Color Force – An LED Solution That Works
Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2010
We’ve all heard the promises…“We’ve got this great new LED fixture and it’s perfect for lighting cyc’s.” You instantly envisage a perfect world where you will have an infinite colour palette washing your Cyclorama without the need for 5kW dimming channels and sheets and sheets of filter. But Oh!…the disappointment…when the super LED wash barely makes it up the first metre of the cyc and has lousy colour rendering and a dimming curve reminiscent of a fluorescent tube, with a busted starter. But things are about to change…and for the better!
Walking the floor at the recent LDI tradeshow in Orlando visitors were treated to an eye catching array of new LED fixtures all shining, either directly at the viewer or off into the distant recesses of the exhibition all. All very engaging but one manufacturer was taking a different tack. Concealed high up, atop a 6.5m cyclorama. Chroma-Q had mounted two of their new Color Force 72 battens. Rather than pointing them out at the public with the rest of the LED eye candy on show, the Color Force fixtures were doing something quite novel for an LED at a trade show. They were being used to light something! Now this was different! An LED batten that actually worked as a cyc wash!
But why is there such a fuss over wanting an LED cyc wash fitting. Well it all has to do with efficiency and running costs! To adequately light a cyclorama (or back cloth) the usual weapon of choice is a 1000 or 1250 watt linear halogen lamp sitting in front of an asymmetrical reflector that spreads the available light energy vertically as far as possible to produce an even coverage. Multiple units are then placed at spacings of around 1.5 to 2mtrs to provide an even horizontal coverage. As you can see, if you have a 10m wide backdrop, you very quickly chew up 5000 watts or more of power, to provide a single colour wash. If you then want to mix colours, the power drain expands massively. Add into the equation the cost of all those 5kW dimmers, plus the limited colour palette available using the combination of conventional filters and you soon see why the adequate illumination of Cyclorama’s using LED sources has acquired the status of the Holy Grail.
Here was an LED source doing the job, whilst burning less than 25% of the energy of the conventional solution! From deep saturated colours, through to soft pastel hues, the top lit cyclorama was evenly covered all the way to the floor. The secret to success is down to the phenomenal amount of light available from the Color Force. Harnessing the output from the latest Luxeon Rebel LED’s, the Color Force 72 delivers a staggering 12,000 Lumens whilst it’s 48” cousin is right up there with 8,000 lumens. But, if all that was required was output then we would probably have had a dozen viable solutions by now. The problem is that designers also want an expansive colour palette, a natural quality to the light, as well as, a smooth linear fade that accurately mimics what they are used to from tungsten sources.
This is where the benefits of dealing with a true developer of luminaires (as opposed to someone who just copies existing offerings) comes into play. Chroma-Q have long been masters of the complicated math behind getting LED’s to fade smoothly from full to zero. No jumpy response or sharp drop off’s here! As with the other fixtures in their range, a smooth fade curve is achieved as well as a colour rendering index in the 90’s. Incorporating Chroma-Q’s “Magic Amber” technology, the correct amount of amber light is automatically calculated to deliver the requested colour, opening up the palette available to the designer. On board processing means that the Color Force comes complete with a variable effects engine capable of running intensity and colour effects, meaning that your console (and programmer) don’t have to do all the heavy lifting to produce an stunning range of visual effects. Indeed such is the power and versatility of the Color Force that it is suitable for all general wash applications.
True also to the Chroma-Q tradition of “road ready” fixtures, the Color Force features hidden fixings and integrated cable management as well as a quick release tilt adjustment to make rigging a breeze. Like all the Chroma-Q range, the Color Force is constructed from a rugged extruded aluminium body that saves your back whilst ensuring the longevity of the fixture. Given that the light source lasts 25,000 hours, it would be a terrible waste if the fixture’s body fell apart after the first ten shows. Chroma-Q know this and have always built the hardware to be capable of keeping pace with the light source.
Due for release in early 2010, the Color Force 48 and 72 are on track to further expand the role of LED technology for the professional stage. No longer just for fancy effects, Chroma-Q’s LED range is more than ready to take on the hard work of providing general illumination for professional lighting applications.