Seeking advice on new LED Cyc lights

jtweigandt

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I use 8 Blizzard toughstick RGBAW units for almost the same exact geometry. Does a pretty decent wash when set at a shallow angle
I cut down some regular fluorescent "troffer" material.. the kind used for suspended ceiling for better diffusion.

We paid in the 500 buck range. EDIT EDIT the fixture is still available.... but also on ebay used..
They are also weatherproof, and have weather protected daisy chain dmx connectors that need an adapter to go to regular dmx 3 pin plugs
I have some other Blizzard products and generally like them.. but their catalog of fixtures seems to change more rapidly, so matching legacy gear over a number of years can be a challenge

They are powerful enough to make a flat black surface appear as saturated color.

However with the rapid pace of LED development, I guess that's not that unusual. https://www.ebay.com/itm/293688026414
 
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gafftaper

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Hey all,
I'm looking to update our cyc lights to LEDs and wanted to seek advice. We have a 50'x14' cyc (low ceiling), limited channel capacity, and limited budget. I am fine with strip lights, but have not found any great products. All of ETC's are too expensive, and won't be able to make the 14' height work. Any ideas?
Happy New Year, thanks in advance for your time!
What's your realistic budget? There are a lot of options and a product for every budget. Your dream product may be "junk" to me... It all depends on the budget. Currently there is a line at about the price of $500 per led fixture that gets a bit scary to purchase below. There is cheaper off brand Chinese stuff but I suggest you try to avoid it if you care about it working and the color looking the same in all fixtures in two years. My advice is save up for a product from a name brand in the mid budget world if you can (Chauvet Pro, Elation Pro, Blizzard, etc). The products will be consistent and someone who will be there for parts down the road. Below that are the DJ level products from AMDJ, Chauvet DJ, and Elation DJ. They are going to not have as good of color or durability but are better than random Chinese manufacturers. If low budget Chinese gear is what you can afford, go with the Chinese house brand that your local shop carries and not random ebay deals (they will have a vested interest in servicing it later).

My stock answer is Chauvet Ovation batten wash. They are fantastic and I love them. I have 7 of the 5 1/2' units for a 50x22 cyc it's way more firepower than I need. I could have easily gotten away with 7- of the 2 1/2' model. You might get away with the 1' model, depending on the distribution of their extra wide diffuser.

Chauvet's newer cyc light the CYC 1FC might be a great fit for you and a lower budget price. Drop @Ford a private message if you want some official information from Chauvet and help calculating the correct fixtures to fit your needs.

II don't know the Elation products very well but @rsmentele works there and may have some advice from their product line. But again what's your budget? Elation pro pricing tends to be similar to Chauvet Pro.

With a cyc that short, you could go with LED PARS instead of true cyc lights. You'll save a little money. But you will not get as even of a wash look.

There are lots of deals on used gear right now due to the horrible times. Perhaps you can find something better there that will fit your budget. Check out places like www.usedlighting.com
 
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StradivariusBone

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My stock answer is Chauvet Ovation batten wash.
My stock answer is listen to Gaff. We just got a set of five of these for a 40' wide stage with 18-20' of trim. With the diffusers in we're able to set them off the cyc on our rear LX (maybe 3-4' away?) and still get decent coverage. We just had a group in with a bunch of drops and it looked amazing. Ours are spaced with 2' gaps between each fixtures and have no issue with dark spots between fixtures. Suckers are bright.

Another budget option a friend of mine really likes is the Blizzard HotStiks. That's probably the lowest cost batten-style fixtures you could get away with in a setup like that. They light his cyc up well and compete with his tungsten front wash without a problem, but he does mount them directly in front of the drop.
 

jtweigandt

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Looks like the 5 ovations vs 8 blizzards is within a Kilobuck of being the same and the ovations look more versatile
since they come with the holographic diffusers. If you havn't used holographic "lenses" on LED gear you will think you died and went to heaven. The first time a guy brought some in for our downwash LED units I was amazed.. I could walk across the stage looking at the back of my hand with no dropouts at all... we were much more "zoned" with our old elation rgb pars..
 

jtweigandt

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Question about those ovations with the diffusers on.. We tried to use the Blizzard toughsticks rgbaw as footlight replacements
but that trial failed.. You get about a bazillion individual shadow fields from all the led points. Have you tested at all in a similar config
and does the holographic diffusion get rid of the bazillion shadow effect? I know Footlights? we have to use them for fill sometimes
because of our low proscenium height and other geometry.. or backdrops get some really wicked shadow lines. Right now using old box strips with halogen reflector floods in them
 

StradivariusBone

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The blizzard sticks have their LEDs with the colors all under the same lens and spaced out further than the Ovations who have single colors under one lens in an array. I have seen the fuzzy shadows a bit with the Ovations, but I'd bet it'd be less noticeable just because the LEDs are packed in tighter and homogenous colors are distributed over a greater surface area. Someone on here was looking at doing footlights and people were recommending channel stuff that you can put LED tape into.
 
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jtweigandt

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The blizzard sticks have their LEDs with the colors all under the same lens and spaced out further than the Ovations who have single colors under one lens in an array. I have seen the fuzzy shadows a bit with the Ovations, but I'd bet it'd be less noticeable just because the LEDs are packed in tighter and homogenous colors are distributed over a greater surface area. Someone on here was looking at doing footlights and people were recommending channel stuff that you can put LED tape into.
the toughstick rgbaw has seperated color elements like the ovation.. but I don't have actual holographic diffusion. I may have to get some material and futz about a bit Channel and tape is intriguing too. I think I'm going to have quite afew months yet with an empty theater, so now would be the time to mess around, when I'm not disturbing anyone elses production.
 

gafftaper

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Question about those ovations with the diffusers on.. We tried to use the Blizzard toughsticks rgbaw as footlight replacements
but that trial failed.. You get about a bazillion individual shadow fields from all the led points. Have you tested at all in a similar config
and does the holographic diffusion get rid of the bazillion shadow effect?
Alright here you go: I lowered the 4th electric down to about 7' above the deck and placed a Gator Frameworks Media Tray under it (you need one and they are only $70!) Chauvet Ovation B2805-FC's (The largest size placed end to end... but trust me you can easily go with a foot or two of gap... They are BEASTS). They ovations are set at 75% which is FREAKING BRIGHT! It's about a 4 1/2' throw from the Ovations to the stand:
IMG_20210104_104620.jpg


Here's what the shadow looks like with all other lights in the room off:
IMG_20210104_104713.jpg

A close up of the shadow line:
IMG_20210104_104724.jpg

I raised the electric up to about 15' above the deck ... say 11 1/2' above the stand... and took pictures again.
IMG_20210104_104840.jpg

IMG_20210104_104853.jpg
 

gafftaper

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jtweigandt

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Thank you so much.. Those do look like beasts, and much less "death by a thousand shadows" than I got out of the Blizzards. I will probably invest in some bulk holo film first and see what that does for me

It is so hard to keep up with the myriad of fixtures that are available these days. By the time you decide to actually get something new, the rules all change again.
 

gafftaper

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@jtweigandt LED fixtures are something that is still highly in the "You get what you pay for" category. There's a significant difference in a $200 fixture, a $500 fixture, and a $1500 fixture. It's an area where you really have to figure out what you can afford, see what that buys, and then decide if it's good enough for your needs or if you should wait a while and save up for something better. The longer you wait the cheaper it'll get and the better the available products will be. Unfortunately if you bought too early or too cheap you get stuck later with remorse as the products that are coming out get better and cheaper. Once you buy, put on blinders and keep reminding yourself I'm happy with what I have.

I would order some Rosco Opti-Sculpt and see if that helps you diffuse better.
 
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jtweigandt

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going way back.. my first LED purchase was some Elation opti tri pars. replaced our scrollers for down/cross wash with them, and was thrilled (still am) to have them. The holographic film difussion made them even better. then some used blizzard fab5 pucks ultra cheap, but better than our halogen tube monsters for the cyc. Then came the blizzard toughstic rgbaw.. which are still very nice.. spend most of their life on the cyc. Then we got a stable of 6 Altman phoenix RGBAW elipsoidals for the FOH.. First LED's we spent some real money on. we had 5 zone 3 gel color.. setup with ETC source fours. Warm Neutral Cool on each zone.. I replaced the neutral with the Phoenix, and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Then on the first electric.. also had 5 zones 3 instrument each setup. Put some Blizzard Propar V12? in the neutral slot. Now those sport holographic lenses set to focus rather than diffuse.. wowsa... Then this year got a set of 4 ultra cheap small chinese movers to play with.. actually quite impressive. Used them in 2 shows and will keep using them..... for as long as they will last :) Each step of the way, I either arranged a demo, or purchased one unit on the used market first for testing. I can read all the specs, but until I actually see it, my eyes tend to get glazed. So in short we have the full spectrum from expensive to cheap. Have bought medium to cheap out of regular operations.. but someone had to die for me to get the Altmans. And I am grateful that they remembered us.
 

gafftaper

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Each step of the way, I either arranged a demo, or purchased one unit on the used market first for testing. I can read all the specs, but until I actually see it, my eyes tend to get glazed.
That is the most important advice in the whole thread. It doesn't matter what I think, it's what looks good to you on your stage that matters.
 

TimMc

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That is the most important advice in the whole thread. It doesn't matter what I think, it's what looks good to you your donors, on your stage that matters.
Fixed it for you. Nudge, wink

Edit ps: the nice thing about bequests is that the donor is not present to micro manage the fulfillment of the bequest. I "know dis guy" who really likes Sharpies, ACL bars and other narrow beam effects (and he likes green, so that adds to the fun). If he gave your theater some lighting money... :shock:

In general, people will give you money for things they can see, but there's a point at which less discerning eyes will be happy (happens a lot in audio, too). One of the fine arts of techie stuff is finding the balance between "donor bling" and buying things that make functional or important artistic differences.
 
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