The March issue of Entertainment Design magazine will announce the 2005 Lighting Products of the Year selected by a group of both young and veteran designers working in theatre, special events, dance, and concerts.

This years winners are G-LEC's LightFrame, Robert Juliat's Espion II testing device, Selecon's HUI cyc light, Sunlite's Ethernet interface, and Vari-Lite's VL2500 Wash luminaire.

Last year, G-LEC introduced Phantom Frames and LightFrames. Both received kudos from lighting designers, but LightFrame got the nod from our lighting judges because of its light weight and easy assembly—it’s essentially nothing more than an aluminum frame, plastic tubes, and transparency, after all. Most important, however, is it’s cost: it’s a whole lot cheaper than the other G-LEC products. The LightFrame modules are controlled by DMX-512 and are RDM ready, and feature 2400 mcd RGB pixels and over 16 million colors.

Robert Juliat's handy little battery-powered testing device can perform a variety of functions: it’ll check your DMX cable, input receiving, output sending, and level capture. Link it to your computer via a USB interface and it’ll let you check all parameters plux DMX stream in real time. The unit is supplied with a CD-Rom software, allowing numerous applications, including increasing memory capacity or simplified console functions.

Selecon has taken up the task of re-thinking the cyc light and the result is their HUI cyc, a favorite with our judges. “The design of the fixture is well thought-through and addresses many of our issues with cyc light strips (such as on-site configuration of rigid, low-profile ground rows, safety glass screens, durable construction, configurable connector panels, and more.),” says one judge One of the key features the judges liked about the HUI cyc was the heat exhaust/control system, which results in a much longer filter life; another high point was its aforementioned use as a ground row, simply by reversing the color cassette and the includes of screw jack feet for adjustment.

Sunlite’s handy Ethernet DMX interface, which is also available in a USB version makes it possible to work either locally or via the Internet. For example, the architectural lighting of a building in London is connected to the IP version of Easy Stand Alone. The lighting designer for the project can update the lighting program for the building, via the Internet, from his laptop in San Francisco. Easy Stand Alone is comprised of the Ethernet DMX interface box, which can control up to 512 channels, eight ports, and includes a real-time clock; software featuring easy view and a scan library; and internet connectivity.

The Vari*Lite VL-2500 is based on the VL-2000, but the judges felt that the improvements to the color mixing and its compact frame made it more than worthy of consideration. In fact, those on the pro-Vari-Lite side liked both the VL-2500 and the also recently introduced VL3500, but in the end it was the former by a nose. Likee its predecessor, the VL2500 still small and lightweight, with a 700W short-arc lamp and a zoom range from 14º to 55º. The new features are the coated glass dimmer wheel and a separate dual-blade strobe system. In addition, the VL2500 Wash luminaire's pan and tilt motors are now more powerful and provide more torque.

These winning lighting products, along with honorees in the sound, staging and projection categories, will all be honored at the annual EDDY Awards, to be held June 22 in New York.