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Using shutters as an iris?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I was looking into the VL1000T because from my understanding it would be perfect (hypothetically) for our high school. It seems like it is low-cost, with an incandescent lamp, and a bunch of nice features as well. It really looks like a great moving light. The one option there is to consider (again, hypothetically) is shutters vs. iris. I read somewhere, can't find the link now, that you can effectively use shutters, as an iris, which makes absolutely no sense to me, unless you want a square light. To me it seemed like the iris would be a better option, because on first thought I couldn't think of a situation where I'd need to shutter off a moving light (but then again I have never worked with one). Then I thought, well shuttering off would be great, because it allows so much more control over the light. Well then I looked at the beam angle. Lowest is 19º. That didn't thrill me too much. I mean, I was (hypothetically :() hoping to get a little smaller diameter, but I know from our 19º S4s, that it's a pretty wide angle for our throws. Now I don't know if this was designed as a wash moving light, or a spot moving light (too which I still don't understand the difference. I mean, one is narrower, right? Why would you need a huge angle on a moving light? I mean, if it's that big, where the heck is it supposed to move to?) it just seems like they are both two great features, and I can't figure out which would be better in the long run. So anyways, I was trying to hypothetically consider which option would be of more use.
     
  2. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    You think 19deg is huge?

    o.o

    A Mac 700 Prof will go to 14deg at its smallest zoom. What on earth is your throw?
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    A VL1000 is a "leko" moving light
    A "wash" fixture would be like a "fresnel" moving light--soft edged

    You don't typically hang a 5° on an electric when you need a smaller special, you hang a 19° and shutter it down. Same thing.

    --Sean
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Most places if you plot a 5 deg on a onstage electric the actors would be hitting their heads on it... and have fun trimming that one...
     
  5. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Uh... I guess this thread as completely exposed my lack of knowledge.

    Uh... it's not an onstage electric... And no 19º isn't huge, it's just bigger than I'd want. The throw, I believe it to be around 50 feet (Plus or minus 15 feet). This would be from about our 3rd or 4th FOH slot.

    Oh, okay, so maybe a terrible question, but would a Mac 700 also be considered a "leko moving light", or what not?
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Yes, a Mac 700 is essentially a "leko moving light". Basically, when you look at MLs (especially martins), if they are called Profiles they are like lekos, if they are washes then they are just that.

    In my opinion, irises are more useful. In working in theatre, I have yet to come across a need for shutters in an ML, but people must use them or they wouldn't make them.
     
  7. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Not to totally disagree with Alex....

    We're ALWAYS using shutters on ML's. Of course, in our design esthetic we don't have a lot of "lights moving", so they get used as "moveable specials". We figure for each Revolution in the plot we saved using 5-20 conventional specials. Irises are certainly useful, especially when used "live," but I've found that most of the LD's are pleased when they hear we have the shutter modules.

    --Sean
     
  8. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Very rarely are movers ever used from a FOH throw that is that far. Usually, there is more then enough space FOH for whatever pleases you. Onstage or a AP electric they are very useful due to saved pipe space. Also, you would be better off buying 20 source fours or a handful of seachangers then put a VL1000 in a cove position. Then on top of that, I doubt you would have clearance for the fixture, VL1000 are HUGE.
     
  9. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Good point on the huge part. Yea see FOH is really the only position because of our awkward theater design. Basically, it's a thrust proscenium stage, but the audience is only on the front, not the sides. 90% or more of all acting done in our theater is downstage of the proscenium, because u.s. of the proscenium is about 1/3 to a 1/4 of the total length of the stage. We can't really act upstage because of some weird sightlines, plus a whole bunch of empty stage in between the audience and the action, as well as a lack of lighting positions that hit the upstage area. We have two electrics, that are really only used for CYC, and the other electric is primarily used for backlighting from some old cyc/wash fixtures. Our FOH positions are basically all we have. The first slot is directly over the stage. Anyways, that's why we'd have to use a FOH position. I've seen another school in our area do a similar thing. They had four MLs from a very large throw, in the back of the house. I'm sure we could (hypothetically) get this in if we wanted to. It might involve some pipe drop down, and some scaffolding put up in the house.
     
  10. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    When talking moving lights, a "spot" typically refers to a hard edge, and they usually have a gobo wheel in them. A "wash" typically means no gobo wheel, a softer edge, and CMY mixing.
     
  11. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    Charcoal-

    -First, in specific reference to the iris v. shutter question. It really depends on what you are doing. Recently, I had 5 VL2500s in house the don't have shutters, I was doing Les Mis. Now, they were GREAT and the iris in them was very useful when I needed to just carve out one character on the stage (if they could hit their mark that is). However, when I swung the fixture up onto a set piece, I missed the ability to use shutters and cut to the edge of certain windows and lines on the set piece. Instead I had a big old circle up there. You can throw in some frost and zoom out to solve that to one degree, but when you want the nice clean edges of a shutter, you use a shutter. When you want to be able to go from a very wide angle beam to a very small angle beam, you use an iris.

    -Now, spot v. wash fixture. Spot fixtures have enhanced optics that allow them to produce a VERY crisp edge, which in turn allows them to project images, such as gobos. Spot fixtures typically have a smaller beam range, and in terms of MLs, will zoom from anywhere from 14 degrees like the Mac700 to near 40 degress like a VL2500. Wash fixtures do not have as enhanced optics, but allow for a much wider beam range. Typically them will zoom from very low, near 5 degrees sometime, to something closer to 70 degrees allowing for a wide range of full flood to tight, long throw beams. Some of the higher end fixtures will also employ the use of prisms to split the beam to make nice areal affects in haze.

    -As was mentioned earlier, MLs are not typically used from FOH, however that's not to say they can't. Most would see that as a waste given that front-lighting haze is not effective and that front light is often the "boring" light and doesn't provide much drama, dimension, or effect. Most designers typically will use Source 4s FOH to provide general area lighting and washes, and then will position MLs either as top light or back light specials that can as well project gobos on the stage floor or backdrop as they see fit. This toplight position is the most versatile to most designers.

    -As you have mentioned most of your acting occurs DS of the proscenium, on your thrust, and that you have one or two pipes positioned over the thrust itself. IMO, it would be in your best interest to position whichever ML you buy on the pipe closets to the proscenium, but still DS of it. This will allow the fixtures to function as near toplight specials, but will set them back a little to wrap around characters and provide the ever popular back light look. Also, this is a great position from which to shoot gobos or projections.

    -In terms of which fixture, and iris v. shutters, it depends on what type of performances you will be doing. For lots of concerts, musicals, or more edgy dramas I would suggest spot fixtures with iris because of their smaller beam angle and ability to project images. If you tend to do more static shows or ones that require precise positioning of the light, such a dance performance maybe, shutters are a good bet. A wash fixture should be used if you are not that concerned about spill, but want to provide many different color washes with one fixture that will cover several areas.

    -VL1000s are NOT huge. Check out the Vari-lite website. The NEW VL1000s have their dimmer/ballast and everything in a separate, truss or pipe mounted unit. The VL1000 Arc ERS is a VERY nice little fixture (16 lbs!), with enough power and enough toys for any theater. I would be more than happy specifying them for your application Charcoal. If I were you, I would demo the VL1000 Tungsten w/ Iris and the VL2500 just for comparison. Some other fixtures to look at would any of the smaller ROBEs, Mac500s, and others in that range. Only a select few offer shutters until you get into the really high end fixtures like the VL3500.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  12. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Just feel like I have to beg the question.

    If your throw is 50', you're using a FOH position, and it sounds like you can only even use a small portion of your stage, why do you need movers? Perhaps I'm missing something here, but since you're complaining about 19° being too LARGE, it sounds like you're only going to use these things for tight specials. I don't understand why you'd need a VL1000, with gobos, CMY, strobe, and all that motion, for tight specials. Like I said, unless I'm missing something.
     
  13. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    DarSax-

    -Yes, movers would be a waste from that far of a full FOH position, but if you read closely he states that there are positions over his thrust that are usable as well. Personally, I can't understand why a school near him would have put 4 MLs out on a FOH pipe at a distance even close to that, but who knows, people make interesting design choices, and they are as much entitled to them as you are yours.
     
  14. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to nit-pick and state that a moving light designed for hard edge, optical projection - I.E., gobo's shutters, iris, etc.. WITH an arc source lamp, is not a "Leko" in the way the term has been used for decades.

    A VariLite 1000 or a ETC Revolution, and/or S4 ellipsoidal in a City Theatrical moving yoke, is, in my mind (confused as it sometimes is) a "Moving Leko", due to the design choice to use an incandescent lamp so as to match the color temperature and color rendition of non-moving ellipsoidals spotlights used in a plot.

    It is admittedly a very grey area (and getting increasingly so), given the blurring of lines in usage between traditional S4 ellipsoidals with a color filter, non-moving S4 ellipsoidal with dichroic color changing, arc lamp ML's with shutters, etc.... so I admit to being on thin ice here. Perhaps the term Leko is incorrectly used as it truly brings to mind a particular quality of light that is much different then a Martin MAC 700.

    SB
     
  15. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I understand the nitpicking, but in essence, and to answer the question that was asked, the principals behind the optics in a Mac and a source four are basically the same. Ellipsoidal reflector and lens. You can put things like gobos, irises, or shutters in the optical path in either and achieve the same effect with either. Sure, quality of light is different, but would you not consider a Source Four HID a Leko type unit.

    I am not saying that moving heads can be interchangeably called moving lekos, just that they operate on the same principals as a leko. Thus, the difference between a spot and wash fixture is similar to the difference between a leko and a fresnel.
     
    Jezza likes this.
  16. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Would have to agree. Its the lamp that changes the quality of the light. Thats the reason that most "theatrical" intels have tungsten lamps, though I prefer the punch that the HMI's have.
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Charc,

    Most of your question has been answered pretty well. What I want to know is why you want movers? Just to be cool? To create multiple specials from one device? For the educational experience? To have some cool toys to expand your design abilities?

    This directly relates to the recent thread where we discussed if High schools are better off focusing on the basics or if the big boy toys are worthwhile. Personally, I think a high school is a lot better off buying a couple Seachangers/scrollers, some I-cues/right arms, a couple gobo rotators, maybe even a rosco X-effects or Rosco Infinity Animation system. For the vast majority of high school use, you don't need the whole mover, instead what you really need are one or two of it's features. Buying the gadgets that provide the specific features/effects you want could be a lot more cost effective when you are on a budget. And educationally, setting up and programing a S4 on a right arm with a Seachanger is basically the same as programing a VL1000... it's just less attributes.

    Remember the lamp life on most movers is about 300 hours and they cost about $100. Do you have the money in your budget to buy a new lamp for all your movers every year? Because you will have to.

    I'm not at all against having a couple of cool movers in your inventory. It's great. But I would spend that money on several other things first as I think they are more useful to you. Judging from what you've said in this and previous posts I think the first $10,000 I would spend would be to get some truss over the stage and some booms/ladders on the sides to give you better lighting positions. I would then spend the next $10,000 on some other effects devices with Seachangers probably being top of my list. THEN and only then if you've got another $10,000 would I think about the VL1000's, Revolutions, or something that Martin may come out with soon (I got a smile and a wink at LDI from a rep when I asked if the TW1 will lead to a TP1 profile version).

    Having VL1000's is REALLY cool... but being able to hang a Source 4 in a proper location is far more important.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2007
  18. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Oh it was all quite hypothetical. I wanted to make sure that I was clear that this was in no way a serious discussion of how our budget is to be spent. I think in response to your question, since this is hypothetical, where money isn't an issue, why wouldn't you choose the BMW over the Volvo? Why would I want it? It's a glimpse at what I might work with in the future, or what is out there in the world. It provides exposure to moving lights. It's a hell of a lot cooler than a technobeam. In all seriousness though, I think what I will try, in terms of educational experience with DMX. Is convince our dept. to buy a DMX iris, and to run the ****ed DMX line to the cats already! We already have an I-Cue, a topic I beat to death. So I thought a S4 with I-Cue and Iris would be one mean, lean, fighting machine (er, special.). (Oh my god, I just checked city theatrical for a price, 775 for a dmx iris! Plus cost of PSU? Wow, I was thinking this would be a heck of a lot closer to 500. So much for the DMX Iris. I guess it'll be a drop-in iris.) But I thought something on that line would be pretty good education wise, and provide flexibility. There are other things higher on the list though. We have to replace some of our inventory at some point too. Using old hand-me-down fixtures, some are great, some need to be replaced.
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Charc, as was discussed in the "lighting in the academic/educational world" thread, I think the best thing you can do in High School is master the basics. I would love to see high school tech students come to my college and be able to show me a mastery of the basic things:
    -properly hang, circuit, and focus a light quickly
    -design a decent light plot
    -understand the basics of color mixing and designing with color
    -have experience programing a light console with some of the more complicated but standard features (like programing multi-part fade times, repatching the board, using things like Link and follow)
    -show the ability to choose the right lighting instrument for the right location and purpose

    Sadly most high school techs come in thinking that because they once programed a par can chase sequence for a talent show they know all there is to know about lighting. The "BMW vs the Volvo" debate is a pointless question when you don't even know how to drive.

    Show me you know how to use a wrench, show me you know how to figure out what degree of instrument to use, show me you know how to choose a decent gel color, show me you understand the basics. Then we can really start learning something.

    Here's the other sad factor. Typically the high school teacher knows nothing about tech so when you do somehow manage the money to get a great toy (like an I-cue) it ends up dumped in a storage room because once you graduate no one knows how to use it.

    Hey Charc, I love you, your enthusiasm, your willingness to ask questions that might be embarrassing. You'll make a great tech if you choose to stay with it. So please don't take any of this personally. The problem is I see so many high school techs who think they know it all but really know nothing, they have no skills, and they have no real training (just what a senior taught them before graduating). It's frustrating to un-train their bad habits and re-train them with real skills and knowledge.

    So stepping back from the big world to your case and my previous post. The first thing I would do is spend money fixing lighting positions. Why, because how can you master the basics if you can't put the correct light in the correct location? As others have said, what good is a VL1000 if you can't put it in the correct location. Secondly I would invest in Seachangers/Scrollers and I-cues/Right Arms. Why... because of all the cool toys out there, these are the ones you can use the most in theater. You are always changing colors in the wash and you are always need another light in just the right location these products do that for you. I had a small high school theater with a dozen old Altman 360's and a dozen fresnels. I added 2 Source4's and 2 I-cues and it made a STUNNING difference in my lighting. The 2 I-cues became 20 different specials. It freed up all the instruments I had been using for specials to the point that I could have two colors of wash from the left and two colors from the right. Do you have any idea the difference that makes? Just 2 I-cues. I can't imagine how adding just two Seachangers would have helped that little dump of a theater. To use those I-cues my students had to learn about DMX, about repatching the console, about programing multi part cues with multiple fade times so the I-cue would go black faster than the rest of the scene, move while dark, and then come up as close to possible with the rest of the next scene. You know what that is? That's Learning to Drive.

    Yeah it would have been cool to have some bigger toys for that theater, but the first time I got some money, I had booms installed, had the tile over concrete floor covered with wood, had the turquoise theater painted black, and purchased a couple dozen lamps so I could use the pile of lampless instruments in the back. Over the five years I was there I got about $200k from various grants to spend on equipment and it went into curtains, speakers, a mixer, a new light board, Source 4's, and I-cues... all tools you need to learn how to do the job right in the first place.

    I did buy a gobo rotator... only found a reason to use it twice in 5 years... that's the problem with the DMX Iris. You won't use it that often if your primary purpose is theater.

    Oh yeah and if your theater has a lot of beat up old "hand me down instruments" that would be another place I would focus my money on. Give yourself the equipment you need to learn to drive well. College is coming and you'll have the chance to drive the BMW there once you show them you know your stuff.

    Take care Charc. Keep asking questions. If you decide you want to travel half way across the country to attend a 2 year community college you are welcome on my crew any time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2007
  20. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    "Hey Charc, I love you, your enthusiasm, your willingness to ask questions that might be embarrassing. You'll make a great tech if you choose to stay with it. So please don't take any of this personally. The problem is I see so many high school techs who think they know it all but really know nothing, they have no skills, and they have no real training (just what a senior taught them before graduating). It's frustrating to un-train their bad habits and re-train them with real skills and knowledge. "

    Hey gaff, we got to be nice to all these high schoolers...

    I always assumed that as far as technical skills went, this simply was'nt taught in high school, or at least it isn't taught well and/or the skill level and teaching level is erratic. I'm of the understanding that this is what college is/has been all about. Yes it's great to get high schoolers with *some* knowledge, but we alway's need to assume they know nothing and to start from scratch. That's how every college tech theater programs works, or at least the ones I'm familar with.

    SB
     

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