Chroma-Q Color Force II Review – Setting The New Standard For LED Bars… AgainApril 16, 2018
Chroma-Q Color Force II 72 Review
LED battens can be the perfect complement to any lighting system. Everything in Entertainment, Theatrical and even architectural designs, the LED batten provides a purpose that helps designers achieve a wide-variety of creative lighting designs. From 3D looks to providing a consistent wash of light on flat surfaces at extended lengths to completely changing the look of a plain wall, the LED batten fills the gaps in many ways that even advanced LED pars can’t (pun?).
Today, many major manufacturers offer a line of LED battens that go alongside a variety of other fixtures plus the flooded market of generics you can buy as well. There are some great LED bars in the market, but when Chroma-Q released their first version of the Color Force LED batten it changed the game. It was bright, exceptional color rendering, exceptionally smooth dimming, and a very smooth dispersion of light. It was the ultimate LED bar and it was what put competitors on their toes for LED battens. Using the term “was” isn’t the right term to use, that’s because the Color Force IS still in production. For now…
At PLASA 2016, Chroma-Q released the 2nd generation of its Color Force series. The Color Force II Range. Taking all of the great qualities of the original Color Force series and making improvements to make it even better. It’s new design improved the weaknesses found in the previous Color Force models and perfected it.
What It Offers
The Color Force II features newly design homogenized LED optical system that allows for a perfectly flawless dispersion of light that shows zero color shadows. Unlike others, the Color Force 2 is perfectly optimized for any environment to release your creativity without fail. The lens design reaches to the absolute edge of the fixture for perfect consistency between multiple units. The Color Force II contains multiple high-output RGBA LED’s that allows for exceptional color mixing and unparalleled brightness. The Color Force 2 72 puts out over 18,000 lumens of light and has exceptionally smooth theatrical dimming just like the original Color Force.
Using RGBA LED’s as opposed to RGBW results in each model receiving a high CRI rating of 92, with variable color temperature control between 1k & 10K. The Color Force II models have standard 22º beam angle, it does lack motorized zoom control but you can use the optional cyc or border optical lenses to refine the dispersion. The cyc optics result in 80 x 35-degree beam angle; while the border optic delivers a 43º beam angle. Each model uses asymmetrical distribution throw more light out far and less at the base of the fixture, further optimizing the light dispersion both horizontally and vertically. The 2nd generation Color Force series can wash up to 39 feet of cyclorama.
Aside of the lens and output, the Color Force II uses DMX512 control with multiple personalities that support different grouping options for each LED pixel. The fixture offers RGBA & RGB color mixing modes, HSI mode, standalone mode, master/slave mode, as well as a customizable strobe mode on larger models. All of which is easily configured using the touch-screen onboard menu behind the fixture. The fixture is capable of pixel mapping but lacks direct Art-Net support. Each model uses Neutrik 5-pin DMX XLR connections with Neutrik PowerCON true1 connections for easy daisy-chaining.
We took the time to examine the largest of Color Force II series, the Color Force II 72 which comes in at just under 72 inches long. For smaller requirements, you choose between a 1-foot model, the Color Force II 12; or a 4-foot model the Color Force II 48. The sizes are typically off by about 1-4 inches, the Color Force II 12 is actually larger by 1.2 inches. Not really an issue, considering that it would be wise to provide decent clearance between surfaces and the fixture, but worth noting. The smaller fixtures do lose some features that are only found in the 72-inch model.
Performance & Durability
The fixture was designed for almost anything you throw at it. Don’t actually throw anything at it, but it has an extremely robust design for touring. Speaking of touring design, those who would like to upgrade from the original Color Force models will be happy to know that the 2nd-gen models are designed to fit in the existing road cases of the original units. Testing out the 72-inch model, the light is an absolute beast.
Starting with output, the brightness of the 72-inch model is extremely impressive. You definitely don’t need blinders on your rig if you’re using these. That being said, the brightness, for the most part, stays consistent throughout the color palette until you get to some of the darker and more saturated colors, even at that point the output still tanks other LED battens.
Whether you’re looking at the Color Force II’s straight-on or using them to wash a wall. The look of these fixtures is just stunning. The perfect dispersion of light without the shadows is a what hits the head on the nail. Looking straight on, you still notice the circles behind the lens but otherwise, the blending is between each pixel is still heavily refined. Using these as wall washes can wash a wall like a crystal clear waterfall, using the optional optics is highly recommended. It disperses light well enough to not show an obtrusive beam when used with haze.
The color rendering on the Color Force II is exceptional for saturated colors. It has a very wide range of color flexibility with its enhanced color gamut and color temperature control. Having an Amber color within the LED allows for great tungsten effects for an LED fixture. It changes colors seamlessly across the batten sort of like pouring cream into black coffee to put into perspective. The dimmer is extremely smooth and linear with absolutely no flicker. The strobe effect is bright but the flash rate is not quite at the same level of an Atomic 3K, but it can get the job done if your strobes aren’t an option on your rig.
Pixel mapping on the fixture is possible but takes a up large footprint on a universe since there is no direct Art-Net support. Which I would’ve liked to see on a light at this price point. Using for pixel mapping is on the fence. If you’re looking for that perfect blend where you would normally need to use a frost filter on another LED batten then the Color Force II is perfect.
Think of it this way… When you think of the Clay Paky Sharpy, it’s fast, it’s bright, and it moves strikingly fast. Almost every rental house stocks the Sharpy for those reasons. The Sharpy is nearly perfect in every way that you could ask for a beam fixture. That’s the level the Chroma-Q Color Force II, and its recent PLASA 2016 Commendation Award backs that statement.