A Guide to the CCT Silhouette both old and new. These units are frequently available for sale on eBay and are ideal for anyone looking for a profile spot on a tight budget. There are many second-hand accessories available at affordable prices which make the Silhouette a cost effective solution to budget stage lighting. I hope to summarise the different versions to give buyers an insight into what they are looking at.
The Silhouette is a modular profile spot manufactured by CCT Lighting in the UK. There are many different versions in existence, however most of the modules are interchangeable. CCT Lighting has always had a reputation for being highly innovative, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. As a consequence there are very few people who know every version of the Silhouette that was ever produced, even I keep discovering new variants, however I hope to give you a brief summary.
Silhouette (The original)
The original Silhouette (Sil) was comprised of a lamp house, gate/shutter set and lens tube all bolted together by four bolts. As far as I know this was the first lantern to have interchangeable lens tubes.
The lamp house has two finned castings that give the Sil its distinctive look. It burns a T11 (T19) lamp and is limited to 1000W. The lamp tray its retained by a quarter-turn lock and is fully removed from the lamp house for re-lamping. The idea being that the venue can have spare lamp trays in stock for immediate replacement of a faulty lamp holder.
The original gate assembly comprises three doughnut shaped steel plates that are held together with brass ringlets. Shutter blades are captive in the shutter set and the runners for a gobo holder or iris are punched onto one side of it.
There have been many lens tubes over the years but the most common are the 10, 15, 30 and 40 degree zooms. All lens tubes have the same mounting flange to allow any tube to fit any lamp house. The original tubes where constructed from rolled steel to form a tube with a square colour runner plate welded to the front.
Identical to the Silhouette but has a larger lamp house that takes a CP42 (2000W). Gates and lens tubes are the same as for the 1000W version and can be interchanged.
A safety point and grab handle where added to the lamp house and a colour frame retaining clip added to the colour runners. Other wise virtually identical to the original.
Silhouette (Repertoire Version)
The Silhouette was partly re-designed for fast turn-round between different productions. The shutter set ‘drops in’ allowing shutter cuts to be preserved between performances. This is done by locking off the shutter set once focused. The venue would have a shutter set for each different production and simply change them over when changing between productions.
The brightest of the 1000W Silhouettes. Looks like a standard Sil but burns a CP77 axial lamp from a lamp tray that mounts into the back of the unit. Otherwise exactly the same as the original Silhouette
Another improvement on the silhouette lamp house. A new design of reflector allows the lamp house to be shortened and improved ventilation allows the use of 1200W lamps. The Mk3 has much improved optics and will make a good effort of resolving gobos.
Not a 90 degree lens tube but a complete re-design. A new lamp house drastically improves the optical quality. The lamp house lost its classic Silhouette fins to a smoother grooved design that is now used for Turbo Sils and Starlettes. Lens tubes had a re-design too, with the classic tube being replaces by a folded octagonal case with lift off lid for easy lens cleaning. The gate was also re-designed with removable asymmetric shutters that offer a wider range of shutter cuts.
The brightest 1200W Silhouette. Extra light is collected by a second reflector that collects light that would normally be lost onto the front plate of the lamp house. This is similar to the Strand Pattern 23.
Otherwise these units are similar to the Silhouette 90.
The Sil 2000 gets the octagonal Sil 90 re-style. Lamp adjustment is now achieved by moving the reflector rather than the lamp.
Almost all Silhouette parts are compatible. A new style gate can be used to upgrade an original Silhouette 30 or an Axial lamp house will bolt onto a turbo lens tube. The accessories are also compatible, conforming to DIN standards. A Starlette colour frame is the same frame as used on the Sil 30 or Sil 2500 58 degree. Tubes narrower than the 30 degree tube use larger frames but again according to DIN standard sizes. All Silhouettes have the same size gate so an iris for a 2K Sil will also fit a 1K Sil, Turbo, Axial or any other.