Lighting a cyclorama is a big deal in theatre, since even dispersion is everything and nothing shows up an inconsistency like bad lights there.
Asymmetric reflectors differentiate cyc floodlights from groundrows. A cyc light throws more light up high and less down low, whereas a groundrow is a floodlight that disperses out uniformly.
Designers don’t want to see anything but smooth and even lighting across and up every metre of the cyc fabric.
Chroma-Q’s Color Force has sold very well, now this second version amps up the output by at least 40 percent. This increases the throw, lighting a cyc of up to 12 metres, compared to 8m previously.
It comes in three lengths: 12, 48 and 72”. We looked at the most common iteration, the 48” model. The first thing we checked was the dimming curve, since theatre smooth dimming has been the test for LED devices on stage. This unit produced a smooth transition.
Next test is colour, from the RGBA system. There are 16 homogenzied led cells evenly spread across red, green, blue and amber. It produced satisfying saturated colours and pastels.
The colour propagates out of the unit quickly, meaning it can be placed relatively close to the cyc without annoying striations or breakup. Being LED it runs much cooler than a tungsten unit, removing that major safety issue.
The colour system is not quite at the level of ETC’s 7 colour system on the Source 4 LED, but it does the intended job well. The 8 cells can be split so that you have 16 controllable elements on the 48” unit, or 24 on the 72”. This allows all kinds of control like cool wipes from the centre outwards.
You have control options all the way out to 16 x 4, or as little as a single DMX channel.
The power draw for the 48” unit is about 530 watts, so you could daisy chain 4 off one 10 amp circuit, drawing less than 9 amps. A pair of Neutrik powerCon true1 connectors enable power in and out.
Optional “Cyc Lens” and “Border Lens” are slide-in optical accessories available to adjust the light output of the Color Force. One accessory slot is provided on the front.
Mechanically this is a touring unit, with a very strong case and a super cool tilt mechanism for the pair of end mounts. There is a fan to help things along, as the unit does warm up. I could barely hear it, so it is theatre approved.
Finally, the guys at Jands tell me the manufacturing system at Chroma-Q ensures the LEDs are ‘binned’, meaning they are chosen carefully. The units are factory calibrated. This leads to a service life of 50,000 hours.
Running flat out you get 13,550 lumen output withall cells driven, which is an equivalent ouput to conventional tungsten powered cyc units.
It has adjustable colour temperature from 1,000 to 10k kelvin – but you’d expect to set it between 2,700 to 4,000 for theatre, and up to 6,000 for broadcast.
Overall a very competent, robust fixture.
Model: Color Force II
Pricing: 12” $2,486, 48” $6,795, 72”, $8,622 + gst
Product info: www.chroma-q.com