View Full Version : Is a Spot Light into the Sky Succussful for a Haunt Event?
04-05-2011, 01:59 PM
Has anyone bought/rented one of those giant spot lights that shoot into the sky and swivel and can be seen for miles, like the ones they have at a car show and events. I saw that GYROs Haunted House used this at least one year when they were at WaterWorld, Ca.
They are very expensive to buy, but I was wondering if it is worth it in the long run for a haunt. Does it really attract people who wouldn't have come normally to the Haunt?
04-05-2011, 06:21 PM
They are neat, but in my opinion not worth the money. Not only are th expensive to rent/buy, but it will use up just as much power! Billboards, postcards, posters, free tickets, and radio are still top in my book. Even television media (the news) doing a story is great! But between the high cost of owning/renting and the outrageous electric bill you'll get at the end of the season, it just doesn't make sense. But that's just me, I'm sure you'll hear plenty of opinions on here :) lol
04-05-2011, 06:32 PM
IF your haunt was very hard to find , especially at night.
Advertise telling people to look for the light. It wouldn't be bringing More customers but it would make it easier for customers already coming to see you to find you quicker and easier, which may make for some much happier patrons. As far as the increased electric bill.. how much LP gas does one of those flame cannons shooting straight up into the air cost to operate? Pretty neat though, customers come to see what you "got".
Of course if ten out of eleven haunts all had the same stuff....
04-05-2011, 07:26 PM
Alot will depend on your location.
Physical: this lights work because the light hits particulate matter in the air, dust or moisture. We live in the desert, so it si too dry to be very effective. They built the big Luxor light thinking you could see it from California. You can't actually SEE the light most days...but you can see it from space where it is shining!!
Local considertions: who uses these lights in your area?? IF it is only car dealers and by us strip clubs, people could think you are just another use car salesman!! Of course that's better than a stripper I guess!!
04-05-2011, 10:13 PM
As said, it depends on your location.
If you're on, or right off of a main drag, then it's probably not going to be incredibly beneficial for you.
We're inside a (very large) county recreational park, not only that but we also don't have a physical street address, so the best we can use for GPS directions is a cross street, 1/4 mile from our attraction. We're in hilly Pittsburgh, so even if you get to that cross street, you still can't see the haunt. We bought our spotlight a few years ago, I think this will be our 4th season for it. It has most certainly helped us, IMO. Getting IN the park is pretty easy, getting to us once you're in it, a bit more difficult.
Our spotlight was delivered to us in May of 07. Of course I didn't wait to fire it up, I wanted to see what kind of distances you could see it from. Literally minutes after firing it up, random people were pulling into our parking lot. As I said above, we're not exactly off of a main drag and we don't get a bunch of random drive by traffic, so seeing ~30 cars show up within the 3 hours that I had it on was pretty impressive.
The initial cost for a decent light is generally going to be right around the cost of a decent prop. I want to say our spotlight was ~$3500. It's a 3000w xenon arc with a 16" reflector unit with a motorized head. I would suggest 3kw as a minimum, hindsight being 20/20 I would have gone with a 4kw-7kw unit. My unit actually draws 3720w from the outlet after the power loss on the power supplies and the AC motor to turn the head. Make sure you have the means to actually power the unit. As I said, mine is a small unit and requires a 30A/120v outlet. Depending on if you do your own electric or not, there could be a pretty decent cost involved in installing the outlet alone. I was lucky to have a 125A subpanel ~15' from where I was putting the outlet in. This only required 10/2 wire. Much further and I would have had to step up to #8's. Also, if you go to a 4kw unit or higher, it requires 120/240v 4wire. Not much more cost involved there, but it is an additional conductor which again, depending on how far you're going can add up. Long story short, you're not going to run one off of plain old 15A/120v circuit.
Operating cost for our light in PA runs right around ~$75 for our running season. $0.13/kwh, 5 hours a day over 30 operating days @ 3720w. It breaks down to about $2.50/day in electric alone. A 4kw unit will run ~$3.25/day. Every few years you'll need to replace the bulb. An imported 3kw bulb runs ~$300, a "name brand" 3kw short arc runs about double that. It gets a little bit more expensive the higher the wattage.
If you're considering one, I would recommend going simple with it. I'm not going to name any names but there was a 4kw unit being demo'ed at Transworld. I'm sure it's an ok unit but consider things like the reflector size and additional electronics. The reflector in that light was ~8", half the size of my unit. There's was also 1000w more powerful, but yet my unit puts out a beam that is CLEARLY more visible. There's had DMX control, colored filters, etc etc and that's all good and fine, but DMX adds complexity that isn't needed in an outdoor environment and colored filters SIGNIFICANTLY cut down on how much light gets put into the air. I'm good friends with another local haunt that used one similar to the unit at Transworld and he hates the thing. He paid a lot more for additional features that he thought would be great (most notably DMX and filters) only to never use them because it isn't needed. Eventually something in the control board broke down and the parts aren't made anymore. They now have a few hundred pound paperweight. Filters, DMX, etc are great for indoor arena shows, not so awesome for searchlights outside.
Ultimately I'd love to get my hands on an old 60" WWII GE carbon-arc searchlight, but those are incredibly expensive, both to buy as well as to operate. A cheap used light will run you ~$25k. Most facilities don't have the excess power for them, so factor in another $20k for a suitable generator. Then factor in another $30/night for carbon rods and another ~$30/night for diesel fuel. Yeah.. But oh man, the beam off of that thing!
Hope this helps!
04-05-2011, 10:41 PM
Im actually looking into getting a small model to put in front of my trail, i just need them to see it once they are in the park, so thats a much smaller light.
04-05-2011, 11:37 PM
When you try something that noticably works as customers follow you or suddenly appear at your place from your own ideas or efforts.
When I drove Spookmobile #1 30 to 60 miles away, that same night people would show up here because they saw the car.
Maybe this is the same good feeling the spider gets as he sees the first victims caught in his brand new web?
04-06-2011, 02:28 PM
My dad just tossed the spotlight idea out the other day. I think overall it would be a unique attribute even if you were only renting it. We were thinking possibly renting one for our grand opening night since this October will be our first official season. We're still negotiating a few different spots all in superb locations so would the spotlight be completely necessary? Probably not. Would it be neat to have opening night? Yup!
04-06-2011, 06:41 PM
My husband follows these things whenever they show up (which is RARE in our area) like a moth to a flame. I swear he thinks he's Batman and they are calling him with his bat signal :)
04-06-2011, 09:23 PM
I plan on purchasing one for our event this year. I want exactly what Brandon has now.
Brandon, your thoroughness is astounding.
04-08-2011, 07:01 AM
Thanks Brian. Call me if you're interested in buying ours. I think you know I've been after a 7kw unit or a multi-head.. ;) Cleveland isn't a very far drive and it's a lot cheaper than paying truck freight :)
To clarify my original post, the ~$75/season operating cost is just for electric costs alone (in PA). That does not account for bulb amortization. Typical short-arc's used in these are good for ~500 hours before you start getting a decline in light output. I have 320 hours on mine now, so I can get away with another season before relamping.
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