# Collaborative Articles Moving lights in Theatre - Why they make sense

Some say that for theatres, using DMX accessories makes more sense than using full blown moving lights. (See the Collaborative Article: Gafftaper Method.) My experience is that the flexibility a theatrical moving light gives you makes it far more useful and cost effective than just accessories.

How is a theatrical moving light different from other movers &#8211; simple. In addition to the standard moving light features (multi gobo, gobo rotation, pan/tilt, focus, zoom) It has a tungsten light source, and has shutters. This makes it easier to blend and use with your conventional lights. A moving light is no longer just for a splashy effects that calls attention to itself.

My primary venue is a community theatre in Tacoma Washington that does mostly musicals. We are severely constrained for dimmers (56 ). Our conventional rig consists of about 60 Lekos ( Altman and ETC S-4&#8217;s) 25 Fresnels, and miscellaneous scoops, Par cans, etc. Two years ago, we had an extra $10,000 to spend and decided to purchase two moving lights. We looked at the ETC Revolution, and the Varilite 1000 &#8211; both with shutters and incandescent lamps. We ended up with the Revolution (it was a close call). Since that time I have learned to use the moving lights as an important part of my designers took kit. I use them for a lot more than specials, and the audience us usually not aware that they move. It is interesting to compare what I used the moving lights for in a recent production of The Producers - vs. - how many conventional units and accessories I would have needed. I used the movers to: • Provide additional color wash / area fill light with multiple colors: Shuttered as needed. Multiple colors during the show. • Down stage wash. • Color wash on drop. • Jail Cell • Provide additional fill / area lights. Single color. Shuttered as needed. • Roof scene • Auditions • Court room • Stationary Gobos Just put the gobo in a conventional unit ( Cheaper than a Gobo Changer accessory) • Leaf Wash / breakup for little old lady land. • Jail cell gobo. • Specials needing shutters: Specials on an actor which needed shutters to dodge scenery, etc. Varying colors: • Accountants office ( two specials) • DC Special. • Square specials in Springtime for Hitler number ( two specials) • Specials not needing shutters: A round beam is appropriate. But we do need to vary size, color , and sharpness of focus. • Eight to Twelve during the show. • Effects where the light becomes part of the show: Audience sees the lights move • Swastika on proscenium. Later Rotates, Later does a bally-hoo. • Jail cell gobo on proscenium. Later Rotates. Later does a bally-hoo Approximate cost using current list price: 2 ETC Revolutions with Shutter module, and Rotating wheel module. @$7000
Total $14,000 How would I have done this with conventional fixtures and accessories? • Color Washes. Hang a pair of ETC-S4&#8217;s for each wash. Put a scroller on each unit. • 6 S-4&#8217;s • 6 scrollers. • 3 dimmers • Additional fill lights. Hang a pair of S4&#8217;s for each fill use. • 6 S-4&#8217;s • 3 dimmers • Stationary Gobos Hang conventional units with appropriate gobo • 3 S-4&#8217;s • 2 dimmers • Specials needing shutters. Just hang conventional units for each of the four specials. • 4 S-4&#8217;s • 4 dimmers • Specials that do not need shutters. Use an AutoYoke with iris and focus control and shutter. Need two of these. • 2 S-4&#8217;s • 2 AutoYoke with Iris and Focus control • 2 Scrollers • 2 Dimmers • Effects Use an ICue or AutoYoke on a S-4 with DMX gobo and rotator. Need two units for each effect. • 4 S-4&#8217;s • 4 ICues ( We will price with the cheaper alternative) • 4 DMX Rotators. • 2 Dimmers. Adding it up &#8211; the two movers replaced ( Approximate list price ) ignoring issues like DMX cable, power supplies, opto-isolator splitters for the DMX. 25 ETC S4 fixtues @$300 Total $7.500 8 Scrollers @$500 Total $4,000 4 ICue @$550 Total $2,200 4 AutoYoke with Iris, focus @$3400 Total $13,600 16 dimmers$2500 $2,500 Grand Total:$29,800

Summary &#8211; I saved a lot of money buying two well equipped moving lights over a bunch of accessories and conventional fixtures for this show. Additionally I saved a lot of time by not having to hang an extra 25 units in the house.

Why did it work out this way. It turns out that there is a lot more flexibility in a single theatrical moving light than in any set of accessories. For example, a moving light has multiple gobos and they can rotate. I can purchase a gobo rotator &#8211; but it does not handle multiple gobos. I can purchase a GAM SX4 with multiple gobos &#8211; but I can&#8217;t rotate them. If I get the SX4 it will not fit in an Auto Yoke. There is no way to zoom the unit to make the gobo the size I want it to be. And so on.

I don&#8217;t want only movers--but once you have enough conventional units to provide your basic illumination plus a bit more--it makes sense (IMHO) to investigate adding some movers to your inventory. If someone dropped another $15K in my lap today, I would get some additional color control (Scrollers or SeaChangers), replace some of my Altman units with S4s, and get more dimmers. But if I had$20K I would look at an additional mover.

• Created by
on

### Recent Activity

An automated review of this page attempts to determine its readability in English (US). The page contains roughly 842 words across 84 sentences.
47.05
9.2