# Source Four Revolution

#### Ice1605

##### Member
My school is looking at getting some moving lights, and the ETC Source Four Revolution was one that I saw that looked good. So, two questions.
One, are these lights good quality? Most of our lighting equipment is by ETC, and it is all good quality, so I would assume that the Revolutions are the same.
Two, we have an ETC Express light board. Can we use the moving lights feature on it to control the Revolutions (I would assume yes, but I thought I should check).

Thank you!

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
In answer to part 1, I guess it depends on why you are getting MLs and how you intend to use them in your productions. There are a lot of good MLs around the same price as a Revolution and many at a fraction of the price that may suit your needs. The interchangeable feature cartridges may not be a good option for a school (yet another thing to go missing).

In answer to part 2, it depends on the number of available channels on your Express. The console can control MLs, but you may not have enough channels to provide independent control of all parameters for 8 Revolutions. If I'm reading their user guide correctly, a fully loaded Revolution uses 31 channels.

#### rochem

##### Well-Known Member
In answer to part 2, it depends on the number of available channels on your Express. The console can control MLs, but you may not have enough channels to provide independent control of all parameters for 8 Revolutions. If I'm reading their user guide correctly, a fully loaded Revolution uses 31 channels.

From what I've seen, it seems like the most common Express is the 48/96. This means that you have only 192 channels to work with. Take your existing rig, add in a good margain for rentals or new equipment, and then find out how many channels you are currently using. Now add up in steps of 31 until you get to 192. That is the max number of fixtures that you will be able to run. Also, programming movers on an Express can be time-consuming and difficult. Since you were looking at the Revolution, I would guess that you basically want a "moving special" more than a fixture to be used for concerts and other flashy events. If you try to program complicated moving sequences with gobo rotations, color changes, figure 8s, and such, it will take you a very, very long time. Just make sure that you allow for ample time to program the fixtures before the show opens.

#### icewolf08

##### CBMod
CB Mods
I love ETC and their gear, but as an owner of Revolutions, I have to say that they aren't worth what you spend on them. Yes, they are nice fixtures, and it is nice to have a light source that blends well with conventional fixtures, however they are the most troublesome fixtures I have ever used.

For the base price all you get is the unit and color scroller. You have to pay extra for the modules like gobo rotators, iris, shutters. The modular system is a great idea, but the limitations of a color scroller (no CMY) and only two modules at a time is kind of a bummer.

If you want to have tungsten source I would suggest looking at the Vari*Lite VL1000T. It will give you much better versatility, and is in the same price range as a fully loaded Rev. There are many moving lights in the price range that are arc source variety. I also own a couple of the Elation PowerSpot 700 CMY's which have been great for me since I bought them.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Sounds like problem number 1 may be your light board.
Answer these questions and we will tell you what your existing system can handle.
Which type of Express do you have?
How many dimmers do you have?
Do you have any other DMX powered devices you use on a regular basis?

You can run moving lights on an Express but you can't run many and it's not the easiest thing in the world to do.

As for what types of moving lights to purchase, there were a couple of great debates of ETC Revolution vs. the Vari-lite VL1000 a year or two back. Also check out Icewolf's review of the Elation Powerspot 700 CMY (another interesting alternative). The Search function is your friend! Personally I would go with a VL1000 over the Revolution.

Finally, please consider my philosophy on purchasing intelligent lighting equipment for schools. Around here it's become known as "The Gafftaper Method" many of my pro friends around here agree that it's an excellent strategy for limited budget educational theater. It may not be as sexy as moving lights, but there are often far more practical and useful ways to spend you limited budget on other intelligent gear. So please read this article.

#### Ice1605

##### Member
Thanks for the replies! We have an Express 72/144 with enough open channels to run 2-4 MLs, although we would probably get 2. And as for why, my theater teacher told me that he was looking into moving fixtures, so I thought I would do some research. I will consider what you all have said, thanks again!

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Let's say you spend a little under $10k for your two lights. How often will you actually use those two moving lights? For that same price you could add 10 color scrollers, about 6 Seachangers, a bunch of Right Arms/I-cues, gobo rotators... lots of options that will create components of the effects you get with a mover but will be used more often than the mover for a typical high school theater. Also consider the cost of renting vs. purchasing. Let's say you only need them once a year for a musical. A one week rental will cost you around 200-$300 each.

Finally, who is going to program and maintain them? It's NOT easy programing elaborate moving light cues on an Express. It's possible but you are not going to get really great looking effects like you see in concerts without hours of programming. Who is going to take the time to learn how to do that and then do it for every show? Too often what happens is a school buys this stuff and then the student who learned how to use it graduates and the gear get's moved into storage because no one knows how to operate or maintain it.

I'm not trying to be mr. gloom and doom. But I believe that form most high schools purchasing moving lights is a very poor choice.

#### Esoteric

##### Well-Known Member
The poster that mentioned the VL1000T is right on. Great unit, seems like what you need. Or some Color Command units (or Studio Command) that you would get even more use out of.

Mike

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Also as Esoteric has mentioned in other threads purchasing used gear is an interesting option to explore. Check out the websites of Gear Source and Solaris Network.

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#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
... Also, remember that the tungsten source really isn't that big of a deal a cheap CTO filter will fix any matching problems you might have.
Provided one cares not about the effects of amber drift and modified square-law dimming curves.

#### Ice1605

##### Member
Alright, thank you. I will see what my drama teacher thinks. He knows that the district will probably not let him buy any (and will make the other items on his proposal less likely to get cut if the price is too high), but if he does get them, best to get good ones, right? Thanks for the replies, I will consider what you all have said.

#### JChenault

##### Well-Known Member
I have two revolutions in my rig, each with a shutter module and a rotating wheel. ( IMHO the only pairing that makes sense). We got these units about 2 years ago, and they have made our shows look much better. We use them mainly for color washes, Gobos, Specials, and the extra punch / color in an area.

In the two years we have had them, they have been seen to move by the audience ( IE intensity is up, and pan/tilt change) three times.

We started out with some quality control issues that ETC and our dealer worked hard to correct. Once those have been worked out, the units have ( so far) been dependable. The shutter module recently was returned to ETC for refurbishing.

I believe that for theatre, shutters are a must. We considered the VL 1K with shutters as well.

Things I like. The ability to use M size gobos in the unit. You get a lot more choices than what Vari Lite offers.

Things I don't like. Only three gobos. Only one gobo wheel. ( true with shutter module on VL 1K as well). No CMY mixing ( But I can live with a string).

In talking with friends who have arc source units, I would stay away from them for your use case. A CTO conversion does not work that well. As the arc lamp ages the color temprature changes. Stay with incandascent if you want the units to blend in with your conventional fixtures.

#### icewolf08

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Things I like. The ability to use M size gobos in the unit. You get a lot more choices than what Vari Lite offers.
This is not true, you can get any gobo from the major manufacturers (Gam, Rosco, Apollo, etc.) in the correct size for Vari*Lite fixtures as well as many other ML manufacturers at the standard template price. So you have exactly the same number of choices for templates.

Things I don't like. Only three gobos. Only one gobo wheel. ( true with shutter module on VL 1K as well). No CMY mixing ( But I can live with a string).
The Revolution is capable of having two gobo wheels, so a total of 6 templates. All VL1000s have a rotating gobo wheel with 5 slots plus open.

In talking with friends who have arc source units, I would stay away from them for your use case. A CTO conversion does not work that well. As the arc lamp ages the color temprature changes. Stay with incandascent if you want the units to blend in with your conventional fixtures.
With a CMY fixture the light source matters much less. You can color mix to match your conventional rig. An Arc source will generally give you a lot more punch so if you need to cut through light on stage it helps. If you have a board op who is good at color mixing and programing then you can blend pretty well. There are other issues with arc sources that can be challenging, like dimming, but it all depends on how you use them

Here is something else to consider. A revolution with shutters and gobo at 88lbs weighs over 10 pounds more than the VL1K at 70lbs. These lights are both pretty big, but I have found the Revs to be a real pain to move around.

You should also consider how you are going to store and maintain these fixtures. A road box for revs will set you back a pretty penny as it will probably be a custom job. If you store them in the air you will have to be really good about cleaning them and maintaining them. Also you have to make sure that should anything go wrong with a fixture you either have someone on site who can make repairs or you have to have the money to send them out for repair. If you will be sending things out for repair you should find out what fixtures your local dealers are certified to work on as you don't want to have to ship fixtures out unless there is no other option.

#### DarSax

##### Active Member
I've never personally designed needing to use arc sources with conventionals in a theatrical setting, but when I saw Mac550s used to match EGGs (looow color temp) in my high school, it looked awful. Is that just because the designer was inexperienced using CTO, or am I right in thinking that it's really not all that good of an option?

#### JChenault

##### Well-Known Member
This is not true, you can get any gobo from the major manufacturers (Gam, Rosco, Apollo, etc.) in the correct size for Vari*Lite fixtures as well as many other ML manufacturers at the standard template price. So you have exactly the same number of choices for templates.

My understanding was that the gobo in the Vari Light is glass, and therefore more expensive than a cheapo metal M size template. Are you saying that the Vari Lite fixture can use metal M gobos as well?

The Revolution is capable of having two gobo wheels, so a total of 6 templates. All VL1000s have a rotating gobo wheel with 5 slots plus open.
Right - but if you have a shutter module ( which I assert is almost required for theatre usage) you are restricted to 3 gobos in the Revolution.

With a CMY fixture the light source matters much less. You can color mix to match your conventional rig. An Arc source will generally give you a lot more punch so if you need to cut through light on stage it helps. If you have a board op who is good at color mixing and programing then you can blend pretty well. There are other issues with arc sources that can be challenging, like dimming, but it all depends on how you use them
I have not had a lot of personal experience with mixing Arc and Incandescent, but I have friends who have and they tell me it is more than a little difficult. Especially when the arc starts getting old, and the color starts changing.

Also you have to make sure that should anything go wrong with a fixture you either have someone on site who can make repairs or you have to have the money to send them out for repair. If you will be sending things out for repair you should find out what fixtures your local dealers are certified to work on as you don't want to have to ship fixtures out unless there is no other option.

I completely agree. Indeed if you are choosing between a Revolution and a Vari Light, the deal breaker probably should be which unit can be locally serviced.