CantoUSA Provides Real World Photometrics

At CantoUSA, we know that accurate photometric information is crucial in your decision-making about followspots. By measuring the intensity of light coming from our fixtures, we are able to set expectations of how bright our followspots and retrofits are to suit your needs. We have found that gathering real-world photometrics is invaluable. To that end, we use a specific method for gathering, compiling, and distributing our photometric data. A few weeks ago, we performed photometric testing at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, NC for the Tango followspots. Below is our method and a couple of photos from that research as an example.

How we gather and release the information:

  1. To begin, we use a real performance facility. This is because we’ve determined that shooting a light across a warehouse is not the same as a performance facility. Warehouses have many reflective surfaces from equipment and floors to ceilings and walls contributing to the outcome of the measurement. Therefore, we use a real-world performance facility as this is the only fair way to start the process.
  2. We then start by setting up tape marks with a laser distance meter for specific distances. For the Tangos, we set up tape marks at 100’, 125’, 150’, 175’, 200’ and 225’.
  3. Next, we use a new lamp and bench focus to a flat beam. The beam must be flat, since a peaked beam is not desirable by designers, users, or operators. We also view a peaked beam as misleading info that leads to less desirable results that can have a negative impact on a performance.
  4. For our light meter, we like the Seconic C-700-U as it provides a reliable set of data. We are sure to do a new black calibration between each zoom setting and each fixture.
  5. We zoom the fixture to its smallest angle, in this case 4.5 degrees. We then use the light meter and take three measurements at that distance. The data is recorded on a laptop to be compiled later.
  6. Next, we zoom the fixture to its widest setting, in this case 9.5 degrees. We utilize the same method used for the smallest angle and record the data.
  7. We do this with each fixture, then look for outlier readings to see if we have any potential errors. If so, we do a re-shoot and see if we can recreate that issue.
  8. Once we have what we believe to be solid data, we compile it.
  9. To compile the data, we look at each distance and average the three measurements taken for the published number. While we do measure to one place after the decimal point, we round for the published data.
  10. Next, we do a peer review. We look at data we have collected from the fixture design process and other data we have gathered in our day-to-day process with the fixtures. We ask ourselves this question, “Do these numbers make sense?” If so, we roll with the findings. If not, we try to figure out why and what may be different so we can better our method at the re-testing.
  11. Finally, once we are satisfied that we are correct, we send the data to Marketing where they publish the photometric data on the cut sheets.
Tango Photometrics Testing 01
We zoom the fixture to its smallest angle, in this case 4.5 degrees. We then use the light meter and take three measurements at that distance. The data is recorded on a laptop to be compiled later.
Tango Photometrics Testing 02
Next, we zoom the fixture to its widest setting, in this case 9.5 degrees. We utilize the same method used for the smallest angle and record the data.

It is our goal to provide accurate data about our products and how they will work for your space. We know that trust is important, and we hope that we can win and keep yours in the years to come as we innovate lighting for the future of our industry.

If you have any questions about this or any other product, please feel free to give us a call at 888.252.5912 or email us at info@cantousa.com.

Special thank you to Gene Blankenship at the US Cellular Center for hosting us to take these photometrics in the setting where the Tangos are being used!

Canto Tango Followspots

Tango

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Xenon in the Entertainment Market

A xenon lamp is a high-output, high-wattage arc lamp that uses an inert gas (xenon, in this case) to help create intense light. The reason that many people love xenon technology is because it’s one of the very few light sources out there that imitates sunlight with its high color rendering, high output, UV levels, and color temperature. Xenon lamps were in first stages of development in the 1940s, and first produced in the 1950s as part of film projector lamps.

Evolutionoflampsposter 1 90

Xenon replaced the carbon arc lamps in several applications. Carbon arcs were two exposed carbon rods, similar to stick welding. There were occasionally fires caused from their open sparks, so moving to the xenon lamps was a lot safer. Xenon was way safer, brighter, came in higher wattages, and you no longer had to change a part during a show, as with carbon arcs. You always had to change a rod during intermission with the carbon arcs.

Carbon Arc Lamp And Reflector

Carbon Arc Lamp

Xenon Short Arc 1

Xenon Lamp

Xenon technology today is used in followspots, car headlights, projectors, solar simulators, and searchlights. Nothing so far has been able to beat the brightness of xenon, and it’s become an industry staple for years.

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The Art of Followspot Operation

Linford Hudson, nicknamed “Mr. Followspot,” recently received a special recognition Olivier award for his fifty years of followspot operation at the London Palladium. The full article on him can be found here by “The Stage.” It is an enjoyable read, rich with history that Mr. Hudson witnessed firsthand with all the artists he worked with and shows he was part of. At 72, he is no longer at the Palladium, but still lighting shows, and doesn’t have any signs of slowing down.

Linford And Alw Photo David Levene

Linford Hudson receiving the special recognition Olivier from Andrew Lloyd Webber. Photo: David Levene

CantoUSA got its start with followspots, and we can appreciate and relate to the fondness with which Mr. Hudson spoke of them. We offer tungsten, ceramic, LED, and HID styles of light sources. We strive for ease of operability and maintenance, and always look forward to how can we produce better and brighter followspots. Between followspot operators, deck electricians, board operators, board programmers, lighting designers, house electricians, and stage electricians, there are so many roles within lighting a show or event, and we want to make the job as easy as possible.

Brian Moon, VP of Product Development, commented that, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some very fine followspot operators who were still operating carbon arcs. This was only 2006, so thirteen years ago, and these were still their primary followspots at arenas across the country. Operating those can be extremely tricky due to changing out carbon rods between intermission, as well as having the feed motor crap out in the middle of the show, and manually having to feed the rod in order to maintain the arc.

As for what makes a good followspot operator, Mr. Hudson said in “The Stage” article: ‘Concentration, finesse, and feeling. My lamp is my baby, it becomes a part of me. That’s my living. Some guys think it’s just a job. But doing it and doing it properly are two different things. You also have to know how to improvise.

When a followspot is run correctly, you never notice. When it isn’t, you can’t help but notice. Picking up an actor on a completely dark stage takes a lot of practice and timing. Followspot operation takes a great deal of focus, and you have to follow the performer you’re lighting up very carefully. We at CantoUSA appreciate what you do, the work you put in, and are always listening to end-users’, operators’, and designers’ feedback. We aren’t the ones operating equipment every day, so your feedback is invaluable to us as we create more models for your use. 

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