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Conventional Fixtures Source Four vs. Source Four Junior

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Jinglish, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. Jinglish

    Jinglish Member

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    It looks like my high school's theater department is finally willing to replace at least a few of our dozen ancient Altman 360's with some Source Fours. I'm debating whether I should get the standard Source Four or the Junior model, though.

    I've done some searching on this forum, and it's (not surprisingly) universally agreed that the standard model is far superior to the Junior. However, some of the drawbacks don't apply as much in my case; for example, I use 575 W lamps in my current ellipsoidals anyway, and my throw from my off-stage lighting bars is within forty feet anyway. Aolso, one of my main gripe about the Altmans is that their lenses have terrible chromatic aberration, since I always get a fuzzy blue/green ring around the edge of my focused beam. Junior lenses aren't supposed to be as good as the standard lenses, but are they still a significant improvement over the Altmans?

    To summarize: should I just get some Juniors or splurge and get the standard fixtures?
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    S4's have halos as well. Both the Jr's and full sized. If you have read the last posts about this subject, that should lean you one way or another. There is nothing wrong with the Jr's, but if you can spend the extra cash, it is highly advised.
     
  3. express

    express Active Member

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    At least half of all our lights are S4 JR Zoom. We think that the S4s are to big and heavy, we dont have any problems with our S4 JR ZOOMs
     
  4. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Source 4 is too heavy?
    I find them much easier to manage than Shakespeares and several older ERS units.
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Here's my opinion:

    If you're simply replacing the lights and getting a set number of fixtures to replace them, and you are deciding how much money to spend on those fixtures, get the Source Fours.

    However, if you would actually be able to get quite a few more Source Four Jrs than regular Source Fours, go for the Jrs. I've worked with both, and while the regular units are great, and I love the barrel rotation, full-size iris and gobo slots, and ability to lamp up to 750, the Jrs are great little units.

    Other things to take in to consideration - would you possibly adding something like a Rosco I-Cue to any of the units? If so, get regular S4s - at least as many as you might by I-Cues for.
     
  6. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    At forty feet away, you might want to go with the full size. I say this because the jr's aren't available with a 19 or 14 degree lens which is what you should be looking at with that kind of throw distance. What measurement of altmans are you using right now? 6x22?
     
  7. thatactorguy

    thatactorguy Active Member

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    Everyone so far has made some excellent points. We have 20 S4 jr (26 deg), four S4 ParNels, and a dozen or so coffee cans. Our budget is very limited, and the juniors work very well for us, with average throw being about 25-30'. Our stage is 36'w x 24'd, with a height of 14' 8" from floor to grid, and the juniors cover this area quite well.

    I think one of your biggest factors to consider is number of instruments. How many is the school willing to buy? At $190/ea, $1000 will buy you five Juniors with some change left for spare lamps, gel sheets, whatever.

    Do you ever rent the space? As was mentioned in some of the other threads, S4 jr uses gobo size "M", while S4 uses "A", and touring companies may be more likely to have "A". In that regard, it may not hurt to have a couple of S4 for that situation, but I really hate to think that that's all a S4 would get used for :shock: Then again, as was also mentioned, with enough notice, "M" size can be ordered with nary a problem...

    Just thinking out loud, but I think the juniors would work fine for your purposes... :)
     
  8. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    I have a mix of Source 4's and Source 4 Jr Zooms in my theatre. Aside from cost - the major differences I see are:

    The zoom feature is nice on the Jr. It gives you a bit more flexibility without having to change lenses. On the other hand, they are not as bright as a regular Source 4.

    I actually have a greater range of beam spreads ( swapping out lenses) on the standard Source 4's.

    The shutters on the Jr are not as easy to use. Since the gate is smaller a small movement of the shutter makes a larger change in the light output. The shutter feels flimsier on the Jr than the standard Source 4. You can't get as great an angle on adjacent shutters.

    I really miss not having the ability to rotate the barrel on the Jr.

    My distributor does not stock as many M size gobos, so they are harder to get.

    The Jr is harder to take apart to clean.

    Hope this helps you make up your mind.
     
  9. RTDesigns

    RTDesigns Member

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    Do yourself a favor, get away from the S4 stuff and stick with the Altmans.....more bang for the buck.....and there's still a lot more of these out there than the S4 stuff. I do not like the S4 shutters, very touchy and flimsy. I've lit many a show with a range of 360Q's (6x9, 12, 22) and have never had any issues with Altman equipment. But, this is just my opinion.....there are lots of designers out there that love the S4 stuff.
     
  10. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Altman 360s Vs ETC S4, this comes up a lot....
    I'm a Selecon fan, must admit, I love there fixtures and the ability to make my own gobos.
    BUT.
    As you are in a HS you have a HS budget. So why not get a few S4s, one or two Selecon Pacifics for you custom gobos and the rest in S4 Juniors. Best of both (all 3) worlds.
    Nick
     
  11. lazor

    lazor Member

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    I have a collection of both S4 Jrs and Regulars. I hardly ever use the Jrs mostly because of how dim they are compared to the Regulars. However in a smaller space they get the job done and it's nice to be able to get more instruments for your dollar.
    From someone who has worked with Jrs that are a set deg vs. the zooms I have to say I like the zooms ten times more. The ability to move the two lenses to get the spread and edge just right is really nice.
    I also have to say that I still have a large inventory of Altmans that I also use regularly. Not sure on where they fall price wise compared to the Source Fours but the Altman's are a work horse and though mine are coming on in years I can always depend on them.

    So I would say if you can afford to outfit yourself with an inventory of Regular SourceFours do it, otherwise the Jr Zooms allow you to get more with your money, though they have less features. Also take a quick look at the Altman site to see where they fall in the scheme of things.
     
  12. Spader

    Spader Member

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    I would highly recommend getting the standard fixtures. Here are some reasons why this is my recommendation:


    • They last as they get older. As the Jr.s age, their shutters are less resistant to heat and thus stick and warp over time.

    • The barrels in the Jr.s do not rotate, nor are they interchangable. The lack of a rotation can become annoying, as can the lack of interchangeability.

    • If you have other fixtures that use A or B sized gobos, the Jr.s take the smaller M gobos, so you would have to a) buy new gobos or b) ruin the gobos that you already have, which could possibly become costly.

    This is just my two cents
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Step one. Go buy a 100' measuring tape for under $15 at home depot and accurately measure the throw distances. You'll hate yourself if you buy the wrong instruments because you guessed. We could be a lot more help to you if you could tell us more about all lighting position locations and throw distances. So take some measurements and get back to us. Maybe even draw up a plot and post it.

    In general, I'm a big fan of buying specific components and choosing the right tool for the right job instead of overkill on things you won't need. I've rambled about it so much in relation to moving lights it's become known as the "Gafftaper Method" around here (read the method here). Although you aren't purchasing moving lights my philosophy is still similar. If you've got TONS of money then by all means get all Full size Source Fours... or maybe even all Selecon Pacific Zooms. However if money is not growing on trees, a more selective component strategy makes the most sense to me. Is it more important to have more fixtures to you or is it more important to have rotating barrels on EVERY fixture? Give me some of each you can never have too many fixtures.

    So, get some full size S4's for the times when you need a 750 lamp or when you need to rotate the barrel. Borrow an S4 from some where, take it up there and figure out where you are going to regularly need to rotate. Secondly you need S4's for long throws. So again do real measurements, do the photometric math to find out the size of light pool it creates and figure out which fixtures need to be full size due to the throw length. Now go through and look for places where you will have shorter throws and specials from on stage. This is where the juniors can really be a nice tool to have. Figure out the degree lens that will be used the most in these positions. Last Time I checked you can almost get 3 fixed lens juniors for the price of 2 fixed lens full sizes or a Junior Zoom for about $40 less than a full size fixed beam S4. Load up on a nice mix of zooms and fixed beam juniors to fill up these positions and have some extra fixtures. Pop the price list from Production Advantage in a spread sheet and do some goofing around with quantities to see how much you can change the size of your inventory by swapping fixtures.

    Next, I have to agree with Nick that you want to try to pick up at least two Selecon Pacific 575 25-50 zooms WITH the transparency holder/heat shields. Total cost is about $600 per fixture (including the fixture, heat shield/transparency holder, lamp and connector). Yeah that's a little extra. But imagine being able to print your own color gobos on any inkjet/laser printer using standard overhead projector media that cost about $1 each. Selecon's rock. A Source Four zoom will run you about $450. For only $150 more you are getting a better fixture and that REALLY cool feature of printing your own gobos.

    Finally, don't forget you have to buy the connectors no matter what fixtures you buy. They'll run you less than $5 if you install them yourselves, around $10-$15 if you have the dealer install them. Also don't forget to buy steel gobo holders, glass gobo holders, possibly a few top hats, some donuts, lamps, spare lamps for the future, a few extra c-clamps, lots of safety cables, two-fers?, and of course do you have enough cable. Double check the bid details with the dealer, some dealers will charge you for the c-clamp that the factor includes in the price.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2009
  14. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Gaff is right that chances are you will need acessories, lamps, safteys, gobo holders, top hats, and enough dimming channels. So don't over look that. It can be great to have heaps of new fixtures, but if you can't connect them to the pipe with a C-Clamp, or can't saftey chain them, then they shouldn't be in the air,
    Nick
     
  15. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    Just to be precise.

    The last time I bought a Source 4 Adult or Jr - it came with clamp and safety cable. I believe these are usually included.

    (I totally agree about the need for other accessories - however I tend to get more as I need them than get all I expect to need at time of purchase. This is primarily due to working in a venue that has a reasonable ongoing budget for these kinds of things)
     
  16. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I would advise against mixing fixtures types in systems. Jrs are noticeably dimmer than the regular ones and will make getting an even wash difficult. If you do a lot of dance you might be able to get away with using them as side light but if your trying to blast some saturated colors then they might not be the best bet.
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    You are right. Source Fours SHOULD come with a C-clamp. I had a dealer cut the price on the fixture, then open the box, take out the C-clamp and try to sell them to me separate at a total price that was higher than it should be.

    Not all brands and models come with: C-Clamp, Safety Cable, Color frames standard and none come with lamps. Just make sure when you write up the package that goes out to bid you write in every detail that will be included even if it obviously should be. An unscrupulous dealer might try to cut a corner on you to make a few more bucks.

    Sorry I was a little tired and didn't quite phrase that all right. Yes there is a difference. Don't try to mix Jr's and Full size side by side from the same position. However, if you are only using 575 lamps I don't think you'll have a problem using Jr's on stage and Full size from the house.

    Again do the precise measuring and we can help you do the photmetric calculations and you can have an accurate comparison.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2009
  18. thatactorguy

    thatactorguy Active Member

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    You guys almost have me convinced on these things- I may just have to see about talking the Board of Directors into picking up a couple... :)

    By the same token, when you're shopping for lamps, be aware that there is a noticeable intensity difference between the 575/115v and 575 "Long Life" lamps. Start mixing those, and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to get a smooth wash. You'll save money if you go with the Long Life, but I personally prefer the standard 300 hour lamp. That's just a choice I made...
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Very true.
    From Ushio's Website

    Lamp Lumens Color Temp Hours
    HPL-575/115V+ 16520 3250 300
    HPL-575/115X+ 12360 3050 2000
    HPL-750/115V+ 21900 3250 300
    HPL-750/115X+ 16400 3250 1500

    They all fit but they are VERY different lamps and don't play together well.
    Unfortunately in the educational world we often have to go with the cheapest option. If you've got the dimmer space and need long life go with the 750X lamps. Essentially the same output as the 575 normal but get's 1500 hours of life.

    That said I use the 575 long life's because I'm in a Black box and I just don't need that much light.
     
  20. Jinglish

    Jinglish Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the advice, guys!

    After reading what you guys had to say, talking to an alumnus who's involved with lights at his college, and talking it over with my director, my two assistants/understudies, and the person we normally deal with at our distributor, we ordered two 26 degree standard Source Four fixtures yesterday along with two Source Four PAR's. They're coming with lamps, clamps, gel frames, and safety cables, but we have spare clamps and cables lying around anyway. We're coming into some more cash soon, so we'll probably be able to buy at least eight more (which is really all I'll need for wash and a couple of specials), some more PAR's to replace some of our old and gel-destroying 750 W Fresnels, and a few accessories here and there (I'm particularly interested in City Theatrical's swivel yoke for our specials.

    These first couple of lenses are 26 because our 6x12 Altmans seem to be the best for our wash with our current setup. I've been doing some of the math with the data from ETC's site, so I've also been thinking of making the bulk of my wash 19 degree lamps. I'll probably go in and measure everything to get exact numbers before I buy the rest of the fixtures.
     

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