The Profoto ZoomSpot has an internal 4,800Ws flashhead, and requires a separate Profoto power pack to operate. Profoto sells this unit for a whopping $10,000. Hensel sells their wide-angle Superspot 6000 for just under $3,000. And, up until recently, Elinchrom used to sell a more affordable zoom-spot attachment which could use any Elinchrom monolight as its source (no power pack required since it uses an AC-powered monolight). It was priced much lower at only $899, but unfortunately, the unit has been since discontinued. Additional spot attachments made specifically for both Profoto and Broncolor heads are also available, but are also quite expensive at about $4K each.

If you’re looking for a full-sized zoom-spot, but can’t afford the Profoto or Hensel models, a very similar unit is the Speedotron Optique 1542 (now discontinued), which generally sells on the used market for only about $300. It’s functionally equivalent to the much pricier Profoto ZoomSpot. The Optique has an internal strobe head, and also outputs up to 4,800 Watt-seconds, and it too requires a separate Speedotron power pack to operate. An older Speedotron powerpack, such as the Speedotron 2401A (shown below) can be found used for as little as $200. The Optique is essentially a modified Strand-Century tungsten ellipsoidal theatrical light, which has been converted by Speedotron to house a 4,800Ws strobe head. Of course, you don’t need to power it at its full-4,800Ws output; you can also use a 2,400Ws or 1,200Ws pack or lower if desired. The Speedotron Optique comes complete with a rotating pattern-holder stage, plus four adjustable shutters, and functions exactly like its tungsten-based Leko/ETC SourceFour tungsten counterparts.

Speedotron Optique 1542:



Whether it’s called a zoom-spot, projector, spot-attachment or an ellipsoidal, these terms all indicate to the same type of light. All of these focusable instruments are capable of producing sharply defined shadows, patterns, or shafts of light. Unique is their ability to produce visible light shafts attained when projecting through some light effects smoke. Projectors, or spot attachments consist of one or two large convex glass lenses (one, typically movable, to adjust focus), housed in a metal housing. While the tungsten versions are commonly used in both theatrical and film/TV continuous lighting instruments, the most popular being the ETC Source Four (a.k.a. “Leko”), they’re apparently not so common for use with strobe heads. Note that if buying or renting a Leko-style tungsten ellipsoidal, you’ll also need to specify the lens(es) you want, in number of degrees (i.e., in beam-spread–which determines the size of your light circle). Other types of tungsten ellipsoidal instruments include the over-sized, Mole-Richardson Molelipsos, and miniaturized, Dedolights. For the kinds of light shafts you see in the movies, Xenons are the way to go (1.2K, 2.5K, 4K, etc.), but they’re incredibly expensive, plus they’re extremely bulky.

The most useful types of tungsten ellipsoidal instruments in theatrical use (e.g., Lekos, Source Fours, etc.) are designed to accommodate metal gobo inserts that may be custom ordered through theatrical specialty suppliers (usually from line art, like an Illustrator file). However, if you want to use a homemade gobo for use outside of the lamp housing, you’ll need to ensure that the ellipsoidal attachment you’re using has a large enough beam spread–for example: the Elinchrom ellipsoidal modifier only takes a 53mm gobo (“go-between,” or metal pattern), which means its beam diameter at, say, 6′ may only be a small circle of only a few inches in diameter. In that case, you would need to pull the unit further away from your gobo, but that also means you’ll lose light level, and possibly run out of space to move the light back far enough.

In the absence of any of the above, an old 35mm slide projector could be pressed into service to produce a similar effect. Exposing high-contrast film of black and white construction paper (e.g., forming “slits” or other forms to project varying patterns, or “cuts”), and mounting these into slide mounts is one method which could be used to create your patterns. Another solution is to use a simple bare-bulb, point source (i.e., a Quantum Qflash, Speedlight, or a monolight without a reflector), placed some distance from the subject, and fashioning some kind of gobo to create a hard-cut or a pattern using flags (known as “solids”), Foamcore, Blackwrap or Cinefoil.