This searchlight was used in the Batman D.C. Comics “Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice” movie. This is the actual “bat-signal” searchlight used during filming in Michigan in 2014. It can be seen in the first official trailer here, and the second official trailer here.
The Zack Snyder-directed film with Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman is expected to be released on March 25, 2016.
About the Bat Signal in the movie
The use of the bat-signal in Batman vs. Superman movie (code name Sage and Milo) is explained here:
During 2014’s San Diego’s Comic Con, a teaser for Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was shown to the audience in Hall H. The teaser showed Batman in his armored Batsuit a top a building one rainy night in Gotham. Batman removes a sheet to reveal the Batsignal and proceeds to turn it on. From there audience are shown the projected image of the Batman logo in the sky until a figure appears out of nowhere in its place. A close up on the figure reveals it is Superman glaring down at Batman readying his heat vision. Batman stares back at the Man of Steel. (Wikipedia)
The WWII General Electric searchlight was leased to the movie production company at the Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac, Michigan in the summer of 2014. I have full documentation on this light being used on set for the movie. After production, the searchlight was returned without the “bat logo” which I replaced with an exact duplicate. The large knife switch seen sparking in the trailer was added for dramatic effect, and is not part of the searchlight.
The searchlight was modified for the movie by adding a high-pressure sodium light so it could be powered by 110VAC. However, it is still fully functional as a carbon arc light.
About the original GE Searchlight
- Lamp Type: Carbon Arc
- Candle Power: 800 Million
- Effective Beam width: 5′ plus
- Effective Beam length: 5.6 miles
- Effective Beam visibility: 28~35 miles
- Mirror is in excellent condition
The beam is made by 2 carbon rods, one positive and one negative, arching within the focal point of a 60 inch parabolic mirror. As the rods “burn” they are automatically fed into the light. The rods last approximately 2 hours and are then replaced. The flame that is visible during the lights operation, is not actually the source of the light, rather, it is a by-product, produced as a result of the electricity arcing between the 2 rods. The flame is the rod slowly burning away as it is fed into the light. The arc draws 150 amps continuously at 78 volts and burns at over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The power is supplied by the D.C. generator which was designed specifically for this purpose.
The first 60 inch Searchlight was made by General Electric in 1893. Searchlights were produced for military use from 1932 to 1944 at a cost of $60,000 each!