Acme Stage PAR BL-100 Product Review
By Ashley Salta and Wesley Bluff
Credit – This review was created by and published in CX Magazine,
Equipment Used: Acme Stage Par BL-100 WW & BL-100 RGBW
Application: Entertainment Lighting
Ashley Salta’s Review
Supervisor of Production and Technical Services at Rockhampton Regional Council
Ashley Salta is a Supervisor of Production and Technical Services at Rockhampton Regional Council, a position that encompasses technical management of Rockhampton’s Pilbeam Theatre, a 1,000 seat proscenium arch theatre that is a major stop on the Queensland touring circuit.
We recently chose to replace our PAR38 house light system at The Pilbeam Theatre entirely with Acme BL-100 WWs, the tungsten emulation model. We looked at other systems, including DALI and phase dimming options, but we struggled to find something that would retro fit to the existing PAR38 infrastructure and that also had a beam angle that was soft and wide enough to give us the coverage we needed. It was our preferred solution to have the house lights under DMX control, giving us the flexibility to run them in zones and incorporate them into our plots via the desk.
“After evaluating the options, the Acme BL-100 was literally the best fit – we could pull out the PAR38s and slot the BL-100s into the same cylinders mounted in the ceiling.” – Ashley Salta – Supervisor of Production and Technical Services – Rockhampton Regional Council
After evaluating the options, the Acme BL-100 was literally the best fit – we could pull out the PAR38s and slot the BL-100s into the same cylinders mounted in the ceiling. It wasn’t a prerequisite, but the IP65 rating means that the BL-100 is dust and water resistant, which in our ceiling space, in the North Queensland climate, is good to have. The price point was a huge advantage, as other options were much more expensive and required more labour and cabling. Taking out the old hardwired fittings, changing the power distribution to GPOs and running DMX means we can now swap out house light fixtures without needing an electrician to deal with the hardwiring.
When we configured the BL-100s to produce comparable brightness to the old PAR38s, we found we only needed to run them at 40% to get the same results as the PAR38s at 100%.
We now run at 50% as our full house lights state, which is brighter than the PAR38s could manage, and with much more even coverage. Their output is not just flat, it’s a controlled, soft, evenly spread light, which we find extremely useful.
We’re obviously using much less power with the new system, and it will be very interesting to look at our usage comparisons after the first 12 months. We’re sure to find that power usage has dropped significantly; we’re already noticing how much cooler it feels when we’re focusing on FOH bridge. The air con doesn’t have to work as hard, so it feels good to be doing our bit to help save the planet! We’ve also noticed that we’re not replacing PAR38s bulbs every week; we’d usually have to replace two or three, so that labour and parts cost is now gone.
“We looked at a number of product options, but the Acme BL-100 RGBWs stood out from the rest of the pack. Being a COB fixture with wide beam angle, they are ideal for us.” Wesley Bluff – Co-Founder, Lighting Designer & Operator – Krank’d Audio Visual Productions
Wesley Bluff’s Review
Co-founder, Lighting Designer and Operator of the Gold Coast’s Krank’d Audio Visual Productions
Wesley Bluff is the Co-founder, Lighting Designer and Operator of the Gold Coast’s Krank’d Audio Visual Productions, a full service production company with a theatre lighting speciality. Krank’d design, build, and operate theatre, concerts, and events nationally and internationally.
Krank’d invested in BL-100 RGBWs when we were contracted to light part of the Bleach Festival in 2018. Being primarily an outdoor festival, a weatherproof RGB LED fixture was ideal. We looked at a number of product options, but the Acme BL-100 RGBWs stood out from the rest of the pack. Being a COB fixture with wide beam angle, they are ideal for us, as we light a lot of independent theatre productions in venues with low ceilings.
While we initially purchased the BL-100 RGBWs for outdoor use, we now deploy them more often in theatre, fitted with their barn doors, as a Fresnel replacement. They have proven to be an extremely versatile fixture; we have 32 in hire and they’re out all the time. We regularly supply Brisbane-based theatre LDs that specifically request BL-100s, and one theatre company liked them so much that they bought a rig of them after hiring from us. At the time of writing this review, we have one show out that’s using 24 of them – they’re basically the whole rig.
What I really like about them is the softness of the beam. It’s not hard-edged like a traditional Par. The single COB source makes the beam a lot cleaner; some fixtures that run multiple arrayed LED chips tend to cause fringing between the colours. The included barn doors work really well, and the internal smooth dimmer curve is very controlled. The colour rendering is great, particularly when we need to mix pastel colours when using the BL-100 as a face light or boom fixture.
Practically speaking, the hook clamp is attached by an omega bracket, so you can simply clip them on and off when you need to change from hanging in a rig to sitting on the floor using the two yokes as legs. I find this fantastic because there’s nothing worse than the previous show’s crew having removed the hook clamps, then promptly lost all of the fasteners!
Brand: Acme Lighting
Model: BL-100 WW & BL-100 RGBW
Australia and New Zealand: Acme Lighting
Australia and New Zealand: www.ulagroup.com