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Thread: Perceived brightness 12watt vs 3 watt

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    Bradfo69's Avatar
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    Default Perceived brightness 12watt vs 3 watt

    I'm seriously looking at buying a 12 watt RGB projector and I have a question (FYI - 3 watts 637, 3.6 watts 520, 6 watts 445).

    One of the things we discussed at SELEM and even demonstrated was how little difference there can be in perceived brightness between two projectors with substantially varying levels of power. A 3 watt RGB next to a 6 watt RGB really didn't look considerably less powerful. Sure, some of that could have been the wavelengths and beam quality but all things considered, they were fairly close.

    But, before I do this, anyone with some real world experience care to elaborate on how much brighter a 12 watt is going to be over say, 3 watts?

    Is the benefit more about visibility over a longer distance (read: larger crowd) or, increasing the brightness when standing at the same point? For example:

    If I use it as a center projector indoors flanked by 3 watt RGBs, at a distance of say 75 feet, is it going to be a "holy shit!" moment, at just how much more attention grabbing it is for an audience or, is it just going to seem marginally brighter? or,

    Is the real advantage going to be that the 3 watt's intensity fizzles out at 125 feet but the 12watt carries out 400 feet? (Given that you've got good atmosphere.)

    I guess what I'm after is the real motivation behind getting it. After helping with the Newton show and seeing the Alexandria show that buffo, rgb-gas and Dream Beamz did, I'm realizing I don't have adequate firepower. Granted, they were using some gas stuff but, we always talk about not biting off more than you can chew when booking a gig. I want to be in the position where if I am asked about doing a gig in a venue larger than mine, such as the college basketball arena up the street, that it's a good show and not an embarrassment with a collection of 3 watt RGB's. I also want something that causes more attention in my own venue. I'm getting tired of hearing wow's come from the crowd when you hit the Chauvet Geysers (fog machine w/LED's in the fog) and yet, no perceived reaction when you kick on half a dozen 3 watt RGB's.
    Last edited by Bradfo69; 11-11-2014 at 03:44.

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    Brad , really good question ..... REALLY REALLY good question ! , something that "puggles" my brain regular :-) my experience , the brighter ya get , the BRIGHTER the BEAMS in " MID AIR " , the easier it is to see them without smoke , haze etc , for me its as simple as that .... TERMINATING the beams , well thats different , its a lot harder to spot watts worth of differences then , divergence has more of an impact of that scenario than power I feel ,

    How puzzling it can be :-) sometimes. Below is 4 lasers pushing out just over a watt and one 250mW laser , on the night and in the picture its almost impossible to tell which one is the 250mW and which one are the is theory 4 times brighter 1 watt units.

    Thats my experience and opinion on termination .......... MID AIR BEAMS < well that were i feel it can make a bigger difference , but hopefully someone with a lot more experience in mid air beams can pop along and advise














    Last edited by Lasermad; 11-11-2014 at 04:20.
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    There is no such thing as comparing 3 watt with 12 watt. If you have a 3 watt with 0.5mrd beam its has the same visible brightness as a 9 watt with 1mrd beam roughly. If you want to stay in budget, buy a chinese one in blue and drop in some quallity modules with Low mrd. It will be more expencive then buying 1 directly but you also have much more brightness and you have better graphics. You also don,t need so much power so its more save for the audience, you have better graphics and keep the brightness of a 12 watt. And yes we have 520nm green ;-)

    Its all about divergence.......


    Interested in 6-12W RGB projectors with low divergence? Contact me by PM!

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    I few things I have noticed....

    Throw has to do with power density. So, lower divergence wins there.

    In general the wider you scan the more power you need to keep the same brightness.

    With pencil beams and simple fans its hard to see the difference between 3-12W. From what I see the true benefit of more power is when scanning sheets, cones, sines. Doing a liquid sky with a 12W is a lot brighter compared to a 3W. Also, you can scan a wider liquid sky effect.

    I know what you are saying about the wow factor. I have found that people tend to be wowed more by green beams than color for some reason. Even if they appear to be the same brightness to me. Maybe green has more "punch" for a lack of a better word. Anyone else notice this? The other factors that contribute to wow are how dark the room before the effect. Also, just lasers by themselves don't tend to wow the public as much as us laser nerds. It usually needs to be in conjunction with a musical crescendo of some sort. To really get wow, show composition comes into play more than power I think.
    Maybe you need a big green? 20W or so..

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    I agree on the range thing. Up close, there's not too much to pick between 3W and my 8W. Once you start to extend the range, particularly outside then the bigger one starts to show its dominance.
    A big laser in a small room may not be the solution you're looking for.

    And I'll also concur on the divergence. My 1W LW DPSS is perceptibly the samer brightness as my wider beam 2W LW DPSS at shorter ranges.

    Also, lasers are pretty common these days. The days where a club having a laser was a unique selling point are over - lasers are everywhere now, and getting more common daily. The hayday is over.

    Give it a year or two and I'm liquidating all my lasers to buy more motorbikes....
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    Quote Originally Posted by norty303 View Post
    Give it a year or two and I'm liquidating all my lasers to buy more motorbikes....
    Trust me... I've contemplated that at some point - not motorbikes but, it's time for a boat soon.... and, having my weekends back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradfo69 View Post
    Trust me... I've contemplated that at some point - not motorbikes but, it's time for a boat soon.... and, having my weekends back.
    Go from lasers to HMS Hole in the Water? Perhaps you just get it over with and try buying a full size plane........

    Seriously ??? Boats are relaxing, if you get a 440$ two seat plastic Kayak. Anything more then a 12 foot aluminum Boat with a six Horse results in even more pain then lasers. Don't get me started on how expensive per hour the Jetski was.



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    I've heard that two of the happiest moments in a man's life is when he buys a boat and when he sells it

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    I bought a boat 2 years ago. Bought a used Yamaha jet boat. I love it and didn't spend an enormous amount of money. BUT... forget using it early in the morning if you have a laser show the night before ;(

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    I am also interested in some bigger brighter lasers. I have 6 lasers that are about 3 watts. Each listed with under 1 mrad. But have considered something in the 7-12 range. I notice that most of the 7-12 watters list divergence as <1.6. So makes me wonder how much brighter the 7-12 watter will actually look.

    What is the general rule of thumb for power vs venue size or crowd size? Isnt it about 1 watt per thousand of people?

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