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Old January 6th, 2008, 07:15 PM   #1
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Colortran?

I just got some old lights from my grandpa, brand is colortran. Has anyone heard of them before? Is it a good brand? thanks!
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Old January 6th, 2008, 08:03 PM   #2
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I believe Colortran is Leviton. The lights are likely theater lights.

They could be Fresnels or Elipsoidal reflectors (lecos).

The Fresnels would be like gallon paint cans and the ellipsoidals like giant bullets. The Fresnels have a stepped glass lens. The glass on the ellipsoidals is smooth.

I believe Colortran also made follow spots.

What lights do you have. Can you describe them and/or post a picture?

One caution, the cable insulation may be old, frayed of a material not desireable today, and dangerous without repair or replacement.

Last edited by Jack Walker; January 7th, 2008 at 01:45 PM.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 11:10 PM   #3
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colortran is back from the 60's & 70's. they made a lot of different lights including some small ENG open face lights that make really harsh light. not good for most uses today, and they run really hot. they also made softlights which were made for cyc lighting. not really great lights by any means.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 11:19 PM   #4
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I'm not home yet, but when i am (prob tomorow) ill take pics of the two lights. thanks!=D
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Old January 7th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #5
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I had some Colortrans back in the '70s. The ones I had were, as I recall, 600 watts but maybe more; they were fairly compact, well ventilated and provided a nice broad, even light. With barn doors, which cost extra, you could clip on diffusion gel and use them for lighting people. There was no spotting or flooding. I think mine were mini-broads. But, as noted above, they made a lot of different types of lights. Bardwell-McAlister was in the same era and made similar instruments.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 01:47 AM   #6
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I believe Berkey Colortran got their name from adjustable transformers they made, which allow you to adjust the voltage going to the lights, thus adjusting the color temperature. And they made open-faced quartz lighting units (650W or 1000W ?). Colortran location lighting kits were quite popular. I think they also made some softlights. You could recognize Colortran equipment by the muted medium blue color.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #7
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Colortran have been around since 1955. They were owned at different times by Berkey and Lee. Leviton now owns them and NSI as well.

I remember seeing 5K fresnels in the Carlson & Carlson Lighting Handbook. That was late 70's early 80's. They were a good solid manufacturer of good solid lights.

The old open face units are funky but they still work. I've used old 2K fresnels and they were great. Somewhere in there, Strand Lighting works itself in there. Colortran's 1K Television Fresnel looks like the Strand 1K-AF. Heh, it's been so long it's now the Fresnelite.

History of Light & Lighting- scroll 3/4 way down
Leviton site
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Old November 10th, 2013, 07:53 PM   #8
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Re: Colortran?

I've found some barn doors and a post adaptor to change my new found 1Kw 6" Berkey Colortran Fresnel into a stand mounted beasty, but still need to find a fresnel lens for it and a new cord (or I just have to get a female 3-pin edison receiver and attach it to a standard plug.

Model # is 100-165 (hanging - which I believe is what I have) and 100-161 stand mounted.

Anyone have any sources for parts that would fit this fixture?
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Old November 11th, 2013, 10:08 PM   #9
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Re: Colortran?

The Mole #407 Standard Baby lens might fit your light It is also a 6" fresnel. I'm sure they have an online parts list.
Just curious...is the spot/flood control on your light the Big Black Knob or the "hook and ring" variety?

Hope this helps.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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Re: Colortran?

Horizontal lever on the rear bottom.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #11
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Re: Colortran?

They made one of the first theatre lighting memory controls back in the 80s - fitted in a theatre near me where I did one show on it. For it's time, it was ahead of the competition, but it was too quirky, and they never caught on - Badged as the Berkey Colortran channel track. There are still a few bits of old Berkey kit around here in the UK.
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Old November 14th, 2013, 01:56 PM   #12
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Re: Colortran?

Colortran made both 1K/2K soft lights and 1K fresnels which travelled well enough in fiber-built cases. They were a great addition to EAL's, BBA's and tough spun for small crew, location work
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Old November 15th, 2013, 12:22 AM   #13
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Re: Colortran?

I bought a set of 4 "sliding lever" focusing open face 1ks and a wonderful variable broad (500w) with stands around 1964. These were among the first "quartz location lights" at a time when 16mm ECO was ASA 25 tungsten (that's 400 foot candles for a f/2.8 stop!) and 35mm negative was 50 ASA. Colortrans put out a lot of light for the size and price at that time and were the mainstay kits of many indie shooters. Sold the 1ks for a Mickey Mole kit some years later, but used the variable broad for almost 40 years on hundreds of spots, etc. My gaffer has this killer light now, and I'm betting he pulls it off the truck on most shoots.
I think that Colortrans, Mickeys and the original Lowel tape up kit (used R40 mushroom globes) really changed the way documentary films (including broadcast specials) were shot in the mid '60s and early '70s.
If you couldn't find enough dedicated circuits on a location, tying in to the nearest panel was standard procedure. You could easily run a couple of Mighty Moles and 4+ Mickeys off a standard household panel.

LEDs? Humph! :)

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