New spots?


Well-Known Member
My TD wants to toss our altaman satilites of the spot bay because they our so darn loud. The good news is he wants to get new ones but right now he talking about getting 2 more midgets which would barly make it to the stage in the dark much less when the lights were at a decent level. What spots would you guys suggest we need something quite and bright enough to go the distance 100~150 feet I think.
soundman said:
My TD wants to toss our altaman satilites of the spot bay because they our so darn loud. The good news is he wants to get new ones but right now he talking about getting 2 more midgets which would barly make it to the stage in the dark much less when the lights were at a decent level. What spots would you guys suggest we need something quite and bright enough to go the distance 100~150 feet I think.

Well the noise issue isn't going to go away really--there's a reason those fans are there. But having a couple of Satalites, if you are using them in the 150 foot range, they aren't really doing a good job lighting what you hit either, so I can sympathize. Whats noisy--are the fans clanging against the covers? thats a common problem with satalites...a little prying and the screen comes away from rubbing the fan.

FWIW, the Midget isn't going to be much better in terms of light fact may be worse. For that distance I would look at a Super Arc 400 at the very least, or maybe a StarkLight--tho the Superarc (model 1267) will be a lot brighter for you. IMO when calculating distance, you wanna take your actual distance and add 25' to it so you get that punch you want. Check out the specs to see which amount of lumens at a distance. Most manufacturers (Lycian, Strong, Altman) have their specs on their website.

Otherwise--if you want totally silent, you can tell your TD to get a Source 4 5-degree on a yoke.... ;)

While Stark and Lycian make good dependable fixtures, I have more experience with the Lycian brand and know either are worth the extra money above something made in Italy or China. Such foreign fixtures will work fine for a number of years, but once things start to go wrong it’s hit or miss if you can find parts for them. Much less a service center that will not only work on it but send you an emergency loaner while yours is in for service. Lycian at one point offered to send me out a huge 1290 fixture as free temporary loaner while one of ours that was dropped off a truss was in for repair. Rush shipping alone will have been a pretty penny for them to pick up granted it cost like $2,000.00 to get the thing realigned and $400.00 to ship it.

I don’t know much about Robert Juliat spots so I won’t comment about them. Altman and L&E make follow spots also of interest. The L&E version would be a bit short on power for your purposes - kind of like a Altman 1000 but with a HX-600.
Altman makes the Satellite Voyager and Explorer spots in your range and like with Lycian, Strong and L&E would probably bend over backwards to keep a follow spot customer in their premium lines. In other words, they might offer up free loaners from their rental stock where needed. While I have not used Altman's HMI sources, their fixtures seem fairly rugged for the money. If nothing else, the parts are easy to get and replace.

First, no matter what brand you buy, you might look into an article about followspot photometrics and intensity.

Than at least for Lycian, you can go to the following part of the website to range their various fixtures for your distance:
Strong is at

Lycian seems to recommend the following fixtures by the Photometrics chart:

Midget, 1209HP Lots of schools around me use various versions of this budget fixture. Good and dependable and easy to use. The hot restrike 575w lamp for it is fairly dependable and forgiving for an arc lamp. A normal lamp is the Philips MSR 575HR with 750hr/49,000Lumen/6,000̊K in stats.

Starklite II, 1271 is one of the fixtures the place I work for uses along with the M2, 1290 and 1272. The 1271 has a separate ballast which like with any 1200w fixture can be troublesome but given it's not mounted on the fixture it's easy to swap it out for a loaner while yours is in the shop. It also has interchangeable lenses so you can put it into different locations. The lamps for it are a bit more tricky to install and temperamental than the above however. It's lamp ranges from 750hr to 1,000hr depending on brand and it's 110,000Lumens/6,000̊K for an Osram HMI 1200w/GS. If you have a large program and use the spots a lot this might be a good investment otherwise the Midget would be a more cost effective fixture.

The M2 follow spot with medium or long lens would be the expensive high tech solution that still might be of interest. I say this because if the football team does not have a followspot, your departments might be able to pool resources and use the same fixtures. I hear school distracts like the concept of sharing between departments. The theater could get some sweet revenge in making the foot ball team pay in part for your new fixture that you only let them use twice a year. You can swap out lenses between short medium and long throw and use either a 2,500w or a 1,200w lamp. I believe the above 1271 lamp is the 1200w lamp used, otherwise it’s a Mac 2K lamp. I don’t think we used it in 1,200w mode yet so I don’t know which lamp it uses yet. The 25,000w lamp used is 500hr/240,000Lumens/6,000°K which is brighter than a pro grade 2Kw Xenon follow spot lamp. Problem is that you would have to buy differing lamp housings and lens assemblies and either different ballasts or no doubt even more expensive dual purpose electronic ballasts. In other words, it’s kind of like buying two follow spots for the price of only getting one. It also requires 208v power as opposed to the above that’s 120v power supplies.

With any Strong or Lycian follow spot, you might be able to find some on the used fixture market or even factory reconditioned. Because these lights are investments and good companies such used fixtures would could be made dependable as if new for less cost. Upon used buying them however, it would be wise to send either brand, even an Altman used fixture back to the factory for a once over. It does not take much to get the optics off alignment or there could be unforseen problems with them that you want taken care of before you start to use them. That would be my recommendation - go used if you can find some of the above. Oh’ one more thing, rent what ever follow spot you want to buy for a show before you purchase it. Get to know physically if it’s going to work due to the investment. That and buy what other similar schools are using so not only can you swap should there be an immediate problem, you might loan between schools for large shows. Otherwise comments from like schools on the value of their light might be of use for you.
Good Info ship..... we dont have either of those fixture's here so i cant really make a comment back.

we have two robert juliat spots at work, they are 656 feet from the stage i converted meters so i might be a bit out. It is 200meters....
we have the "margot" which is a 2000/2500watt model which has a zoom of 8 - 16degrees.
I have found it to be a great spot with great user control features. They have pretty quiet fans, about the same as your average pc fan, so not too bad considering. but at our theatre the audience cannot hear em, sound proof glass =)

they are french made, ive been sick and away from work too long to remember the correct termenology, but they run of the GPO but have a transformer box that has circuit breakers in it for the fan and lamp.
cruiser said:

Ahh...don't see many or any of those in the states...but I have heard they are like a Super Trouper in brightness, reliability and throw. I've been very interested in the followspots with the CMY color mixing abilities and so forth using glass filters. I don't see why other company's do not explore this for followspots... It makes a LOT of sense IMO... I think Clay Paky makes some of these--I got to play with a few at LDI a few years back. While the light output could have been better IMO (seemed better for a short throw)--overall it wasn't that bad, I don't see why other company's don't offer this feature or explore this function. It was DMX linkable--so the console could change the color and open the iris & all the followspot operator has to do is point. The one I saw also had programmable buttons so you could set your color choices on a fades and so forth on the handles....seemed like a very nice streamlined idea. But so far no one at Lycian, Strong or any other company's have picked up on this idea of using dichro glass & CMY mixing to get all colors in a followspot.. No more stocking gel or cutting and loading gel--just ready to go. Again--don't know why others have not explored this..especially since most followspots cost as much as a moving head.

Any ideas on this one Ship?

I believe he main reason would be that brands such as Lycian and Straong offer stuff for intensive touring. A rigged fixture to protect CMY and controller and optics would be very expensive. Even though the idea is good, CMY takes away a lot of output also, and big wattage versions would be complicated and expensive to make due to heat problems.
Inaki2 said:
I believe he main reason would be that brands such as Lycian and Straong offer stuff for intensive touring. A rigged fixture to protect CMY and controller and optics would be very expensive. Even though the idea is good, CMY takes away a lot of output also, and big wattage versions would be complicated and expensive to make due to heat problems.

one of the cooler truss spots I've seen was on the last Korn tour I worked on when they were in town...they were retro-fitted Cyberlights for truss spots--had the hood and mirror removed, a fixed lense, and handles on the sides & rear to point and shoot.. A DMX loop and they were done and controlled from the console--all the op had to do was sit there and follow their target...brilliant idea. I can see where a long thro unit may not be so favorable in output--but some of those fixtures and movers do a great job as a followspot...

Thanks for all the info, I am not sure what the distance from the spot bay to the back wall is but 150 sounds right.
Wait a minute, I think we did that tour! Seem to remember something about doing that though it was done outside my world - they don't let my Sawzall come anywhere near such fixtures unless as a last opion.

As for adding CMY color mixing... I'm kind of a 1979 technology person. In spite of doing my darndest to shove follow spot repair off onto the moving lights people, it still for the most part falls on my shoulders. CMY color mixing would either confound and curse me or be another good reason they need to service the big heavy things. In other words, I would be hesitent to want such a thing because it's kind of complex to repair. A follow spot is already too complex for most spot op's to work on, adding more would be even more difficult to keep in good working condition. All it takes is the lens to get slightly out of focus on it's rail and that color mixer might just become toast.

As long as I don't have to work on them, I don't care what technology is in them - as if I were asked for my opinion of the M2 anyway. They showed up, parts broke on them instantly and I was in charged of getting the replacements. Not to mention they forgot to buy lamps for them before the week they left for the tour. "Hello, anyone have in stock any of the new 2.5Kw HMI lamps out there? No, Okay I'll keep calling around" - and pay premium price for who ever has it. That and the road boxes were perfectly designed for the instrument, remove a foam block and it fits the opposing lens assembly. Of course there is no room for the light's feeder cable, spare lamps or anything else such as the spare lenses... after thoughts all.

Clay Packey is a brand I forgot about, good stuff from what I hear of them. Also, I was not slacking Robert Juliard, I'm not familior with the brand other than knowing their name. Other companies might be Ariel Davis #3100, Colortran - we used to have them in high school to replace the Altman Dyna Beam that I now own, Capital Stage Lighting if they still exist, CCT lighting though it seems kind of short in range, Ludwig Pani, Times Square which would be another domestic brand that should be looked into for the low end line of follow spots, Clay Paky as mentioned, and Phoebus.

Only other thing I can see holding back the technology is the fact that a good follow spot already costs an arm and a leg. Given the CMY follow spots would only be sold with the top of the line equipment, how much above the top would that cost for something that's more of an after thought production wise due to the human element of it? A Lycian 1290 costs what $10,000.00, a M2 something like $15,000.00, add another $5K onto that for the color mixing and it's a question of cost over usefulness I think.
Hi Ship,
But what if things got simpler for the followspots--I mean instead of DMX control, you have a slider on the followspot in place of the filter and it was gdichroic glass...say graidiated fan style to slide in the color density. I dunno...I just am probably tired of cutting gel at the last minute cause some LD didn't remember to say they wanted R44 pink in the followspots. ;) I just think it would be a nice feature to have in a followspot--whether its manual or DMX contraolled. At the price of most followspots anyway--they cost the same as a mover in most cases and they don't have near all the same moving parts or features.

Ahh--I had wondered if the Korn gig came from your shop...seem to recall seeing the name a few times but wasn't sure. I was mostly on kabuki drop and video since I was the only person on the local crew who had a clue how to do that stuff and run those cables and set up solenoids etc... Nice that I can be able to flex into any position on a crew, but I kinda wish I was on my favorite sound or lights stuff for the big stuff. If it was your rig--what the heck was the light console...cause I had never ever seen one like it and had no idea what it was (nor could I get close enough).. Looked like an obsession all tricked out and thensome...very wierd. The sound & desks were from Clair tho...I know that gear well.

Hey, comes to mind that this what spot used should be something almost everyone can chime in on.

What spot do you use? How do ya like it? How about offering up some opinions on the spots you have experience with to help Soundman choose? Cruiser, Wolf and I have offered up opinions on what we would look into given the range, what do all of you use? Come on those lurkers, you ask for help at times, how about helping others? Sould have at least 300 posts about what you are using instead of becoming board by another Wolf/Ship taken over discussion.

Wolf, on the controller if you wish I can enter the Hire Track rogram that tracked all the gear used on the show but my guess is that the controller was the new Martin light board. We like that controller. I don't have access to it at home and hope unlike my boss I never do. Something about it like having to search for what my boss names the stuff verses what I would call it is just a major pain in my rear.

So you worked with my selonoids/kibuka system? How do you like how we do them? I spend a lot of time with such things between doubling our inventory and re-doing the older system that has wiring that's scary and dry rotting. Granted the clamp mounting bolt is from heck, on the whole I think it's a good system - one of the few old designs that I like. Or were they using the rolling pipe/peg system to drop the drape? We have two Kabuki systems.

CMY on follow spots, I don't care as long as I don't have to figure out how to fix them. As for the price, we just invested in the Catalyst system big time, yea they have all kinds of bells and whistles, but the major selling point for the designers is that you can pre-program what they do. On design, I believe more of their effort and funding is spent in what they pre-program than what the spots are doing.

At least I believe the spot cues are designed into the show during rehearsal. Investing more money into something that's manual but it's color is light board or even selective but manual is getting complex for something that's still going to for the most part get designed during rehearsal. Plus there are thousands of dollars in follow spots already for such shows. Until the designers want that new thing, they are not going to be bought and it would seem none of the designers have your idea at least yet while they have new moving light toys to create with. Your idea is interesting, I can just remember running Gizel and doing the bouncing faery thing. The spot fading to another color while in the air might be of interest given it was not light board controlled due to timing and the operator being the only person with the feel for it as the top of the leap is reached. Besides, Job security. Do you have a Rosco Gel cutter in your wallet also?
Funny you should ask that....

Our spot is an Altman Comet, aging significantly. We rented it some time in the past, and just never gave it back... (Hmm, so THATS why were on credit lock!)

Its not throwing a terrible distance, maybe 75-100 ft, so it works well for it's purpose.

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