I agree with Josh about the cheaper controllers, but the Elation Showdesigner series is very, very useful and cost-effective. I would also somewhat disagree that you cannot successfully use the more economical lines for your purposes, especially if your budget is limited or the market in your area will not justify the expense of top-line products. I'm not a big Chauvet fan when it comes to mechanical fixtures, but their other fixtures are decent. Try to stick with the tri- or quad-type fixtures, as they look better for theatrical purposes, and balance your choices with your budget. If coverage is more important than brightness, look for fixtures with a wider beam angle, or buy more fixtures at a lower wattage/lower$$. If you aren't certain what to buy, take your best shot at one fixture and play with it. Better to actually see it with your own eyes than trust a dealer or one of us.
as far as control is concerned, what you need to purchase is a INDUSTRY STANDARD brand. im not talking ADJ, or Chauvet, or other DJ lighitng company.
Elation Showdesigner 1; $ 749 MAP, 512 channels, 99 pages w 16 scenes per page, 16 fixture buttons w/ ability to "multi" fixtures for independent control over more than 16 fixtures; each scene can contain multiple chases as well as static looks; for live use you can access all fixture functions in realtime; Chase speeds are programmable independently; 16 pages of 16 individual programmable chases; can be backed up to a PC. There is nothing on the market that compares in this price range.The learning curve would be a challenge for a novice, as it a generic DMX controller, but you can create very quickly with a little bit of practice.
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