goes up by a lot.

    So, lets go back to the money thing. If you had $4K-$5K to spend there are much more useful solutions that come from reputable manufacturers that are easier to move around, easier to get serviced, and less finiky. Want lights to move? Pick up two Apollo Right-Arms (~$1500x2=$3000). Want those fixtures to change color? Pick up two SmartColor Scrollers (~$350x2=$500). Want them yo have rotating gobos? Add two SmartMove DMX (~$550x2=$1100). All told you have now spent $4600 and you have gear that is much more robust and can all be used separately if you wanted. If you wanted CMY you could get Rosco I-Cues instead of RightArms and SeaChangers instead of SmartColors and the price would still come out around $5K.

    Here is another cost example. Good quality moving light is going to set you back at least $4K. Rental of that fixture will probably be around $300 per week. So if your show has a week of tech and a two week run that is $900, less than a quarter the cost of the fixture. You also don't have to buy lamps or do any maintenance. At that price, for a show that needs moving lights you could use four times as many compared to if you bought them. Then, on next year's big show you can rent the cool new moving light that just came out, or the one you have used might be even cheaper. So, lots of advantages.

    So, as I mentioned before, if you have then infrastructure, facilities and budget to maintain moving lights, that is great. From my experience, most high schools don't. However they can afford to get other gear that can be significantly more useful in the long run. From a professional stand point, we use our scrollers and gobo rotators much more frequently than our moving lights.
     
  20. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I just finished installing phase 1 of moving lights for a school district. Used studio spot 575's were installed. Next are studio colors. Part of them buying them was we setup a maintance contract. We also setup console training sessions, in which the district failed to look over the major problem of if you are running anything over 48 dimmers you are out of channels and many high schools are running well over 48 channels of dimming. Having 70 fixutres is actually not a lot of fixtures, if you are doing plays then there will be plenty of fixtures added and moved around based on the positions. The Ion is not the most user friendly console out there esp with movers. I would not go with any fixture lower than a studio spot 575. They do make CMY color mixing versions of them also. With some creative work, you can use the two color wheels to make any color that you can get from a cmy color mixing system. You can do the same with the martin Mac 500's i have gotten them to match any color i have made with my cybers. I have matched the studio spot non color mixing perfectly with the color mixing on shows. So with a little creativity you can go a long way. Also if you just want to add some gobos to the stage, use some gobo changers, they have gobo changers that also rotate, that will give you a very nice effect of moving texture and you have lots of options. I was at one highschool and they had about 20 different fixtures (1 per side, so it would be about 40 fixtures total) with different images and textures focused onto their cyc. I thought it was really cool, they had the broadway striop, different city outlines, images of outsides of theaters (they were using rosco metal gobos). But they were pretty much prepaired for any situation. They had a full fly system and catwalks all over the house. So you can do lots of things with your extra instruments and some gobos. Esp if you have spare dimmers availiable. You can also get some doughnuts to put into the gobo holders to shrink down the beam, in some 19deg for some special laser types of effects for concerts and things. If you have enough to hang all over the place, i'd gell them different colors and chase them, people would think you had lasers. Dont think of a source 4 as just a conventional. There are many many many toys that you can install in them. They also make strobes to go into them so you can have a strobing source 4. The posibilitys are endless. At one show i saw an LD stick so many toys into a source 4 it was incredible. He had color mixing two gobo wheels and a remote focus so he could focus between the two gobo wheels.
     

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