Morpheus Lights has introduced the PanaBeam™XR2, a high performance wash luminaire, in a nationwide demo tour over the past month.
I first used the PanaBeam XR2 on Brian Boitano's Skating Spectacular for NBC this winter. Morpheus Lights' Dan English offered me four units to test at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for our last live-to-tape event of the season. I placed the fixtures on the ice, just downstage of the set for “eye-candy cosmetics” for the television cameras. These fixtures worked very well, providing strong, extremely bright colors. Since my time to put the fixture through its paces was limited in Las Vegas, I went to an extensive demonstration at The Hudson Theatre in New York City's Millennium Hotel to see the XR2 in action without the pressure of lighting a television show.
The PanaBeam XR2 uses a Philips MSR 1200W short-arc discharge lamp, rated at approximately 750 hours, with color temperature at 6500K in a GY22 base and with a flicker-free electronic ballast. Electrical input is auto-sensing and ranges from 100 to 240 ACV, 50-60 Hz.
The first thing I looked at was the XR2's dimming capability, which uses a very smooth mechanical douser. The strobe effect, independent of the douser, occurs when a metal flag, traveling a short distance, obscures the source. The result is a fast and well-defined strobe that does not put the douser through any wear and tear.
The beam size control is quite clever and unlike anything I have seen before in any light. It is a fresnel-type lens cut into eight pie shapes that slide into the optical train, ranging from no lens (11° beam angle) to a full lens (22° beam angle). The beam spread needs some improvement, though. It should have a wider beam angle, particularly for applications where a venue does not have a long throw distance or when lighting a cyc/backdrop in a limited amount of space. Morpheus is working on a solution to achieve a wider-angle beam. I believe a beam spread of 40° and a super wide-angle 60° would be great additions.
The fixture utilizes Morpheus Lights' exceptional color mixing technology, which fades color very quickly by using three graduated wheels of CYM. Starting with no color, each wheel becomes more saturated when dialing in to full cyan, yellow, or magenta. With this color system, you can truly fade from one color to another without going through unnecessary transitions. A fourth wheel is for the variable CTO, starting at no color (6500°K) and progressing to full CTO (3200°K). During the demo, the XR2 did a very good job interpreting a color effects engine cue from the WholeHog® II, producing a cue of shifting colors without the interruption of white light.
One of the most impressive features about this light is the speed at which it moves. It moved much faster than the competition running next to it during the demo. The XR2 has independent velocity control in both positional pan mode at 540° incremental, 360° incremental, and 360° shortest or longer path, and in continuous pan mode clockwise and counter clockwise. The tilt modes, with independent velocity control, are 270° incremental, 360° incremental, and 360° shortest or longer path, and continuous tilt (through the yoke), either clockwise or counter clockwise.
The housing is a black powder-coated aluminum chassis with composite covers and integral handles. The shape of the housing has modern lines and a sleek appearance.
The fixture is extremely quiet, with processor-based thermal control for a variable speed impeller fan. The Morpheus Lights specifications note the maximum ambient temperature at 110°F (43°C) and the maximum surface temperature at 200°F (92°C). I know from working with it that the unit is quiet and non-intrusive while standing next to it.
The design wheels are the true workhorses of this light. The three-stage effects system includes a wheel with static effects (a frost, a random dichroic CYM breakup, and a red glass filter). With the red filter, the result is a super-saturated red that enhances the CYM red and reads well because the unit is very punchy.
The other two effects wheels have four indexable slots each. One rotating effect wheel has a beam stretcher for image elongation, a pie-shaped dichroic, a bow tie-shaped piece of metal for movement effects, and an open slot for future effects. The other rotating wheel includes another beam stretcher, a striped-shape dichroic, a bar-shaped piece of metal for movement effects, and another open slot.
Using the two effects wheels in conjunction with the dichroic filters is quite a unique experience. Both of these wheels can spin continuously in either direction and at independent speeds, giving the beam-shaping effects endless anamorphic possibilities. Spinning them in opposite directions creates a nice kaleidoscope effect. The two beam-stretcher effects can be indexed in the same direction to create a long, narrow oval. As you begin to rotate one of these shapes perpendicular to the other, you first see a trapezoid; when the shapes are completely perpendicular, it forms a square. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
For designers who require fast movement from all aspects of a fixture, the PanaBeam XR2's unique multi-channel commutator technology offers unlimited pan and tilt, each with independent velocity, creating a dizzying effect that is sure to please.
My experience using the PanaBeam XR2 during the show was good. It was reliable, especially when compared to other Morpheus fixtures using older technology. The processor and addressing control are in the base with a nifty vacuum fluorescent display and accessible via a seven-button membrane keypad, making readdressing easy. If control protocol changes, the unit's hardware is all enclosed within the base, separate from the light itself, making an upgrade to new hardware simple.
The PanaBeam XR2 mounts in any orientation on the Morpheus PanaPlate™ mounting system or using any two standard clamps. It also stands on the floor with no additional hardware.
In conclusion, I praise Morpheus Lights and the PanaBeam XR2. I use moving lights almost exclusively, and the PanaBeam XR2 receives a high grade in my book. The disadvantage of a small beam angle is limiting, and I encourage Morpheus to enhance this fixture with a wider beam angle option for more versatility in the industry.
The PanaBeam XR2 is currently available only as a rental unit from Morpheus. All in all, this is a pretty great light that you will, no doubt, see on tour this summer with events that require a super fast fixture with many effects.
PANABEAM XR2 ADDITIONAL SPECS:
Weight: 74lbs (32kg)
Size: 18.0" ×14.5" × 28.0" (46cm × 37cm × 71cm) hanging on 21.0" (54cm) centers. www.morpheuslights.com