Rosco OPTI-SCULPT™ is a wonderful solution for homogenizing the light of LEDs, but we wanted to showcase how these high-temperature, engineered plastic lenses can actually be used to shape the beam of conventional lights too. So, we reached out to Lighting Designer and Rosco Ambassador Charlie Morgan Jones to experiment with them on a conventional Source 4. The question we posed to him was, “These are plastic lenses – not gels – and they have a higher price. Are they worth the extra investment?” His answer was yes and his findings that explain why are below.
When I was first approached by Rosco to ‘have a look’ at OPTI-SCULPT, I didn’t really know why. Do we really need a new frost on the market? Is it really worth it? The short answer is… Yes – these lenses are much more than just a frost. On a day when the theatre I was lighting in at the time was dark, I asked the lovely techs to rig a 19° Source Four, trim it to 4.5 metres, and focus it sharp to blue. With this ‘control’ in place (I listened in Science lessons!), we added each OPTI-SCULPT lens in turn, and the results were astonishing.
The Control: A 19° Source Four in sharp focus, projecting 4.5 meters.
Each OPTI-SCULPT lens helpfully tells you which side needs to face the lamp. Other than that, we were in the dark as to what these lenses might do to this unsuspecting, fairly narrow beam of light. First up, we tried the OS 10x60 in, what turned out to be, an Up Stage/Down Stage configuration.
The Rosco 10° x 60° OPTI-SCULPT lens inserted into the fixture to produce an Upstage/Downstage streak of light.
As you can see, it has completely blown out the beam into a joyous sausage of light. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at, but it was pleasing, and the possibilities of this streak of light definitely got my creative juices flowing. I’m certain I could use this in a show!
The 40°R60° OPTI-SCULPT lens inserted into the fixture produced a familiar beam shape on the stage.
Next up we tried the 40° brother to the 10x60 above - the OS 40x60. I have few words… dare I say... it’s almost Par Canny shape? In an age where we’re losing Par Cans day by day, this feels like a really good new solution. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!
If the 40° x 60° OPTI-SCULPT lens is the Wide PAR option, then the 20° x 40° OPTI-SCULPT lens is the Medium.
The OS 20x40 is another of the “CMJ Par Can Series,” as I’ve decided to call it. It’s a really beautiful replacement for a (slightly chonkier) CP62.
Admittedly this is the OS 10x60 again, but it’s across the stage this time. I had to see it again in a different configuration. By rotating the OPTI-SCULPT lens 90° in the color frame, we stretched the beam across the stage from Stage Left to Stage Right. The OS 10x60 is, by far, my absolute favourite OPTI-SCULPT lens.
The flary 10° x 30° OPTI-SCULPT lens.
The OS 10x30 came next. Straight away, I can tell you this was not my favourite. It comes with lots of flare and was lopsided. We tried a couple of different cuts of this gel, in different rotations, and it always appeared stronger on one side of the beam.
Even though some of the asymmetrical OPTI-SCULPT lenses were a little lopsided, they are still useful for creating linear coverage across the stage.
I ended up really liking the OS 15x35 - but again it felt lopsided. It was at this point that we thought it might have been something dodgy at our end, so we brought the bar in and peaked the Source Four. It definitely seemed to be something OPTI-based. Regardless, I’d definitely use the OS 15x35, and pretty much all of the asymmetrical OPTI-SCULPT lenses. If you need linear coverage across the stage, any of these lenses could be REALLY interesting to explore for creating exciting and dynamic stage washes.
The symmetrical OPTI-SCULPT 30° lens spread the beam uniformly without any light loss.
The OS30 produced the smoothest, sexiest, beamiest thing I ever did see. All of the symmetrical lenses, including the 20˚ and the 10˚, were fan favourites – and not just with me, but also with the lighting team in the theatre too. I liked the OS30 so much that I’ve put it on my next show.
What blew my mind about all of these is that you have consistency across the beam, but because you hardly lose any light with OPTI-SCULPT, we also got the brightness of the 19° with all the pizzaz of a much wider unit.
Conclusion: I’m a big fan of OPTI-SCULPT and will most definitely be using it in my future lighting designs - inside both LED and conventional fixtures.
Charlie Morgan Jones is a UK-based lighting designer for theatre, opera, and dance. He has worked at the Canadian Opera Company, Norwegian National Opera, Copenhagen Opera Festival, and numerous theatres in the West End. If you’d like to learn more about Charlie’s work, you can see his portfolio on his website: charliemjones.co.uk, or follow @charliemorganjones on Instagram. If you’d like to learn more about the beam-shaping lenses featured in this article, please explore the OPTI-SCULPT product page on the Rosco website.