Recently, Chauvet Lighting sent one of their Legend 5000X fixtures in to us for a test drive. The fixture is a moving yoke spot fixture that uses an HMI 575 watt lamp. I took the fixture out for a spin at Farmington Heights and Englewood Baptist in North Carolina. The unit performed well and showed off the value of a fixture of this kind. The unit was impressive in the feature set that it contains, at a very affordable price point. (MAP $2,499.99)
Here’s some background on intelligent fixtures.
All lighting fixtures can be broken down into two main categories, based on their ability to project images. There is only one reflector lens system that can project an image, the Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight. All other fixtures fall into the Wash fixture category. The Ellipsoidal category can be further broken down into fixed lens and zoom lens types. The Wash category can be broken down into even greater depth, with some examples being Fresnel’s, Pars, Cyc Lights, and more. This distinction between categories does not just apply to traditional fixed instruments but to the moving lights as well.
One way to explain a moving light like the Legend 5000X is that it is an Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight on steroids. The basic components of the fixture are the same as any ellipsoidal, the difference is once you hang it, all of the adjustments are controlled by motors from the ground.
Let’s look at this fixture in more depth. The fixture is on the heavy side if you have to carry it around a lot, as I did; it weighs in at 71.5 lbs. The weight comes from the magnetic ballast used to control the lamp. The use of a magnetic instead of an electronic ballast is one reason for the lower price. A nice feature about the unit is the ability of the power supply to accept any voltage input and either 50 or 60 Hz. You will have to change the setting, but you can take this anywhere in the world.
As I said earlier, the fixture uses a 575 watt HMI lamp at 6000 Kelvin. For reference, standard bright daylight is considered 5600 Kelvin, and a standard ellipsoidal is 3000 to 3200 Kelvin. The higher the number, the whiter the light appears because of the increase in the blue content. The Legend 5000X lamp is rated for 1000 hours so this should last most churches at least one year if not more.
The reflector is made of glass with a dichroic coating for optimum reflectivity. I found the output to have sufficient punch even with a saturated red for medium sized churches of say 750 to 1500 seats.
The unit is a moving yoke so that you can rotate the unit 570 degrees and tilt it 270 degrees. If you have the available channel count, you can set the unit for 16 bit mode to get fine control of the pan and tilt functions.
When you control an attribute in a moving light like pan, color, gobo, iris, focus, etc. what you are really doing is sending commands to a special kind of motor. These motors are called stepper motors; so called because you can control them in stepped increments.
The language we are using to control the motors is DMX, which is set up for 8 bits of information per channel. 8 bits is equivalent to 256 steps. That means that if we have to move the fixture 570 degrees, if we are using one channel of DMX, we can move the fixture 2.226 degrees per step, which is not very precise from say, 30 feet. If we use two channels of DMX, we get to work with 16 bits, so when the first 8 bits is set to step 2, we now have a fine control of 256 steps before we reach step 3, so now our resolution is potentially .008695 degrees. Our control goes from feet to inches. What this means is that you can nudge the light beam over by just an inch to light up that soloist.
The unit comes with two color wheels for your color mixing pleasure. The first wheel has eleven colors to pick from. Chauvet has arranged the colors so that when you spin the wheel, it produces a rainbow effect. The second wheel has five solid colors, four split colors, and two quad colors. The split and quad colors become handy when used with gobos to produce images like a stained glass window. One of the colors on the second wheel is the CTO, or Color Temperature Orange, used for correcting the unit to match your tungsten halogen fixtures.
This fixture comes with what I consider a “must have” in any spot: two gobo wheels, and one has to be rotating. If you don’t have that, you can’t create any of the really cool effects. The static gobo wheel will hold nine gobos which are interchangeable, and can be spun in either direction. The indexing rotating wheel accepts six gobos, and it comes loaded with five metal, and one glass. The gobos would not be as much fun if you didn’t have an adjustable focus. What you can do with two wheels is shift the focus so that one or both are not in perfect focus and then spin the one to provide movement such as snow or rain, or some great psychedelic effects.
As mentioned, the unit does come with variable focus. The lens provides a 15 degree beam angle. There is also a variable motorized iris, and a motorized dimmer, which provided a nice fade and the iris, while not very sexy, is useful. The last two features are the shutter for that strobe effect and a rotating prism to make the psychedelic effects even more fun.
I had a chance to set up the unit and let it run through a cue list for several hours which involved changing position and color along with gobo changes and rotation. I found that the unit was easy to program and moved through the cues very well. The only thing I found that you should consider before investing in this fixture is the cooling, the unit is fan cooled. However, when I demonstrated it in two different churches, neither one felt that the fans would dissuade them from considering the unit for purchase.
Based on the price and feature for this fixture I would rate this fixture as worth investigating seriously.