December 2012 Issue
Road Tests

PRG Best Boy 4000

PRG Best Boy 4000PRG’s Best Boy 4000 is an all-in-one lighting tool. It combines high output, an 8:1 zoom range, razor sharp optics, framing shutters, exciting special effects and state of the art technology into one versatile package. Let’s take a closer look.

Fixture Features

Power and Lamp: The auto-sensing voltage input range of the Best Boy 4000 is 90V-264V at 50/60 HZ, and it draws approximately 5 amps at 208V or 10 amps at 110V. Utilizing an MSR 700SA lamp, it produces 20,000-plus lumens of output. A nice bit of forethought was given to replacing the lamp — it is accessed from the rear; the head does not need to be opened when it’s time for a new lamp.

Size and Weight: The Best Boy measures approximately 19 inches wide and stands about 37 inches tall (including the base), and it weighs around 110 pounds. The fixture’s weather resistance has been enhanced as well by the addition of rubber gaskets around all lids and edges.

Pan and Tilt: the Best Boy has a 16 bit pan range of 615 degrees and a tilt range of 260 degrees, and the head features both pan and tilt locking mechanisms that automatically unlock when power is supplied to the unit.

Optics: The Best Boy 4000 has an 8:1 zoom range from a narrow 8 degrees up to a wide flood of 64 degrees and variable edge control for maintaining focus throughout the full zoom range. The unit comes loaded with both a mechanical iris and a framing shutter system as well. The framing shutter system features four independent blades that can be adjusted plus-or-minus 30 degrees, and the whole framing shutter system can be rotated plus-or-minus 60 degrees.

Color: The Best Boy houses a CMY mixing system and also a designer color wheel as well as a color temperature wheel with filters ranging from 3000K to 7500K as well as a minus green filter. The color wheel also features a true UV filter that achieves UV easily and with high output.

Gobos and Special Effects: The fixture features two fully-rotating and indexable gobo wheels with six gobo positions per wheel. These gobos are easily replaceable and custom high resolution gobos can be ordered from PRG. A new effect gobo (the Moiré gobo) has been designed to fit on either wheel, and the unit comes stock with two of these special effects gobos. In addition to the two gobo wheels, the Best Boy includes an effects wheel that includes a four-facet prism, two glass effects (Extruder and Oblong) and variable frost.

Dimming & Strobe: Best Boy’s servo powered dimming is smooth and strobe is fast, with built-in strobe effects including ceiling fan, pulse and random effects.

Status Display: the Best Boy features a battery-powered LCD touchscreen for accessing information, calibration and configuration options, and includes a DMX diagnostics menu.

Control Channels

The Best Boy offers 45 channels of DMX control, including one dedicated to fixture macros controlling iris, zoom, framing shutters, frost and edge focus. There are also three pre-configured scenes for fire, water and cloud effects, which could prove useful in stand-alone applications or for users who are new to the fixture.

Best Boy’s DMX protocol also includes special color spin modes on all CMY mixing wheels as well as the designer color wheel and both gobo wheels. The designer color wheel also has a color strobe mode, and Timing Channels have been included for focus, color, image and beam attributes if the user prefers not to use standard crossfade timing from a lighting console.

As is standard for almost all automated luminaires, the Best Boy has a control channel that includes an extensive list of recalibration options for all of the attributes, as well as lamp control and display on/off functions. Pan/tilt locking, swapping and inverting options are also included in the channel, as are pre-calculated zoom tables for throw distance that enable the edge (focus) channel to track with the zoom channel and stay in focus at certain distances.

Playback

The Best Boy 4000 features 16 bit resolution on pan/tilt; indexing and rotation of both gobo wheels; and indexing and rotation of the effect wheel, zoom and edge (focus). Programming the Best Boy is easily achieved via DMX from most lighting consoles that support fixture profiles (also known as personalities).

After a few minutes of exploring the individual features, I was able to create several unique effects by combining the color wheel  and CMY (for a tri-color effect); extrusion effects (via the gobo wheel and effect wheel extruder), a disco moonflower effect (via prism and gobo wheel) and so on.

Because it combines many effects and features into one unit, I found the fixture’s versatility to be among its strengths — particularly the ability to use one light for a variety of applications. The fixture also seems solidly constructed, with an impressive zoom range and exceptional optics. It moves fast for its size and is only a few inches taller than a Vari*Lite VL3500 spot.

Summing Up

The Best Boy 4000 is a spot luminaire that combines high output optics with CMY, Effects, a huge zoom range and framing shutters, making it a versatile and powerful lighting tool.

The Best Boy works well in most applications, and is particularly well suited for the concert and touring market with its rugged housing, built-in handles and on-board diagnostics menu.

PRG Best Boy 4000

Pros: Rugged construction, high output (20,000 lumens), lots of effects, 8:1 zoom range, framing shutters and advanced onboard diagnostics menus. All modules inside the units are easy to access, and custom gobos are easy to swap out.

Cons: Hefty weight (at 110 pounds, Best Boy is best handled by two people).

How Much: This fixture is not available for purchase; instead, it’s made available through PRG for rental only.


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