The Greeks had the Sun. Dickens had candles. Moulin Rouge had foot lights. The Rat Pack had tungsten fixtures. We now have LED Technology!
Technology keeps giving us more options. Recently, I have been seeing show after show change from traditional cyc lights or strip lights to LED technology. There is the obvious difference of having more color options, but there is another artistic difference as well. Previously, we were used to adjusting the color and contrast ratios with cyc units from the bottom and the top. This gave us the ability to have either the lower section or the higher section of the cyc be brighter or more saturated in color, with whatever you wanted to do in-between. This has now been elevated with LED Units. The reason for the elevation is that the LED units use many more channels and you can often cue each individual cell. This means that you are not limited to just having your “blue” all across the bottom. Now you can have a rainbow of color going across. The choices are only limited by your imagination.
This video from Chauvet shows what I am talking about as far as being able to control individual cells.
In general, these sort of units are fixtures you would mount close to the cyc itself.
If you are looking for a more traditional cyc, here is a video from Altman Lighting that shows the comparison and changeover from a traditional Sky Cyc setup to almost a seamless LED situation. This is a very effective and straightforward way to reproduce the way you may have been doing your cyc but giving you a much more expansive color palette.
This video is specifically about the Altman Spectra Cyc 200 that shows an incredible amount of light output. This is also a great unit to swap out older style Sky Cycs with.
This next video is of the Altman LED Spectra Strip. Where this differs from the units above is that you can have this unit sit closer to the cyc for its blending. You can get it in color changing options or in complete white and then use traditional gel. If you need height but space is limited, this is a great option.
If you want to see some amazing usage of cyc manipulation with LED fixtures and you are in NYC, go checkout If/Then. Ken Posner, the lighting designer, has one of the most sophisticated eyes on Broadway. The way he turned the cyc into a continuation of the scenery was wonderful and deserves the price of the ticket just to see his work. Of course the show itself blew me away!
Here is a fun video from the Heathers website that gives a great example of how you can move LED light across the stage. Sadly Heathers is closing or when you have read this have already closed Fun Show!