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I saw the new Ocean Optics SeaChanger for the first time at ABTT this year.


I was fairly impressed, enough that I thought I might like to try some if they were available to rent, which PRG hadn't decided at the time. Unfortunately, in my little corner of am-dram out lighting budgets don't get anywhere near buying such things...

However, after the initial wow factor, and thinking a bit more about it, I'm not really sure what the best use for them is. For ordinary scroller substitution they're overkill, unless you need a larger range of colours during a show than you'd normally accommodate on a gel string. They offer the advantage of continuously variable colour, but they appear not to be that fast (full colour range travel seems to take about 1-1.5s), so no good for 'snapping' between colours.

And for effects lighting and specials, I guess you'd be better off with a dichroic filter moving yoke fixture (in the vl5/mac600 or vl6/mac500 category), even if you move the yoke only during focus. These are at least common and (relatively) cheap to hire, although I assume they would need more maintenance in a permanent installation than a source four fitted with a SeaChanger.


The main advantages over scrollers seem to be silent operation, no fans, and no gel strings to rustle, fade or break.

The one thing I can see them being useful for is for a theatre with a permanent house rig containing lots of source 4s, that regularly takes touring companies for short runs without their own lighting kit.

You could put a reasonable number of these in as scroller substitutes to cut down on house stock of scrolls and the need to make up custom scrolls and gels 'on the spot' for visiting shows.


But what can you achieve with them artistically? Slow colour 'crossfades' for mood changes during a scene?

Does anybody have any experience of using these? What kind of production were they used on, and in what scenes?


And finally, does anybody know if you can hire SeaChanger-equipped source 4s anywhere yet?





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I saw the new Ocean Optics SeaChanger for the first time at ABTT this year.


Not seen these yet (didn't make ABTT this year), and can't answer your question, but they do look very interesting.

Prices, anyone??



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Never heard of the Sea Changer, but it looks a very similar device to the Highend ColorMerge, a dichroic scroller replacement for the source 4. Interestingly, the ColorMerge has dropped off the Highend website.


I've had a play with (but have yet to have the opportunity to do a show with) the Highend ColorCommand, and I like this fixture a lot, its a fairly handy fixture. . It's like a wash mover with a halogen lamp but without the mover bit. It can do fast snaps of colour change. Not instant, but certainly as fast as a parcan change, nothing like 1.5 seconds. Or very slow, so a ten minute sunrise would be a fun thing to do.


I can think of lots of uses for this type of thing, but very few in the traditional amateur world of plays. Now if you are doing a musical [or a panto, of which I am deprived :unsure:], well, thats very different. Cycs, sidelighting and backlighting in variable, varying or snapping colours. Instant rainbows. Subtle or snap. And colour change without light source physical movement or apparent intensity change. Lots of areas to play with. You can do all this and more with movers, but movers, well, move, and we've discussed endlessly how inappropriate that can be for many shows, the "movers for movers sake" attitude.


For the big boys, they are selling these sorts of fixtures on economic benefits. Reduction in number of fixtures required (versus a several colour wash), no need to change gels etc.


The annoying thing about the ColorMerge is that appears that the 240v versions have small integrated cooling fans, so they are not silent. And they make noise when they change colour, but not as much as a scroller, and just like a scroller you can change colour in black slowly to minimise racket. Finally, they use four pin cables, just like scrollers, so the old scroller cables are ok.

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I was lucky enough to be an early user of this product. Several of the photos on the website are from the first production we used the original SeaChanger in. (Swing!) I think my quotes can be found here


Since then they have come out with an extreme green model that gets you some really deep blues that the original could not achieve. I don't think they advertise it but Ocean-optics manufactures the dichroic color wheels for vari-lite.


They are easy to install. After you do one you can do the rest in about 5 minutes. They are easy to control and produce tons of different colors. As mentioned no scroll noise and no no crunchy burn outs of expensive scrolls. You can run a deep-deep red with 750 watt lamps for an entire run without worry.


Transitions between any color may be done in about 1.5 seconds and don't look choppy if you use their speed channel.


John G

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I saw this at last year's PLASA. It is impressive-looking, though it was difficult to illicit a price out of anyone. Eventually I got a 'ballpark' £900.


As for touring houses, I'd need to be reassured that if a visiting LD wanted L203, then it really could provide them with a good 203, and not an approximation. I'm sure it could, but you never know...



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