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style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0">Opinion’s On Colortran’s

Published : 29th November 2003


Hi guys,

If a fella was looking for a couple of 2k fresnel's and was thinking of going with Mole or Arri because those are what he is most familiar with, then happened upon a couple of virtually new colortran units at a reasonable price should he buy them? These units would be used in a grip truck that is mostly operated by it's owner but also will go out on rental.

What is the overall feel of colortran for non studio use?

Tom Burke
Gaffer, Atlanta



No offence but Colortran's rank right up there with LTM peppers for me. I wouldn't purchase them.

The Mole and Arri designs are far superior.

My humble opinion.

Andrew Gordon
Gaffer
Regina, Saskatchewan
Canada



No question ... Mole is the way to go.

I just purchased a Baby Jr (Mole) w/barndoors & bulb on e-bay for $175.00

Look around, you can find bargains and the Mole stuff really holds up. As far as "quartz" lighting gear M-R is the best.

Josh Spring Gaffer Washington D.C.



>What is the overall feel of colortran for non studio use?

My humble and somewhat biased opinion over the years has been that Colortran in its various incarnations has built some of the best designed and worst built gear on the planet. IF the units in question are the famous "Ring Focus Fresnel’s, stay away from them. I do not know if you can get parts any more, but you will certainly need them - the damned things fall apart all by themselves.

My favourite 2k is the Mole 8" Jnr. Unlike the Baby Jar’s, the yoke (aka bale) will pass all the way around the fixture so you can go from overhung (stand) to underhung(pipe clamp) configurations without passing the cable through the yoke (bale) and the lens is a good size. For owner operator use, it might make sense to bore a 5/8" diameter hole in the Jnr Pin and thread a tie-down hole so you can use it on baby stands where applicable. The older Jnr. Solarspots are just too darned big - they take up too much room on the truck, ground or in the air to justify the light that comes out of them - back in the days of incandescent globes, they needed to be that big, but no more.

Nothing wrong with the Arri fixture, and the Desisti units are not bad either, but my vote goes to the mole ... and all the more so if you are somewhere where you can actually buy Mole replacement parts.

Mark Weingartner
LA based



Tom,

One thing you might want to keep in mind is that while your truck is mostly operated by it's owner "right now" (emphasis on right now), who will use your truck in the future (or now) and what will they be happy with? Will you be able to buy more of them when you need to expand? Will the scrims fit the 2k's one currently owns?

I want my package standardized - all 2k's take 9" scrims. Including my 8" Jnr's as well as the Baby Jnr’s. When I travel to unfamiliar territory I'm always comforted when I find familiar tools. When I worked in China, I was very excited to see they had Arri lights. Even more excited when I saw the row of Mole Richardson carbon arcs although they don't use them there anymore either.

Ted Hayash
CLT
Los Angeles, CA



>The older Jnr. Solarspots are just too darned big

I agree with Mark's points on the MR 2K line although I do love the light spread and the quality of the studio 2K. But probably best if kept in the studio due to it's size.

Then again I've been known to use a 5k cone light now and then.

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP



Mark Weingartner wrote :

>...and all the more so if you are somewhere where you can actually buy >Mole replacement parts.

Which is almost anywhere in the US, essentially. Barbizon Electric and others are dealers in M-R equip. and parts.

When our studio was set up in 1951, it purchased a number of used M-R fixtures, so we have some antique units. We have some senior Solarspots that are Type 412 (I think the current model is Type 415) and have 2 digit serial numbers. But we can still get repair parts. The studio also purchased in 1951 20 new juniors in the "TV Type" Blue Comet line. These were made of aluminium and are half the weight of Solarspots, although the same physical size (our juniors weigh the same as Solarspot babies.) Of course they aren't as sturdy and several compromises in design made them less durable. But we can still get parts for them, and some of the parts are improved designs over the original.

Hard to beat that kind of factory support. We also have a few Solarspot juniors, but they are used only when we run out of the handier lightweight ones.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



>Then again I've been known to use a 5k cone light now and then...

I have to admit it, I have used Cone lights myself a few times (where there was room)

I have not seen one for at least a decade, but there is something very nice about a big ROUND highlight in the eye sometimes.

I actually used a couple of them as soft down lights on a no budget feature years ago where building boxes or renting coops or skirting space lights would all have cost more than the freeish conelights plus the globe rental for them. We were shooting on a basement recreation room set in a warehouse, so there was plenty of overhead room to rig and skirt them - they are hardly location lights.

Mark Weingartner
LA



Mark Weingartner writes :

>We were shooting on a basement recreation room set in a warehouse, >so there was plenty of overhead room to rig and skirt them (Cone >Lights) - they are hardly location lights.

But they do have other uses. I've seen them used as parts bins. I was told a couple of scenics were using some to mix paint. They did, however, line them with plastic sheeting.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP



Mark Weingartner wrote :

>...I have to admit it, I have used Cone lights myself a few times (where >there was room)

I have not seen one for at least a decade, but there is something very nice about a big ROUND highlight in the eye sometimes....

Well, we have 3 - 5K conelights, 3 - 2K (I converted one of the 2Ks into a mini-5K) and a couple of 1K cones if you'd like a deja vu. Haven't used the 5Ks for a while, since we managed to find an 8K Modulite. Much more flexible, less bulky, and very lightweight.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



>Haven't used the 5Ks for a while, since we managed to find an 8K >Modulite. Much more flexible, less bulky, and very lightweight.

OK Wade ... what's a Modulite?

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP



Jim Sofranko wrote:

>OK Wade ... what's a Modulite?

It's a large, folding softlight, similar to the Lowell unit. The 8K had 4 - 2K lamps in it individually switched, giving a lot of flexibility. Modulite was a Georgia company that sold their design to Bardwell-McAlister not too long before B-M went out of business. B-M has been bought by someone else and has started up again with a limited product line, but without the Modulites, last I saw.

Would like to get another reflector/cover for it.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



>Would like to get another reflector/cover for it.

Someone should be able to sew up a replacement if you send them a sample of the stuff it is made out of. Loet Farkas's wife owns company that does that sort of thing...last I heard he was based in Atlanta, though I don't know offhand how to reach him...a web search might turn him up. He has worn many hats in the industry, running CECO in NY at one time. There are certainly companies out here in LA that would do that sort of stuff. I have someone who does custom sewing for me who could do it here - though you could probably get it done locally if you could get the soft goods to make it out of.

Weingartner
LA



Mark Weingartner wrote:

>...I have someone who does custom sewing for me who could do it here >- though you >could probably get it done locally if you could get the soft >goods to make it out of...

Ah, there's the rub! What is the stuff that is matt white on one side, black on the other, about as heavy as Duvetyne, and can withstand 8000 watts of heat?

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



Wade,

I don't know what that stuff was, but these days you might try a material we've been calling "Ultra-bounce", which is a black and white nylon ripstop that seems to be very heat resistant, although it would take some research to see if it's tough enough for your soft light. This material can be had here in Los Angeles from a company called The Rag Place on Raymer Street in North Hollywood, although there must be others as well.

Ted Hayash
CLT
Los Angeles, CA