ShowPRO Neptune 400 Hybrid IP65
by Tim Hall.
Tim Hall is the Managing Director of Resolution X, one of Australia’s leading lighting and production hire companies. Part of the Lightmoves Group, they have grown since their founding in 1998 to become one of the largest providers of rental lighting and rigging equipment in Australia.
At Resolution X, we’ve spent the last two years looking for waterproof, IP rated lighting fixtures. In an ideal world, we wanted something versatile; not just a beam, but a hybrid. We thought that meant it would have to be a discharge source in order to get the output we need. We just didn’t think any LED engine would cut it, and you need a bright fixture for outdoor work. Many IP rated fixtures simply don’t zoom, and most are discharge fixtures. We wanted the lower cost of ownership of LED, while getting the output and versatility of zoom and beam.
When we first saw the output specs on the ShowPRO Neptune 400 Hybrid IP65, we were sceptical, because it’s a LED source, but as we already own and run fixtures from ShowPRO’s Pluto range, their performance and quality suggested we’d be happy.
We sourced a demo unit from distributor Show Technology, set it up and tested it in our warehouse. We were happy to confirm it was exactly as bright as it said it would be, and with a very flat beam to boot.
Even outside, the Neptune 400 is more than bright enough, and makes a nice profile fixture as well. We brought it into inventory, and it became an instant workhorse.
The first job for the fixtures was at the MCG for the inaugural AFL Emergency Services game. We needed them to roll on and off the ground quickly without having to worry about waterproofing or the weather.
Ironically, the weather was perfect! They then went out for a week on Melbourne’s White Night Reimagined, and the weather was appalling! They certainly got wet, and there were no failures.
After they came back into the warehouse, they were filthy, so we gave them a quick hose down – there’s some obvious advantages to an IP65 rating!
The Neptune 400’s panels are fitted with rubber seals. To change the gobos, you simply pop the seal and get inside. The optical path is 100% sealed, so if you take them out on a dusty festival, the optical path stays pristine.
They’re slightly heavier than a non-IP rated fixture with the same functionality, but at 34 kg, that’s only five or six kg more than an indoor fixture with the same feature set, which is manageable.
Surprisingly, a number of our corporate clients have started using them indoors, and really like them! It all started when we were a little short on options during a busy period, and offered them to a client to try.
The client was sceptical, but took them, and has taken them out multiple times since because they like them so much. We really didn’t expect that at all!
The Neptune 400s have the quality of colour and output punch required for most events, and as a fixture, they look good, so they can sit comfortably on a corporate stage. The only trade-off is that they’re slightly heavier than a standard fixture might be, but that usually doesn’t matter.
The colour rendering from the CMY engine and the colour wheel is great.
The dimming performance is on par with other similarly spec’ed fixtures. Gobo projection is sharp and even. The movement is a little slower than a standard fixture, as is with most IP rated fixtures because of the extra work involved in moving their rubber seals; but I still wouldn’t describe it as ‘slow’ though!
Neptune 200 Beam IP65 and Neptune 400 FX Wash IP65
We were so happy with the Neptune 400 Hybrid IP65, we decided to invest in other units from the series, specifically the Neptune 200 Beam IP65 and Neptune 400 FX Wash IP65.
The Neptune 200 Beam IP65 competed well in a shootout we ran, and with its deliberately limited feature set, does what it does really well. It produces a nice flat bright beam, and does it with a LED engine.
The result is not at all peaky, and when you put its prism in, you get a wider beam. It’s a fantastic price and represents great value for money.
The Neptune 400 FX Wash IP65 has the same output specs as a ShowPRO Pluto 2000 wash, and runs seven 40W LEDS in its outer ring, plus a 60W centre LED that you can defocus to create a break-up effect.
There’s individual pixel control, and you also have an outer LED effect ring providing another creative element. It’s a great size, and sits well on smaller jobs. At only 22kg, you can use them indoors comfortably, and they’re physically easy to handle.
The service and support from Show Technology has been extremely impressive. When we decided to purchase our Neptune 400 Hybrid IP65s, there was a very short lead time in order to be ready for the MCG gig.
Show Technology worked with the manufacturer and had the fixtures built from scratch in seven days, airfreighted to Australia, and cleared through customs within another seven.
Our units were in stock three days early. I was concerned there might be manufacturing issues due to the speed of construction, but there was not a single issue. Out of 40 units we’ve had delivered, the only problem we’ve had has been one stuck gobo, which was easily fixed.
While we purchased our Neptunes for festival and outdoor work, we’re utilising them indoors too. Aesthetically, they are not only nice to look at, they look like a normal fixture, which certainly wasn’t the case in the early days of IP rated luminaires with their ‘architectural’ designs.
To us, they represent superior return on investment, and we feel we’re not paying a premium for the IP rating.
Light Source: 300W RGBW LED
Beam Angle: 3°-30°
Rotating Gobo: 8 Gobos + White, Gobo flow effect, Gobo shake and bi-directional rotation
Static Gobo: 12 Gobos + White, Gobo flow effect, Gobo shake
Colours: CMY engine + Colour wheel (8 dichroic filters + white, rainbow flow effect)
Prism: One piece 5F prism with bi-directional rotation and indexing, speed adjustable.
Focus: Motorised linear focus
Frost: 1 frost filter
Pan/tilt rotation: 540°/ 270°, 8-16 bit
Dimmer: 0-100%, 16 bit
Control: DMX512, RDM, Art-Net sACN, W-DMX
Control Channels: Basic 20, Standard 24, Extended 28
Pan/Tilt movement blackout, selectable pan/tilt ranges, gravitation sensor
Dimensions: 416 x 356 x 670mm Weight: 34 kg
IP Rating: IP65
CX Magazine – Nov 2019 Entertainment technology news and issues for Australia and New Zealand – in print and free online www.cxnetwork.com.au
© CX Media
Published monthly since 1991, our famous AV industry magazine is free for download or pay for print. Subscribers also receive CX News, our free weekly email with the latest industry news and jobs.