A little over a year ago, Barco released the CLM series, the first 10,000 lumen 3 chip DLP projector focused specifically on the theatrical/performance market, with its relatively low price point, low noise level, and DMX-controlled dowser. Now, whether it’s due to Barco’s leadership or the slow evolution of the market, Christie Digital is following suit.

All the projectors in Christie’s Roadster M-series are flexible, compact, and relatively bright for their size. The S+10K-M, (though a ridiculous model number), is the standout in this series. The S+10K-M is nominally a 10,000-lumen projector, though the specifications rate it at 9,300 lumens with a 10,320-lumen center measurement, which I heartily applaud as a variety of accuracy and, honestly, we don’t usually see from projector manufacturers. It’s currently listed with a native resolution of 1400x1050, though a 1080p is reportedly on the way. With dual 350W mercury (PVIP) lamps, the S+10K-M does away with expensive xenon lamps, with the added bonuses of flexibility, redundancy and a very high lumens/watt rating.

But it’s the little design touches that make this Roadster an ideal projector for the staging market, particularly for theatrical applications. It accepts DMX via ArtNet for control of its shutter, focus, zoom, and lens shift—and, remarkably, those lens attributes are now encoded, or indexed, meaning that focus and zoom values are completely repeatable. For even more display-surface adaptation, Christie has embedded their Twist technology in the projector itself, allowing it to act as a standalone package for image warping and edge-blending.

Beyond the designer’s needs for the image, the S+10K-M includes a number of features useful to the technician. The lamps are actually hot swappable: if one goes down during a show, the other carries the show while the blown lamp is removed (via a single Phillips screw) and a new one is inserted—and struck. Seamless changeover in production: the entire Light Engine is completely dust sealed, making it almost impervious to atmospheric issues. The onboard interface is easy to use and even has a cool color-coding feature that lights up the buttons blue or orange depending on whether or not they will cause onscreen events if pressed, which is great if you need to make adjustments during a show. Heck, there’s even an optional “Fog Juice Filter.”

Congratulations to Christie Digital on this entry into the staging market. Let’s hope it heralds more innovative thinking on modes and methods for improving projectors for theatrical use.