LIGHTING PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR

What a great year for new lighting products! Those of you who attended LDI know that there was all sorts of promising new gear unveiled at the show; no doubt you'll be seeing the bulk of them featured in future issues of ED, and who knows — some may even make this list next year. But the five products below, all ready for use now, represent the cream of an especially rich crop, as chosen by our panel of judges. As you'll see, it was a good year for accessories, particularly those that save time and money, two increasingly precious commodities in these budget-conscious times.

Lighting System High End Systems: THE CATALYST

The worlds of lighting design and projection design merge in this intriguing system co-developed by High End Systems and Wynne-Willson Gotellier. Designed to provide real-time control of every aspect of an image, both still and moving, directly from a lighting console, the Catalyst features a periscopic orbital transmissive device that can adapt to the front of any large-venue, three — chip DLP projector, plus a computer and software package containing a variety of moving and still imagery and gobos. The Catalyst is great for video images, because the emitting beam is always kept at right angles to the incident beam, so there are no unnecessary aberrations, as there might be with a single mirror. Designers for concerts, TV, sporting events, and other large-scale projects are drooling over this one.

Accessories I Lee Filters: QUICK ROLLS COLOR FILTER SYSTEM

Quick Roll is a time- and money-saving system composed of a roll of color gels already cut to standard fixture color frame widths; all users need to do is cut off what they need and they're ready to go, eliminating all that needless waste. All rolls are 25' long and are sold by the inch, up to 46" wide (standard rolls are 48" wide.) Users have a choice of over 200 colors from the Lee Filters swatchbook. The Quick Rolls will save end-users money, approximately 20-30%. For example, you can get 48 cuts out of a 6.25" roll, saving 29% over standard sheets; with a 7.7" roll, you will get 40 cuts, saving you 32% over cutting the same amount from sheets. The panel felt that economics is the name of the game these days, and that this product is one of those “why didn't we think of this?” ideas.

Software Pathway Connectivity: THE PATHPORT MANAGER DMX NETWORKING SOFTWARE

The PC software companion for the Pathport DMX network, the Pathport Manager provides easy control and visualization of the Pathport network. The Pathport system allows for DMX routing capabilities over an ethernet network, acting as a bridge between the DMX and ethernet worlds. It gives facility designers an affordable way to lay the foundation for the ethernet future while at the same time expanding the functionality and useful life of existing DMX equipment. Downloadable from the Pathport website at www.pathwayconnectivity.com, the software has an intuitive graphical interface, drag-and-drop functionality, and the ability to easily access all the features of the Pathport system, including input merge, node and port labeling, and backlight control. The judges felt this software package and the Pathport system point the way toward the future of control in the theatre.

Accessories II Rosco Laboratories: IMAGEPRO GOBO SLIDE PROJECTOR

The ability to make full-color gobo projections available at an extremely low cost is a godsend to budget-conscious lighting designers, and that's exactly what the Rosco ImagePro offers. The unit is designed to fit into most modern luminaires, including the Altman Shakespeare, ETC Source Four, Selecon Pacific, and Strand SL. A cooling fan combined with layered, reflective filters creates a protected environment for the iPro Slide to survive the extreme heat at the gate of today's ellipsoidal spotlights. Using high-resolution plastic gobos from Rosco's pattern catalog or generated by one's own computer and ink-jet printer, the ImagePro provides affordable full-color projections in a matter of minutes. The panel was very impressed by the affordable and quick way in which you can get any image that you can create into a standard ellipsoidal spotlight.

Accessories III Wybron: THE ECLIPSE II DMX IRIS DOUSER

Designed almost 50 years ago by theatre legend George Izenour — but not available until now — the Eclipse II is a variable-speed iris douser with linear control using a single motor with one channel of DMX. In 1952, Izenour designed a douser to work in conjunction with a pan-and-tilt mechanism on a Century Lighting softlight for NBC. They needed to have a dimming capability without affecting the color temperature, so he came up with this iris douser design. The panel really liked this iris douser, especially the smooth and seamless fade capability. As opposed to Venetian blind — style dousers, this unit leaves nothing in the beam of light when fully opened. You now can realistically fade fixtures that use non-dimmable arc and metal halide sources, which are becoming more and more prevalent in lighting design today.