The Rua Medium Throw Followspot, part of Selecon's Performer Series of followspots, takes full advantage of the Philips Quick Fit mini MSR lamp for variable light output and sits in between Selecon's short throw Tahi (18° to 24°) and the long throw model, the Toru (4° to 8°).
The Selecon Rua is a 1,400W medium throw followspot with variable light output. With a beam diameter of 9° to 16° designed for throws approximately 25' to 125', it produces 100fc at 184' (56m) at 9°, while the widest angle, 16°, produces 100fc at 112' (34m). It uses the Philips MSR Gold™ SA/SE, a Quick Fit 1,400W MSR Mini Arc lamp. The increased light output and beam quality are the result of the latest in short arc lamp technology coupled with Selecon's light collection experience and the unit's large multi-coated lenses.
“The Rua is a very high-performance followspot for the medium-to-larger entertainment venues,” says Jeremy Collins, managing director of Selecon. “Thanks to the latest in short-arc lamp technology, the energy is collected by our rework of the classic ellipsoidal collection system, and the large lenses deliver three to four times as much light as comparative wattage followspots.” Stephen Fairweather, operations director with Selecon, says, “The lamp is electronically variable from 60% to 120% light output to suit your show or application.”
The followspot has an integrated flicker-free power supply that ranges from 110V to 250V, which means you don't need an outboard power supply and can run off a standard household outlet. “We feel that the onboard power supply is a key feature to the Performer Series followspots,” comments Fairweather. “The integrated power supply has an elapsed hour meter for tracking lamp usage.” The full suite of operator controls includes an iris, mechanical dowser, CTO filter, diffusion frost, and two cutters [shutters], as well as an integrated six-color auto-cancel changer. There is a pattern holder accessory, as well. The unit has a single slide zoom as well as soft/hard focus, and it is very easy to modify the beam from flat to peak distribution.
The ergonomics of the Rua were created with the needs of the operators in mind. “The controls are cool to use,” says Collins. “An operator doesn't suffer from having the heat of the unit exhausted onto them. Using our heat management design expertise, we have routed the heat away from the operator and controls. This, combined with the control ergonomics, relieves a lot of the physical discomfort involved in operating many followspots.”
The Rua followspot is 55¾" (141.9cm) long by 18¾" (47.4cm) wide by 24½" (62.4cm) high, including the color frames at the front. It weighs 149.7lb (67.9kg); the basic stand weighs 21lb (9.5kg); and the professional stand weighs 38lb (17kg). The unit comes complete with a three-year warranty and is compliant to CE standards.
Collins discusses the Rua's early history “The Performer range was developed by Selecon's in-house design team to meet the demands of customers for a followspot to cut through today's higher light level moving light rigs that could be operated by relatively inexperienced operators. We were fortunate in being able to exploit the first in the new generation short arc lamps, being the first manufacturer to come out with a product using these lamps, subsequently widely adopted for moving lights.”
As with many manufacturers, Selecon makes it a priority to listen to end user requests for updates. Collins explains that “in response to US customer feedback, we are about to introduce a new color changer that is not self-canceling like the current model.” The Performer range of beam angles is good, but Selecon is always looking to meet the demands of users. “Encouraged by the success since the launch of the three models that comprise the Performer range, we plan to add further to our followspot offerings in the near future,” he concludes.
John Lewis, director of special events, design, and management with Greensboro, NC SE Systems (www.sesystems.com), makes particular note of the optics of the Rua. “We have Selecon profile units in-house, and they are great,” he says. “We own two Ruas, and hopefully, this year, we will buy two more. I have used them in conjunction with Lycian 1275s, and one of the things about them is you can trim down the output to match a lesser output light, so all the lights can match. It isn't something you may want to do, but a lot of acts need the lights to all look the same. I haven't put that medium throw against anything that has beat it yet.”
Another feature that Lewis really likes is “the filter to drop in for television, which is a big, big plus, since I do a lot of broadcast events, and it will color correct itself automatically.” Lewis also notes that the controls are different from his perspective. “The iris is great and always a plus since you don't find them on too many medium throws. The base is lightweight, and we designed a road case for it, built by Georgia Case out of Columbus, GA. The base slides right into the bottom through a trap door, the light sits on top, and it is all 40" wide, ready to go into the truck.”
Lewis says that, after getting a few units early on and working out a few mounting issues that have since been addressed, the units work well. “Also, you could not really do two-color mixing off of the boomerang,” he adds. “We addressed that with Scott [Church], and Selecon got right on it. They have been really good about working with us, and we are supposed to see new boomerangs this month.” For future models, Lewis recommends that Selecon put a small LED bar light on top of the control area, “which I think they are going to do,” he says. “This would just light up that control area, because it is different for a lot of people used to running a Strong or a Lycian unit.”
Nic Phillips, lighting designer/consultant with nicphillips lightdesign (nicphillips.com), has worked with, as well as specified, the Rua followspots for projects. “The output is phenomenal, and the fit and finish are second to none,” he says. “Compared to sheet metal followspots, the Selecon feels like a better product all around. The auto-ranging power supply is a real advantage. I can choose to run them at 120V or 240V in the same product, and it's built into the fixture. With regard to the output, it's hard to believe what you get from a 1,200W lamp. I feel they are much brighter than the old 2.5kW [Robert] Juliats they replaced and could hold their own against a new 2kW [Strong] Trouper.”
For Phillips, the one feature that really stands out is the calibrated controls. “It makes it very easy as a designer to work with the operators to get accurate repeatability,” he says. “I also have to say that the peak/flat adjustment that can be done on the fly is a useful design tool I cannot get from other followspots. A peaked beam with frost is beautiful, particularly with dance, as I learned earlier this year when I used them on a major ballet in Germany.” Phillips notes one area that he feels needs improvement, and Selecon has worked with him on it. “The color boomerang needs to be redesigned for serious theatre work, and Selecon did this.” Phillips concludes that “for the comparative price, there really isn't a question here.”
Craig Bradshaw, master electrician with The Village Theatre in Washington state (www.villagetheatre.org), says he needed a new pair of followspots fast for use in the closing show of last season. “The Ruas had great specs, backed by Selecon's fine reputation, and they worked extraordinarily to get them to us within our tight timeframe,” he says. “I love the electronic dimming ballast, for those times when the Rua, which can almost be too bright, needs to be tamed a bit.” Like the other users, the color changing is an issue. “Selecon is already designing and manufacturing a new Broadway-style color boomerang, which is the biggest drawback,” says Bradshaw. “The mechanics of the iris mechanism could use a little refining, as I'm worried a bit about wear over the long term.” Bradshaw adds that the Rua is “big and very bright — quite a nice, and nicely made, machine.”
For further information, please go to www.seleconlight.com.