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Author Topic: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?  (Read 1632 times)

Tim Hite

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Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« on: March 13, 2019, 12:56:02 pm »

https://www.blizzardpro.com/collections/essential-fx/products/weather-system-exa

I'm looking to add a cost effective DOWNSTAGE wash option for smaller gigs. This Blizzard unit seems to tick a lot of boxes. Rigs quick, RGBAW+UV, has DMX, can rig from truss or stand, easy to deploy, don't have to use DMX. . .Anything missing that's glaringly obvious?

Really wasn't feeling the 4 head systems like this but I feel I could get enough coverage with the 8 heads.

Edit to fix stage direction.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 02:30:17 pm by Tim Hite »
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2019, 01:52:06 pm »

What kind of coverage (stage size) are you looking for? Also you say upstage wash lighting but what exactly are you going for? Washing the back of the performers? Pointing into the crowd? Washing the back wall/curtain?

That's a pretty slick little setup, though. My biggest worry would be about the light pattern being uneven unless you plan on using a pair to balance the coverage of the stage area (note, it should be PLENTY bright enough, that is not a concern). It looks like they just gutted a standard bar light and added some CB connectors to connect the modules in place of emitters directly on the fixture. Pretty smart way to repurpose existing tooling.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2019, 01:58:21 pm »

https://www.blizzardpro.com/collections/essential-fx/products/weather-system-exa

I'm looking to add a cost effective upstage wash option for smaller gigs. This Blizzard unit seems to tick a lot of boxes. Rigs quick, RGBAW+UV, has DMX, can rig from truss or stand, easy to deploy, don't have to use DMX. . .Anything missing that's glaringly obvious?

Really wasn't feeling the 4 head systems like this but I feel I could get enough coverage with the 8 heads.

Looks like an excellent all-in-one solution. The first 4-light units I saw where disappointing. They used very dim, tri-color led's and the footswitch never worked that well. This looks like a huge improvement. These are much brighter and have amber, so they look quite a bit better IMO.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 02:00:38 pm »

That looks a lot brighter than the old Chauvet 4 bar thing I used to have - my iPad screen was brighter than that - LOL!!
Those quick set up systems are a great design for ease of deployment but I have found most of the ones I come across are so dim and quite useless for bands. At least the Blizzard would give a decent amount of light. You are paying for convenience though. For 1/4 of the price you could get 4 generic brand Pars, jumper cables and a T bar with everything attached which would give you almost twice the output... just saying...
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Tim Hite

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2019, 02:34:06 pm »

I edited my stage directions, coffee hadn't kicked in yet. This would be for front lighting for performers on up to a 20' wide stage or thereabouts.

What kind of coverage (stage size) are you looking for? Also you say upstage wash lighting but what exactly are you going for? Washing the back of the performers? Pointing into the crowd? Washing the back wall/curtain?

That's a pretty slick little setup, though. My biggest worry would be about the light pattern being uneven unless you plan on using a pair to balance the coverage of the stage area (note, it should be PLENTY bright enough, that is not a concern). It looks like they just gutted a standard bar light and added some CB connectors to connect the modules in place of emitters directly on the fixture. Pretty smart way to repurpose existing tooling.
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2019, 03:01:30 pm »

I edited my stage directions, coffee hadn't kicked in yet. This would be for front lighting for performers on up to a 20' wide stage or thereabouts.
Ah yes, that makes more sense now.
If that is the case, I would echo Debbie's suggestion at getting several standalone fixtures and your own t-bars for the same money. The problem with smaller heads like on the blizzard bar is that they have an extremely narrow beam angle, even though they are still considered wash heads. The blizzard kit gets around this by giving you 8 of them to do with as you please. In reality, you're just playing with 8 spot-like fixtures whose combined output mimics that of a couple wash fixtures.
If you truly need something RGBAW, there are numerous wash pars that will do that handily. If you can forego the dedicated white channels, a few standard RGB bars would be more than enough for the purpose you described. You could also mix and match RGB pars and white pars in your setup, allowing you to focus more natural light onto performers with a splash of color when needed. The ADJ TW series are really well priced white pars that output a ton of light for the price. We use 4 of the 12 emitter versions for 40x20ft stages for talking heads coverage (basically evenly covers the audience half of the stage), double that fixture count for full stage coverage.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2019, 03:02:07 pm »

That looks a lot brighter than the old Chauvet 4 bar thing I used to have - my iPad screen was brighter than that - LOL!!
Those quick set up systems are a great design for ease of deployment but I have found most of the ones I come across are so dim and quite useless for bands. At least the Blizzard would give a decent amount of light. You are paying for convenience though. For 1/4 of the price you could get 4 generic brand Pars, jumper cables and a T bar with everything attached which would give you almost twice the output... just saying...

The older Blizzard Weather was off the charts good, much brighter and more even than a 4-Bar.  The new one is awesome and the wireless pedal is convenient.
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frank kayser

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2019, 10:31:32 pm »

The older Blizzard Weather was off the charts good, much brighter and more even than a 4-Bar.  The new one is awesome and the wireless pedal is convenient.
Is it me, or is the 6.3' a little short.  Most of these types of bar fixtures all seem to be a bit short.
Do any of these have a standard pole socket for larger taller light stands?  Speaker stands?


Anyone here a Blizzard dealer?
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 02:26:24 am »

Is it me, or is the 6.3' a little short.  Most of these types of bar fixtures all seem to be a bit short.
Do any of these have a standard pole socket for larger taller light stands?  Speaker stands?


Anyone here a Blizzard dealer?
They have the larger pole mount.  We are dealers for Blizzard.   Phone number is on the web site.

Sent from my VS996 using Tapatalk

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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2019, 09:55:08 am »

Is it me, or is the 6.3' a little short.  Most of these types of bar fixtures all seem to be a bit short.
Do any of these have a standard pole socket for larger taller light stands?  Speaker stands?


Anyone here a Blizzard dealer?

Yeah they do come short - not sure why... I would simply replace the one that comes with the system for a taller one. The Chauvet 4 bar I had used to come with or without a tripod and I chose without for that reason.
You gotta get lights up nice and high if using them for front lighting.
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Mal Brown

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2019, 12:12:01 pm »

Tidy package but...  advantage 1 power cable, not a stringer.

1. Iím not in favor of electronics in the bar

2. Locked in placement of fixtures (on the bar)

3. Is ip65 rating important ?  Doesnít scream that it has that.  It is to me up here in the great north wet...  maybe less to you down. In sunny JíTree

In my rig which I rolled on the cheap (like everything else I do, eh ?). I used 9x10 color mixing led pars from monoprice.  Plastic housings, not ip65.  60 bucks per.  I have 20 of them.  They look great.  Colors are reasonably close to the Robin dmx color chart.

I hard mount 12 to Ultimate T bars. 4 on the bottom and 2 on the tops.  Top row is audience facing, bottom towards the stage.  1 Donner receiver in the first fixture of each tree.  Outlet bar provides power to all.  The rest of the cabling is hard wired so power to the outlet bar and I am deployed.

Front T bars are replaced by my new Global Truss F33 rig for this season.  CBI supplied power disto to the truss.  Rubber boxes similar to OA Windsor.  Same basic concept.  Riggingwill live on the truss after the first deployment.

 I do various with the others. I cut down painters bucketswith a sort of rounded scroll shape.  Wrap the buckets in appropriately festive wrap.  Holiday, wedding color, etc...  I can scatter those on the perimeter of a venue or in a string across a stage back for up lighting.

I have another pair of T bars plus a set of extra long poles for some aluminum Ultimate stands I have.  On those I use clamps and arrange 3 per pole, stop light fashioned for sidestage.

Just depends on the venue.

Anyway I go, Donner receivers in each separate fixureor group offixtures.  No dmx interconnects.  I use a separate stringer to power it all up.

Mono price has a 6 x 10 color mixer that is ip65 at $100 per can.  Planning on 8 to 10 of those for my front truss by fall.  Iíll phase out the 9x10ís in favor of all ip65 rated fixtures over the next season or two.

Almost all my gigs are outside or in tents so the weather rating thing - well Iíve been lucky...


« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 12:16:38 pm by Mal Brown »
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Joel T. Glaser

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 04:28:06 pm »

Sounds interesting, Mal. Would love to see any pictures you might have to share.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2019, 06:32:30 pm »

Yeah they do come short - not sure why... I would simply replace the one that comes with the system for a taller one. The Chauvet 4 bar I had used to come with or without a tripod and I chose without for that reason.
You gotta get lights up nice and high if using them for front lighting.

I just realized you are talking about the height of the stands, not the length of the bar. 

The stands they come with are useless.  For something a little lighter than an ST-157 we tried the Manfrotto https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/636420-REG/Manfrotto_1004BAC_3_1004BAC_3_QSS_Air_Cushioned.html

Someone here recommended tham, very good.
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Mal Brown

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2019, 07:17:23 pm »

Sounds interesting, Mal. Would love to see any pictures you might have to share.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/GorgeSoundandLight/posts/

So... Iím doing sound and suck at photography... not great at lighting either but Iím getting better.   Some shots from last season.  Note the amount or color Iím getting out of those $60 fixtures when there is a lot of ambient light to fight. They put out some light and as they color mix in the led, the colors are smooth.

I think this is my fourth season on those lights.  So far I have repaired 2 housings.  There is a threaded barrel embedded in the plastic where the bracket attached.  I managed to pull two of those through. Last season.  Ran zip tied for a few shows.  Then pulled them apart and 2 part epoxied the barrel in place.  Sanded them down after curing. Used a black sharpie.  Good as new...
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 07:21:10 pm by Mal Brown »
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2019, 08:18:24 pm »

You can get some great lighting fixtures for cheap these days. Like Mal I have had very good luck whilst spending very little. I use my $275 Blizzard Pucks for the bigger stages - they are really bright at 120w output each but also heavy - they are all metal body and made well ( although 1 failed on me after only 12 or 13 shows)
However, the generic ones I have purchased at anywhere from $35 to $55 have been fantastic.
I have had 2 fail on me in 4 years but after a lot of use.

Because they are plastic body - yes they need a bit extra protection when transporting and handling perhaps BUT they are SO LIGHT which makes them much  easier to move around and place on stands.
Ironically they also dim smoother than the Pucks do and whenever I can get away with 8 of the cheapies, that is what I take. 4 per side lights up the stage really well in small venues.
I use mainly DMX and these perform flawlessly.
I have each set of four connected to a T bar along with the daisy chained iec and DMX cabling so 2 cables up to the T bar and done.

If one stops working, the investment is minimal to replace it.
I wish I could get as good results from PA equipment by spending such little money - but alas no....
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2019, 08:50:30 am »

You can get some great lighting fixtures for cheap these days. Like Mal I have had very good luck whilst spending very little. I use my $275 Blizzard Pucks for the bigger stages - they are really bright at 120w output each but also heavy - they are all metal body and made well ( although 1 failed on me after only 12 or 13 shows)
However, the generic ones I have purchased at anywhere from $35 to $55 have been fantastic.
I have had 2 fail on me in 4 years but after a lot of use.

Because they are plastic body - yes they need a bit extra protection when transporting and handling perhaps BUT they are SO LIGHT which makes them much  easier to move around and place on stands.
Ironically they also dim smoother than the Pucks do and whenever I can get away with 8 of the cheapies, that is what I take. 4 per side lights up the stage really well in small venues.
I use mainly DMX and these perform flawlessly.
I have each set of four connected to a T bar along with the daisy chained iec and DMX cabling so 2 cables up to the T bar and done.

If one stops working, the investment is minimal to replace it.
I wish I could get as good results from PA equipment by spending such little money - but alas no....
I feel you there. LED lighting has come a long way in a very short timeframe. We have a small fleet of those BL-63 bar pars from parts-express and out of the 40 or so we use, only two have ever given us any issues in the 4+ years we've had them. At $40 a pop (or less if you get the 4-packs) it's a ridiculous bargain compared to fixtures offering the same performance for 2-3x the cost.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2019, 02:56:50 pm »

Same here on the cheap, lightweight Chinese pars. My light show has a bunch of them, and we've yet to have one break or fail. I don't even put them in a case!

Regarding tripod height, I want them tall and stable. I use these from Odyssey. I leave out the little angled supports - not needed. The 12 ft height allows me to put them on the ground when there's a low stage. I typically ask for 3 ft clear behind the stage to allow for this.  https://goo.gl/epHnGF

The pic here is almost all $40 Chinese lights:
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Mike Karseboom

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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2019, 08:59:30 am »

The lights look great, Mal. 


I hard mount 12 to Ultimate T bars. 4 on the bottom and 2 on the tops.  Top row is audience facing, bottom towards the stage.
Almost all my gigs are outside or in tents so the weather rating thing - well Iíve been lucky...


What effect do you use/get by facing the top row to the audience?





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Re: Is this the ideal cheap par bar?
¬ę Reply #17 on: March 19, 2019, 08:59:30 am ¬Ľ


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