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  • What Type of Moving Head Should I Buy? Spot, Wash, Beam, or Hybrid? With Guest Bob Mentele

 January 19

by LearnStageLighting.com

Learn Stage Lighting Podcast

Welcome to the podcast and episode 115. Today, we have a special guest Bob Mentele of Elation. Today, we’re going to discuss what type of moving head you should buy?

Main Segment (0:10)

David: As you might remember about 5 years ago we started hearing about hybrid lights and led to this question. How do you choose between a spot, wash, beam, or hybrid?

This is a question that has been coming up more often. With some of the hybrids, when you have one light trying to do three different things, it unfortunately did not do that well.

I do believe that they have improved the past couple of years and to it’s core the hybrids should have the primary function of either wash, beam, or spot. In my opinion, there are still only three types of lights which are spot, wash, or beam.

David: For those that are newer to lighting, with a wash fixture you generally start with color mixing and zoom. With a spot fixture, you can get a wide variety of features but the main point is that you have a spot light function. Then, you have the beam which is similar to a spot but has a sharper point of light that can be used.

Definitely, and especially now those different features are very important. With a spot light you have a very even field of light that provide an even lumination of a space.

A wash fixture will typically provide a even wash of light that has soft edges and work well with being able to blend with other lights.

Lastly, you have the beam fixtures which create a very sharp light that isn’t meant to be used to light up a stage nicely. The sole purpose is creating unique effects in the air.

I do see spot and washes being the important lights you would want for your stage. The beams would be considered the eye candy and the hybrids it just depends what the main function of that light is suppose to be.

With hybrids, while it may be able to do certain effects make sure it is able do the spot lighting well or if it is able to do what you want it to do well enough.

There are hybrids can offer a dual purpose but understand that it might not be the super sharp spot light or even a solid wash light. The lights may be able to do both just watch for the wattage, capabilities, and reviews.

David: That’s a good point because we do use those terms and labels to help keep a spectrum of the type of lights they are working with.

We discussed wash lights and there’s only two options because it can be either a wash or a beam. It was very interesting to see the evolution of LED lights. In the beginning there was very few options but now it has grown to be one source of light that can illuminate enough where you might not need multiple LED lights.

We now have engines bright enough to provide a higher output that you would need for a standard wash light. There are still some entry-level LED lights that still might not be able to offer a beam type of light. LEDs are not bright enough for that yet but it is being worked on.

We do see lasers being more used in this area when the proper license and documents are in place. With lasers, they are able to offer the extreme output to create a beam like look.

David: At least on a big scale, it’s not there yet but in smaller venues, there are options available. LEDs are great but sometimes the efficiency isn’t always there.

Efficiency, for example, the Artiste Modren it’s a 950 watt LED engine and it takes a lot of power as well as a lot of fans to keep the system cool. But it is more efficient than a discharge, you strike the lamps, leave it on 4 – 5 hours and pulls the 1000 watts during the entire show. With LED’s you dim it or turn it off which helps save on the power.

When you compare them both, the light intensity is about the same.

When it comes to comparing lights and deciding what you want to do, there are many options. If you’re looking to do more pale and white looks to your stage you most likely won’t need a color mixing fixture. But if you are looking for colors and effects your fixture selection will be different.

Knowing your rig, your fixtures, and where you want to take your lighting will take things a long way.

David: That’s a good point and a solid path to helping close this discussion. Whatever you have is important to know as well as what your fixtures and rig can do.

We had an opportunity to do an event so I was able to explain and know what our lights could and could not do for the customer.

If you are working with a rental house, take a chance to borrow or test the lights you might not be completely familiar with. Just remember depending on what you are wanting to do, what do you already have, and what to you want to accomplish will go a long way.

Closing (33:53)

Thank you for joining us today and we appreciate Bob sharing some great insight to different fixtures and hybrids. We will se you all in a couple of weeks!

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