Source 4 or Shakespeare


I have a question for the community,

As far as I can tell the Source 4 and the Shakespeare luminaries are pretty much the same light. The Shakespeare is more expensive for some reason, can anyone tell me why? What about the Shakespeare makes it worth the cost over the source 4?
as someone who owns both of them, there is no reason why the shakespeare is more expensive.
infact, the shakespeare, compaired to the S4, sucks majorly.
  • Its heavier
    it can be a bitch to focus
    getting the damn gel clip open is hell
    getting the damn lens barrel out is hell
    the shutters piss me off
    its not as easy to get a sharp image
    i dont like the lamp
    the reflector isnt as good
    did i mention that its freeking heavier?!
    its more expensive
    its not as widely used thus parts are slightly harder to get
    they have this great tendincy to kinda drop a few cm. especially during focus
    Altman customer service has nothing on ETC
    i think, though froget, that theyre slightly bigger

the only thing that the shakespeare has over the S4 is that the accessory slot has thumbscrews compaired to actual screws, making it a lot easier to drop a glass gobo or iris into the unit while in the air.
I just did some work with the Strand SL series, and was actually pretty impressed, mostly because of the fact that the entire unit can rotate, not just the barrel.
the newer s4 have grips on the screws of iris cover so you dont need a screw driver to losen them. i just dotn make them really tight so i can losen them with my fingers
ah, did not know that. nice feature. then the shakespeare has nothing over the S4. also, i dont think i mentioned this, the lamp is cheaper for S4s, and you can dimmer double.
this is just a guess but i think the reason there cheeper is because they are not as widely excepted so they havent sold as many units and when you make a product buying materials in bulk makes the end price cheeper. thus if they sold more of them it might be cheeper to make thus cheeper to buy.

wait, you said that the cheeper product isnt as widely excepted, was this a typo?
ok here is my corection

cheeper = wideley excepted because materials are bought in bulk.

more expensive = less excepted because they cannot buy as much of the materials.
Lamps being cheaper is also something of a it all depends question.

Have to agree with the concept of more S-4 fixtures being sold thus their cost. I'm yet to use a Shakespehere so I can't comment on it being better or worse.

On the other hand, there is more lamps available for a Shakesphere than for a S-4 (dimmer duplexing lamps excepted). The most modern lamps that can be used in a Shakespehere kick the rear over that of a HPL for output and efficiency.

Given I have not used the fixture, I can not say what the fixture can do with these lamps. They are also standardized lamps as can be also used on the SL line of fixture. (Given the SL is only rated for 575w if I remember correctly which seriously limits them.) This standard type of lamp in crossing brands, along with Gel Frames etc. are selling points for the Altman line.

Other than that, the S-4 at this point is for the most part a industry standard. Given this, it's normally wise to get something that everyone else is buying or expectating to see.
i heard somewherre that Altman lost a patent battle to ETC because the shakespere was very similar to the Source 4, now altman pays ETC a couple bucks for every Shakespere sold. that could acount for the extra expensive. now this could be totally inacurate, i'm jsut repeating what some one said to me once.
I had friend who sold theater fixtures in the Cleveland area tell me that despite the fact that Strand was cheaper, it was also harder to find replacement parts. I think his direct quote to me was "don't become 'STRANDed' for centuries looking for parts".

Could this be the reason?
The Shakespeare IMO is an inferior product.... Altmans answer to the Source 4. Ive had the 2 side by side and feel the output of the Shakespeare is less of the Source 4, and it feels as if any adjustment on the shakespeare is awkward.
And with the amount of Source 4's in rental inventories across the nation if you ever need to supplement your equipment, need excess barrels etc they are easily accessible.
"don't become 'STRANDed' for centuries looking for parts"

I love the irony of that

The strand part is funny, but what makes it even better, is if i remember correctly Strand used to be century lighting....
Just to clear something up, the S4 was released at LDI in 1992, the Shakespeare was released at the 1993 LDI. Advertisements for the S4 hit TCI magazine in early 1993, while the Shakespeare didn't show advertisements until 1994. So which came first for shure?
JP12687 said:
"don't become 'STRANDed' for centuries looking for parts"

I love the irony of that

The strand part is funny, but what makes it even better, is if i remember correctly Strand used to be century lighting....

thats exactly what i thought when i read it.
though wasnt Century another company that was bought by Strand, then kinda shut down a few years later?
Yep, Strand bought Century. For a while, their instruments said "STRAND CENTURY" on them. The theatre at my old school was full of Strand/Century lekos, fresnels, borderlights, and scoops. It was built in I think 1986.
The Strand/Altman/ETC debate on which followed the others and which became the other might be more a source for term paper question in research. While the ETC might have come out first, about all these fixtures in a third generation of Leko were it would seem under development and by way of study of the other past products produced following another brand. Leko (Lekolight) stems from the Century brand name which Strand bought out and retains.

Now girls, you are all pretty. Some research into TCI/Theater Crafts at the time and Lighing Dimensions will prove useful to read in addition to especially what lamps for them gained “Widget of the year” in articles about them. The ETC fixture followed a study of the Altman and Stand second generation fixtures as an improvement to the downfalls of them for the most part. Was this first era of S-4 a huge improvement? Yes in some ways optically and in other ways, but it also featured a non-standard gel frame size, unique lamp and most important it was only rated for 575w as a maximum lamp rating. The Shakespeare in waiting a year was rated for the more normal 750w rating and took in addition to improved lamps, the older second generation lamps in all around being a more standard for what is already out there fixture that did not have to wait a few years to get more output and other improvements to it’s design. Such improved lamps could also be as a standard, used on any second generation fixture no matter the brand. This Times Square, L&E, Altman, or Strand as major suppliers all using the same lamps and gel frames as that of a 6" Fresnel or PAR 56.

So it would seem as a initial point, the S-4 came out first, but needed upgrades in at least wattage the Shakespeare did not. That 575w line of S-4 did not last long in production. This than cannot be considered the same fixture in what came out first but is no longer the same fixture. The Altman on the other hand has not changed for the most part since it was introduced.

All are good designs, and with the Euro based Selecon all brands have good values to them. Granted ETC is the third generation fixture, it is in a Altman/Strand debate of the 1980's any much different in not being a perfect fixture or in having features the others don’t do better or that it does better than.

All are good fixtures as a in-general. All in a few years will be replaced by something more better.
Well Ship, that's one take on it.

Altman licensed the S4 design to produce the Shakespeare. I assume they still pay a fee per fixture.

The S4 had the 575w lamp for a few years before a re-design that increased the wattage to 750. Shakespeare did allow use of a 750w lamp, but it wasn't as bright as the 575 !, so nobody used it. Remember too that one advantage of 575 was 4 lamps per 2400 watt dimmer. And the original lamp(s) for the Shakes - HX600's, FLK's etc.. were miserable lamps in terms of shock resistance as compared to an HPL. The 750 watt HPL lamp in an S4 is much brighter then anything available in the Shakespeare and it'a a mystery why there isn't a 750 watt lamp with the filement design of the GLC as example for the Shake.

When the S4 came to the market, it was a HUGE improvement over ANYTHING else out there. Yes it had a different frame size, but you could get 9 cuts off a gel sheet vs. 6 with a 7.5" frame.

- It was smaller
- It was brighter, as bright as a 1Kw 360Q, which wasn't rated for 1kw anyway
- It had front end rotation
- It had the dichroic reflector, which cut down on heat at the gate, etc...

All of the improvments were quickly recognized by the industry and the unit has become the industry standard, for good reason, so while there may be a good bit more lamp options in the Shakespeare, it's like saying a Ford accepts more types of tires compared to a Lexus. So what. Putting a great lamp into a so-so fuxture still doesn't get you a fixture as good as the S4

Just for reference. I have 48 Shake 30 and 40 fixtures, as well as 20 Shake 15/35 zooms, plus 24 S4 19, 26 and 36, as well as 72 S4 Jr. Zooms. I use all daily, with my opinion that the S4 is a vastly superior fixture in day-to- day use. I've purchased my last Altman ellipsoidal.


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