This was a feast or famine year for the staging and projection markets. In the former category, a host of new promising products still in the prototype stage made it tough to find worthy honorees ready for market (but just wait till next year!). In the latter category, there were so many great new products it was hard to whittle it down to a select few. In the end, our panel of judges found three new products in the projection category and one that's unique enough to qualify in both categories. All four products will be honored at the annual EDDY Awards ceremony on June 22 in New York.
“The DL1 and now the DL2 are still not bright enough,” concede the judges, “but we are all going to look back in five or so years and remember the charming days before all automated fixtures were digital ‘media enabled’ fixtures.” A valid point indeed. The DL2 is a “smart” automated lighting system featuring an integrated digital media server. Housed in one single package is a light engine, media server, and content, and it hangs and acts like an automated light. DL2 reduces space and installation time. No need for RGB cabling, and servers are no longer necessary at the FOH. Other features include infrared digital eye, wireless media content management system, and ability to import 3D objects. “The DL2 is a huge leap forward in terms of integrating the media server in the head, eliminating enormous control infrastructure issues, not to mention the positively wicked capability of uploading media to the units wirelessly,” the judges add.
High End Systems
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Soft-LED™ is a combination of tri-color LED technology and high-quality black fabric drop. It allows an infinite number of shapes, patterns, colors, and complicated light shows in one backdrop. Soft-LED backdrops are lightweight and flexible, fabricated much like fiber-optic curtains, except the face fabric used is inherently flame retardant and virtually wrinkle-free. The face fabric is made from 22-oz IFR Black Encore; removable liner is IFR Black Avora; and there are hidden ties on all four sides. Each backdrop contains a grid of LED nodes interlaced with thin, flexible wire cable. From the front, the visible part of the node is smaller than a dime. The nodes, comparable to pixels in image quality, contain a red, green, and blue diode, each individually controllable for an almost unlimited color palette. “With the new 4” LED centers, this drape is much improved,” say the judges. “We designed content for [a recent tour], which was displayed on a Soft-LED, and we were well pleased with its scenic and textural capabilities.”
Main Light Industries
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We highlighted Version 2 of the Hippotizer media server as the January Product of the Month, so many readers already got a sense of what this puppy can do. Briefly, the new version built in support for the majority of established industry protocols — DMX, MIDI, RS 232, and timecode (model specific) — making it possible to control any playback parameter remotely from other hardware. And in November, Green Hippo added H-MAP, the Hippotizer Media Access Protocol, which is designed to allow lighting consoles access to information on Hippotizer servers via Ethernet. Hippotizer is available in the US from TMB. “It really is head and shoulders above the rest of the lighting media server field at the moment,” say the judges. “Individual effect soloing, nine layers real time in HD, and (duh) brightness contrast control of individual layers and master output — not to mention audio capabilities and the ability to import entire 3D Studio Max scene files directly into a layer — set it apart.”
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The new LX100 steps up both brightness and performance levels of the RoadRunner series with 10,000 ANSI lumens and a quad-lamp engine mode. New 3D digital video processing for sharp video images from analog and digital sources, 90% brightness uniformity and an 1100:1 contrast ratio create bright, realistic images. The new Fast Lens Change (FLC™) mount is designed for no-fuss lens changes and easy set up. “Christie's new LX100 projector has proved to be the most popular unit for use on Broadway,” say the judges. “It's bright, it has four bulbs (so bulb burnout in a show isn't an issue), and it's cheap. I would almost call them the ‘Source Four’ of projectors. They were a further development of their L8 platform, which had previously been the favored platform for many New York shows, but the LX100 really ramped it up with superior contrast, better color reproduction, brighter output, and almost silent operation.”
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