I try to be impartial when writing these articles. I try to focus more on how a general category of product can be used than on the benefits of any one particular product. I've tried to do that this week, and failed. Simply put, I love the Firecracker!
The Firecracker is a party/disco light that uses two lamps, a rotating dichroic color wheel, and an array of 36 lenses to create multiple, multicolored beams of light. Because the wheel rotates, the beams of light seem to dance and change color. With the sound-active option, the effect seems to move in time with whatever music is playing.
So far, the Firecracker seems similar to many other disco lights that are currently available. So why am I so attracted to this one? I think the answer lies in the fact that I discovered the Firecracker while searching for a low-cost effects light for a small club. This club had a stage that badly needed some additional lighting. The problem was that, while the stage was approximately 30' long, the club didn't have enough space to get a longer throw distance, nor did they have the budget for more than one or two lights. [Note Normally, to get wider coverage you either pull your lights back further, or use several lights in a row.]
The Firecracker proved ideal for this situation. Because of the way the lenses are arranged, the fixture has quite a wide beam angle, which means it covers a wider area from a short distance than many similar lights. The moving beams and changing colors, along with the sound active feature, pack a big effect into a small fixture. The result was that we were able to cover the width of the stage with two Firecrackers without breaking the club's budget.
Some ideas for getting the most out of your Firecracker, or most other club lights Remember that the closer the fixture is to the area it's lighting, the brighter the effect will be. However, be careful to place the fixture far enough away to cover the entire area, or use more than one fixture. Having one brightly lit area on a stage or dance floor doesn't do any good if it's only two feet wide!
Sound active fixtures like the Firecracker will react differently depending on the sensitivity of their internal microphones; most fixtures have adjustable mic sensitivity. In general, the higher you set this sensitivity, the more the fixture will react. Experiment with different settings to see what look you like best. Be sure to position the fixture so that the internal microphone is not covered.
Most club lights can only be operated for 15 minutes at a time. More than that can cause problems such as frequent lamp burn-out. This is due to the high operating temperatures inside the fixture. The best way to keep your fixtures running smoothly is to install a timer (such as our Dual Cycle Timer) that will switch the unit off after 15 minutes and back on after 10 minutes. The Dual Cycle Timer allows you to switch between two effects, so that one is running while the other cools down.
In future articles, I will try to curb my enthusiasm for any one particular product and get back to offering general hints and weird facts from the world of special effects. For now, however, you'll just have to bear with me while I sing the praises of this great little light one more time. Firecracker! Firecracker! Sis-boom-bah!
Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579