Product Pick of the Month:
Hoffend Vortek Rigging System

Hoffend introduces Vortek, a theatrical rigging system that automates and manages the raising and lowering of scenery, electrical pipes, and curtains in a safe and efficient manner. It is a flexible, modular system that can be adjusted to fit the specific needs of each installation. It installs quickly and easily, with no custom winches, creative schematics, or trial-and-error guesswork. The system operates through a collection of intelligent units managed through the Vortek Automation Center (VAC), so there's no need for ropes, weights, locking rails, or heavy steel pipes. Contractors save on installation time because there's much less to install, and schools and performing arts centers save on money and space because it does not require the space, headblocks or headblock beams, gridiron, steel guide work, and under-floor reinforcement used by traditional rigging systems.

Vortek solves these problems by eliminating the need for counterweights altogether, and by using Hoffend's continuously applied variable load brake (patent pending). The brake is affixed to the drum and operates independently of any electrical system. If everything else fails, the load just stops — there's no impact load, recalibration issues, danger of an out-of-control load crashing to the floor, or fear of counterweights smashing into the locking rail and injuring the operators.

Its components include the following: a Vortek unit, a batten, and a brain — the Vortek Automation Center. One Vortek unit is required for each batten, which weighs less than 300lb and contains a small computer, making it possible for all of the units to be controlled from one central command position. The unit mounts to each beam in minutes with speed clamps that adapt to the beam. Once it is clamped into place and the safety is applied, three electrical connectors plug into the sockets at the end of each unit, and the unit is secure, powered, and ready to use.

A patented, lightweight aluminum batten replaces the customary 1.5" schedule 40 pipe. Each batten includes Vortek's quick trim system, and is a built-in curtain track for quick, easy hanging of drapes, travelers, and other theatrical soft goods. Standard 1.5" schedule 40 pipe is quickly attached to the batten for lighting pipes.

The Vortek Automation Center (VAC) is the mission control of the Vortek system. This computerized center uses intuitive touch screens and menus to control the entire technical operation of the rigging system from a single workstation. VAC makes it easy to create and label cues and groups, save the settings in a file, and control all performances with precision. VAC includes a wireless remote with full system capability to operate the front end from anywhere in the theatre.
Hoffend Inc.
www.hoffend.net

Pop-Out Furniture
Pop-Out Furniture is a new product based on an old idea. It is 1/4"-scale paper model furniture available in a variety of periods. The company has taken the simplicity of paper models and combined it with state-of-the-art technology to create a unique product. It is true-to-scale paper furniture which can be painted when flat and then easily assembled, making it ideal for use in theatrical, architectural, educational, and other craft projects. Created by a designer with the designer in mind, this one-of-a-kind product combines computer design techniques with the centuries-old practice of paper-folding. Since it is made from paper, the cost is minimal making it ideal for the budget-conscious designer, and an inexpensive alternative to plastic furniture. Each sheet comes with 11 to 17 pieces of furniture and two period scale figures. Every piece of furniture is based on historical research and carefully produced in full scale, and then scaled down to model size. This ensures the utmost accuracy in detail. Every page of furniture is printed on heavyweight 80lb card stock and laser die-cut, ensuring pinpoint detail even in 1/4" scale. And since the page is laser cut, the integrity of the paper stays intact. It is distributed by BMI Supply and Rose Brand.
Pop-Out Furniture
www.popoutfurniture.com

Martin Cyclo Series
Martin introduces the Cyclo series, a range of wash lights featuring color-mixing or color correction control. It is a slim, surface-mounted fluorescent fixture designed for use in cove lighting, light boxes, and where room is restricted. It comes in three varieties: Cyclo 02, 03, and 04. Cyclo 02 is a fluorescent color temperature changer that consists of two dimmable T5 tubes, a warm white at 2700K and a daylight white at 6000K. By adjusting the relative intensity levels of the two tubes any color temperature between the two extremes can be generated. The Cyclo 03 and 04 offer full color-mixing using RGB technology. The Cyclo 04 features an additional white 4000K tube for extended color control. The units can be controlled from any DMX controller.
Martin Professional
www.martin.dk

Wybron Motovator
The Motovator is Wybron's DMX-controlled scenery and drapery motion system. It provides precise servo control of the position and speed of movement of AC motors, DC motors, and hydraulic actuators used to move scenery, drapes, and drops. The Motovator can be set up and used anywhere, but is especially suited for projects where motion needs to be integrated with lighting and effects using standard lighting controls. This system allows motion to be designed and edited in the same way (and by the same personnel) as lighting cues. Motovator motion control systems for traveler and Austrian curtains, roll drops, and stage turntables are available for inclusion in custom designed applications, or as complete packaged solutions.
Wybron Inc.
www.wybron.com

iLight Technologies Plexineon
Plexineon from iLight is a very clever use of LEDs as a replacement for neon. It is both simple and elegant in its design and ease of use. Made of durable plastic composite materials, comprised of high-intensity LEDs, and encased in a sealed unit, Plexineon is a technology that looks like glass neon, but goes well beyond. It can be cold-bent in the field as well as custom-bent in the Y axis in the factory for applications like letters. It can be bent in the X axis in either convex or concave directions with a 10° minimum radius. This product offers high temperature and moisture resistance, even tone, and is perfect for both interior and exterior applications. It comes standard in 2', 4', 6', and 8' lengths and can be connected together end to end for continuous runs as well as mitered corners. It is available in standard colors of red, amber, blue, green, and white with options of orange and magenta. It also has built-in effects that include flash, fade, and chase.
iLight Technologies
www.ilight-tech.com

NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics LCD4000 40" LCD Display
NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics introduces the NEC LCD4000, its largest display at 40". The image quality and functional design are ideal for specialized applications including trade show exhibits, public displays, conference presentations, as well as retail signage. It features a wide aspect ratio and high resolution of 1280×768 pixels (wide-XGA), and brightness levels of 450cd/m2 allow the monitor to achieve a typical 600:1 contrast ratio, producing rich, vibrant colors. To accurately deliver full-motion video without the appearance of ghosting or image trailing, the NEC LCD4000 operates at a Rapid Response time of 23ms. Unlike phosphor-based displays, images do not become permanently engraved into the screen after long periods of time.
NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America, Inc.
www.necmitsubishi.com

TerraSonde Precision Microphone System
TerraSonde's Precision Microphone System features a microphone that has extremely low self-noise (20 dba) and flat response curve. This system, when combined with the Audio Toolbox, is perfect for environments such as studio installations that require low noise, architectural acoustics (both indoor and out), and legal measurements. The system consists of a battery powered preamplifier system and measurement microphone, which interfaces directly with either the Audio Toolbox Plus or the original Audio Toolbox (upgraded to Contractors Software v. 3.19) via an XLR cable to provide accurate Type I ANSI measurements.
TerraSonde
www.terrasonde.com

Gold Line PDA-Based Real-Time Analyzer
Gold Line introduces an affordable PDA-based digital Real-Time Analyzer technology, called CeRTA, which provides PDAs running Microsoft CE with professional-level Real-Time Analysis. The program has been optimized for the Compaq iPaq PDA, but can be run on other platforms. CeRTA provides powerful digital functions such as a 4,096-point FFT analyzer, high-resolution low/mid-frequency analysis, weighted SPL, and waterfall type displays of decay. Other features include an internal sine wave and synchronized pulse tone generator that replaces traditional pink noise sources. Optional extras for CeRTA include factory calibration curves and external microphones.
Gold Line
www.gold-line.com

BSS Audio Soundweb Lite
The demand for simple standalone DSP processing has led BSS Audio to introduce the Soundweb Lite 3088 programmable digital audio system. The new 8×8 unit draws on the success of the larger networked Soundweb 9088iis and associated products, but provides a less-expensive alternative for situations where the design requires a maximum of eight inputs and eight outputs. Ideal for houses of worship, themed bars, boardrooms, and clubs, the 3088 possesses all the capabilities of the networked version — a totally free-design DSP layout, large palette of processing objects, custom control panels, and more — and runs under the common Soundweb Designer platform. All standard input configuration options are available for the 3088, including mic, line, and AES/EBU digital I/O.
BSS Audio
www.bss.co.uk