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JB DMX scanners

Joe Bleasdale

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hi guys,

im a student at school and am currently trying to persuade our technical manager to buy:

4 x JB DMX scanners (flat mirrors)

1 x sweetlight usb

and the necassary cables

I wanted to use the scanners as specials and colour washes, would this work by running it straight off sweetlight?




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Can you give a link to the exact model of scanner you are talking about?


Please, use the search function, search for "school moving light". 99% of the time we do not recommend that schools get intelligent lighting in. Take a look at those threads, and try and convince us that your situation is different.



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Simply, yes the sweetlight usb will output DMX on 3pin XLR, which will plug into the back of the first scanner. Personally though I wouldn't want to use sweetlight, as I've never found PC controllers to be as easy as a proper desk. However, this is a matter of choice and you may well like it.


However, before you push to get these, consider the cost, and whether they will really be worth it. There are hundreds of topics on here about schools buying automated fixtures, but the general gist is that in most cases it isn't worth it.


Have you factored in a budget for repairs etc?

When you leave, are the lights going to lose their use, or will there be people to takeover?

Apart from the ability to move, what do these do that you can't do better (and cheaper) with a selecion of generics?


Another thing you haven't spoken about is the intended use. For live music events, or theatre? If it is for theatre, then these will undoubtedly be much to noisy to be used without interupting the performance.


Hope this helps you consider whether they will really be worth investing in.


Edit:beaten to it...

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1) That's only 2 moving mirrors, the "rover" fixtures are a beam effect so they are useless for what you require.

2) The Winners do not have a dimmer channel, so really they are a bit limiting especially for drama or for theare work

3) They have a ELC 250w halogen lamp. Now, these lamps are not very bright, especially from high up in a rig. But also, the lamps tend to blow at the worst possible moment, unless you get long life ones, which are even dimmer...


Just a few thoughts, others will no doubt add more

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Moving mirrors are pretty useless in a school for two reasons. They have very narrow beam angles, so any chance of using them to wash is not going to happen, the major flaw from my perspective is the lack of dimming - lights that cannot fade in and fade out just don't look good. They are also quite dim. Spend the money on proper stage lighting, not toys that will be knackered quickly, look awful, be very delicate and have high running costs - and are noisy things!


We repeat this over and over again - it never goes away.


snap, well almost!

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The kit that you linked to has Two Flat Mirror Scanners and Two Barrel Effect Lights


Sweetlight will work with the Scanners and is nice, but not very good for theatre use IMO (No CUE stack for starters).


Why do you need to buy four? Two could be enough (why do you need to buy two when it is probably better to buy generics).


What Desk do you use to control your Generics?


You will undoubtedly move on from school, what will happen then?


As David has said you should probably read the other topics on school moving lights before committing to getting any for your school (especially cheap disco scanners)


Josh :)


Edit: Beaten to it by three people. Thats what I get for reading over my post (Twice)

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I suppose they'd be ok if the object is to learn about how DMX works without too much budget, (or recreate a seedy nightclub scene in a play subplot) but as everyone else has said, I'd agree they're best left hanging from the ceiling of the student union.


This isn't a sniffy response, (I'm also a club DJ) but you must say 'horses for courses' and get good workhorses for the theatre. :)

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I'd echo what others have said. I'd also add that these disco style units, along with having no dimmer and no frost for a "wash" would probably have very tight beams an also be quite loud (not something you want for a theatre show).
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Unlike my esteemed colleagues on this site I think some movers in a school situation is an excellent idea, but not, sadly, these movers, they are purely a disco effect thing, noisy, weak and a waste of money, sorry.
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When doing your rethink, have a look for secondhand JB Varyscan4 as something to learn with. I use one in a live music venue as a preset spot, running it from an LSC Atom12. Nothing like a good follow spot but suits their budget as they don't have any money.


If you can get some secondhand units they are a good staring point.


Main disadvantage - fan noise, so not great for drama, work well in musicals.


They have a 575watt discharge lamp, dimmer, prism, rotating gobos (but only six).


250 watt halogen lamps do not have much punch and even 250 watt discharge lamps such as the JB varyscan 3 are not bright enough for long throws.


Use the search function and read up on the pros and cons of schools and movers, they are very time consuming to learn and program.

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Here we go again!! New year - same old topics!!


Well my 2p's worth is that I think ,Yes, for schools, college offering theatre technology courses aka BTEC, A Level etc etc I think having some sort of moving technology IS a good idea and indeed usful for the number of shows and turnarounds they would be doing, and to assist in the training of the job and what you would usually find in the real world


but for the original post - no no no!! not that rubbish. its a disco toy only best for waving around in a night club. If you really have to have movers then hire some, but at least ones that are suitable for the job


get your manager to buy more usufull stock like more generics, colour, gobos. even a bit of soccapex!!


My only gripe with young people in schools doing lighting that arnt subject specific is that they think having movers is the be all and end all of a rig. Its not!! Learn the craft for effective design first!!!


Big west-end shows that first came out like Cats and Phantom didnt have moving lights - or much else for that matter. iThe most high-tech it got was using semaphore colour changers , but the outcome was stunning visually.


You be suprised what you can do even with just 6 parcans, a handfull of colour and some nice angles.!!

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Hmmm, yeah, not the right type of controller and fixtures at all for this situation. People have said important factors and flaws (halogen lamps, output, lack of dimmer, noise, disco lights etc) but LXbydesign is very spot on with things.

What specific effects are you trying to achieve and is it for different performances?


I think if you are looking for specials and washes you will realise that you are probably better with conventionals and 'adaptors/accessories' like gobos and iris' in profiles, gels and frosts, shadows and lights at unusual angles to create effects than from what you'd achieve from a narrow low output fixture with a whining fan and 'disco' type gobos. You need to cater for each show seperately and consider the special effects for each show because they will all be different but important.

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