Simplify, simplify, simplify in the increasingly complex world of lighting, how about a hand for five new poducts geared to making the lighting professional's job that much easier? This year's roundup of lighting gear, which includes everything from the latest version of a ubiquitous paperwork software to a new moving light from a suprising source, may not push outer edges of the technological envelope but they remain a must for every theatre designer's toolbox. Our lineup of judges — working designers and technicians — are confident all will become indispensible in the theatre for years to come.
ELECTRONIC THEATRE CONTROLS REVOLUTION
Imagine a Source Four zoom ellipsoidal equipped with all of the automated parameters needed for the theatrical lighting designer. Couple that with QuietDrive™ motor control for low noise performance. That's Source Four Revolution. The fixture is designed to be modular and can accommodate two modules at a time. There are currently four modules available: iris module; static wheel module (three positions plus open — uses glass or steel M-size gobos or filters); rotating wheel module (three positions plus open, with variable speed rotation in both directions — uses glass or steel M-size gobos or filters); and the shutter module (four blades in four planes). Optional modules insert without tools or fixture disassembly. All modules are auto-sensing and do not require patching or internal configuration changes to the fixture. Features include: a 750W, 77V QXL lamp with quick-exchange convenience; built-in pulse-width modulated dimmer; 24-frame integrated color scroller with convenient quick change gel-string cartridge; and automated crisp to soft focus. The judges praised the Revolution “for putting the priorities of theatre people first, with low running noise and real, even colors.” Other comments include “I liked the modular construction,” and “As a lighting designer who prefers accurate conventional lighting, the Revolution is the perfect tool to allow me to focus on design on stage rather than technology in the air. It is bright and quiet and behaves like a stage light should.”
Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.
Circle 100 on the Reader Service Card
CITY THEATRICAL/JOHN MCKERNON SOFTWARE LIGHTWRIGHT 4
Lightwright, written by lighting designer John McKernon, is the ubiquitous tool for tracking all aspects of selecting and arranging, numbering and comparing, assigning and footnoting lighting paperwork. Lightwright 4 has so many new features that some wags think it should be version 5! New features include: up to 30,000 worksheet rows; up to 6,000 purposes, 6,000 positions, 6,000 colors, etc.; 62 universes of DMX; 100 moving light libraries per show; storage of accessories, weights, symbols and template holder sizes; work notes database featuring work note, status, and category; integrated focus charts including complete notes, sketches and photos; and availablity for PC (it is OSX native for Macintosh). “Talk about intuitive interface,” says one judge. “There are so many upgrades, improvements and innovations. It is similar to Microsoft Word in a (good) way: many folks will never use all the features, but that's okay as long as it does really well those things that you need it to do.” Says another:“Imagining lighting paperwork without Lightwright is scary! John McKernon has made this workhorse even more seamless with current technology and practice. Awesome!”
ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY BAK PAK
The Bak Pak from Entertainment Technology is a compact and lightweight dimmer that easily attaches to conventional lighting fixtures, providing silent IGBT dimming capability. The module, available in 750W or 1,200W versions, operates using DMX. It is also completely functional using only 120- or 240-V standard power supply for stand-alone applications where DMX is not available. The standard IPS focus button appears on each dimmer, which saves set-up time and labor. The Bak Pak weighs less than two pounds and mounts directly to existing lights, structures, or simply on the wall. No special brackets or construction is required. Because the units are lightweight and compact in size, they fit virtually anywhere. “For letting old-fashioned lights co-exist in an increasingly DMX-wired world,” says one judge. “Useful, compact, nice looking construction, with or without DMX operation,” says another, while a third says, “A great, rugged looking design that I can't wait to get my hands on.”
Entertainment Technology, a Genlyte Thomas Group company
Cirlce 102 on the Reader Service Card
RENT-A-GOBO™ is a selection of full color and greyscale high-resolution catalog images from InLight Gobos. All selections are fully packaged to InLight Gobos standards including Beacon Black Line materials and laser engraved ring identification. RENT-A-GOBO is available at affordable weekly prices for short-term events as a less expensive alternative to the purchase of high-resolution images. InLight Gobos listened to its customers needs and one thing they heard repeatedly is that they would love to utilize state-of-the-art gobos, but the budget wouldn't allow for the cost of purchasing them. You can save thousands of dollars off your short-run production and still have the pizzazz of a high-end production. The judges appreciated the thriftiness of this concept, “because we don't always have the budget to buy.” “Rent a gobo is a very, very cool idea,” says another. “Access to great, absolutely first-rate stuff without busting the budget: this frees the imagination beyond purse strings, as anyone who has ever had to roll dimes to ride the subway can appreciate.”
Circle 103 on the Reader Service Card
WYBRON WATCHDOG AND DOGBONE
Welcome to a whole new world of lighting setup and management. Remote Device Management (RDM) has been on the industry horizon for some time. Now, thanks to Wybron's Watchdog III and DogBone, you can put this new technology to work now. RDM is a unified, bi-directional protocol for DMX512-based systems, and it's the new open standard for status monitoring and configuration. Without affecting device control, it offers timesaving remote management of every DMX device on the rig-regardless of manufacturer — as long as the device is RDM-compatible. Unfortunately, RDM is so new that compatible fixtures barely exist. (And if they did, you'd have to replace everything you own.) That's why they developed the Watchdog III Control System — to bring you all the benefits of using RDM today. The system consists of a gateway, controller software, and unique converter modules called DogBones. Just place one DogBone into each device's DMX line receiver socket. Immediately, yesterday's fixtures are enabled with tomorrow's technology; they're RDM-compatible. The judges were suitably impressed: “Great for supporting the migration to RDM — Wybron continues to help to push the frontiers forward in lighting control.” Says another: “What RDM does for DMX reminds me of an old aphorism: ‘Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without.’ Squeezing feedback and profile manipulation out of (or into?) DMX tells a big chunk of the tale about how the ground breaking and necessary ACN won't replace DMX any more than Internet commerce has displaced brick and mortar stores.”
Circle 104 on the Reader Service Card